Homeschooling Multiple Ages

Family Homeschooling: Large Families, Only Children, & Multiple Ages!

One Item Activities for Little Kids So You Can Homeschool the Big Kids

Jaimi Erickson From The Stay-at-home Mom Survival Guide

My very first year of full-time homeschooling was chaotic. I had two preschoolers to wrangle while trying to teach my two older children. The juggling act made me feel overwhelmed daily.

Young children have limited attention spans and putting them on a screen to keep them occupied is not my first step. My plan to find balance in our homeschool was to create a list of activities that only require one supply.

These one-item activities for preschool kids teach developmental skills but reduce your prep time. You can set these learning activities up as baskets or learning centers for the young kids. They will allow you to focus on the big kids.

One Item Grab-and Go Learning Activities for Preschool

Foil Sculptures

The foil sculptures activity helps a young child develop creativity and language skills. Using pieces of foil, your child can twist, bend and curl it into shapes and creative creations.

This is best done with preschool and up. It is important to share safety information before letting the kiddos start creating. I always tell the kids to be careful with the edges of the foil. I cut the pieces first, so the kids are not handling the foil box with its sharp edge. Be sure to prep some sheets of foil and then put the box away.

Children can create foil sculptures to make their favorite story characters, animals, or fun ideas that they think up on their own. Give your child an open-ended opportunity to think and create. My children have made foil boats, animals, and all kinds of creations that were limited only to their ideas.

When you are done teaching the older kids, sit down with the younger ones and listen to their explanation of what they made. This develops language and communication skills in a loving, stress-free environment. So much learning and all you needed was one supply!

Book Basket or Box for Each Child

Books are such a handy go-to for a couple of reasons. First, kids handling books, looking through picture books and exploring the illustrations – even at young ages – teach children to develop the love of reading.

That association of exploration, calm, quiet and contentment work together to give reading a special association for children.

A book basket can be presented in a few ways. You can grab simple plastic book bins from the Dollar Store, use a cute basket, or place the books on the lowest shelf where little hands can access them.

Your little one can sit and look through the books while you school the big kids. If pages get ripped just use some packing tape to repair them. Giving our children access to books to handle and turn the pages on their own teaches them that books and learning are special.

Sticker Pictures

We have done so many learning activities with stickers. I used stickers that came free in the mail to teach letters in our preschool curriculum. I used stickers to teach my children one-to-one correspondence skills and fine motor control. We use stickers for sticker pictures too.

Everyone has some paper in the house. The stickers, however, are the special one item add-on supply.

We can front-load this activity with the lesson that stickers only go on the paper. You can set out one piece of paper for a free-form sticker picture. Then present another piece of paper with a letter on it to extend the activity with a little letter learning.

These simple one item activities for little kids give you time to focus on the big kids. They are very easy to pull out when needed and they teach necessary skills.

Cotton Ball Fine Motor

For toddlers, and young preschoolers this activity could not be easier. A bag of cotton balls is all you need for an engaging activity. Pick different cups, bowls or containers for your child to use with the cotton balls.

We used an empty and clean infant cereal container and a small plastic storage bin when we tried this cotton ball fine motor activity at home.

Your kiddos can do this right at your feet while you help the big kids with their schoolwork. The goal is to place the cotton balls into the containers. If the lid of the container has a small hole – like the cereal container – it makes the activity much more interesting for little kids.

Your little one can stack the cotton balls, toss them, drop them and it remains safe. The activity teaches necessary fine motor skills, creativity, problem-solving and creativity. So much is learned from simple, engaging hands-on activities for preschoolers.

Tissue Paper Sensory

Tissue paper sensory play is an indoor gross motor activity. I like to turn on music and let my toddler or preschooler grab a piece of tissue paper and crinkle, twirl and dance to the music.

I shared a video of one of my twins playing with the tissue paper sensory activity on my Youtube channel. It is so simple to set up. I bet the big kids will want a school break to dance along with this one.

Go-To Activities That Only Need One Supply

These one-item activities for little kids will provide you with a go-to list of grab-and-do preschool learning activities. Many work for preschool children and toddlers. Setting up these activities will help you get some focused time to homeschool the big kids.

Homeschooling Multiple Ages

Jaimi Erickson is a homeschool mom of 4 children, a military wife, blogger, author and curriculum developer. She has been homeschooling for 8 years and shares learning activities for young children on up to older kids over on her blog The Stay-at-home Mom Survival Guide.

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