My Homemade Toddler Curriculum (Part 4 Continued)

*WARNING*  This post is unashamedly long.

Welcome back!  Here I’m going to share my favorite Toddler Teaching Resources and Tools.  I’m a bit picky in my teaching supplies.  These are the qualifications:

1) They must be educational and fun for both of us (Mom and Toddler)

2) They can’t take up a lot of space (We have a small home without a lot of storage space)

3) They can’t be terribly messy.  (I know a lot of hands-on sensory things are in vogue nowadays, but for the good morale of my home, I like to keep messy things OUTSIDE)

So without further ado…

(Language Arts – GOALS)

Be able to name all capital and lowercase letters

Know letter sounds

Develop a Love of Reading


If I could pick our most effective resource, it would be the Leapfrog Letter factory DVD (they also have it available on Netflix).  Gabriel learned all his capital letters and letter sounds practically on his own with this one before he turned two.  They also have the Word Factory which he likes to watch, about early word formation, but I think it’s a bit beyond him yet.


We also enjoyed Dr. Seuss’ ABC book.  It’s catchy and fun to read.  One of my favorites.


We used this Melissa & Doug letter puzzle to learn our lowercase letters.


And of course, I read to him daily.  Look back to Part 3 of this series to see what we do for that.

(History – GOALS)

Become familiar with the foundational Bible stories (Creation, Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus’ birth and death/resurrection)


As I mentioned earlier, my favorite Bible story series for teaching toddlers is the Arch Book Series.  I think they’re recommended for ages 5+, but Gabriel loves them.  It’s like reading a Dr. Seuss book (in rhyming rhythm) but with Bible stories.  They have tons of them (like, 300?) and include some of the less common stories as well (Like Ezekiel and the dried bones, the story of Zerubbabel, etc)


I found this Heroes of the Bible DVD in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart and decided to try it out.  I wasn’t hopeful at first, since it was so cheap, but I love, love, LOVE it.  My copy includes 12 different stories, about 50 minutes each, and including ALL of the Bible story’s details.  Seriously, it leaves nothing out.  For example, in the story of Samson, it doesn’t just start with him meeting Delilah like most stories do.  It actually starts back when he finds his first Philistine girlfriend, goes through the wedding feast and her being given to another man, shows him burning the fields with torches on fox tails, etc.  Definitely not the sugar-coated Bible story you usually find.  I tried to find it online for you, but apparently it’s a Wal-Mart special to sell all 12 stories in one DVD.  Everywhere else, it’s $5 per story.


(I should note that although I love the details and especially the OT stories, the Jesus voice/animation is a bit wussy and over-gentle.  In fact, I’ve stopped showing Gabriel the Jesus episodes because it annoys me that he’s portrayed in such a… dare I say, effeminate manner.  I almost expect him to say “please and thank-you” while he kicks out the greedy sellers in the temple).  But as far as the other stories are concerned, they’re great.

Another hands-on tool I like to use is this felt book that Gabriel can arrange the characters and major props in.  It also makes a great quiet church toy.  You can find it on amazon.


(Music – GOALS)

Introduce the love of Music (and listen to good stuff around the house regularly!)

Learn the liturgical (always repeated) songs we sing every Sunday


My favorite albums right now are:

Hide ‘em In Your Heart Volumes 1 & 2 by Steve Green (great, often used Bible verses set to non-annoying music)


Action Bible Songs (DVD or CD) – In moderation…  These songs get on my nerves a bit more quickly.  They’re more ‘Sunday School’ songs than Bible verses, but Gabriel still likes them.


Jamie Soles – Probably better for a bit older of an age group, but I plan on using these A LOT.  This guy has his Bible stuff down and conveys it through the music well.  Ever thought that memorizing all the Kings of Israel would be impossible?  Not anymore.  These songs are fun to listen to for kids and adults as well, and I find myself learning a lot with them.

Image (Art – GOALS)

Learn the names of basic colors

Learn the names of common shapes

Beginning Pen Control

Learn to color between the lines


Books on Colors (I have several, but not a particular one I’ve fallen in love with)

Crayons & Coloring Books

Chalk on the front porch 

Gabriel learned a lot of his Shapes & Colors with this DVD:


And we learned shapes together with these hands-on puzzles by Melissa & Doug…



And I LOVE these Priddy books.  They’re nicely dry erase too, so we can keep using them over and over again.

Image    Image

(Science – GOALS))

Common Animals and their Sounds

Basic habitats (farm, jungle, desert)

Basic Plant info (flowers, grass, trees, needing water and sunshine)

Body Parts

Human growth concepts (starting in Mommy’s tummy, growing from baby to child to adult)


What Your Preschooler Needs to Know actually has a really good Science section for toddlers, although I’m a bit unenthusiastic about the rest of the book.


The rest of our science goals we just talk about when we’re outside or the subject comes up.  I’m still looking for something to teach the habitat thing, though.

 (Math – GOALS)

Be Able to Count to 10

Recognize numbers 1-10

Count fingers or objects in a row


Again, our Leapfrog DVD worked wonders for us here.  We used Numbers Ahoy (available on Netflix) and Gabriel loved it.


Leapfrog Math Circus is also good, but is a bit more advanced and includes things like addition and subtraction which still goes completely over his head.

For more hands-on tools, we use Lauri Numbers & Pegs (good for counting, sorting by color, and swordfighting)


And these Lauri number puzzles (which is good for teaching the actual numbers visually)



And these Slide & Learn Cards (which helps connect the counting of objects to the visual number)


(Faith – GOALS)

 Begin Catechism

Memorize The Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, and commonly used verses (a joyful heart is good medicine, children obey your parents in the Lord, etc)

Have a basic understanding of baptism and communion

Learn to sit through church quietly


The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 we’ve been saying together at bedtime.  As for the other verses, we say them together as we have need throughout the day.

We practice our Church’s Children’s Catechism every day.  He gets an M&M each time he says his answers, so he always looks forward to them.

Hide ‘em In Your Heart CDs for Scripture set to Music (see above)

We explain things in church as they happen (communion, baptism, etc), but I’ll occasionally talk about them at home too

I plan to write a whole post someday about teaching your toddler to sit through church, so stay tuned for that.

(Life Skills – GOALS)

Be Potty-Trained during awake periods

Be able to play alone in bedroom for ½ hr

Excuse himself from the table before leaving

Bring dishes to the side of the sink

Speak clearly without whining even when frustrated

Treat the baby (and pets) gently

Help with basic house chores or meal prep

Yes sir/Yes mam’s and obeying quickly

Staying in his toddler bed until Mom comes to get him

Straighten the blanket on his bed after waking



Although these are skills that are usually taught throughout the day, I’ve been known to practice specific things even when it’s not the time for them.

A game I learned from a book written by the Duggars is the Obeying Game:

She’ll give specific commands, some just for fun (jump up and down three times) and some real jobs (pick up all your mega blocks).  The child should then say “Yes, mam!” really loud and obey quickly.  If this is done, then they get an M&M.

Gabriel has loved this game, and it really has helped him obey better throughout the day, even when no M&Ms are given.  At the very least, you as the Mom, now know what they’re capable of.  After all, if they suddenly know how to pick up their toys when candy is given but not at other times, then you know you’re dealing with a discipline issue and not a maturity one.

Similar games can be played achieving other skills, such as making his bed or taking dishes to the sink.

How about you?  What is your family’s favorite toddler resources or teaching tools?

10 thoughts on “My Homemade Toddler Curriculum (Part 4 Continued)

  1. cassandraperu says:

    Love all the thoughts and things that help you! We have similar things we do with Jane thus far. And I like little space required, reusable items, and fun stuff.

    I also like a set of ABC flashcards we have. Once laminated, they can be used over and over. One one side is the Aa, and on the other side is the same Aa but with a picture of an apple. I like it because to start out, I place a few cards out (once we have gone over them), and we play it a little like memory. “where’s the A for apple?” And she has to recognize the ‘Aa” card, turn it over and voila, an apple. 🙂

    I also like this book for shapes ( as well. It is super fun because it transfers shapes to actual objects. I use it and have her find the match in the book, and then say “Now can you find any circles in the living room?” We use this game also for colors. The scavenger hunt around the house! She really enjoys it!
    Margaret also loves this book for church. (it is sort of like two books in one).

  2. Jenny says:

    I love the Leapfrog movies and both of my son’s (now 9 and 5) have grown up with them – my eldest was already reading at 2nd grade level when he started Kinder and I have to give credit to those shows!

    Also, since you’re a Christian household, I find the Veggie Tales series help my children remembering their bible stories and teachings. I always prescreen them to make sure of what they are watching and so we can discuss them after. My kids really enjoy those, and they have some cute songs.

    • Thanks for reading, Jenny! I also love the Veggie Tales movies, although we only have a couple of them right now. I need to expand our collection! I have some good growing-up memories of them myself. 🙂

  3. tailoring says:

    You are so awesome! I don’t believe I’ve truly read a single thing like
    this before. So good to discover another person with
    a few unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously..
    many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the
    internet, someone with a little originality!tailoring

    • I don’t know how it happened, but for some reason your comment was sent to my spam folder and I just now saw it! Anyway, thanks for the encouragement Tailoring! It means a lot, even if I don’t get it until 10 days later! 🙂 Glad to have you along for the fun!

  4. Heather Elissa says:

    I love your ideas I don’t know what your planning as for curriculum with Matthias but since him and my little one Arianna (will be one in December) are around the same age I wanted to share a couple places with you I am using to start collecting stuff for fun education with her at about 1 & you may have seen these but I would love to read what you plan to do with him

    • Thanks for sharing, Heather! Matthias will be one in November, so they are very similar ages. I do a lot of what’s mentioned in those articles and a lot of sign language. Babies change SO MUCH from their first birthday to the second. At the beginning of the year, they’re still learning their first words. At the end of the second, many are capable of learning letters and numbers. Just play it by ear and teach what your little one enjoys. I don’t follow a ‘curriculum’ for one year olds, as much as I focus on life skills like walking, talking, and learning to obey without throwing fits. You can find out more of my goals for him this year here: Thanks for reading!

  5. Jenny says:

    How do you have time to do all this? It overwhelms me to think of it. I wish I could be like you and be able to organize myself. It might be too late for my son as he is 5 and starts kindergarten this year. I struggle with “do I homeschool or not?” I admire people like you that have “got it together.’ I am hoping this website is going to help me to calm down and take time and relax and not worry so much about it that I don’t do it at all. I have already checked out the website with Fly Lady and LOVED it. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to share with others. I am ready to learn!

    • I'm Kelsey! says:

      It’s never too late to start, Jenny! I’m still not the model of organizational perfection I desire to be, but I find myself getting a little bit better each day. I’m sure you can do the same! As for the home school question, I was a homeschool grad myself and LOVED it. So you can guess where my vote lies. 😉 Thanks for reading. I’m glad to have you along for the fun!

Ooh, a comment! I LOVE comments!