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How to Teach Your Toddler with Supplies You Already Own

Yep! You can teach your toddler his ABCs and 1,2,3s with things you already have on hand! It doesn’t have to be super-structured or difficult. I know. If you know me well, you probably spit out your coffee, surprised to read that. It’s true, though! You can use what you have on hand and easily add to your teaching supplies from garage sales, consignment sales, etc.

How to Teach Your Toddler with Supplies You Already Own     l #toddler #preschool Teach Your Toddler – Books

I’ll bet you have a ton of books sitting around, right? Well, turn those into a concentrated learning opportunity! Pull out all those books (preferably during naptime, if there is one today!). Group them into “subjects.” Don’t you feel so teacher-ish??

Some ideas for groups are:

  • animals
  • colors
  • music and songs
  • shapes
  • numbers
  • ABCs
  • household items
  • parts of the body
  • different languages

Once you’ve got a group of books together, you can focus on those books one day each week. In our house, we have a stack of books for colors/ABCs, music/ASL, animals, parts of the body and shapes/numbers. Each day I read through a stack of books and focus on that “subject” area, rather than attempting to draw out learning points from every page and each subject. It’s a whole lot more fun for me – and I think it makes it a little easier for my 2 year olds to pick up on what we’re doing.

More than likely you will end up with a few books that don’t really fit into a subject. These are fun to just throw in to a stack on a random day, just to keep them from getting bored. Or me. Yes, it’s really for my sanity.

Teach Your Toddler – Flash Cards and Printables

You can also find free and/or cheap flash cards that can supplement what you are doing with the books.

My babies love learning new signs so we go through some of the only flash cards I’ve actually purchased new: Baby Signing Time has an awesome selection! And they work!

Many websites have free printables that you can give your little one(s) to color…for all of two minutes. But hey! That’s two entire minutes to sip your coffee! I’ve found some great printables here.

What Else I Use

Now, I’m also loving the curriculum I purchased to use over the next couple of years. The ideas she includes are so helpful and very cost-efficient, too! It’s only $4.99Check out The Preschool Journey.

Every few weeks I start on a new lesson. And it’s random. And laid-back. But it’s fun to have something to pull in when I know it’s gonna be a whiny sort of day!

Teach Your Toddler – But When?!

Again, teaching your toddler doesn’t have to be a structured “Circle Time” type of activity. It can just be learning – a precursor to “unschooling.”

I’m so grateful that my babies are a tad obsessed with books. They know that meal-time also equals book-time. And they beg for it. So we spend a few minutes at almost every meal reading through that day’s stack of books. That’s it. Nothing terribly fancy. We go through a pile of books and flash cards and printables that are focused on one or two subject areas.

At 2 years old, they recognized shapes, colors, an endless amount of words in English and ASL, and several letters and numbers. All from just reading books, coloring free printables and playing at preschool!

What books are your faves to teach your toddler with right now?


  1. You are so right – we don’t have to purchase much to teach our little ones and keep them busy. My favorite things right now are just teaching him songs and counting. He loves the attention and he’s remembering! Sharing on FB later today.

  2. What a great idea and perfect for use in our home! Thanks for sharing – pinned!

  3. Yes! ๐Ÿ™‚ and If you do need/want to buy a few things for uber cheap($1!!!!) and not use up printer ink at home or if you don’t have a printer, the dollar tree has a teacher section as well as the $1 section @target right before school starts. You can get flash cards, books, workbooks, and even some fun educational or just colorful and fun decorations for your school room or area. I thought of Ty when we were there yesterday! So much fun stuff!

  4. Great ideas! One of my favorite teaching books is called ABCs of God Loves me from Tommy Nelson. It goes through the letter of the alphabet and then for each letter is gives an attribute of God. So not only is she learning her ABCs, but about the character of God too – love that! For numbers she loves a touch and feel book that goes from 1-5. 5 is her favorite, but I think that is because it is sparkly fish! She is on a fish obsession right now! ๐Ÿ˜›


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