When you have very young children in the house, it's hard to do lots of things with them. It seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to teach them everything they need to know.

What you don't want to do is make learning a chore. What you do want to do is start at a very young age teaching colors, counting and letters.

Some fun ways to do this is by naming everyday objects that you see everywhere you go. In the store, when you are walking with them in the basket, talk about the "red" apples, the "yellow" bananas.

When you are driving down the road, talk about the "red" truck, the "yellow" truck, the "blue" truck, while you are pointing at the different trucks.

You can also teach differences in shapes and sizes the same way. Watch for the opportunities to talk about the "square" box, the "round" manhole, and the "rectangle" door.

Stacking blocks is another tool that's fun for really young children. You can also get the tower thing (don't have a clue what the name of it is) that has the different sized and colored rings that the children put on the stick.

Toys come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. When you are playing with your child, ask them to hand you the yellow block or the red truck.

When the child is a little older and you want the letter or number recognition, do the same thing. In the store, look at the signs and ask them to look for the letter "A" or find the number "1."

When you are reading to your child, point at the pictures and talk about the colors or letters or numbers they see. Ask them to point at the "pink" pig or "yellow" duck.

Repetition is the name of the game. You point out 9,000 red things until your child finally gets the idea of that word meaning that color. You point out 9,000 letter "As" until your child recognizes that shape means that letter.

You can point at the animal and talk about colors or point at objects and talk about the size.

Remember you are your child's first teacher and it only takes a few minutes a day, everyday, for your child to show up at school with all the ammunition they need to get a good head-start.

Jean Meadors is the children's librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.