Occupying little ones while I read

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:00 pm

Occupying little ones while I read

Unread post by Tina » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:43 pm

Guest wrote:I have a 2nd grader and a 4th grader I want to start on ECC, we also have a 4 yr old (5 in Feb) and a 21 month old. What do y'all do with the little ones while you're reading to the big ones?
Hi: I am using ECC with 2nd and 4th gr. dc. I have a just turned 2 yr. old. He just putters around while we read. He sometimes listens (for like,,,,,,30 seconds at at time) and sometimes he even grabs his favorite books and looks at them while we read. He will climb into my arms, so sometimes my 4th grader will take over the reading, or dh when he is home. Sometimes I wait to read until the little one is sleeping (I'm lucky, he still naps). We do a lot of our reading during lunchtime, and breakfast too. That way, the little one is involved in eating.

Merry Christmas.
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT

Posts: 475
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell » Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:10 pm

When I did ECC I also had a 5 yo and a 2 yo. I tried to include the little ones in the crafts and cooking when possible and also found some library videos on the countries, biomes, cultures we were studying and they would watch them with the bigger kids.

One hint that seems to work for a lot of families is to give one-on-one attention (maybe that means "play school") with the little people first and then move on to your real students!

Also, find lots of activities that can be done with minimal supervision. My little ones didn't like playing far away from me, but they didn't mind being in the next room over with play-doh, paint, kiddie scissors, glue, paper. They liked "washing dishes" where I'd give them a big plastic container of soapy water, and some unbreakable things (a baby spoon, a set of measuring spoons, etc.) and a dishcloth and let them at it. Another fun activity is an indoor sandbox. Fill a large lidded plastic container with either cornmeal or grits (uncooked, of course) and add in a few Matchbox cars (especially the digging kind like bulldozers and dumptrucks) and there's an instant indoor sandbox. If you have a winter day, you can bring in a bucket of snow and get out some scoops and spoons.

The common theme, I'm afraid, is mess. That comes with the territory.

Another helpful thing is to train the older kids to do a lot of what you already do, whether it's laundry, straightening a room, basic cooking, etc. I rely on my bigger kids to handle a lot of the mess.

A great hint a friend gave me was to make sure you assign times for the bigger kids to play with the little ones. So, maybe for 15 minutes, you can tell Sally to play with Suzy and Sammy while you do math with Bubba. The big kids enjoy this responsibility and the little ones like the attention. Of course, you have to consider the family dynamics! You can simply make this "playtime" or you can assign what to do ("read a picture book" or "can you make something with blocks...")

If you have a particular show or video that your child likes, you can build that into the day and you'll have a half hour that you can devote to the bigger kids. You can either record the show or use something like Tivo so that you can have your little ones watch it at a good time.

Oh, God's not surprised by the chaos that little kids create and he knows that it can interrupt school, and He's still blessing your little homeschool...

Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).


Unread post by cbollin » Mon Dec 19, 2005 1:21 pm

Another fun mess we get ourselves in...

cornstarch and water and a bowl and spoon. My kids will play with it for a long time. First it is gooey, then it is hard, then you touch it and it changes, then it "melts" in your hand.

kellybell wrote:Oh, Crystal, what a brave mom you are. I've done the cornstarch and water thing. Once.


Thanks for the great ideas

Unread post by Guest » Wed Dec 21, 2005 2:06 pm

I also have 4 and 2 at my side. KellyBell, how did you know that my kids names were Sally, Suzy and Bubba??!!!??? (I love the names you chose for the example.)

This is our first year hs, so we have been working a lot of the gliches out!

Posts: 999
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Building... and throwing?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:22 am

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:12 am
My sons love mega-blocks. They'll build towers and basements and garages with those for hours. How about Nerf balls if he really likes to throw?



Training to sit with us

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:06 pm

buckhome wrote:I'd like to train him to sit with us and do things with us. Eventually he is going to have to anyway
I’d like to recommend a neat little workshop that David Hazell gives at convention workshops. It’s called Occupying Preschoolers while Teaching Olders. You can get more information about how to order those CD’s from this link

Does your toddler sit in a high chair at meal times? I use to do read alouds at lunch time or snack time and keep the toddler half happy for just a minute longer with an ice cube on the tray. Or a pile of mashed potatoes that clean up easily from her face after we were done. Nap time is good to get a lot of individual school time done and then as the toddlers get older they can get included a bit more here and there. But what worked for us for long term was to look for times that we were naturally together (meal times for example) and do little bits of some school work at the table while toddler was already there.


Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Activitites while reading

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:04 pm

mamacastle2 wrote:I know I have read many a post where someone details what their kids do while they are reading. I've heard of playdough, legos, coloring, or drawing something about what you're reading.

I'm just wondering if there are any other suggestions for what kids can do while you're reading aloud, especially young kids. I have a big age range, and usually while I'm reading the 4yo and 2yo are yelling and screaming and making it very difficult for anyone to concentrate. I've tried legos, but my kids tend to talk their way through legos.

Thanks for your suggestions!
My son never wanted to move his hands or his eyes (as in coloring) -- he wanted to move his BODY!  Usually he rolled on one of those giant exercise balls (cheap one from target during the after New Year's diet season). He also laid on the floor, hung from the piano bench, played with the cat :) .... but I'd check whether he was listening at random moments. He usually was, as long as he was quiet -- we found that was key. The hardest part is if it distracts others -- like me for instance, or especially my dd. I just tried to look at it as no different than having a distracting class clown or a Tom Sawyer in the room.

This year (age 14) he moved on to juggling, but was still standing up and walking around. It's hard for someone like me to imagine such a mobile learning style, but I'm grateful we can homeschool.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:50 pm

Re: Activitites while reading

Unread post by schoolmom2 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:43 pm

I grew up without a TV, and my mom read to us every night. My activities were legos, Barbies, coloring, stamp collection, rolling on the floor, etc. The rule was: do whatever you want, but you have to be quiet.

With my children now, the rule is the same. We started out with lots of interrupting, talking to each other, arguing over crayons, and such, but as soon as they had one or two 5-minute time-outs on their beds (and had to miss part of the story), they learned quickly that story time is quiet time.

Would sitting down and talking with your youngest children about what you expect be a help?

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