You’ve taken full advantage of naptime to get some homeschooling work complete, but now your toddler is awake and going wide open. You may be tempted to just turn on the television and sit your toddler in front of it while you’re working one-to-one with an older sibling, and there’s nothing wrong with including some educational programming in your toddler’s day. But, there are also plenty of learning activities for toddlers that will keep them occupied and engaged when you can’t give them your full attention. Below are several toddler activity ideas to consider when homeschooling.

Busy Baskets

As you’re planning out your homeschool days, why not include your toddler in the mix? Create a basket just for your toddler that he or she can only access during homeschool time. Include hand-eye activities such as puzzles, shoelaces and lacing cards, building blocks, contact paper and stickable items, felt playsets, etc. If possible, change out the items every school day so that each day your toddler looks forward to discovering what is in their basket. The more variety in the basket, the longer they will remain occupied.

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Dedicated Reading Nook

One of the best things to do with toddlers during homeschool time is to occupy them with books. Create a special area such as a sheet-tent, pillow fort, or any cozy spot near where you’re homeschooling and fill it with picture books, sticker books and coloring books that your toddler will enjoy. As with the busy baskets, this will work best if you rotate the available books as often as possible. Exploring books independently is one of the first steps toward learning to read, too!

Recreating the Lesson

If you plan ahead, you can actually include your toddler in any unit study or subject-specific homeschooling you are doing with older siblings. Depending on what you are studying, have some “props” or visual aids that are toddler-safe at the ready. When you are discussing the life cycle of a plant, for example, you might want to have some felt pieces representing the seed, the pollen, and the flower that your toddler could play with. This is a great way to get siblings in “teaching” mode, too. They can pass on what they’ve been studying by using the props as learning games to play with toddler siblings.

Apps and Games for Toddlers

Especially if older brother or sister uses the computer for their schooling, it’s common for toddlers to want in on the action. Homeschool time is a great opportunity for toddlers to get to play with educational apps designed just for their learning needs. In fact, toddlers will be especially eager to play if you normally limit those types of educational technology opportunities. Older toddlers and preschoolers who can handle a computer mouse might even be able to do their own “homeschool time” using Time4Learning’s online preschool curriculum. All the learning activities are interactive and engaging and are designed for pre-readers.

Toddlers are learning at an incredibly fast rate and whether or not you include them in your official homeschool activities, they will be gleaning knowledge just by being nearby as you and your other children study together. Homeschooling really is a terrific choice for every member of the family!