Having a preschooler in the home while homeschooling older children can be difficult. While my three year old is a huge blessing to us, his attention span is not very long. During our “school time” I try to keep him occupied by putting on an educational show or I turn on his Kindle to an educational app. This doesn’t always work for very long. I have had to get creative with him by including him in our school work.
I have seen so many ideas on Pinterest about doing “busy boxes”. Those give me anxiety. I can just imagine my littlest son destroying the contents of the box. Some of the boxes suggest things like: counting beans (those would be all over the floor in two seconds), moon sand (again, all of the floor), stickers, buttons, etc. You get the idea. These all need adult supervision. The whole point of these boxes is to keep them busy so you can tend to other needs.
My solution is to include my little guy in our day. I found that he liked to have his own “workbooks”. He wanted to feel like he was really working on something great. He knew when it was “just a coloring book”. So, I found some great toddler and preschool workbooks that work on fine motor skills, letter, numbers, and basic preschool skills.
A great workbook series that my son LOVES is called Flashkids Preschool Activities. The books included are Numbers, Letters, Coloring, Mazes, Tracing, and Cutting and Pasting. These books are inexpensive and very cute. They are colorful and engaging for any preschooler.
Another sweet book for preschoolers is Bubbles Where Do I Belong? Workbook. This one uses stickers and your child will be prompted to place the stickers on a certain item on each page. I truly think this is the cutest idea. There are a few other workbooks included this series: Find the Colors!, Find and Count!, and How Big am I?
Some of the ideas in the “busy boxes” are great. I would encourage you to look some of those ideas up for yourself (there are literally thousands). I do incorporate some of them such as play-do, coloring and drawing, puzzles, and blocks.
Keeping him busy and happy is important to a smooth day in our homeschool because a cranky toddler or preschooler can take over an entire situation. His desire to do school work is something that I do not want to squash. My whole purpose for teaching at home is to instill in my children a love for learning. When I take the time to make my preschooler part of our day, he feels excited about learning. That, to me, is what makes homeschooling such a blessing.