21 Activities to Engage Your Toddler

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21 Activities to Engage Your Toddler21 Fabulous toddler activities to help keep you sane!

Homeschooling Preschoolers

This time of year I see so very many moms stressed out over whether or not they are doing enough to homeschool their little ones. I have been homeschooling my children for over 15 years and have had seven of my children graduate from high school and want to offer some encouragement to you mothers with little ones at home.

Toddlers and preschoolers love nothing more than to be involved in real “work”. As Maria Montessori put it, play is the work of the child. Just look at these photos of Apollo. He is 100% engaged in the important job of learning. Only he doesn’t see it that way, he sees it as helping. And that is just fine with me. Talk to your child. Invite them into your daily activities and chores. Ask them to help you. I promise this is enough.

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If you are not sure where to begin, here is a list of 21 Ideas to Engage Your Preschooler:

1. Read a book.

2. Bake cookies.

3. Take a walk and talk about what you see, hear, smell and feel.

4. Hammer rocks, or nails or anything.

5. Build a fort out of pillows and blankets.

6. Listen to music with your eyes closed. Talk about the sounds, the instruments, how the music makes you feel.

7. Wash dishes by hand. Sort the silverware as you put it away. This may be a chore to you, but I guarantee your preschooler will love it.

8. Peel veggies.

9. Dig out your Tupperware and set your toddler loose. This will occupy him/her for a long time.

10. Practice walking like a bear. Hopping like a bunny. Slithering like a snake.

11. Give your toddler a spray bottle with water and vinegar and a dishcloth. Let him/her wash the walls.

12. Collect rocks in a bucket.

13. Wash the rocks you collected. Wash anything.

14. Let your preschooler slice olives with a butter knife.

15. Get a shirt and practice doing up the buttons.

16. Sort your spare change.

17. Drop the change piece by piece into a jar.
Tucker sorting money

Tucker, not quite three, sorting spare change.

18. Empty the toy basket then refill it. Repeat.

19.  Look at photos together.

20. Practice tossing folded socks into the laundry basket.

21. Be with your child.

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10 Responses

  1. Season

    My kids are passed this stage, but what a wonderful encouragement for others who still have littles. I love how much you engage your kids with real stuff – coins, hammers etc. Toy companies are trying to reinvent kid version of these things, when kids really need to be involved int he world. I would offer that that you expand on baking cookies to involve them in other cooking. My kids knew at a young age how to crack eggs and measure ingredients and mix many things as they were ALWAYS helping me. Also, depending on the kid provide a variety of art supplies and time for creativity. My ds did not like this stuff at all, but my dd was always creating, (paint, glue and lots of things to glue, markers…) You can even put them naked int eh tub with washable paint. They paint the walls and themselves, then add bubbles and wash it all away.

  2. Davene Grace

    Six years ago, when I started officially homeschooling, I remember being SO concerned about my curriculum choices for my kindergartner. I’ve learned a lot since then – mostly about how to relax, have fun, and let learning happen naturally! 🙂

    This is a great list you’ve put together, and I especially like the suggestion about sorting change. I’m going to use that one soon! Thanks! 🙂

  3. Inge

    My new favourite activity came from another large family blog. Give your lo a strainer and pipe cleaners. Let them poke the sticks through the holes. This keeps my 2 almost 2yos happy for 15 or 20 minutes each.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thanks for reminding me of that, Inge! By the time I saw that idea, my little ones were a bit old for that. I will use it for Apollo during school time this year, though.

  4. Bernadette

    This is why you are my absolute favourite ma on the net!! Your realistic approach to mothering and homeschooling is a refreshing change to others whom I am sure don’t mean to come across as “perfectionist” squeezing every last minute our of the day but quite often do. That said, I do get a lot of inspiration from them just that I visit once in a while (otherwise I feel as though I am not up to par lol) Learning is so much more than curriculum.
    What better way to teach a 3 yr old about volume than measure out a cup of flour for the cookies or the differences in currency then sorting through a bag of coins. Great encouragement from an awesome mother xo

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Thank you! I too am inspired by those other mamas. As a blogger myself, though, I understand those are moments they have captured. They too have dirty diapers to change, laundry to wash and meals to plan 🙂

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