Inside: Wondering how you can occupy your preschooler in the morning without TV? Today I’m sharing my favorite morning routine hack: morning baskets! We’ll use easy preschool unit themes to create morning baskets for preschoolers (ages 3 and 4).
Morning Baskets are my favorite way to start the day with a preschooler.
If you’re new to the idea of using a morning basket, the post below explains what they are, how to get started, and all the details you need to know to make it happen!
Before we dive in – Hi! I’m Marla. I’m a SAHM to 3 little girls + Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I teach a life-changing, self-paced course called the Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course that will help you take your stay at home mom life from absolute chaos to total control.
Once enrolled you can request to join our private Facebook group where you can ask questions, participate in challenges and learn from other like-minded moms.
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What should my 3 year old do in the morning?
First off, does your 3 year old struggle with way too early wakeups? Read the post below to learn how to restructure their morning routine to gain back some structure and sanity.
Once you have your preschooler waking up or staying in their room until a reasonable time (let’s say 7 AM), it’s incredibly helpful to have a predictable morning routine for them to follow.
Morning Baskets have become a life-saver for our morning routine and are especially great if you’re doing preschool at home with your 3 or 4 year old.
Morning Baskets vs Morning TV
When considering what your preschooler should do in the morning, TV is an easy option, however it does not always produce the best outcome.
Turning on the TV is easy, it’s the turning it off and expecting kids to go play that is often the tough sell.
Over the years I’ve found that TV first thing in the morning sets the wrong tone and almost turns our day backward, instead of propelling it forward.
While it may be peaceful while they’re watching, once it’s time to turn the TV off, they’re begging for more, walking in circles, and completely zapped of creativity.
Instead, I like to save TV for later in the day, either after lunch or after naptime or quiet time. Or especially while I’m trying to make dinner.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with morning TV when they’re sick (or you’re not feeling well, or pregnant, new baby, or really when you need a break!)
This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, I just prefer to keep TV for later in the day, and have my 3 year old’s morning routine include a preschool morning basket – and after trying it out, you will, too!
- Have a set time your preschooler can start the day
- Make the afternoon your designated TV time
- Set up morning baskets the night before so they’re ready to go!
Related: How to do Preschool at Home
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Morning Baskets for Preschoolers (Perfect for 3 & 4 Year Olds)
These morning baskets for preschoolers are a great alternative to starting the day with TV. By utilizing preschool themes, we’ll help prepare your 4 year old for Kindergarten in the process!
How to 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 preschooler 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.
To make it easier for you, I will list all of the supplies used in each basket below and then link everything through my Amazon Storefront, rather than linking each individual book and toy. Screenshot each themed basket to easily remember what you can include.
Remember the goal of a morning basket is to be able to use what you already have around the house. However, if you are doing preschool or Pre-K at home, then you may need to invest in some additional resources and supplies.
Below you’ll find some favorite easy Preschool Morning Baskets using the same types of themes your child would learn in preschool!
Morning Baskets for Preschoolers:
1. Outer Space
Up in Space Theme:
- Mae Among the Stars
- National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space
- Dr. Seuss There’s No Place Like Space
- Space shape matching & counting activities (These were saved from an activity box that is no longer available, however, you can find similar activities in The Preschool Playbook)
- Dinosaur Unit from The Preschool Playbook
- National Geographic Little Kids My First Big Book of Dinosaurs
- Dancing Dinos Go to School
- Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar
- Miniature Dinos
- Dinosaur Beads
On the Farm Theme:
- Farm Unit from The Preschool Playbook
- Night Night Farm
- Barnyard Dance
- Little Blue Truck
- First 100 Animals
- Melissa & Doug Sticker Pack
- Melissa & Doug Shape Barn
- Melissa & Doug Animal Stamps
Not-so-Spooky Halloween Theme:
- Halloween activity pack (These were saved from an activity box that is no longer available, however, you can find similar activities in The Preschool Playbook)
- Little Blue Truck Halloween
- Boo! Guess Who, Elmo?
- Happy Halloween, Daniel Tiger!
- Spooky Pookie
- Knock, Knock Trick or Treat
- Mini Stamps from Dollar Tree
- Halloween Stencil & Pencil from Dollar Tree
- Googly eyes for counting
- Felt Pumpkin Face from Dollar Tree
Shop my Halloween list on Amazon
Things That Go Theme:
- Transportation Unit from The Preschool Playbook
- Amazing Machines book set
- Cars (Movie read aloud CD)
- The Goodnight Train
- Little Blue Truck
- Rainbow stackers
- Matchbox cars
- The Learning Journey puzzle
Color Themed Basket:
- Colors Unit from The Preschool Playbook
- Crayola Color Wonder set
- Brick by Brick
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
- Snuggle Puppy
- A Magical Day with Matisse
- Rainbow Magnetic Tiles
- ABC wooden blocks
- Lovevery wooden stacker toy
7. Back to School
- The Learning Journey USA puzzle
- White board & markers
- Lovevery shape puzzle
- S is for School
- My Preschool Reading Workbook
- Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool
- ABC wooden blocks (and scrabble letters to match)
Find all of my Morning Basket Favorites in my Amazon shop
And to learn how I store all of the activity supplies pictured above: How to Organize & Store Preschool Activity Supplies
What to Read Next:
- 4 Year Old Homeschool Schedule
- Stay at Home Mom Morning Routine
- Hands-On Activities for 4 Year Olds
- How to Make a 5 Minute Sensory Bin
- My Simple Homeschool Room Setup