DIY Homeschool Board for Toddlers
Updated: May 14
My daughter is very smart but sometimes she has a hard time focusing. I think most of the problem is that she is not being challenged enough. She was going to Preschool for two days a week and a library class in-between so she did have some school and structure. Even though she knows a lot of things I felt she needed the social interaction that only a physical school could offer.
Then the pandemic hit. Now the little bit of interaction with children and education she was receiving has completely stopped. Now I am considered an essential employee since I work at a doctor’s office so I am not doing all day homeschooling with my daughter. However I felt like she still needed some kind of structure for her days because like many other kids she was getting very bored.
One major issues though is that my house is tiny. It’s under 1,000 square feet so with four people plus a cat living under the same roof sometimes things are a little tight. I didn’t have a huge office area or open room I could convert to a little home school area for my daughter. I also still work four days a week and do not have all day to sit down and do schooling so I had to get creative.
I found some inspiration online and put together a 'pop-up school' that can easily be used for learning and then put away when we are done. I used a big tri-fold board like this one from the dollar store to create our main school board. I found it works best to use this as our daily calendar and we use it for different activities including a felt play area, weather, seasons and even a list of chores.
Need ideas for activities? Check out my other posts:
Now you don’t need to spend a ton of money on unnecessary supplies and fancy workbooks: just use what you have around the house! Preschoolers do not respond that well to just sitting down and looking at a workbook anyway. They need movement, activities, songs and tons of games! For counting activities you could find random toys or items that you could use instead.
I like to have themes and then I try to use what we already have for activities. For example one day our theme was insects so we used my daughter's plastic toy bugs. We worked on math by counting them, we sorted each bug by type and color, looked at the similarities and differences between the bugs and used them in playdough for a sensory activity. Use what you already have, like tons of action figures, cars or barbies. Your child will likely be engaged too if it's a toy they already love.
Instead of buying a million overpriced workbooks I found it better to create my own using some free printables I found online. I also designed some of my own to supplement it and I was able to tweak the items to fit my daughters interests, strengths and weaknesses. I will be creating some of my own printables and will offer those for free in a future post so stay tuned.
Using the big tri-fold board is great for tiny spaces because when we are done with school time I can easily fold it up and put it under the couch. As far as craft supplies and our learning tools I originally used a decorative box but we out-grew that real quick. So now I use this really cool multi-drawer organizer that has worked great for storage.
I highly recommend an organizer like this where the drawers can easily be pulled out by little hands. It makes learning so much more easy when my daughter can just grab the container she needs and when we are done it easily stores away. It's tall and skinny design also makes this ideal for tiny rooms and it offers a bunch of storage.
Most of the printables including games and worksheets I was able to fit into one 3-ring binder that I also bought from the dollar store ($1). So storage is not a problem at all since almost everything fits in one compact place. The Dollar Tree also has tons of flashcards to choose from for only $1 a pack like these phonics cards. I grabbed a few different ones and we incorporate these into our lesson plans.
As far as what we go over I have a structured chart outlining different skills and activities that we need to do for each school session. Since I still work I create lessons that are about an hour long which we do every night around dinner time. There will be a future post going over the lesson plans I use with my kids including free printables. So subscribe and stay tuned for more.
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