Modifying Schoolwork for the Eager Toddler

modifying schoolwork for the eager toddler

Some toddlers are satisfied with playing with toys while their older siblings work hard on schoolwork.  Not MBug (currently 27 months).  From an early age, she let me know that she was willing to do anything her brothers did.  And when I forgot to prepare schoolwork for her, she was there (holding onto my legs, whining the entire time) to let me know she was ready to work as well.

Lately, she’s especially been drawn to the new PreK reading curriculum I’m writing for my 3 year old called Reading the Alphabet. So I thought I’d show how I’m modifying it (and pulling in other great resources) for her.

As we’re doing these activities, she hears me talking with NJoy about letter names and sounds. Plus, she’s gaining literacy vocabulary with our read alouds and other activities.

Coloring, Coloring, and More Coloring

This little girl LOVES to color.

coloring p pattern cardsSo, I print off the black and white version of the book, letter cards, & cut and pattern cards whenever I can.

coloring T picturesShe goes to town coloring.

letter F coloring and tracing

I also print off two of the tracer pages from my lessons, slide them into plastic sleeve protectors, and she colors with our new WASHABLE Crayola dry erase markers (these were a God-send).  Or I use one of Erica’s Letter of the Week tracing pages (like the F one above).  She keeps her pages in her Handwriting Notebook, just like big brother.

Adapting Printables

sight word poke pageBoth NJoy and MBug enjoy the sight word poke pages, so I give her a toothpick or large pushpin and she pokes her holes, too (so will ALuv).

letter p numbers 1-10While NJoy does his Number do-a-dot pages with 11-20, I either give her my 1-10 page, also on each download, or I print off one of Erica’s Letter of the Week do-a-dot pages (like you’ll find here).

cut and paste activitiesAs NJoy glues down his rhyming pictures onto his mat, I print off Jolanthe’s Cut and Paste letter sheets and she does these.

NJoy works on his sight word mazes and MBug does Carisa’s letter maze for the letter we’re working on.

pom poms on p mazeThis particular week, she used pom poms to cover the p’s. Then she colored all over it with pink marker.

Pocket Chart Fun

pocket chart terrorThe pocket chart is one area I haven’t figured out with her quite, yet. She wants to help, but her “help” isn’t taken too well by a certain older brother.  Lately, I’ve given her the iPad while NJoy and I build his sentences. But after we’re done, all is fair in homeschool pocket chart manipulatives.  She goes at them. Sometimes, I’ll switch them out for her ABC Pocket Chart Inserts, but she enjoys “reading” and messing up the work her big brother has done.

Letter-Themed Manipulatives

Each week, I pull manipluatives and toys to correspond with the letter of the week.  NJoy has 4 activities a day. I usually give him a break after the first two and before the next two.  He “plays” with these manipulatives and she will sit and do these, too.

letter p manipulatives for toddler

For example, for the letter P, I pulled out the piggy bank with pennies, various puzzles, and sorting pom-poms into the ice trays. All of these manipulatives are from Target’s $1 bin…I raid it almost every time I go!  The $1 store is another great place to go.

Letter-Themed Read Alouds

read alouds books with letter MI also pull books from our home “library” each week that match the letter in some way.  The public library is also a good place to find these (I’m ashamed to admit I don’t use ours as often as I should).  She likes looking through these with NJoy, especially after I’ve read them aloud.  The ones in the picture are the books I pulled for the letter M (will post tomorrow).

You can also view all the posts and printables I made for NJoy to go with each letter of the week when he was 2-3 years old here.

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  1. Great ideas! It’s always hard to know what to do with the younger sibling while you’re hard at work teaching the older kiddies. I need to do something for my 16 month old to keep her occupied.

    Also, can’t help but be impressed at what an awesome handle your littlest one has on pencil grip! Wow!

  2. Great ideas, Becky! I definitely have an eager toddler in my house:)

  3. This is great! I have a four-year-old who HAS to do school with us. He has his own workbook, but sometimes that’s not quite enough.

  4. I love your ideas! I am wondering where you found the do a dot number piggy page? Thank you!

  5. Great ideas! My 25 month old son loses his mind if I try to do something with his big sister without him. I mean, has a total meltdown. I think some of your ideas are perfect! I am going to start him his very own handwriting notebook. I never would have to thought to before, but I think he’ll love it. He strives to do more when she is doing something as well so it’s a win-win!


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  2. […] the things I learn from her. Most days, she wants to do everything her older brothers do; including worksheets or pocket chart […]

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