View Full Version : how do you keep younger kids occupied?

11-03-2010, 07:39 AM
Hello--My family is new to homeschooling this year and for the most part we love it. The biggest problem that I'm having is finding something to occupy my 3 year old, very active, son, while I work with my 6 year old daughter. She's not able to do a lot of independent work yet, and I don't want to use the TV as a babysitter all day for my son. He won't sit and color or let me read to him while I'm working with her, and he won't play by himself while she's doing schoolwork. HELP! I feel like I'm not helping either of them some days. Sara

11-03-2010, 08:30 AM
I can sympathize. I'm dealing with a 3 year old while trying to teach a 5 year old. It's insane. What works some of the time for us: I have a cabinet set up with things she using only during school - our balance scale, unifix blocks, lacing cards, tangrams - fun things that keep her attention for a little while. Unfortunately, my son also loves this stuff so he finds it very distracting.

My dd loves to paint. I don't love letting her paint when I can't keep a very close eye on her. I have these paint pens (http://www.amazon.com/Paintastics-Paint-Brush-Classic-Colors/dp/B000K9JIFO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=office-products&qid=1288787198&sr=8-2)- and they are great. She can use them by herself, they have a real brush tip so she feels like she's really painting and there's no open containers of paint or water.

I also give her magnet/bingo dabber pages from Making Learning Fun (and various other places) to do with bingo dabbers or by gluing on pompoms or paper circles (she LOVES glue). I don't really trust her with magnets yet but she has also had fun covering the spots with pennies.

If you want to look at my blog, you can see some of the other things we do.

11-03-2010, 10:35 AM
My 2 year old thinks she is 4. So whenever possible I copy sheets for her and give her a crayon or marker. She also has a shelf full of things in our work area that she can only play with during "school". She is learning her ABC's by site and their sounds. She will follow along with her finger when I read to her brother, with a little assistance. I do save math and handwriting for when she is down for a nap, as those require more concentration from him.

So usually she paints, draws on the chalk board, does puzzles, plays with letters, Leap Frog magnets, blocks, etc. ( The toys only for school time. )

I now have an almost 2 year old grandson in the house, and we pin him in the highchair when needed, and give him some of her "school" stuff ! It is more challenging with a toddler and a preschooler. LOL

11-04-2010, 01:33 PM
I can sympathize. Garrett is finally getting a little more manageable during school time, so it does get better :) He's 4 1/2 and I kept his subscription to Time4Learning. Ce Ce didn't really do very well with it after the "new" wore off but Garrett loves it. He does that and starfall.com in another room with the volume turned down low because Ce Ce is very easily distracted. I bring them together for stories, crafts, and things. I found that if I can just occupy him on the computer for about an hour to an hour and a half then the rest is alright. I used to be completely anal about the computer/TV/etc... but I had to realize that I needed to relax and try some things if I wanted homeschooling to succeed. Oh, and I also save some things for later in the afternoon, after Dad comes home and can occupy him. Ce Ce and I then can go in the school room or her room for reading and snuggles. We do a lot of history and literature that way.

Hope that helps. Sending you hugs.

11-04-2010, 03:05 PM
I hope you find a solution that works - I am always open to new ideas. Right now I teach while DH takes care of the toddler. Then he goes to work and I take both kids. On his days off he teaches DD science and music. His schedule could change at the drop of a hat, so we are always on the lookout for what might work down the road.

11-04-2010, 11:18 PM
I so feel your pain!! I have a 9, 6 and 2.5 year old aaahhhhh!!!! Let's just say our school time is somewhat chaotic at the moment. I try (and don't always succeed) to have varying montessori type activities for him everyday and change them out at leat 2 - 3 times a week.

He is very happy doing things and lots of things, just nothing on his own. He wants mummy to play with him the entire time. I'm sorry but I really have no solid ideas to help as nothing I have done has 'fixed' this. I just know that it won't last forever.....I am just currently a little ping pong ball bouncing between 3 children for a few hours each day lol!!

11-05-2010, 07:34 AM
Thanks everyone! Great ideas, and it always helps to know that you're not alone!

11-10-2010, 08:38 PM
Duct tape works wonders! LOL --Totally just kidding. (Mostly. :))

11-10-2010, 09:09 PM
ROFL!!! Can you send some my way hehehehe ;-)

11-10-2010, 09:37 PM
Duct tape works wonders! LOL --Totally just kidding. (Mostly. :))

I was going to suggest duct tape, too. LOL I do remember that when I was in fourth grade our teacher used to tie Travis Batten to his chair with a jump rope but I suppose that would be frowned upon, also.