My seven year old began first grade this year. She is the oldest and her younger sister, who is five, began her first year of kindergarten. We are using a Waldorf inspired curriculum which stresses a slow progress up to reading and other academics. While her oldest sister and I work on form drawing and learning numbers and letters, I wanted to give my kindergartener and the even younger sister, 2, a few activities that help them to feel involved when I can’t be one on one with them and challenge them just a bit. In Donna Simmons’ Kindergarten With Your Four to Six Year Old she recommends filling a jar with different kinds of beans and then pouring them out for your child to sort and then re-layer in the jar.
So I did that plus made a couple more for them. One jar holds a mixture of colored buttons. The girls enjoy finding different ways to group them and actually find this one a little challenging because there’s not always a clear answer for which group a button should go in. I also made a jar filled with seashells, mini pine cones, various nut shells, and acorn caps. And, of course, one with four kinds of dried beans.
It can be challenging to keep the little ones busy and happy while the older children are doing their lessons but I’m finding that having a few activities at hand that require just enough concentration from them helps us get from lessons to things that involve them more pretty smoothly. What kind of things do your little ones work on during your older child’s home school (or homework) lessons? Please do share in the comments!