View Full Version : Occupying a 3 year old.

09-16-2011, 10:18 AM
I need some suggestions in keeping a very busy 3 year old occupied while I spend time with my 10 year old teaching. She does some of her studies independently but there are those few where I need a solid 45 minutes to an hour and sometimes more to help her. I try to involve my son but obviously a lot of it is waaaaaay over his head. Any strategies out there that I could try? Thanks!

09-16-2011, 01:40 PM
I have a 2.5 yr old and she's difficult. What I've found is about a 3 way approach. she has a box of "school stuff" that she can only use while brother is doing his school work. I change and add things in there to keep it exciting. Usually something new every 2 weeks. The staples are there are always a wipe board and markers, matching games and threading stuff (either cards or beads), we change out with different coloring books, maze books, and games. When brother is able to do some stuff on his own I make sure I use that time to sit with A and give her my undivided attention. When all else fails I put in a movie. Sometimes that is all that works and sometimes it doesn't even work. When it doesn't we stop, go to the park, ride a bike, do something together then come back inside and try again.

09-16-2011, 02:01 PM
Hi Suicidesal5,
I think it depends a lot on your 3 year old. I home-pre-school my son who is 3 (almost 4) and he likes doing "activities". You could try giving your 3 year old “work” of his own to keep him busy. A workbook/coloring book that looks like what his older sibling is using might make him feel like he is doing the same big kid work even though its actually at his level. You could also try having a series of fun pre-school level activities available for him to do exclusively during this time you are working with your daughter. This could be something like pattern blocks, lacing cards, beads to string, write and wipe alphabet cards, etc. http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com/TotTrays.html has some cute tot tray ideas that are secular (the site as a whole is not). You could also try giving your son headphones and putting on an educational DVD like Leap Frog Letter Factory, Bilingual Baby, or whatever else he is interested in. I can get a good half hour or so of relative peace if I also give my son a bowl of cheerios and spill-proof cup of water. Keep trying different things until you find what interests your son.

09-16-2011, 02:12 PM
For my 3yo, I put on a CD of music he likes in his room. This gives us a good hour.

09-16-2011, 06:04 PM
I'm lucky to get 30 minutes with my 3 year old occupied. We use trays and sensory bins. We just died some macaroni and this has been great fun pouring and sorting and stuff for her. There is a blog with great sensory table deas on it - one of shs members' blog. Crap, I have it bookmarked on the co outer that crashed.. Does someone else have it on hand?

09-16-2011, 09:05 PM
good suggestions. i may have to find some more interesting things for my 2 year old to do.... but she IS learning a lot of espanol from Dora. :) yikes.

09-16-2011, 09:52 PM
educational computer games - mine has recently started playing at "Literactive" and is getting a kick out of it, AND learning ;)
playdoh can buy me a good 30min.
the sensory bins are a great idea - my kids have all been able to spend a looong time pouring rice in/out of different containers, etc.

09-18-2011, 10:55 AM
Ah! Found the blog with sensory tray ideas: go to shs member Kylie!!! On her signature line is the link. My 3 year old loves xensory tables!

09-18-2011, 08:53 PM
Ah! Found the blog with sensory tray ideas: go to shs member Kylie!!! On her signature line is the link. My 3 year old loves xensory tables!

Thanks for sharing that! She does have some great ideas there.

I've stolen a lot of ideas from this (http://theprincessandthetot.blogspot.com/2011/08/whats-on-tray-aug-22-26.html) blog site.

Also, I've found giving my toddler two small bowls, a spoon and dried lima beans will keep him occupied for a good 20 minutes. He practices using the spoon to transfer the beans from one bowl to the other. You can substitute a lot of things for the lima beans.

I made some popsicle stick matching toys for him too. I have a pic of them here (http://mamagambino.blogspot.com/).

He also likes going through bags. I make up little bags of different colors for him. They look something like this (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_aJDYB8-Of0qIphhn5HSiHhk-m2MbxoldvgfjGGQQRg?feat=directlink): The trick is that he only gets to use these things during homeschool time so he's usually eager to use them. The rest of the time I keep them out of his sight.

09-20-2011, 12:05 PM
AMAZING ideas from everyone! The sensory bins I think will be the way to go for my son. He loves to experience everything and is very hands on. I LOVE the music idea, I will try this. Thanks again everyone! I really appreciate it!