I promised this like 2 weeks ago… oops! Well, here it is now, better late than never I guess!
Going into this year my biggest concern was how to occupy Juno while Justus and I were working on school stuff. In general the Bug can keep herself busy pretty well, she plays on her own like a champ. Only problem is, because of this she has developed the bad habit of thinking she’s the boss. So I knew this fall I needed to direct her a bit more on what she can do while Justus and I are doing school.
At the homeschool conference I attended in the spring I went to a seminar designed for the express purpose of providing ideas of how to keep a toddler busy. Sweet! It was an excellent and practical seminar, led by a no-nonsense, but super nice, homeschool mom of 7. 7! She had my ear for sure!
She suggested always starting with the youngest child. Read them a story, do an activity, somehow interact and invest in the littlest one first. Then get them set up with an independent activity in a specific (nearby) location and you will be able to move on to work with the next child. Brilliant.
Every morning Juno and I read a story and do a word play from Justus’s JK book, Little Hands to Heaven. Then I spread a little blanket on the kitchen floor and give her an activity. Justus and I start his work at the table beside her, and we all work away quite happily. Can’t believe how smoothly this system is going! I did spent a bit of time this summer gathering activities for Juno, and here are just a few for suggestions…
Pencil Crayons have been a massive hit in this house! Also sparking a surprising discovery… Canadians are the only people that call them pencil crayons. Jon thought I was looney when he realized that “pencil crayons” were just plain old coloured pencils. He had been expecting some kind of cool pencil/crayon hybrid. I said “pencil crayon” so many times it started sounding weird to me, but the internet reassured me that other normal people do call them that too. Just Canadians. Anyway, yeah…. pencil crayons are fun.
One of my favourites… bead threading kit (by Melissa and Doug).
Juno will work away at this for AGES…
And actually finish 3 or 4 long necklaces each time! She is always happy to dump them out and start again.
She even lets Justus help on occasion!
She also has to sort out the beads by colour when she puts them away, which is wonderful learning as well!
And we also do reading for comprehension all together using these little paper games from A Beka (got a whole bunch of different ones in a little pack)…
I read the story out loud and then ask them questions about it. If they answer correctly they get to stick a carrot on the page using sticky tac. They both get really into this, and have loved both the books we have read so far. (The Fire Cat has 3 chapters)
Some other non-photographed ideas…
dollar store sells foam “paper” dolls with bits to glue on.
paint with water (Juno LOVES this, or painting with watercolours, she’ll do this for ages!)
real paint (not as easily done independently)
a bowl of water on a towel with some plastic toys
her tea set filled with water sitting on a towel, she loves to pour drinks and play
any set of little toys to play with on her blanket
water bottles filled with food colouring dyed water to “paint” snowbanks outside in winter (can’t wait to try this one!)
dried noodles and cups/dishes to pour and sort
magnetic letters on the back of a baking sheet
create a sensory bin
Or do pretty much any of the million ideas on this website!