how I keep the June Bug busy

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! πŸ™‚ 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…

Wooden/magnet doll that Cherise snagged for me at Winners for 5.00!
wooden doll

Felt boards and pieces from the dollar store.
felt boards

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.

Stamps sets from the dollar store. Fun, but… not an everyday activity due to the fact that my daughter always feels the need to decorate her own body.

Activity sheets. She can’t actually do these properly yet, but she likes her “school” and it’s a good intro to the letter shapes anyway.
activity sheets

Colouring books to go with the pencil crayons….
colouring books

One of my favourites… bead threading kit (by Melissa and Doug).
threading beads
Juno will work away at this for AGES…
slow work
And actually finish 3 or 4 long necklaces each time! She is always happy to dump them out and start again.
my beautiful necklace
She even lets Justus help on occasion!
working together
She also has to sort out the beads by colour when she puts them away, which is wonderful learning as well!

Princess magnet cardboard dolls
princess magnet paper dolls

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)…
reading for comprehension
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.
play dough
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
shape sorter
create a sensory bin

Or do pretty much any of the million ideas on this website!

And that is how this little man gets his stuff done!
working hard
With the occasional interruption for some cuddles!

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  • Reply Jon September 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I can’t believe that she can just sit there like that! I need to see this Friday!

  • Reply Natashia September 21, 2011 at 12:21 am

    You are brilliant! What a great set up! Well done πŸ™‚

  • Reply Christa September 21, 2011 at 10:20 am

    thanks Tash! That means a lot coming from you!

    When you come visit me you’ll have to give me lots of ideas! πŸ™‚ Bet you are brimming with them!

  • Reply Natashia September 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Ooohhh! Can’t wait! πŸ˜€

  • Reply Lisa @ Just the 6 of us September 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Christa! You are taking to home-schooling like a duck to water! That’s fantastic that you have all these cool activities for Juno to do and she clearly enjoys them. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Filomena September 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I just read this post last night and wanted to say a big thank you to you this morning at Bible study but the chance didn’t present itself (without me feeling rushed!). Thank you for the wonderful ideas – these will keep Rachel busy – since last week we’ve had a change in her attitude towards mommy and Isaac doing school work. So THANK YOU Christa for the very helpful post!

    • Reply Christa September 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      haha no worries! Last year was a lot tricker to keep Juno busy, so that’s probably your stage now… it’s astounding the amount of focus they gain between 2 and 3. Hope you guys find a workable routine!

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