When homeschooling with a toddler in the house, you have to get creative. It can be pretty challenging to do school with the older kids when there’s a 2 foot tall tornado running around… So I researched and tried some simple toddler activities to help keep those little hands busy (and out of trouble). Here are a few that work for us!
Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy
I prefer to do school during nap time, but that’s not always an option. Some days naps are just too short, or they don’t happen at all. I’m not sure about you, but my toddler has an attention span of 10-20 minutes max. If each of these activities buys me 10 minutes of time, that’s an hour of schoolwork we can manage to get done!
1. Domino Sorting
The first thing we tried was domino sorting. I gave him all the dominoes along with a couple of little containers. I showed him how to move the dominoes from container to container, and he followed suit.
2. Empty Water Bottle & Popsicle Sticks
This activity is adapted from one I saw on Pinterest from MomentsWithMiss.com (she actually has a lot of great toddler activity ideas in that post!). Instead of straws, we use Popsicle sticks. I find that they’re easier to clean up and they last a little longer (because my boys like to chew on straws). Basically you just take any empty water bottle and put some Popsicle sticks in it. Then show him how to dump them out and stick them back in again. He LOVES this one!
3. Q Tips and Cotton Balls in an Egg Carton
This is another one adapted from things I saw all over Pinterest. Are you catching the theme here? Basically you can give your toddler any safe little objects and some sort of container to put them in and it will buy you a few minutes of time. My kiddo enjoyed ripping apart the cotton balls with this one. And my dog enjoyed eating the Q Tips…
4. Wood Puzzles
I’ve got a few wood puzzles from when my older boys were younger, but Mason’s favorite is a little shape one we got from the dollar store. He knows that the shapes go somewhere on the wooden part, and he sits there for a while and tries to make them fit.
5. Engaging Toys
Mason got this car ramp toy from Grandma for his birthday, and he loves trying to figure out how to drop the cars to make them slide! Wood blocks (we like these Melissa & Doug letter blocks) and Duplos are good options too. You can find all of them on Amazon.
If all else fails, I give him a lollipop. He runs around and makes everything sticky, but at least he’s quiet and happy!
Just do what you can, and give yourself some grace.
No matter what we try, by the end of the day my house always looks like this (and I need a nap):
But hey! We finished another school day!