Wow, how could it have taken me this long to post something?? It's because I never seem to have two hands with which to type...
So, I now have a few minutes and I decided to update the bloggy.
Each month, our homeschool group has a Mom's Night. We discuss a different topic each time; anything from curriculum, to discipline, high school, etc. One of us volunteers to lead the meeting and they are the one who chooses the topic. This last time we discussed keeping toddlers busy during school time.
The great thing about our meetings though, in my opinion, is how we can lift one another up no matter what the topic is.
One idea that I thought was particularly great this time was a way to simplify meal planning. One mom makes the same thing each day for lunch: Mondays are always tuna sandwiches, Tuesdays are always such and such, and so on. (Supper has it's variety.) This simplifies her shopping and the kids always know what to expect. I think I'm going to try this. Then my older kids can get started on preparing the meal if I'm busy. (When would I be busy? is what you're thinking...I know, I know...)
We also talked about having some "school time" boxes. Also suggested was using ziploc bags for the activities. Many of the ideas were from an Above Rubies issue.
Anyway, about the boxes/bags: cheerios or froot loops, yarn and a plastic yarn needle for lacing; cardboard shapes with holes punched for lacing with yarn; some rice with hidden little things in there for dexterity (and some mess, but worth it); playdo; etc. We basically arrived at the premise that it is much easier to plan things for them to do than to try to always redirect them. For example, "hey boys (my two toddlers are boys), let's take out the car rug and play cars!" as opposed to "go play with the car rug" after they've been into everything already.
I find myself sort of shooing them off, instead of purposely guiding their play.
They don't really need so much directing--a few directed activities is really all they need, and the rest of the time they'll find their own things to do.
Just as we need a plan for what our older kids will do "for school" that day we need to have some idea what we want our little ones to do, too.