Encouragment/ Homeschooling

How to Entertain Toddlers During School

Entertaining a toddler during school time can be quite the challenge! We've all been there. Here are my tried and true tips for entertaining a toddler during school time. With these ideas you will be on your way to a smoother homeschooling experience!

There is always a little girl quietly chattering away while I’m doing a phonics or math lesson. She’s usually twirling around in the center of the room as we are working on a science lesson. She keeps me on toes as I am trying to work around her busy self.

Some days, though, especially when she’s sick or extra clingy, she wants to be more disruptive instead of playing quietly to herself. Those days pose quite a challenge to keep her entertained while teaching my little learners well.

I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Many of us are homeschooling while having a toddler underfoot.

This is our second year of homeschooling. My second year of learning how to wrangle a toddler or two while trying to teach.

As the mama and teacher, it is up to us to plan how things will go. If we don’t take the time to plan then we are essentially planning to fail.

While you are preparing for school, be sure to plan what it is that you are going to do with your little ones during school time. We all know that a child left to himself brings his mother to shame (Proverbs 29:15).



Kids love stickers and toddlers are no different. Buy stickers in bulk or on clearance any chance you get. Stock up and always keep it stocked. If you can find stickers that appeal to your little one, you’ll be even better off.

My Little Lady will sit at her desk for half of school time just putting stickers on a piece of paper. She loves and she only gets to do it during school time.


This year we added an animal and alphabet stamp sets to our school supplies. This keeps my toddlers very entertained! I love that we get educational use out of them but they double as a way to keep the toddler busy.

Glueing Scraps

Since we do a lot of crafts, we have an abundance of scrap pieces. I have a special basket that these pieces go in. I will often grab a handful, a glue stick and a piece of paper and let my little one go to down creating her own craft. She feels like she is doing school creating her own masterpiece. This works so well! It is one of her favorites and it costs pennies!

Lauri Puzzles

toddler dong Laurie puzzle

I honestly stumbled upon this trick this school year. I wish I had done it last year when I had 2 toddlers. I simply underestimated how much they are capable of doing. My Little Lady can take these puzzles apart and do them all by herself. It keeps her busy and concentrated as she is thinking and not “playing”.

She has a harder time with the kid one but does great with the alphabet one. There are a bunch to choose from.

Entertaining a toddler during school time can be quite the challenge! We've all been there. Here are my tried and true tips for entertaining a toddler during school time. With these ideas you will be on your way to a smoother homeschooling experience!


Dot to Dot Markers

When I try to get my toddler to color with crayons, it never lasts long. Why color during school time, when they can color any other time of the day? If they are set on being entertained and involved, regular coloring typically doesn’t last long, in my experience. But if I give them a dot to dot marker and a coloring page, you better believe that that will work for 20 minutes or more! That’s the kind of activity that we are searching for.

During School Time Only Toys

It is a good idea to have a bin of toys that are special because they only get played with during school. This will make the enjoyment from them last longer because they get put away when it’s not school time. Puzzles, blocks, or anything that interests your little one will work great. That may mean Thomas trains for your little guy or a tea party set for you little lady.

iPad Games

I don’t typically like my kids to play on my iPad, so this doesn’t happen much with her. But it worked wonders last year when my then 3-year-old wasn’t doing preschool yet. He’s very tech savvy and could handle the iPad well enough to have it on his own. There are so many free games to choose from. I bought special kid headphones and he was set with little help from me. If you have a toddler who is like this, then this will be a great option for you. My Little Lady would need help every 5 seconds so we don’t go this route with her often.


This is a last resort activity. I hate playdough! If she is set on making sure her presence is known, I will get out a container of playdough and hand her some mini plastic cookie cutters. She’s all set. Becuase this is rare, she is usually entertained for the remainder of the school time. Then I have to let everyone do playdough.

Special TV Show or Movie

This is another last resort option. We rarely watch movies and TV shows so when they get a chance to they are excited!

We typically get hit with constant sickness in the winter, often during this time she is out of control cranky. I will set up a special show and get her comfy before starting school. She enjoys this because it’s such a treat.

Don’t feel guilty if you have to resort to this option! Sometimes it will be the only thing that allows you teach a critical phonics lesson. Sometimes we need to have our full attention on teaching the fundamental lessons in school. You are not a bad mom or teacher if you need to utilize this!


After two years of homeschooling with a toddler or two, these are my tried and true ways to entertain them. Many times my Little Lady is content to play quietly at her desk or on the floor, sometimes she’s happy to sit on my lap quietly and other times she’s a handful that needs to be entertained. When those times occur it is smart to already have activities on hand that you can pull out at a moment’s notice.


Your turn! How do you entertain your toddler during homeschooling? What would you add to the list? Let’s talk in the comments below!

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  • Reply
    ~ linda
    April 29, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Great ideas! These little ones need this wonderful stuff to keep them busy but learning at the same time. Plus have fun! What tools you have shared.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Great ideas! I just started stickers with my 1 1/2 year old and he loves them! So some of these other ideas I’m going to have to try pretty soon- especially when baby #2 comes in June! I’ve never done dot to dot markers, so that’s something I’m looking forward to doing!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    This is such a great list! I never know how to keep my littlest ones entertained while I’m doing preschool with the oldest. I pinned and will be referring to this list often! Thanks! -Jessica, Sweet Little Ones

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      May 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      I found I needed more ideas in the arsenal when we started Kindergarten because that is 5 days a week versus the 3 in preK. These have worked wonderfully, I know they’ll help you too!

  • Reply
    Julie @ Logger's Wife
    May 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I love these ideas. This fall I will be started a more formal preschool with my just turned 4yr old and will have a 6 month old to deal with. Eventually she’ll be a toddler though. Saving this post for then. 😉 #ShineBlogHop

  • Reply
    May 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    These are great tips, Ana! I have to agree with you on the stickers. My daughter is 2 1/2 and she’s loved stickers since before she could walk! It’s a great quiet time activity and have even used it with her when she’s potty training! Thanks so much for sharing these useful tips on #shinebloghop 🙂

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      May 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Same here, stickers are big for any occasion! Our 5 year old still loves them too.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    These are great ideas. I especially like the idea of stamps and gluing scraps of paper. We haven’t tried those before, but I think they’d be a hit!

    • Reply
      Anastasia Safee
      May 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      I was shocked at how much she loves to glue stuff. Cheap and keeps her busy for a long time-it’s a double win!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Stickers! They are always a favorite!!! Thanks so much for sharing at Waiting on…Wednesday! I hope you’ll join us again tomorrow!

    Holly @ While I’m Waiting

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