Occupying Toddlers During School Time

If you’re homeschooling with littles underfoot, one question you often get asked (and ask yourself) is “what do you do with the littles while you’re schooling the olders?”

Obviously there are many answers and not a one size fits all answer for everybody. The things we have done have varied with the different personalities and temperaments of each child, with their age and abilities, and so on.

For a long time it has been easy to occupy our toddler son with drawing – he loves to draw, and I don’t discount that as educational. Every penstroke, every circle he draws, is preparing him with the motor skills to form and shape letters and numbers later on. Every critter and creature he sketches is encouraging and expanding his imagination, or allowing him the opportunity to ponder things he learned earlier in the day.

In fact, my son loves to draw SO MUCH, that in all honesty, he goes through entirely. too. much. paper. Or, he gets ahold of my dry erase markers (and once a permanent marker!) and scribbles all over my to do lists and math lessons.

Which is why I was really excited to find this:

That, my fellow delighted moms (and dads), is a double sided dry erase lap board. And my four year old son LOVES it. Since he has recently been expressing an interest in letters in addition to drawing (finally!) he has the opportunity to flip back and forth between the two, drawing and then “writing”, drawing and then “writing.” It occupies him for LONG periods of time. (With low odor markers of course!)

And sometimes after I get the girls settled in with their school I’ll sit down with him and work on some very simple handwriting and phonics. He gets into it and asks “what makes this sound” and “what says that” and “how do you write ___”… It’s all really cute, of course.

After he tires of his lap board, sometimes we’ll move on to other activities. He likes to sit in my lap while I read a science lesson to the 6 year old, and he likes to pretend to “do school” with preschool workbooks. Sometimes he gets to water paint (which he also loves and uses too much paper for) and sometimes it’s time for a movie and a nap. ;0)

Either way, the double sided dry erase lap board is DEFINITELY working to entertain — and educate — our rambunctious toddler boy!

What works for you?

Works for Me Wednesday is hosted by Kristen @ We Are That Family. {P.S. If you’re looking for a blogging tip, (which this week’s WFMW is SUPPOSED to be about..) I did a series for beginning bloggers a while back called How To Blog.}

~ Buy this on Amazon: Board Dudes Double Sided Dry Erase Lapboard (Or try to find it on clearance at JoAnn’s like I did.)

~ Read my Disclosure Policy

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February 3, 2010 10:01 am

what a great tip for keeping those little hands busy

February 3, 2010 11:00 am

Thanks for this!! It’s always so helpful to get little glimpses into how other moms manage things like this… I saw you mention that double sided board on twitter the other day – I’ll have to look for one!

February 3, 2010 11:05 am

I stumbled across these whiteboards in Walmart one day. I bought two and I’m so glad I did. My little girls love them! I like the fact that we can work on phonograms without using reams of paper. They remind me of having slates. 🙂
.-= Renae´s last blog ..The House God Gave Us: It’s Paid For! =-.

February 3, 2010 11:07 am

Whoa! My boards were only a few bucks. The price on Amazon is high. I agree with you. Look for them elsewhere. I think Miller Pads and Paper sells plain lap-sized whiteboards.

February 3, 2010 11:44 am
Reply to  Amber

I was going to do a post about that very thing last night, but then I saw the WFMW was about blogging. 😛

I found that washable markers work great for whiteboards. I just use a wet rag to wipe it off. It takes a bit of rubbing, but it works for me.

I’ll still write a post about it, because I even took pictures. 🙂

February 3, 2010 11:36 am

Okay, I have step 2 for you in this: Buy a cheapie 40 page beginning handwriting book, at the office supply, grocery store, Target, or whatever. They usually run around $3. Tear out the pages and put them in slick plastic page protectors and then into a 3-prong folder. Put another dry erase marker in one of the side pockets. Then he can practice lettering and numbers without killing page after page with doodles! =) I made one of these for my now 15yo and she loved it, both my boys loved it, and I passed it on to another… Read more »

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