I have compiled a list of my top 10 things to do with my toddler during our homeschool day. These are just some of the ideas that I have found to work over time. I have found some of the ideas from various blogs and videos here on the web. I'll include some helpful links at the end. The activities are things that I put into index card boxes or small totes to pull out one at a time during the school day.
1. String Beads
1. String Beads
2. Lacing Animal/ Shapes Cards
3. Mini Figures- Things such as farm animals, dinosaurs, lizards, frogs, occupational people, etc.. work well in the boxes. We usually have a theme that we are studying and we use the mini figures to count with as well as tell stories or talk about what they do, eat, or live.
Example: This weeks theme could be Farm Animals. We will read storybooks about farm animals, color pictures of farm animals, do puppets, play matching games with farm animal cards, flannel board stories, and use the mini figures to practice counting to 10, and also talk about what sounds the animals make( MOO, OINK, BAA BAA!) You can also match up each animal with its baby.
4. Legos or Duplo blocks
5. Wooden Puzzles- our favorite are those Melissa and Doug puzzles. They are very sturdy and the paint is non toxic. Plus they are oh so cute. You can start with the chunky puzzles with handles till they can get with the more advanced ones. http://www.melissaanddoug.com/
6. Starfall is a free online complete phonics program with printouts included. No membership necessary. It is very interactive and engaging. The only skills the child will need to have to get started is the ability to point and click a mouse.
7. Flash Cards- you can have anything you want on hand. I found some great flash cards from the dollar store. You can even print some form your computer onto some heavy card stock paper and laminate it with clear contact paper from the hardware store. We keep around flash cards with ABC's, 123's, shapes, colors, insects, animals, etc..
8. Books on CD- we are constantly checking out books with the CD from our local library. This is an activity that your toddler can do to while you are working on math or some other subject with your older child. Sit them on the couch with the book and pop in the CD and they will read along with the audio voice. They love that noise it makes when it is time to turn the page.
9. Play Dough- I mean it gets no simpler than good old fashion play dough. I make mines on the stove using a salt dough recipe. It is cheap and non toxic for those toddlers who still like to lick everything.Here is what I use.
2 cups flour
2 cups salt
4 tsp of Cream of Tartar
2 TSP of oil
1 cup of water
I heat all ingredients on the stove until it begins to come off the sides. I then dump it out onto the counter or wax paper and knead it into a ball. Then cut it into 4's. I just use regular food coloring adding it to the center of one of the balls making sure to not touch it directly when kneading it. Then I just store it in plastic sandwich bags when not being used.
*** Be careful it is hot when you pour it out of the pot****
10. Alphabet Lapbooks- I have found quite a few excellent lapbooking sites for preschoolers. I have listed my favorites in the Resource section on the left. We are currently doing the alphabet lapbooks on homeschool share.http://www.homeschoolshare.com/alphabet_notebook.php
One of our favorite tools for finding activites appropriate for my toddler has been http://www.youtube.com/ One of our favorite channels right now is http://www.youtube.com/user/earlylearningathome
Check it out. You might find some useful tips that can work in your homeschool.