Our first day of school wasn’t the greatest day I had ever had by any means. I was so frustrated with my kids that I could scream. Wait a minute… I did scream! Anyway, my problem was that I had some expectations of what I thought our first day back to school would be like & some of my children did not live up to those expectations. Have you been there?
One of those children who didn’t cooperate was my youngest of five boys, Zachary. He is 3 ½ years old and thinks he is 10. Do you have one of those? My problem with him was that I had spent so much time planning & scheduling for the older kids that I had forgotten about his activities. I had stuff that I had bought, but forgot about it. So we had Zachary going through everyone’s stuff and causing chaos. When I finally realized the problem, I got out his clay and before I knew it I had 6 kids at the table playing with clay…quietly.
We have homeschooled 10 years and I have had at least one toddler or preschooler every year. So I have collected a few ideas that I want to share with you.
What do you have at home? I like to take inventory at home before I start shopping. Here are some things that my little guys can do with homemade items.
Ø Cut up magazine’s, construction paper or old wrapping paper.
Ø Glue what they cut to card stock or more paper. Use glue sticks.
Ø Rice or beans in a bowl. Fill up cups of different sizes & pour back into tub.
Ø Homemade playdough
o Recipe2 tsp. Cream of Tartar1 c. flour½ c. salt1 tbsp. Oil1 c. waterColor the dough with Kool-AidCook together for a few minutes until it balls up. Knead. Store in an airtight container.
Ø Draw or scribble on small white board. (watch that markers don’t end up on furniture or walls J)
Ø Play in kitchen sink with water & tear free bubbles or just measuring cups. Lay towels on floor first to reduce mess.
Ø Board books. I like these for my really young ones that still handle books rough.
Ø Duplo blocks ®
Ø Dress up clothes
Plan ahead. I can’t expect Zachary to come up with his own activities on his own. Well, he will but they are usually pretty destructive. J I have found some things on the web. Below are a few website that I have found helpful. It is also helpful to yourself if you know ahead of time what activities you have ready. Place them in a special place. Tubs or baskets are handy. Make a list if that helps so that you can refer to it quickly.
This is a site where you can find lesson plans for your babies up to 4 yrs. It is free. You just print out what you want, follow her suggestions for books to read & songs to sing & you have a Pre-K curriculum.
This had a lot of ideas of what to do with 2 yr olds. Some can be pretty messy though, which is what 2 yr olds love anyway!
This is loaded with free stuff to print off.
These are Bible activities for all ages, but have activities for preschoolers also.
Be prepared by keeping safe supplies ready.
Ø Safety scissors
Ø Non-toxic crayons
Ø Paper (card stock, construction and copy paper)
Ø Glue sticks (my kids like the kind that goes on purple, but dries clear)
And anything else you can think of.
Schedule time for your younger ones before you start school. They are still very needy and need your attention. Try reading or playing for 30 minutes or so with your toddler or preschooler before you start lessons with your older kids. If you fill their love tank then they are less likely to disturb you. When you do find them disturbing others pull them into you lap. Sometimes that is all they need. Be sensitive to their needs. It is really easy to get so wrapped up in your older one’s lessons that we forget about the younger ones. They get loud and disruptive & we get frustrated. Take a minute and try to understand why they are being so disruptive. Usually it is time for a break anyway so take one & spend it with your toddler.
I shared about my really bad first day of school. Well, there is a happy ending. The rest of our week was wonderful; I made sure Zachary had something to do and that my other kids kept busy also. Idle time makes for trouble! Also, I lessened my expectations & took another look at our schedule to see what needed fixing. I’m really looking forward to Monday!