Homeschool Activities for a 1 to 2-year-old and Our Daily Schedule plus a Weekly Preschool Schedule

How in the world do we keep little miss occupied so we can get some school work done?

Homeschooling any number of kids can be difficult at times but when you add a baby or toddler to the mix it can get really crazy. Some days are easier than others as she is pretty good at keeping herself entertained but other days she can be extremely clingy and doesn’t want to be ‘left out’. We have to come up with some clever tricks to keep her entertained at times and sometimes we just take turns having someone play with her to keep her happy, although we don’t give in to every little whine or cry because sometimes she will figure out a way to entertain herself without us.

We have the basic routines that we have tried to stick to, even through the rough year that we had last year. During our numerous in-patient stays, I did my best to keep her routine as similar to our home routine as I could. It was difficult but it helped us both tremendously. Big sister also kept the kiddos at home on a regular schedule and that helped keep some of the chaos to a minimum.

Now that we are home and doing well we really had to get a little bit stricter with our routines as we’ve had a lot of adjustments to make. Shyanne missed her big brothers and sisters and they missed her but sometimes they get on each other’s nerves just as all siblings do. It’s a normal part of having a big family but it can lead to many distractions which are not good when we need to get certain things accomplished.

The basic areas we try to include in her daily schedule are:

  • Life Skills/Character Development
  • Language/Communication
  • Math
  • Science/STEM/Sensory
  • PT/OT (Gross/Fine Motor Skills)
  • Art/Music

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When you look at the list of subjects we try to incorporate, it can seem overwhelming. The key is that we include a lot of these things in our everyday activities. We do water play during bath time, practice some PT/OT moves during potty breaks or clothing changes, and we can include fun songs at almost any time during the day. Many of the activities could fall under multiple categories so that’s always a win-win!

We try to include all the kiddos in activities like learning sign language and movement songs so that she is encouraged to follow along. Our little ones learn a lot by watching others, so it is so very important that we model the behaviors/actions that we want our kiddos to learn.

Here are a few examples of things we do for each area:

We make sure to carefully supervise all activities as she still likes to explore things by putting them into her mouth at times!

Life Skills/Character Development/Social

Language/Communication

Math

  • Counting toes/fingers
  • Counting people
  • Counting snacks
  • Spielgaben
  • Counting/Sorting items into ice cube trays, egg cartons, or muffin pans
  • Naming/Signing colors as we count/sort, also sorting by size (big/little)

Science/STEM/Sensory

  • Helping in the garden ex; planting seeds, picking fruits/veggies, watering, etc
  • Sensory boxes/bottles for exploring
  • Water Play
  • Feeding/Petting animals
  • Taking walks or stroller rides outside to explore the plants and animals
  • Going to the Zoo!
  • Trying new foods/textures
  • Blowing/Popping Bubbles
  • We also use various scents to stimulate different areas of the brainsimply put a few drops of essential oils on a cotton ball and place it in an out-of-reach area of the room.
  • Use frozen foods to explore new sensations
  • Splashing in puddles
  • Playing in leaves or grass
  • refrigerator magnets placed where she can reach them
  • Go to the park or playground
  • Animal sounds, names, and signs
  • learning about the weather and the signs that go along with it
  • Shyanne (and everyone else) loves watching Rachel and the Treeschoolers as they can learn some ASL with it but my older kids also loved the Rock and Learn DVDs

PT/OT (Gross/Fine Motor Skills)

Art/Music

  • Singing songs like Old MacDonald Had a Farm, B-I-N-G-O, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc.
  • Fingerplay/puppets
  • Finger Painting/Sponge art/Fruit or Veggie art
  • Mess-free painting with a plastic bag or mess-free coloring
  • Coloring with different utensils
  • Making music with different household items (pots, pans, plastic bowls, wooden spoons)
  • Playdough or we let her play with leftover pie/bread dough or try some edible Moon Sand
  • Musical Instruments Ex: Drums, egg shakers, rainmakers, etc.
  • Crinkling/ripping paper

Remember that free playtime is just as important as scheduled playtime!!!!

As I’ve mentioned before, Shyanne is pretty good at keeping herself entertained and she will play quietly on the floor or in her playpen. This gives her a chance to explore things on her own and practice some of her newly acquired skills without anyone trying to ‘help’ her. Sometimes she needs the freedom to problem solve on her own and this helps her gain confidence and independence, one activity at a time!

We try to include her in our ASL learning even though she does her own videos apart from us. When we are reviewing our signs we go around the table and make sure that she is in her high chair, or someone’s lap, so that she gets a turn to show us the signs she knows. She loves this!

When we are doing our read-alouds we have her at the table or close by, and she loves to sit and listen to the stories even though she doesn’t understand all of the words. She also loves to watch their science videos and it makes her feel connected and included.

Here is our basic schedule for the day. We try to stay close to the times allotted but nobody is perfect and some days don’t always go quite as we have planned. You can read about some of our past routines HERE. We have found that schedules are a must for some of our kiddos with special needs!


I just choose a few things to work on and write them into the schedule. I don’t always get to all of them but it keeps me from rushing around at the last minute. I can keep this schedule and reuse it again later on. I also make notes of what we are currently working on so we can be sure to incorporate those into our daily routines as well as getting the other kiddos involved to keep it fun and exciting!


Daily Schedule

I use multiple alarms on my phone and we use our friend ‘Google‘ to help keep us on track through the day.

AM

Weekdays:

6:30 Mom up

Shyanne is usually awake and needs to go potty by this time. I try to get ready and grab a cup of coffee before everyone gets up.

7:00 Rise & Shine

Everyone gets up, gets dressed, fixes their hair, and makes their beds. They usually practice a little bit of strong sitting as well to get them focused for the day.

7:30 Breakfast

We try to prep our breakfast the night before to make this quick and easy.

8:00 Chores/Daily Prep

Each child has assigned chores to do on a rotating basis. I also check our Cozi Calendar to see what I have planned for dinner later that day.

The girls rotate as Shyanne’s helper throughout the day so they can take her potty which helps Momma out. One of them will take her potty and clean her up after meals/snacks.

8:30 Morning Circle:

Pledge & Prayer, Memory Verse, Calendar, Read Alouds, Character Development

Shyanne will usually start with some playtime but sometimes she asks for Ms. Rachel on Signing Times or Songs for Littles.

9:30 Independent Studies:

LA, Math, Life Skills

Once I have the older kids started on their work then I work with Shyanne using the Spielgaben, puzzles, or other activities like nursery rhymes or reading a book with her.

10:00 Snack/Break

Free time when finished with Independent Work

Many times the older kiddos will take turns playing with Shyanne when they are finished with their school work

Shyanne Potty

12:00 Lunch/Quick Cleanup

While the kids are finishing lunch and doing a quick clean up I will take Shyanne to the potty, clean up, and then put her down for a nap. She usually sleeps until snack time.

PM

Everyday:

12:45 Group Studies:

Science, Social Studies, Art/Music, PE/Health & Safety

If Shyanne is awake she will join in on the school work or have some independent playtime.

2:00 Snack/Break

Shyanne Potty

3:00 Finish School/Chores/Free Time

The kids usually go outside and will take Shyanne on a car/stroller ride or take her to play on the swing with them. When she comes back in she will go potty and I will spend some time playing with her or letting her have some more independent play.

5:00 Dinner

6:00 Chores/Hygiene/Study Hall

Everyone finishes up their chores, takes baths, and finishes any school assignments they may have left.

Shyanne Potty

7:00 Family Time: Games/Movies

We try to incorporate some fun things into our day whenever possible and we make sure to find ways to include Shyanne into our activities.

7:30 Snack/Tomorrow’s Prep

We take a few minutes before bedtime to get our clothes out for the next day, prepare diaper bags if we have appointments, or make preparations for breakfast like preparing our sourdough batter for muffins or pancakes.

8:00-10:00 Lights Out!

We have a privilege chart where the kiddos can earn later bedtimes/extra TV time for various things. Shyanne usually goes to bed between 8-9 pm but sometimes she wears herself out earlier.

Shyanne Potty

Weekends:

We try to get a little extra rest/quiet time on weekend mornings but this isn’t always possible as we also like to plan our family outings for Saturdays and sometimes that means we must get up early to get started.

7:45 Rise & Shine

8:30 Breakfast

9:00 Chores

12:30 Lunch/Quick Clean up

The afternoon schedule is pretty much the same with the exception of no group work.


This post got a bit longer than I had expected but I hope you got some ideas to incorporate into your daily schedules and I pray that these might help make things a little easier around your house while teaching your little ones invaluable lessons. There are tons of free resources and ideas available online and the links that I have provided are not essential to teaching any lesson but they are products that we use and enjoy here at our home.

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