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When my oldest child was about 18 months old, my mom bought him a romper with a cheerful cartoon bee and the saying “Homeschooler Wanna Bee.” We passed that romper down to my subsequent children. My oldest was a homeschooler wanna be because we fully intended to homeschool him once he was old enough. Perhaps you too have a Homeschooler Wanna Bee at your house – a child who is not being formally homeschooled yet, but is very much in the midst of what you’re doing. If so, I hope you’ll enjoy my gift guide for little siblings!
I am in my third year of official homeschooling. We have always had younger siblings in the mix during school time. As I write this, my youngest is 3 years old, and she is my last non-school age child.
As I Christmas shopped for her this year, certain things caught my eye. Because she would love them, certainly, but also because they would be excellent School Time Entertainment ™.
When you are trying to instruct an early elementary student and supervise an under 5 year old child, School Time Entertainment is a precious and valuable tool. I thought I would share a few things that might be fun for your preschooler – and entertain them while you work with your olders!
Numberblocks Stamp Set – My 3 year old daughter is getting this for Christmas this year. You can make the Numberblocks characters easily with the specially designed stamps. She is a big Numberblocks fan. (As a side note, Numberblocks episodes are available on YouTube and they are excellent edutainment for all of my kids, even my 7 year old!)
Linking Cubes – I bought our linking cubes with the Saxon K-3 manipulative kit, but you can also buy them as an individual product. While they weren’t originally intended for use by my 3 year old, she puts them into all sorts of configurations.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Dress Up Dolls – These are similar in concept to paper dolls, but much sturdier and easier to use. Melissa and Doug products are always a hit at my house. I had a set of these for my classroom when I taught at a church preschool and the girls in my class loved them. My daughter has the ballerina themed set. There is also a version with a boy character who can dress as a firefighter, construction worker, or a knight.
Alphabet Stamps – Most kids can recognize letters before they can write them. My daughter likes to stamp letters onto a piece of paper. Sometimes she chooses the letters in her name, other times she selects her brothers’ initials, and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason at all. At any rate, alphabet stamps are a useful addition to the School Time Entertainment collection.
Lacing Cards – It is possible to DIY lacing cards using regular paper, a laminator, and a hole punch. However, cardboard lacing cards hold up much better and don’t require prep time, so I prefer those. I have needed to sit and teach my kids how to use lacing cards initially, but eventually they become an independent activity. This set is reasonably priced on Amazon.
The Fine Motor Hedgehog – This is better for your younger “homeschooler wanna bees.” I think it is best for ages 18 months to 3 years. My daughter is 3.5 years old and a bit too old for it. Essentially, the child grabs the “spikes” and places them into the holes on the hedgehog’s back. The spikes are long and thin, and placing them in the holes takes some precision. The spikes are colorful and the hedgehog is a cute little guy.
Wikki Stix – I love Wikki Stix! They can be a little pricier than other toys, but they are indestructible. I have had the same set for 4 years. It has been heavily used by three kids and it’s still going strong. Wikki Stix are wax covered pieces of yarn. I use the Wikki Stix Alphabet card set with my littles who are too young for writing, but old enough for fine motor activities. They arrange the Wikki Stix in the shape of the letter, with the assistance of the outline on the card. All three of my kids have loved this activity! You can also buy Wikki Stix sets with other themes, such as animals and even Christmas.
Paint Sticks – I do not have the energy to supervise traditional painting with one child while doing school work with another. However, paint sticks create a similar effect on the paper with much less mess. My daughter received a set of these for Christmas the year she was 2 and she could use them without too much mess. A win all around!
Hopefully this gift guide for little siblings gave you some ideas for the little one in your life! From toys, to fine motor activities, to art projects, there are many ways to productively occupy young kids.