Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"School Time" Toys

In the comment section of my post On Setting Goals, I was asked:
What are those "toys" that you take out only during school time? I struggle with getting my younger kids- 5, 4, 2,and 1 to leave me alone to work one on one with my first grader.
I think every mother of little ones must struggle with this! Right?? However, I notice that when I am organized it isn't quite as big of a challenge. I think making a point to start the school day with the little ones will definitely help.

This coming year I plan on spending 15 minutes working on some sort of memorization work: memorizing a poem or working on art appreciation, and then getting them started on a workbook, coloring, or "learning" toy/game.

We have a large variety of these "school time" toys that I have been collecting over the past years. My children look forward to playing with these toys, and I rotate them, so that they will hold their attention long enough for me to accomplish some school work with my older children.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Coloring Books (I have a basket full for the children to choose from at anytime.)
  • Various Memory or Matching Games
  • Stickers!!! My girls love stickers!

I also have a collection of videos that the little ones are allowed to watch during school time. Our favorite series is definitely Signing Time. We have most of the original series, and we recently added 1-3 of Season Two to our collection. I am hoping to add 4-7 for this coming school year.

These toys are by no means necessary, but I do find them very helpful!


  1. Wiki Stix!! That'd work!!

    Your little ones look so calm and cooperative. For which reason I believe I can no longer relate to you at all. (Just kidding!!!)

    My little boys have a hard time sharing my attention when it is obviously not on them. And they have a hard time playing sweetly together, too -- honestly, I think, for the same reason. You know: I'm at the table with my daughter, so this must be a good time to clock my brother on the head and steal all his toys.

    I wish I could say that I am a very calm and intuitive person who knows how to deftly handle such ongoing disruptions, but honestly, I stink at it!!!

    That's why I mostly do 1:1 during naptime.

    And why I'm praying that my 2yo has another year of naps in him!!!

    I love your idea of starting with the little ones. They will respond well to that, I think, and it could buy me a minute or two -- especially if I set them up with activities on opposite sides of the room!!! :)

    <3 mary

  3. Great toys shared Jessica! I have some of them but I need to get those pattern blocks and mighty minds. Thanks for all the info and links!

  4. As a side note . . . wooden puzzles, wooden lacing beads, pattern blocks,
    alphabet book, peg boards, ever wonder where these things were made from? God gave us the natural renewable resource of trees to produce our renewable forest products. From their extracts such as tree sap, trees provide the ingredients for syrup, cider, vitamins, fruit pie filling, yeast, and baby foods. They also contribute to producing chewing gum, toothpaste, crayons, steering wheels, paint, lacquer, turpentine, waxes, shampoo, and soap. Leaves and roots also provide oils for medicines and cosmetics. Leaves and roots also provide oils for medicines and cosmetics. Trees grow the coffee beans that we use in our drinks, and the nuts and fruits that we enjoy everyday. Trees are used to build homes and furniture, to produce firewood to heat our homes, guitars, magazines, birthday cards, notebooks, bowling alley lanes, playground sets, wooden blocks, baking cups, rulers, toys, coffee filters, candy wrappers, milk cartons, and the wood pellets that we burn in our stoves. More than 5,000 everyday products that we depend on and use come from trees. Support your local forestry!!!

    1. Hahaha! :) How did I not see this before? I will make sure to support our local forestry... And one awesome local forester in particular! ;)

  5. I followed your new post on curriculum over here wondering what you do with the little ones and I noticed some Discovery Toys on the list!! I'm an educational consultant with that company so I was glad to see it, but sadly your links are broken. Here are some that will work if you think about updating this post at some point.
    Place and Trace http://www.discoverytoys.com/PublicStore/event/15677/AM/product/Place-Trace,614.aspx#sthash.FwjJ3M9L.dpbs
    Playful Patterns http://www.discoverytoys.com/PublicStore/event/15677/AM/product/Playful-Patterns,629.aspx#sthash.ghEIuq3U.dpbs
    Unfortunately Busy Bugs is one we no longer offer.
    But Giant Pegboard would be another good choice for little ones to learn from while their big brothers and sisters are doing school http://www.discoverytoys.com/PublicStore/event/15677/AM/product/Giant-Pegboard,621.aspx#sthash.ZDvmvaLJ.dpbs

    1. Thank you! Can you tell that I, too, was a consultant at one point for DTs? There were so many broken links in this post and I was just in the process of updating them! I think it's time for me to do an updated "School Time Toys" post with some of our new favorites!

    2. Ooo pls. do! I got a lot of ideas here. We have some of these, but I picked out more. Thank you, thank you! Wikki Sticks! Ha, never knew what they were called and couldn't believe they are still made! How about Do a Dot. Good or bad? (Mess or not). Thank you!-Genevieve


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