When I finally found time to go shopping this independence day long weekend, I decided to replace my son’s tattered play mat. Though it was not an easy to abandon this treasured belonging, I was quick to select a new one as it came in the bold and beautiful colours my 23 months old had learnt to recognise. Given his recent interest in puzzles, it did not surprise me when he wanted to try his hands at fixing the different pieces minutes after they were brought home. After an initial round of assembly, I encouraged him to dismantle all pieces with the objective of joining similar colours together as instead of teaching him alphabets I was more interested in reinforcing his learning of colours.
When I observed that he found greater pleasure in poking the round shapes out of the various alphabets (a,b,d,g i, j,o,p,q) with his fingers, I was quick to capitalize on the moment and introduced the concept of circles. Very soon he not only started pointing to circles of different colours, but also learnt the difference between a big and small one.
Over the next three days we played the circle game again and again – lining all of them in the order of big to small from left to right and top to bottom, putting back the big and small circles in their respective holes, matching and rematching the colours of circles with the alphabet squares, aligning the rough and smooth circles with the respective surfaces. In the process, of course, he learnt a lot many new words and concepts. But what was more fun was hunting for big and small circles everywhere, in the wheels of car while going out, in the clocks of restaurant while lunching, in the jars of candy and plates of dinner at home, in the bindi of his nanny on her forehead and in the mole of his mumma on the cheek. The moment of greatest joy however arrived when he pointed to the circle in the middle of the flag I had bought to teach him the Indian tri-colours.