Part two of ways that young ones can be entertained while teaching older kids. You can find part one in Homeschooling: A Series Part One.
This list involves things that are not necessarily things you will have on hand and things that are purchased, but you can substitute in items you already have if money is tight, but hopefully there are things here that will trigger some thoughts in your mind of items you maybe hadn’t thought of before to incorporate into your school day. Birthdays are also a great time to start building up a stockpile of some of these things.
6. CD’s on tape. The books on CD. These can be purchased, but the library is a great place for these. If you can get read along stories with the books that is ideal, but even without the books they generally hold my kids’ attention, especially if they are stories involving characters my kids are interested in. My son could listen to endless amounts of Thomas for instance
7. Electronics. This can range from things like Leapsters or other learning video type games to learning apps that are designed for younger kids. I have some really great ones on my phone and on my Kindle. Opposite and rhyming words, words that go together, puzzles, memory type games, the list is endless here. We live in a day and time that we have many more electronics to chose from than even 10 years ago when I started schooling. As long as they are leaning something useful, electronics don’t bother me in moderation for younger ones during school
8. There are some amazing leaning toys out there for young ones. We love Lauri products, Melissa and Doug things are also amazing, and my little boys love building type things, too. Lacing cards, stringing beads, pattern type games or puzzles, these are all great resources. You can find things like this on the cheaper end of things at a teacher’s supply store or even a craft store to start gathering a stash. These are some of the favorites in our house: Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!, Lauri Tall-Stacker Pegs & Pegboard Set, Lauri Toys Number Play, Melissa & Doug Bead Sequencing Set, and Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards. These are great for younger kids, super durable, too The Very Hungry Caterpillar Lacing Cards (World of Eric Carle)
9. Stencils. I had old Creative Memories stencils laying around that are great for tracing shapes, but we also have all kinds of them that are designed for learning with letters, numbers, various shapes, and all kinds of things for them to trace. These are an excellent tool for developing fine motor skills
10. Learning box. I have a mid-sized (bigger than shoe box, smaller than storage tote) full of various treasures that are fun to discover and play with, and you can change them from time to time. Mine has things like pipe cleaners, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, and even basic macaroni pasta in a container with measuring cups and spoons to play with. Calling this a “treasure box” can make it so much more fun, too
So, what to do with all these things once you have some of them? I generally let my boys choose a few things each day. Only one thing at a time, but generally they can choose on their own. I have them sit on a large blanket since it makes cleanup easier. Nothing like carpet that is full of beans that take weeks to completely find. Even my youngest kids have been required to clean up their own school things. This also trains them to be more mindful of the mess they make since they know they will be cleaning it up.
In the future I will elaborate on some of these things more, like favorite busy bags. What has worked well for you that you could add to this list?
For part one in this series, go to Part One.
Day Three will be how older kids can be kept busy
Day Four will cover how older kids can help school younger ones
Day Five will cover organization of school stuff
Looking for more on how to get started? You may like Why We Prefer Year-Round Homeschool, 5 Steps to Follow When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum, or Balancing the Home in Homeschool.