Learning Resources for Toddlers

IMG_5848One of my projects lately has been to map out a plan for spending some more purposeful learning time with Karis this summer and into the fall. My goal is to spend 1 hour each morning, from 10-11am, during Titus’ morning nap, to have some special one-on-one learning time with Mommy. The first half hour will be an activity followed by a half hour of reading books together (keeping encouraging that love for reading thanks to the local library!). I am excited to explore together with her! Here are some of the resources and ideas we are using…

My Father’s World is a wonderful Bible based program that offers curriculum from preschool through High school. My MIL used the kindergarten program this past year and highly recommended it to me. They also have a toddler package that includes Lauri learning toys (which also are available through Amazon as linked to below). Great to have on hand for toddlers if you are working with older children as well and very reasonably priced. We will be using the following two activities:

Toddler Tote – promotes color and shape recognition, concentration, fine motor and eye-hand coordination. Made of crepe rubber, it’s safe, quiet, and completely washable. This is a great little kit for church or traveling too! Karis received this tote for her birthday and absolutely loves it! Keeping all the pieces together is the only challenge but then Lauri replaces them for really cheap.

Shape & Sorter -Helps kids master essential skills from pegging to the challenge of sorting 5 Picture 1colors or shapes. 25 inviting, chunky shapes slide over pegs to promote eye-hand coordination.

Preschool Activity Bags – a friend of mine coordinated a preschool activity bag exchange using Preschool Activity in A Bag book. With a group of twenty mothers, each participate made twenty of one activity and then we will swap (this next Tuesday!). A fun way to get a lot of different activities in ziplocs to keep the toddlers busy. I am in the process of making 100 little bean bags for my project (5 bean bags per bag with a little target practice sheet), but then I will get 19 different activities in return. This should keep her busy for awhile!

Slow & Steady, Get Me Ready by June Oberlander – we used this off and on this past year and love the fun activities for ages 0-5 years. I love how it utilizes things you have around your home for fun learning activities.

Other activities we have: playdough, tempera painting, puzzles, wooden lacing beads & lacing shapes.

Once every few weeks we will plan to make a trip to the library together and enjoy the reading times and selecting some new books.

I also want to purposefully start listening to hymns and Scripture together through out day, using such tools as Hymns for A Kid’s Heart (a little devotional based on hymns and includes a CD with children singing various hymns) and the dramatized Bible on CD. I want to water her little heart with the Word of God from a young age and these resources would assist me in that.

Do you have any fun learning activity ideas to share for toddlers?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

38 Responses to Learning Resources for Toddlers

  1. youngmomwife May 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    I have been trying to find something stimulating to do with our son (who is 2) BESIDES buy him yet another toy that he will play with for 5 minutes and then be done with. I love all of your ideas and can't wait to try some of them.

  2. Rachel R. September 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    One of our favorite preschool toys is the Lauri train puzzle with the pegs. This gets tremendous use in our house, from toddlers who just like to play with the pegs, up to preschoolers who use it to learn math concepts.

  3. Christy June 28, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    Another thought would be to consider purchasing through My Father’s World directly rather than amazon. MFW supports translating God’s Word into other languages with a large percentage of their profits.

    I posted a homeschool update and what we’re doing this summer/ fall! :) http://onelittlewordsheknew.blogspot.com/2009/06/homeschool-update-summer-fall.html

  4. roadschooler June 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    When my 2 boys were very small we put a foam ABC mat on the floor of their playroom. It was so much fun to take the squares apart and try to put them back in the correct order, and then later, remove the letters from the squares and have them try to locate the correct ones and put them back. We played lots of games with that mat…”stand on a G”, “find a vowel”, “which one does your name start with?”, etc. Great for kids that are kinesthetic learners.
    http://www.amazon.com/Uppercase-We-Sell-Mats-Puzzle-Each/dp/B0012YMWO0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1245700722&sr=8-3

  5. Debra June 22, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    If you want some fun dancing music for toddlers/preschoolers check out gofishguys.com They are a group of christian guys that make kids music that won’t drive parents crazy. I confess I love to listen to their music too!

  6. Christy June 21, 2009 at 1:04 pm #

    We’re going to be starting MFW K this fall and used the preschool package this past year along with a few other things. The preschool kit (not the toddler) comes with a GREAT little booklet of ideas on how to use the toys. I posted our preschool ideas here – http://onelittlewordsheknew.blogspot.com/2009/03/preschool-homeschool.html I’ll be posting more about our preschool/ K adventure this fall. :)

  7. Soccy June 20, 2009 at 8:31 am #

    oops. I forgot to give the link to the Montessori site
    http://www.montessorimaterials.org/res.htm

  8. Soccy June 20, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    I homeschool both of my daughters (& will also homeschool my little 7 mo old when the time comes). One of the things we started with were the Montessori moveable alphabet. They can start with this when they are a toddler. There are plenty of ways to make the materials yourself, but I highly recommend buying the wooden moveable alphabet because of the high use of the materials from all your children. Here is a website where many share how they made their own materials. Using the moveable alphabet and sandpaper letters, my daughters got a feel for each letter and began to spell before they could read. This really helps with reading later on. Anyway, check it out. It’s a great resource. Also, try BOB books by scholastic. http://www.bobbooks.com/ These were the first books my daughter read by herself at age 4. I cannot tell you the joy she had when she was able to read her very first book. These books are wonderful. My second daughter is now reading them and my First grader is now reading at a 4th grade level. Well, good luck. I love your blog.

  9. Julie June 18, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    I started my blog 18 months ago when my (then) 3 year old son was driving me CRAZY. I began learning about Maria Montessori and it radically changed my attitude toward my son. I blogged about the activities we did (see the labels Montessori and preschool).

    funmajors.blogspot.com

    • Katie June 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

      A great book based on Montessori principles is “Mommy, Teach Me!” by Barbara Curtis. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this book!! She is a Christian and approaches teaching as an integral part of God’s plan for parents. The activities are engaging and educational. They teach not only ‘skills’ but character too! You can buy it on Amazon (as I did) where they also link to other publications of hers.
      Grace and Peace,
      Katie

  10. Deena Barton June 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    Hi….
    I have just had two of my three children graduate within the last year, and I just wish someone would have told me sooner about Veritas Press…. I do not use the curriculum, as we have our own, but it is based around the Veritas Press History and Bible cards. Our children all have such a love for reading and books recommended by Veritas are challenging, but every bit worth the work (my “slower” learner even begs to read some books before they are scheduled; this would have never happened when we started with a boxed curriculum). I have not used the Phonics program, as we discovered Veritas after we passed that, but have heard wonderful reviews and knowing the other products they sell, I would definitely try and will buy for future grandchildren. I encourage you to sign up for their catalog, as there are helpful articles… I also highly recommend you reading through Charlotte Mason’s works…. there is just so much to her writings that homeschoolers and mommies (daddies, too) can gain from reading her works. Also check out Christine Miller’s products, my children loved her reprints of 1800 era history books written for elementary students, but the stories are captivating for toddlers as well. It just amazes me how a toddlers vocabulary is so enriched by using older students books…. I think so many toddler books tend to not really stretch and ignite a young child’s mind. Also of great interest to our family is books offered by Vision Forum, even the youngest of children can be read short passages of truly great works, and of course learn alot about people’s faith, culture, and more about the world in which they live. Blessings to your family.
    Deena

  11. Jessica June 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    We have used MFW the last 2 years w my children…this coming year will be year #3. I have 6 children 10 & under. MFW things are great, bible based & family friendly. I can’t say enough good things about their things! My kids love it too & ask to do school!
    Jessica

  12. Kelly June 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    I was going to mention the Steve Green “Hide ‘Em In Your Heart” CD’s, but someone beat me to it. We love them in our house. Just scripture put to song. My children (ages 6 and 3) have memorized lots of scripture due to those songs. They are great!

    Another preschool curriculum you should check out is Little Hands To Heaven. It is from Heart of Dakota publishing http://www.heartofdakota.com/ and is so so so wonderful! So easy to use, and VERY Christ centered. I can not recommend this program highly enough. We are currently using it with our 3 yr old and just finished the kindergarten program (Little Hearts for His Glory) with our 6 yr old. She and I had so many meaningful talks and she has learned so much. I thank God everyday for this curriculum.

    Have you checked out the Melissa & Doug toys? We love their toys and puzzles. Very nice quality, educational and quite reasonably priced.

  13. shannon morrison June 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    I love Slow and Steady! Also invaluable are Play with Purpose series by Theodosia Sideropoulos Spewock. Have you read the well-trained mind? there are a couple of pages in that book for toddlers.

  14. Hallee June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    You mentioned going to the library every few weeks — our library has a weekly story time for birth to age five. They do songs, read a story, do more songs, read another story, then have a craft time. It takes about 30-45 mins. My son turns 3 next month and we’ve been going for 2 years now. He wakes up on Friday mornings saying, “It’s library day!”

  15. Anna @ Purposely Parenting June 18, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    I’m slow in getting to read this, but I’m so happy you posted on this topic. I have been struggling with the exact same thing – wanting to have some quality, learning time with my 2 year old, and not knowing exactly where to go with it. I’ll look into the resources you are using – thanks!! And I’d love to hear some updates in the future as to how things are going!

  16. Amy Fisher June 18, 2009 at 5:19 am #

    What every preschooler needs to know!! Core knowledge!! Excellent resource!!

    http://coreknowledge.org/CK/index.htm

    I would strongly urge every parent to go to the website and research everything on it! You can get Ed Hirsch’s books inexpensively on Amazon.com!!

    “Dedicated to excellence and fairness in early education, the Core Knowledge Foundation is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1986 by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and author of many acclaimed books including Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them. The Foundation conducts research on curricula, develops books and other materials for parents and teachers, offers workshops for teachers, and serves as the hub of a growing network of Core Knowledge schools.”

    From the web page.

    I strongly believe that this is an invaluable resource for every parent no matter how you choose to educate your children.

  17. Lauren June 17, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Oh, I forgot. I know they’re a little old-school, but the Steve Green “Hide ‘em in your Heart” CDs and DVDs are an utterly invaluable addition to our home and car. My son knows nearly every single song, and he is beginning to see the connection between God’s Word and every part of our lives.

    The other day we were having a counsel over him being unkind and snatching from his baby sister, and I said, “Would you like for Mama to snatch something away from you?” and he shook his head. “Well, darling, then we should not snatch from other people.”

    He thought for a second, and then said, “Remember my song about ‘Do to others what you would have them do to you’ Mama?”

    What a rich opportunity to pour Truth into his heart!

  18. Lauren June 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    I love the things you mentioned! I have been thinking about getting intentional with my son this coming fall, as he just turned 3 today! We talk about numbers, colors, shapes, animals, etc., as they come up naturally in our daily activities or in our reading, but I’d like to schedule some morning “table time” beginning in September.

    Letter of the Week (that Audrey mentioned in comment #10) is wonderful, comprehensive, fun, and completely customizable for your family’s and child’s needs. And it’s free! It’s definitely what we’ll be using as we sort out our schooling options so that we don’t feel like we need to purchase a curriculum.

    Also, one day this past winter I just googled “rainy day toddler activities” and 1000s of pages came up with so many fun and interesting ideas of games to play and crafts to make with all different ages of children. They can all be learning opportunities, if you know how to capture it!

  19. Michelle June 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    I second Tot School! :-)

    http://delightfullearning.blogspot.com/search/label/Tot%20School

  20. Vaishali June 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    Wonderful ideas, Lindsay. My son is about the same age as Karis and I often wondered how you spend time with her. I also liked all the suggestions given to you by your lovely friends.

    If you are looking for an online resource, try http://www.starfall.com.

    What is Tempera painting?

  21. Tara Rison June 17, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    I own The Itty-Bitty Bookworm, a literature-based preschool curriculum. We have a toddler program, called the “Bailey Curriculum”. Let me know if you are interested in reviewing it!

    • Lindsay June 18, 2009 at 6:11 am #

      I would love to check it out!

  22. Beth C June 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    We bought the Seeds Family Worship CD’s for our kids, and we listen to them in the car, during meals sometimes, and during other daily activities. They are just Bible verses put to music, and Bella has been singing along with them since she was about 18 months old. I highly recommend the CD’s since the kids like them, but they are beautiful songs that even adults can enjoy!

  23. Heather T. June 17, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    I don’t know if you’ve bought the peg activity yet, but I wanted to warn you that it’s pretty easy to rip the pegs from the foam mat, and no amount of super glue will fix it for any length of time. This experience came from watching ten toddlers with it, but it only took two hands to rip each one, and they weren’t being aggressive; they thought it was part of the objective. I find this type of peg board superior to others, however, because it doesn’t label the shapes on the board, so you can have her sort by shape OR color, rather than it being a fixed thing.
    Just a heads up. :-)

  24. Friend June 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I just entered your blog for a BlogLuxe Award. You are so inspiring! Thank you for writing!

  25. FACS Lady June 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    What great ideas! Thanks for posting on this topic.

    My friends and I also engage in toy swaps. Things like puzzles and books can get boring to my daughter when she has done them over and over again so we will swap puzzles or books with friends for a couple of weeks. Then when we give our original items back after a month or two the items become “new” again!

  26. Audrey June 17, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    http://www.letteroftheweek.com is a good website. I plan on using it for my 2-year-old after I get into a routine after the baby is born. Might take a while (I’m due in October), but we’ll start it eventually!

    • Hallee June 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm #

      I have two boys – 1 and 3 – and letteroftheweek.com is a wonderful resource for both of them. I’m not good with coming up with ideas, but I can take someone else’s ideas and run with them – and that is what that site offers.

  27. Jennifer June 17, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Thanks for the great ideas. I’ve been trying to come up with some learning activities for my little one (almost 2) and me to do together.

    Thanks.

  28. willow June 17, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    I cannot recommend enough the dramatized version of the Bible for little ones to listen to! My 5 yr old listens has outgrown naptime but still “rests” for two hours in the afternoon. During this time she can listen to any of her worship CD’s or Bible CD’s that she’d like. From a purely educational standpoint her reading has exploded and I know this is large part because she often listens to a book of the Bible while following along. During our Easter devotional time she would often pipe up with the end of the verse my husband was reading our family…all because she spent so much time listening to the gospels.

    From a spiritual standpoint she will often come down from rest with something to “discuss” :) – and this last April came to us to tell us she felt like God wanted her to become a Christian. Such a blessing, listening to God’s Word, has been for our family! I have tried to play it while everyone is up and about but with three young ones it’s difficult to hear! This might be a good way for those that don’t have quite the chaos of older preschoolers to spend time with their toddlers. I hope to be able to do that more as they get older but for now those “quiet” times of the day are a perfect way to fill their hearts with a love for God’s Word.

    • Megan June 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

      There are new kids’ Bibles that come with a CD so they can listen and follow along. There is also a Dollar Tree that sells Bible Story books with CDs: two stories and a corresponding CD for only $1. The Dollar Tree here in Las Vegas sells quite a few Christian kids activity books, and other items, suprisingly enough. Maybe there are some near you. :o )

  29. Jen June 17, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    I love the idea of the activity bag swap!

  30. Stephanie June 17, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    Make alphabet or number “lily pads” with sidewalk chalk and hop like a frog from one to the next. Can be used with uppercase & lowercase letters; try starting with a letter other than “a”. Teach numbers 1-10 or teach skip counting by 2, 5, 10. I just thought of using this to teach the books of the Bible, the names of the 12 Apostles, etc while singing along.

    I love the Lauri activities / puzzles but we had to give or throw them away because one of my kids chewed on the pieces, making them unusable and she was also able to bite off corners. Just a “warning” for other moms with kids who like to chew on things.

  31. Tristan June 17, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    Try TotBooks:
    http://lapbooksbycarisa.homestead.com/TotBooks.html as well as the other links on Carissa’s site!

  32. Kristen S June 17, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    There is a blog called Chasing Cheerios and it is a journal about one woman’s daily learning activies she does with her child. Great blog:

    http://chasingcheerios.blogspot.com/

  33. Kristen S June 17, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    My favorite book I have gotten from the library is the Alphabet Art Book by Judy Press. The projects include a craft for each letter and then a corresponding animal. My 2 1/2 year old loves them. They take about ten minutes total and you only need a few things do do all the crafts!