Keep Your Toddler Busy While You Homeschool
I constantly get the question, “what do I do with my little ones while I am homeschooling my older ones?” It’s a simple answer, let them participate in school as well. Your little ones look up to their siblings and want to be just like them. Why not use that to your advantage? This is your opportunity as a homeschooling leader to set the precedence that they too will be doing school, just as their older siblings when they're XYZ age. Later on, trying to get them to sit down and do their “book work” will be a much easier process.
You say to yourself, “Okay, Amanda, do I give my newborn baby a crayon and piece of paper? Do I hand my 14-month-old a list of vocabulary words to write and spell out for me, while sitting quietly in a chair? Or maybe, do I hand my 3-year-old busy boy chalk and board filled with complex math problems and say “have at it, little one.”? The answer is, no. Sure, are there children out there that are prodigies and geniuses? Yes, but the reality is that’s not what most people have been blessed with. Your newborn needs to be loved, fed, and changed, your 14th month old wants to run laps around the homeschool table just to be near you, and your 3-year-old busy boy can’t sit still long enough for you to tell him, “yes, we’ll go outside and play tag when school is over.”
As I mentioned above, let them participate in school as well. Below, I have listed my recommendations of ways to entertain your young one, while you teach your oldest his/her newest math lesson.
As you will see, some of these bags have toys your child probably already has around. Just pairing them with a few flashcards or categorizing sheets, can turn something you have laying around the house into a learning activity for your little one. Just remember though, that these are for your homeschool day and not for playing purposes. Inform your little one that this only comes out during school.
Our children have made things like houses and trucks to solar systems with these great toys. Another wonderful STEM activity for using their imagination and learn to build. Click here to see a set similar to what we have.
Bunny Color Match
Any time I want to teach something, having bright colors and something for their hands helps to keep them interested. These bunnies are stretchy so they will play with them for a while. Matching them to the appropriate color will help with sorting and colors. This is just a piece of paper that I drew circles on with matching bright colors.
Reusable food pouches don't have to be used for just that, it can be an activity as well. This is an activity that will keep your child occupied for a while. A great way to develop their fine motor skills. Take some colorful cotton swabs and a squeeze tube and watch them concentrate! A link to the squeeze tube I used is here.
Sea Creature Match
Grab your favorite Old Blue Finds book HERE and pair it with some sea creature manipulatives. Your little one will enjoy pulling each animal out while they look through each page.
Fruit and Vegetables
Grab some fruits and veggies from your child's kitchen set and pair them with printed pictures. I laminated the pictures and put the name of the item on each to build sight word recognition.
Jungle Count and Match
If you can find a fun pop-up book like this one that I found at the dollar store, it will keep your child engaged even longer. These are bath letters and little animals I paired with the activity. I ask them to sit the number of animals on top of the foam number as shown in the picture.
***Please be advised that I am not an expert and you need to know your child before giving them anything that can be harmful to them. I am not recommending that you give these items to them and walk away. Watch your children, as it's your responsibility as a parent to give them appropriate items for their ages. This is merely what I have done for my children at this particular age.