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July 26, 2012

Keeping Young Children Busy While Homeschooling

I had a reader ask what types of activities I do with the younger ones here.  (Thank you for the question by the way I LOVE reader's questions.)

Last year I didn't really have too much of an organized system happening.  A-man would want to be included in what I was doing with Lady and Spud which I tried to include him when I could.  Baby O was just that, a baby so he was fairly easy.

This year A-man is 3 1/2 and Baby O is 1 1/2.  I knew I needed a more organized way to help them spend their time so that I wasn't constantly interrupted or shooing them away.

I have tried the Managers of Their Homes very strict schedule but have found that is just not how our family works.  Everyone likes to be somewhat together and honestly I am too rigid as it is I don't need that much structure or I get very overwhelmed.

So I am going to try something new this year.  I have taken pictures of all of our toys that I have in bins, puzzles, learning activities, and some school items.   (I am also doing this for morning chores and will be making a cover for each of the kids and then placing them all on a metal ring.  I will show you more about that in another post.)
Toddler & Preschool Activities

K/1st Activities

I do not have a lot of work sheets that the kids can do independently and with their ages they really are not able to do much independently yet.  They LOVE having the control of doing their work in their work boxes but I was having a hard time figuring out how to use them at this age.  Now with the laminated pictures of activities I can place the card in the work box and have them go and get the activity.  We have the 10-drawer rolling carts that you can find different places (we got ours at ShopKo).  Larger learning activities like we have do not fit into these drawers but a 3X5 picture will!

Baby O is a little young yet to actually get out what I want him to get out so I will just stack the cards together and go through them for his activities.  This way I am rotating toys so that he is not getting tired of playing with the same thing but I don't have to think about it.  I have a picture telling me what to go get!  We do have a pack n play for him but I will probably be using it for the new baby so I'm not sure how exactly this will work for him.  I may have to tweak my plan as time goes but at least A-man who is wanting to have "school" will be more directed.

The other thing I am going to try to implement, when needed, are cards that have each of the kids pictures on.  So there may be a card in A-man's work box that has a picture of Baby O so that means he should go play with him.  I don't know how much I will use these but I wanted to add them in just in case.  They may actually come in to play the best with Spud and Lady playing with Baby O.  Less fighting hopefully with one older!?

Ok, so now that you know more of my plan let me share what the activities actually are!

Preschool & Toddler Homeschooling Activities
  • Bear Manipulatives
  • Puzzles
  • Duplo Blocks
  • Wooden Blocks
  • Large Building Bricks
  • Cars & Trucks Bin
  • Kitchen Toys Bin
  • Pots & Pans Bin
  • Do A Dot Markers & Coloring Book (A-man)
  • Flashcards
  • Play Doctor Kit
  • Farm Animals Bin & Barn
  • Dominos
  • Jenga Blocks
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Pattern Blocks
  • Cookie Sheet & ABC Magnets
  • Magnetos
  • Play Money (A-man)
  • Thinking Putty (A-man)
  • Picture Books
  • SNACK!
  • Stickers & Paper
  • Tools Bin
  • Colors & Paper
  • Paper & Hole Punch
  • Lacing Card & Yarn (I just made my own with card stock and then laminated.)
  • Letter of the Week Activities (This is a purchased download.)

You can see above that I have "bin" listed after a few of the items.  This is one tip I would highly recommend if you haven't done this yet with your children's toys.  Go to the Dollar Store or Walmart and purchase bins for each "set" of toy you have.  For instance I have a bin with the kid's play kitchen toys, cars & trucks, magnetos, doll clothes, duplo blocks (this was a washed out animal cracker bin from Sams), farm animals, etc.  Pretty much anything you can group into a category put in a bin and label it.  Even though my kids still do not put things away when they get out a new bin, when we do go to organize, everything has a place.  This will also help to give you options to grab to give to your toddlers and preschoolers when they need a "new" something to do.

Many of the above toys have been collected from birthdays and Christmas.  You don't need to go out and purchase a lot of activities for your youngest ones.  First use what you have and then add in some fun extras if you have the money to do so.

Do you have any fun activities for keeping the littles busy during school?

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