Do you homeschool several children that vary in ages? Pretty much all of us are in this boat. Sooner or later, our children will start getting enrolled in extracurricular activities, be it gymnastics, ballet, a musical instrument, martial arts or some other sport. In our case, it is golf for Brother. He is five years old. His sister is three. How do I keep my toddler entertained while Brother is busy with the Pro? Take a look. I hope this post spark some ideas for you, even if your children aren’t specifically taking golf lessons.
Go Outside, if Possible
I know that the weather can be yucky at times during the year, but if it is possible for you and your toddler to go outside, even for a few minutes, the fresh air will be healthy, fun and beneficial. Children love the outdoors and discovering nature.
Toddlers love to explore, find new things, learn about the world around them and spend time with you doing things that are different. Take time to do that and you’ll see how much you and your toddler will love it. For this, you may like: kidnoculars, an adventure pack and a special cargo vest.
Be Your Toddler’s Personal Commentator
When your older children are in their lessons, find a spot at a distance where you can lean behind your toddler or sit your toddler on your lap and be their own personal commentator. Do a play-by-play on what brother or sister are doing, how the sport or activity works, rules, etc, but make it fun.
Use a dramatic voice. Get close and whisper. Point things out. “Why do you suppose Brother is doing such and such?” “Do you see how he is holding the golf club?” “What do you think he will do next?” Make this a teachable moment, even if it is for 3 minutes at a time. Children absorb this information more than you think! And he/she will love the closeness and one-on-one time with you. For this activity, you may like: a mini portable microphone to pretend talk into it, a feedback phone and talking tubes.
Appeal to his/her Natural Kinesthetic Side
The majority of children are kinesthetic learners; the rest are either visual or auditory learners. Most are a mix of at least two, but young ones are highly kinesthetic. That means that they learn through doing, through physical movement and explore their world in a vert tactile (and oral) way.
So make your little one move. Try rhythm play (dance and freeze), roll a ball to each other or playing with what is readily available there. For us, it is finding things to do with golf clubs, tees and golf balls. She loved rolling balls back and forth. She also enjoyed taking balls out of the basket and back in. And she was matching balls to the tees I had put in the ground for her. For this activity, you make like: a little putt set, colorful rolling balls set and a paddles and birdies set.
Get Creative with Imaginative Play
Sometimes, it is about “whatever works,” right? Hahaha. I laugh because Flexibility, creativity and imagination are things that we, adults, have to work hard at, but children have so much of all three that it doesn’t take much for them. My toddler took a golf club, turned it upside down and was trotting around in circles saying, “Giddy-up, horsey!” She had so much fun pretending.
With children, anything goes. Look around you and pretend like something is something else (real or made up) or carry a bag of random items in the back of your car that you can take out at any time. In the bag, you can have rainbow scarves, a super cute pretend makeup set, hand puppets, etc.
Involve Other Family Members
I think the heading says it all. Make it a family event, if it is possible. Doing this can bring a sense of family unity and or common interest. Brother has been taking golf lessons in the mornings, so Dad isn’t able to go, but one Saturdays, we sometimes go to the driving range and let him and Dad hit some balls together at the driving range while Sister and I hang out around.
Make It a Special One-on-One Time
For this option, I would say to bring along a very special toy or game that you only play or use when you have that one-on-one special time. Make sure it is something your child loves. In our case, my toddler LOVES tea parties, so I make sure she knows how special this time is and I go all out for her.
We had a pretend tea set when she was younger and it was super fun, but now that she is older (three years old), she loves using a real tea set but in her size. We also had a super fun pretend cookie set before. Now, we use real crackers that we can actually eat. We always have a lovely time. What idea comes to mind that you can do with your little one? What does he/she love to do? What is special for him/her?
Invite Friends to Join In the Fun
There might be other young siblings around, waiting for their older brothers and sisters to be done with their class. Let your toddler play with them! You can bring bean bags, a ring toss game (THIS ONE is our favorite) and assorted stackable cones to make it a time of social and kinesthetic fun for everyone. Do your little ones have friends that they can play with?
Don’t Forget about Fine Motor Skills
I taught Sister how to use a golf ball to “hammer” tees into the ground and she had to be sure it was upright so the ball could sit on it without rolling off. This took quite a bit of skill and concentration. She loved it and was so happy when she was successful. We included all kinds of other skills like counting the tees, grouping the balls, making patterns, skip counting and many other things.
I hope you have found these points inspirational. Do you have any other ideas? Are any of these ideas working for you? Which new ideas will you try next? Let us know in comments!