Welcome to another day with the Teeny Tot ! If you missed it, click here to read last weeks post on keeping your toddler busy during school time. In all honesty, I can’t say I have all the answers for you. Frankly I’ve been amazed at how much interest in school The Teeny Tot has had this year! Last year she was always into things, creating messes and general chaos all through the day, but this year she wants to be included. She wants to do her own school, so I’m just going with it.



Before reading further, I like to make it clear that I’m not a slave driver, and I’m not SO into academic achievement that I REQUIRE my Teeny Tot to do these activities but rather SHE asks for them. And I honestly believe that the main reason for her interest is due to her older siblings school time. When my oldest was 2.5 we hadn’t even started doing any type of school at all, but since we’re all doing school together these days, the Teeny Tot is simply included in our day.

Please, whatever you do, do NOT feel inadequate in your own endeavors with your toddler! Especially if they are your oldest child! I really think the whole trend towards Tot School is a debatable topic, and while I do see progress in my toddler, I in no way feel it is necessary for a 2 year old to be doing these activities. At this age, let your child be your guide, if they’re showing interest then foster that, if not, then let them just play and have fun! Okay, off my soap box and onto a bunch of activities that can help keep your toddler occupied during school time! If they’re so inclined that is… ;o)

If you’ve been following her, you know that The Teeny Tot has her own set of workboxes, just like the big kids. I put random activities in them so she can choose something fun to do on her own.

Here are some of her boxes for the day:


(Tangram Cards, Transferring tray, Styrafoam with Golf Tees and Marbles, Guidecraft Fractions Board, Pattern Blocks, Alphabet Alley Noah’s Ark Puzzle)


This activity was a huge hit. I just grabbed a block of styrafoam from some packing we had laying around and gave her golf tees. I instructed her to push the tees into the styrafoam. I had to help her out to straighten them. Then I had her balance the marbles on the tees. It’s great for hand eye coordination, plus its fun!



One of her favorite boxes is a cutting activity. It is great for fine-motor skills and dexterity. I simply draw some black lines on a piece of colored construction paper then let her have at it.



Colorful Link-N-Learn Links are another favorite. She loves to sit and link up the chains, another great motor-skill activity. If I have time, I’ll guide her a little by saying “put a blue one on next, now add a red one, how about a green one next, let’s add a yellow one…” etc.



I found these Solid Wood Teaser games at Michael’s craft store in their dollar bin. While the games have actual rules, the Teeny Tot just uses them to practice putting tee’s into the little holes. Good for one-to-one correspondence and coordination.



The transferring activities are another favorite. I found some bamboo toast tongs at Bed, Bath and Beyond and knew they would be great for this activity! Below she is using some foam lacing beads and a painters palette from Michael’s. I had all the beads in the center then instructed her to place one bead in each paint hole. Once she did that, I had her put them back into the center.



I wasn’t sure how this would go, but I gave her one of our Tangram activity cards from Lakeshore Learning. This activity was a little too hard for her, but I helped her get the pieces, and I figure with some practice she’ll start to figure it out.



We used these fun Beads & Lacing Cards by Learning Resources. The set came with pattern cards that you can copy, but I don’t think she’s quite ready, maybe I’ll give it a shot and see! She did do a great job lacing several beads before giving up on the activity. And looking at the picture, I guess she was having a good time!



The Teeny Tot does at least one worksheet per day, sometimes more depending on how much she’s scribbling that day. Since she sees the other kids doing worksheets, she insists on having some of her own. I gave her an old preschool activity book to use, and so she pulls it out and typically colors over the pictures until the page is covered.



After a long day of work she usually grabs her favorite blankie and chills in our new AHH Products bean bag chair.



That’s it for the Teeny Tot today, time for her nap…and time for me to come up with something new and exciting to put in her boxes for tomorrow!


  1. Erica I was wondering were did you get those canisters that you have the lacing beads and links in ? Are they plastic? I am in desperate need of something like this! Thanks for all the great teaching ideas, I love your blog!

    Jenny K.
  2. Hi there –
    I haven’t commented before but have been following your blog for just a little while now. I am the mom of three (7,6,4) and my youngest two just came home from EThiopia four months ago. I am also a Christian homeschooling mom and am not particularly creative. So I’ve really been appreciating some of the specific ideas you do with your kids – I’ve done a number of the same activities and it’s really, really helped. I also really appreciate this thread about activities with your toddler – my 4-year-old is a bit older but is not really ready for preschool activities yet (she’s had so many adjustments to make since coming home), and even my ‘new’ 6-year-old isn’t really ready for school yet; so several of your ideas from today’s post will be helpful for me in the coming week or two…I hope you keep posting about what she’s doing because I will be looking to see which ideas I can use for my two younger kids!
    I also purchased your PK curriculum last week and have been finding that very useful. I so desperately need and appreciate specific ideas to help with the two younger kids in particular.

    Thanks so much Erica.



    1. Hi Ruth! That’s wonderful! Just take it slow with them, they have A LOT of adjustments to get through just in general, so starting out slow and from the beginning is the best thing you can do :o) That and showing them LOTS of LOVE which I am sure you are doing!! :o)

    2. Ruth – congrats on your adoption. Our little one has been home with us 8 months (adopted at 20 months) and she can’t begin to do some of the stuff that Erica lists, but I LOVE these posts because I can see her catching up day by day. We had gotten rid of our baby toys and had to get some more and let her start back there.

  3. I see she knows how to properly hold scissors to cut– do you have any pointers on how to teach that, or is that something kids usually just figure out on their own? My 3-year-old has a hard time with the cutting, even though she really wants to do it! Thanks for all your ideas– I’ve been following your blog awhile, and I’m just now starting my Tot School adventure!

    1. Hi Sabrina,
      I really think it’s an age thing, but also lots of practice. When she first started, I didn’t correct her much even though she was holding them upside down. Now whenever she’s cuttng I gently remind her to keep her thumb on top and I physically turn her hand. Sometimes I help hold the paper just to help her focus on holding the scissors and not also trying to deal with the paper.

      But really it’s just a matter of practice, and reminding them.

  4. I LOVE your ideas! Thank you SO much! My (barely) 3 yr old WANTS to do “school” and asks for worksheets or wants to do whatever his big sister is doing. I wasn’t expecting this so its been tough coming up with different activites. Your ideas are great and I very much appreciate you sharing them with us! 🙂

  5. I just recently started following your blog! Just curious where you purchased all these activities for her? I would like to buy some of these things but wondering where to get these at a good price?

    1. Hi Amy,
      Anything that is pink and underlined is a clickable link for you. So go back up and read through the post. There is a link to everything that I purchased. The only one that doesn’t have a link is the styrafoam, golf tees and marbles because they were all just stuff I had laying around. The bamboo tongs were from Bed Bath and Beyond, and the foam lacing beads were from Wal-mart I think…have had them for years! The little white paint tray they’re sitting on is from Michael’s hobby store in the paint section. I think everything else has a link to it…

  6. I *SO* hear you on people thinking you’re a slave driver. I’m homeschooling my ‘teeny tot’ 2 1/2 year old and my almost 4 year old. When people hear of the things they’re doing (the 4 year old is reading well and doing addition, the 2 1/2 year old knows all her letters, numbers, can count up to 20 and knows her alphabet as well as colors and shapes), one of the FIRST things they ask me is “but are they having fun?” and it almost seems they don’t believe me when I tell them YES! At this age they don’t have any set curriculum they have to get through or assessment tests they have to pass, so *of course* it’s all fun. Meh. Bugs me, lol.

    Anyway, my kids love love love your curriculum and so do I. I have purchased both the Letter of the Week and K4 curriculum, as well as Expedition Earth, although we’re using it sparingly at the moment.

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