Another frequent question I get is, how do I homeschool with a baby, toddler or preschooler? Honestly, the baby stage wasn't that hard. The baby ate and slept and since I baby wear when they are young, it wasn't really a big deal to just let the baby sleep and eat in the wrap. It was when he started getting mobile and curious that I really had to think about what I could do to give me at least short periods of one on one time with the girls. Here are 10 of our favorite ways to keep little man occupied.
1. Safety Scissors. This simple $.94 device is a miracle capable of keeping my rambunctious boy busy for anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours! I usually just hand him the empty cereal box, or whatever scraps I have laying around, but I love the idea of filling a bin with different textured fabrics, magazines, cardboard and whatever else you can find. Not only will your child be thrilled to be doing a big kid activity but cutting with scissors promotes sensory experiences, fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.
2. Pattern Blocks. Another investment that we love! I only pull these out on special occasions so they remain a favorite. Over used toys will lose their appeal. Again these are great for fine motor skills, pattern recognition, color recognition, geometry understanding and more. You can also purchase cards with patterns that can be copied. Even my 3 year old can complete some of these and is so proud when he does!
3. Stick Glue. To go with the scissors of course! Give your child a stick of glue and a piece of paper and let them glue their cut up scraps! This is a great way to follow up the scissor activities and you will have a sweet piece of art to remember the day!
4. Shaving Cream. In general, kids love anything that they can get messy with. Spray some shaving cream onto a cookie sheet and let them go at it with their hands! They can practice letters, draw silly faces or just enjoy the sensory experience that comes from smooshing it in their hands. Afterwards, all you need to do is rinse them off! Have a child that doesn't like to touch with hands? Give them a popsicle stick!
5. Finger Painting with pudding. A cheap, fun, and yummy way to create some art. Mix up some pudding and let them go at it!
6. Blanket Time. This may or may not be for you but this worked wonders for me. It not only gave me up to 30 minutes of quiet time with the girls but also taught my son a bit of self-control. Blanket time is NEVER a punishment.
7. TV Time. Despite what some say it is OK to sometimes use TV to give you the time you need! I can go on some spill about making it a Leap Frog video, but if I were honest, in our house it is often Cars, or Toy Story. It is whatever satisfies him long enough to give me the time I need. Now, I don't suggest plopping your kid down for 6 hours straight in front of a string of Disney movies, but there really is nothing wrong with utilizing the TV every now and then.
8. Nap Time. We have mandatory rest time in our house. I don't mind if he sleeps or plays, but he has to do it in his room for at least an hour. I find he usually falls asleep after about 45 minutes which gets me about an hour and a half total. Use this time to complete work that requires you and have your child(ren) do independent work either in the morning or after nap time.
I hope this gives you some ideas and maybe makes you feel better about some of the ways you have been occupying your younger ones while you school! Let me know what awesome ideas you have for keeping little ones busy in the comments!