View Full Version : Entertaining the 2 year old while schooling the 5 year old?

Flower of Bliss
03-31-2012, 04:51 PM
DD1 is 5.5yrs, doing kinder level work. DD2 is 2.5yrs. The girls play together all day long. It's wonderful. They both take an afternoon rest, so no schooling DD1 while DD2 naps. I'm pregnant with #3, due in Sept, so the dealing with a younger sibling issue will be long term, and will obviously ebb and flow as the ages shift.

When we "do school work" both kids sit at a long craft table with me in the middle. I set up activities for DD2 to do along side us, however, I'm struggling with activity ideas that are fun and engaging for DD2 without demanding the bulk of my attention or being too distracting for DD1. We've done: Kumon and other preschool workbooks, puzzles, pattern block sets, etc. She has no interest in "just coloring" and no interest at all in heading to another room to play solo. DD2 loves doing the workbooks, but I'm having more luck with doing puzzles and pattern blocks than workbooks as far as meeting DD1's needs goes.

We don't do lots of seat work each day, and I have no need to be doing anything "academic" with DD2, though working on fine motor skills and such is great. Any suggestions?

03-31-2012, 06:24 PM
What works best in my house is to buy or make an extra copy of big brother's work (or something similar) and let little brother do his seatwork too - even if it is just scribbling. My little guy knows that if he interrupts lessons he will have to leave the table. Sometimes just sitting on my lap while I teach is enough participation for him. Every 10 -15 minutes, we do a fingerplay, action rhyme or song, poem or other activity that involves both boys.

Some other ideas
Busy boxes -
Take 5 boxes, label them Monday, Tuesday... Friday. Put 4 or 5 different activities/toys in each box. She may do any of the activities in the assigned day's box. When she tires of that activity, she (or you) may select another from the same box. Or take more boxes and put 1 activity in each one. Give her one and the option of doing what is in the box or playing quietly for a set period of time. When that time is up, she may select another box with the same two options.

possible contents -
Wikki sticks and some alphabet or number cards (laminated for use with the sticks)
Colored craft sticks and patterns to make with them
Small chalk board, chalk, and eraser
Beads and laces or pipe cleaners
Lacing cards and string
Playdoh or modeling clay in which you have hidden buttons or small plastic toys for her to excavate.
Playdoh or modeling clay, rolling pin, and cookie cutters/instructions to make an animal or tea set
Stickers and something to stick them on
Pattern blocks or tangrams and patterns
Colorforms (if you have them)
balance scale and objects to weight
patterning toys/manipulatives
Paper doll (laminated) and clothing
other items that she is allowed to use only during seatwork time

a shallow tray filled with sand, rice, orzo pasta, or lentils and small construction vehicles might entertain her for a while

Would she be willing to listen to an audiobook?

Flower of Bliss
03-31-2012, 08:17 PM
Those are some great ideas Sherry. Thank you. DD1 enjoys audio books, but DD2 isn't there yet. She's super social (as are DD1 and I). She wants to be with people. If I send her out of the room, I'd honestly likely have to lock the door, and she'd likely cry at it. Not something I'm interested in doing at all. Activities like puzzles, pattern blocks, etc where she can do the work beside us with little to no help from me and then excitedly announce "I did it!" to DD2 and me work pretty well. Lots of those ideas would be great. Any more would be welcome.

The box idea is awesome. Getting our study/school room organized is high on my priority list.

04-01-2012, 12:36 AM
Love these ideas! I think they would work well for my 4 year-old too (varying some of the items in the boxes of course).

04-01-2012, 03:16 PM
One thing DS likes doing is using small animal figurines (Such as from the Safari Toobs) and matching them to animal flashcards I've laid out. You could also get a memory-type game or cut animal flashcards in half, mix them up, and have her match them. Another idea is to have her scrapbook, and it could even go along with the topic you and DD1 are doing. For example, she could make a little collage or scrapbook page of the letter A using As she (or you) have cut from a magazine. I have also seen many nice dry erase workbooks at places like Target, so she could use them over and over again or may just have fun drawing and erasing. They also have construction paper with pre-printed lines to teach cutting skills, that and some safety scissors could keep her entertained for a while.

Good luck! This is a great topic and I'm looking forward to reading the other replies.