Keeping Toddlers Busy While Homeschooling Older Siblings: Practical Tips for Parents

Written by Little Monsters Universe founder, Tina

Homeschooling is a journey filled with its own set of challenges, especially when you have a mix of age groups under one roof. As a parent who’s been there, I know firsthand how crucial it is to find ways to keep toddlers engaged while focusing on homeschooling older siblings. Here are some practical tips, inspired by my own experiences as a parent, to help you strike that delicate balance.

Get Creative with Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are a lifesaver when it comes to keeping toddlers entertained while giving older kids something educational to dive into. A great example is our spring-themed bin. I filled it with leftover Easter grass and fake eggs. My youngest had a blast searching for eggs, scooping them up with a spoon, and sorting them by color. At the same time my oldest was busy honing her word skills by finding eggs with words written on them. It’s a simple yet effective way to cater to the needs of both age groups while keeping the learning environment fun and engaging.

Embrace Inclusivity

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of including my toddler in our homeschooling activities, even if she’s not quite ready for formal lessons. Whether it’s assigning her simple tasks or setting up parallel activities, making her feel like part of the learning process has made a world of difference. It not only keeps her engaged but also fosters a sense of togetherness within our family unit. 

When my oldest was learning her letter sounds, I turned our driveway into a colorful garden by drawing flowers with chalk that each had a letter inside. As I made the sound of a letter, she eagerly searched for the corresponding flower and watered it with a watering can. Meanwhile, my youngest, who wasn’t yet familiar with letters, happily tended to her own set of chalk flowers. This activity not only reinforced letter recognition for my older child but also provided a delightful sensory experience for both of them. 

For more hands-on activities that incorporate flowers and nature into your homeschool education, checkout our Green Discoveries Mini Unit, which explores spring’s wonders. 

Make Learning Hands-On

 Toddlers are natural explorers who thrive on hands-on experiences. That’s why incorporating tactile activities into our homeschooling routine has been a game-changer. From counting exercises using everyday objects like beans or rice to sensory play with playdough, these interactive activities not only keep my little one busy but also provide valuable learning opportunities for her older sibling.

For example, when we wanted to make learning hands-on we created pretend apple pies. While my youngest delighted in the imaginative play of making a pie, my oldest sharpened her math skills through simple addition. I gave her word problems like, “I’d like to order a pie with two green apples and three red apples, how many apples total will my pie have?” This activity not only kept both children engaged but also provided an interactive way for them to learn and apply mathematical concepts in a fun, practical context.

Want to bring an apple science lesson into your homeschool curriculum? Checkout our Apple a Day Mini Unit

Tap into External Resources

When the demands of homeschooling and parenting start to feel overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek help. Services like Little Monsters Universe offer customized units designed specifically for your family’s needs. Whether you need assistance with lesson planning or finding age-appropriate activities, these resources can provide much-needed support and guidance, allowing you to navigate the homeschooling journey with confidence. Learn more about LMU’s Custom Units.

Homeschooling with Toddlers 

Homeschooling with toddlers in tow is no easy feat, but with a bit of creativity and support, you can create a fulfilling learning experience for your entire family. By getting creative with sensory bins, embracing inclusivity, making learning hands-on, and leveraging external resources, you can navigate this journey with confidence and ease. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for your family and making the most of every learning opportunity along the way.

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