Inside: Transform your morning routine with a toddler morning basket. The best part? You can use items you already have and make your morning easier at the same time!
For all the times your toddler has asked for 816.23 things before 7 AM…
TODDLER MORNING BASKET to the rescue.
It’s as easy as loading up a basket with 4-5 different things (you already have) that your toddler can engage in, with or without your help.
This simple basket has a certain magic to it because you can fill it with something different every day, or even the same items if your toddler likes things on repeat.
You DON’T have to go out and buy anything new, except maybe a basket and that’s a much-needed trip to Target you can blame on me 😉
Why use a morning basket?
- The idea is simple. Set out a basket of assorted items (from what you already have – but now it’s presented in a new way).
- When your toddler wakes up in the morning, you can have this set out on the kitchen table or coffee table as an “invitation” for them to play.
- You can use this opportunity to encourage independent play OR as an opportunity to bond and play together as you drink coffee.
- Or even better, best of both worlds: kickstart independent play and then take a step back and observe from a safe distance.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read our full disclosure policy, here.
Highly recommend the Lovevery Play Kits (one of the toys shown above). These always inspire creative, independent play with my girls.
What is the purpose of a morning basket?
You may have heard the term “Charlotte Mason Morning Baskets” – Charlotte Mason was kind of like the OG Homeschool Mom who developed curriculums based on teaching the whole child.
One of the most popular things to come from Charlotte Mason are morning baskets.
Originally, these baskets were faith-based and included a bible study component, so feel free to add that if it appeals to you.
As a toddler mom, the purpose of your morning basket is to create a calm, peaceful environment for your toddler to wake up to.
- Instead of begging for TV or for your attention, they have something specific to focus on.
- When your toddler wakes up in the morning, they’ll know exactly what to expect.
As with all things, new routines take time to get used to, especially if you’re trying to replace screentime with a morning basket set-up.
P.S. – Do you struggle with your morning routine? In our Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course, you’ll learn exactly how to set up your day for success. Once enrolled, you can request to join our private stay at home mom Facebook group just for students enrolled in the course.
You might be wondering: “what age do you start using a morning basket?”
Depending on the items included, you might be able to start around 18 months old by simply using the basket for toy rotation, and as they get closer to 2-2.5, you can include more learning and hands-on activities.
And of course, the most important question: What do you put in a toddler morning basket?
Let’s take a look at some simple morning basket ideas that include easy activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
How to Make a Toddler Morning Basket (+ Easy Ideas)
- Start with a basket (mine is from Target)
- Add 3-4 board books
- Add a hands-on activity and/or learning activity
- Add a coloring book + crayons
Let’s take a look at the steps:
Morning Basket Ideas for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Let’s take a look at some more ideas!
Here are some more ideas of items to include:
- Lift the flap books
- Dot markers
- Seasonal stickers
- Finger puppets
- Magnetic dress up dolls
- Block / board puzzles
- Open-ended toys
What’s in this basket:
- Crayola color wonder markers & coloring pages (won’t color on anything but the pages)
- Mini board books
- Animal figurines
- Magnetic tiles
- Wooden blocks
How to Make a Themed Morning Basket
If you’re doing preschool at home, you can definitely create a themed basket to go along with whatever preschool unit you’re currently working on!
I recently did the Bug Unit from The Preschool Playbook with my 4 year old, and I made a bug themed basket which she absolutely loved!
I set out the basket each morning and she liked coming back and interacting with the items in different ways.
Related: Themed Morning Baskets for Preschoolers
In the Preschool Playbook (below), you get supply lists, book recs, and daily activities that correspond with the unit.
The activities range from easy crafts to STEM and learning activities (which are done for you in the template book!)
Check out the different Preschool Playbook options, here.
Here’s another toddler morning basket idea using the Dinosaur Theme in the Preschool Playbook:
- Dinosaur themed books
- Miniature dinos
- Playdough (for making dino tracks)
- Dinosaur charms + beads + string (great fine motor work)
- Measuring dinosaurs activity (from The Preschool Playbook)
You can find most of the items featured in this post in my Amazon shop or from Lovevery
More Helpful Toddler Resources:
- 3 Year Old Morning Routine Makeover
- My 18 Month Old’s Daily Routine
- Best Open-Ended Toys for Toddlers
- How to do Preschool at Home