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Keeping the preschooler busy while teaching the older child

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My oldest dd is in 6th grade with a reading problem so I have to spend greater amounts of time with her.
The "problem is" what do I do with dd number 2 who is just 5. We don't believe in academics until first grade.
The tv is sure tempting.......
post #2 of 9
Arts and crafts are a big hit in our house. Whenever I'm doing something with the older children, I set up the baby (he's 22 months) with crayons and paper or clay nearby and he's usually happy to do that for a bit. Since your little one is a bit older, you have more of a selection -- she could paint, color, play with playdough, string beads, etc. Also, you could try some books on tape--our library has picture books with cassettes so the child can follow along. Does she like to do puzzles? Sort items? "Sew" with cards and laces? (Someone else jump in here--I'm running out of ideas. )
post #3 of 9
art supplies
math manipulatives (we have some counting frogs that are a big hit)
hands on science (the ideas in "Sandbox Scientist" by Ross would be good)
sticker books
post #4 of 9
finger knitting - it takes about 5 minutes to get the hang of it, and then my 5yo can do it forever. she made her own chain to attach to her mittens so she wouldn't lose them! carpentry? sanding wood is fun at that age. sewing? i haven't done this yet, but i'd like to teach dd to pin and cut out her own puppets - if you are handy make a puppet pattern, show her how to pin and cut safely, and set her loose with old fabric. you could then (again, if you're a sewer) quickly sew up the puppets and she could spend more time adding button eyes, etc - and perhaps paint an old cardboard box to be a puppet theatre and so on...

actually, scissors paper and glue would probably keep most 5yo's occupied for hours - toss in some glitter and it's all day. maybe the older one could pitch in to help clean up the mess at the end of the day.
post #5 of 9
At 5 my dd would be lost for hours in arts and crafts projects, as already mentioned. I like MaryAnn Kohl's books like _Preschool Art_ for open-ended ideas.

Also, she would play dressup for hours at a time(we have a pretty extensive "wardrobe" of odds and ends and old costumes). Reading a book that captured her imagination often got her started on playing wedding or pretending to have a baby or be a horseback rider.

Books on tape are a big hit -- I get them from the library. She would often like to color or act out the story as she listened. We go for the long books that don't have a read-along -- things like All of a Kind Family (which set off a frenzy of dusting all of the furniture), Mouse and the Motorcycle, Charlotte's Web (wanted to imitate Wilbur making spiderweb), Rabbit Hill (pretend to be a bunny).

I'm pretty strict about toy rotation, so bringing something out of storage is a Big Event here.

Other craft ideas: trace her body on a big sheet of paper(we use a newspaper endroll), and decorate it. Pound finishing nails into a big piece of cork; wrap yarn or string around if you feel like it. Make a sculpture out of those styrofoam packing pellets that melt when they get wet (dab on water with a q-tip). Mess around with eyedroppers. Mess around with a stopwatch. Make a sculpture out of odds and ends like toilet paper rolls, leftover wrapping paper and styrofoam trays. Dd got into weaving at that age. Supply her with coffee filters to dip in paint, blank cards to decorate for holidays.

Make a reservation for a pretend meal at "her restaurant" in half an hour (or whatever)...she can use the time to set the table (maybe including a tissue paper bouquet or somesuch), make a menu, prepare "food". Then you and older daughter arrive and enter into "her" world for awhile.

Put 10-25lbs dry rice (may include dry beans) in a large plastic box and enjoy the novelty of an indoor sandbox. DO NOT DO THIS ON CARPET! No matter how careful you are it will go all over, even if you put down a vinyl tablecloth as a floor mat.

If you *do* find yourself reaching for the TV remote, I'd recommend the Preschool Power videos. They have a website, avail. also at Amazon...I get them from the library. Anyway, they show kids ages 2-5 doing kidstuff (the later videos in the series have more stuff for older kids). They do stuff like fix snacks, make crafts (including a terrarium and a sand garden), clean up after themselves. The over-riding theme is "I can do it on my own once I've been shown". You might want to watch them yourself so you can then help dd do some of the activities herself -- a 5yo won't necessarily learn all the skills needed to act independently by watching the video once.

I keep editing this because I keep thinking of new things...guess it's just one of those days.
post #6 of 9
another thought -- be sure to spend some one on one time with your younger DD doing the kinds of tasks that you feel are appropriate for her (reading to her, crafts, etc.) I think doing these kinds of things either right before or right after you homeschool your older child helps the younger child avoid feelings that they are being left out and not getting enough attention. Seeing her big sister being expected to keep herself busy for a few minutes while she has mommy all to herself may help her understand how to keep herself busy.
post #7 of 9
DD #2 is 22 months and desperate to start school so we got her some work books to play with while dd#1 does her thing. She mostly scribbles in them but she feels like she is doing important work and leaves her sister unbothered for a good 5-10 min. at a time. She also likes to play with math manipulatives. It is pretty fun to see all the things she does with them. We got her a geo-board but sh has trouble getting it to work (I mean she has trouble manipulating the rubber bands).

i would recommend agaist the tv. I would only distract the older one or may seem unfair to her that her brother gets to watch and she has to do work.
post #8 of 9
Quite a challenge! I have a 9 yr old son and a 2 yr old daughter. Son ends up making a lot of compromises as a result! And I DO offer and provide numerous activities for her(painting, clay and playdough, markers, all kinds of interesting things, but she is as demanding as her brother always was, lol!)
It can be very dificult to spend one on one time with him (as for a math worksheet/science experiment/reading from a chapter book) without her horning in in an intrusive way. I realize it will pass soon as she matures and is more able and willing, but at times, it is difficult. (and she doesn't nap very often anymore, darn!!
I def. agree that offering interesting activities helps, but sometimes it doesn't do the trick; I accept that we will just have to work with it for a while longer (and soon, we will have 4th player at scrabble/cards/dominoes, etc, lol!) kimberly, mom to Forest, 9 and Lily, 2
post #9 of 9
And BTW, at present, our family game night is pretty much on hold; last time we tried it a few weeks ago, she ended up spilling the Chinese Checker board midway through And forget waiting till she is "in bed"; she is a night owl like her brother, no matter what I do! But she is worth it Kim
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