Looking for ways to keep the little ones occupied while you’re working with your older kids? Here’s a great suggestion from a homeschooling mom of eight.
One modification that has kept my girls entertained for stretches of time is a rice table or bucket. We use a plastic storage box, filled halfway with uncooked rice and add kitchen utensils, cars, small toys, or anything else that catches our fancy. All this goes on the kitchen floor atop an old tablecloth for easier cleanup.
Whenever I drag out the rice bucket, I am greeted by squeals of delight. I tell myself they are engaging in science experiments to keep myself from worrying about some of the more creative things they find to do with rice. After a couple bites, they decide it isn’t worth eating and get back to sifting, digging and pouring. I can count on this activity giving me a half hour or so to spend instructing the older kids without interruption.
When Jane and Rose were little, I used to keep a little baggie of cut-out construction paper fish for them to stick on a big blue pond (also construction paper, with wave lines drawn on and some clear contact paper slapped over it). Haven’t thought of that in years…poor Beanie, she’d have loved that game at age three. Heck, she might still love it now. And this time around I could put Jane and Rose on fish-cutting duty. Little loops of tape on the back of each fish heighten the fun—because, you know, ANYTHING having to do with tape is magical for the preschool set.