I am usually thinking of ways to provide hands-on activities for Matthew. He learns best by being completely immersed in the experience instead of being a mere spectator. By being completely immersed, he is getting visual, auditory, tactile, and whenever possible, olfactory and vestibular input as well. His mind and body are completely engaged and this active stimulation is the ideal way for him to learn. It seems to be an effective way to get him processing and retaining information. On that note, I try to pair fun gross motor activities with more academic activities.
I love the glimmer he gets in his eyes and the verbal and non-verbal excitement he shows when I show him photos of an experience he enjoyed immensely. It usually is a "full contact" experience that triggers such a reaction.
A simple trip to Grandpa's farm is in Matthew's memory bank in the "fun and exciting" category. Such memories usually motivate him to talk more therefore, stimulating more speech and language and adding to his fast-expanding vocabulary. And even if he may not verbally demonstrate his learning right away as Elizabeth typically would, the fact that he gets that glimmer I described is proof enough for me that he gets it, i.e. learning input was successful.
Two of his top favorite things to do at Grandpa's farm include spending time with Grandpa and riding in Grandpa's electric car. He loves to give Grandpa hugs and he laughs and giggles in the electric car, especially when we drive through walls of thick weed overgrowth. Fast is the only speed he loves.