The busiest people in your home are also the smallest. So how do you homeschool a toddler? With a lot of patience, some planning, and a splash of fun.
How Do I Homeschool my Toddler?
Though toddlers benefit from plenty of free play, heaps of unstructured time for your toddler can wreak havoc on your schedule, especially if you are trying to school other children at the same time.
A bored toddler is a master interrupter.
So what do you do? Homeschooling toddlers is your answer. Though they are far too young for formal school, they are ready for a gentle introduction to learning.
Even if your toddler is your only child, he will love having fun activities for each day. Homeschooling toddlers is actually a blast!
Homeschool Toddler Activities
Toddlers aren’t babies anymore, and they are ready to explore the big, wide world. Leverage this natural curiosity by incorporating some engaging learning activities into her day.
Don’t expect any single activity to keep your child occupied for a long time (though you never know!). Toddlers have very short attention spans and typically only focus on one activity for 5-15 minutes at a time.
Here are some fun homeschool toddler activities:
Fill a plastic shoebox with cups, spoons, funnels, and a sponge. Fill the bin with water (even soapy water) and let your toddler pour and splash on your deck or porch. We also love this adorable dishwashing station!
Buy a cheap pack of tiny stickers. Draw a shape on a piece of paper (like a heart) with a marker. Tell your toddler to fill the center of the shape with stickers.
Play Dough Cookie Factory
Purchase cookie cutters in basic shapes. Use homemade or purchased play dough and let your toddler make “cookies” in various shapes. Sort and count the finished products.
Who needs a sandbox? Fill a plastic shoebox with dried beans and hide plastic animals inside it. Give the child a little cup and watch the magic happen.
I absolutely love these sticky wax strips! Use them to trace letters, numbers, or shapes.
Develop your toddler’s logic skills and spatial reasoning with a set of wooden puzzles. Keep out only one at a time to keep the mess at bay.
Why should old lady Bingo players have all the fun? Dotter markers are excellent toddler toys. Trace and dot letters, numbers, or simply fill shapes with dots.
Work on fine motor development with shoelaces and extra-large wooden beads (make sure the beads are not choking hazards).
Buy or make your own lace-up cards with shoelaces and laminated shapes, letters, and animals. Punch them with holes and tie on a shoelace.
Books, Books, and More Books
Reading aloud is integral for this age. You can even record yourself reading your toddler’s favorite books and play this during free time. Kids this age love the repetition!
Mix water or milk with red, blue, and yellow food dye and let your child spoon, pour, and mix the colors together.
Draw a route and parking spaces on a giant sheet of poster board. Guide the Hot Wheels or wooden trains along the path. You could even build a car garage from toilet paper tubes!
Fill a largemouth plastic bottle (I like Voss bottles for this purpose) with rice and tiny items (letter magnets, plastic animals, etc.) and fill with rice until the bottle is 7/8 full. Superglue the lid and let your child twist and find all the treasures inside.
Make a mini-book from folded paper and a stapler and give your child stamps with washable ink. Ask him to stamp every page.
Homeschool Toddler Printables
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to find coloring pages and activity sheets for toddlers. You can find a host of coloring pages at coloringpagesandmore.com.
And we have lots of amazing toddler printables for FREE in the MamaTeaches Freebie Library. Here are some highlights:
Make your own little book all about tools! Perfect for your little Bob the Builder.
It is not too early to teach about emotions! Who knows? It could lessen the temper tantrums!
Matching games teach observation, memory, and logic. This mermaid matching game will delight your little Ariel.
Tap into the unicorn magic with this free printable game.
If mermaids and unicorns aren’t your toddler’s speed, how about dinosaurs?
Penmanship begins with these simple tracing worksheets.
Toddler Work Bins/Task Bins
Having toddler work bins is a sanity saver. Can’t think and prep the next activity in the middle of cooking dinner, teaching math to a third grader, or on the phone with a doctor’s office? Grab a toddler task bin and your child is ready to go.
You can use plastic shoeboxes or stackable paper bins–whichever is your preference. Fill the bin with whatever your child needs to complete the task. Make two kinds of bins: learning bins and play bins (at this age, even play is learning).
Toddler Homeschool Schedule
Toddlers need plenty of free time to discover their world. Assign planned activities when you need the time and space. Keep in mind that a toddler’s attention span will be greatest in the morning. As the day wears on, tiredness ensues and your learner will find it difficult to concentrate.
Here is a sample schedule:
- 7:00 am Wake Up, eat breakfast, and get ready
- 8:00 am Morning nature walk
- 8:30 am Tasks that require sitting and working (tracing, games, fine motor activities)
- 9:00 am Free Play
- 9:30 am Learning play (see the activity list from earlier)
- 10 am Snack break
- 10:30 am Gross motor fun (active physical time like playing on the swing set, building a couch cushion fort,, etc.)
- 11 am Reading time (read-aloud books or a combination of audiobooks and play)
- 11:30 am Lunch
- 12:30 pm Some zone-out time (books, a TV show, etc.)
- 1 pm Naptime
- 3 pm Outing (library, park, store, walk, etc.)
Toddlers love to learn, and guess what? They are ready. Sprinkle their day with some learning fun and give toddlers a jumpstart in their education.