egg in hands

If you are a homeschool mama, particularly a first time mama looking for ideas to structure your preschool morning routine with your toddlers and preschoolers, this blog post is for you.

In this blog post I will share with you one of our favorite daily rituals, coffee and tea time. I will walk through what exactly it is that we do in this time, share favorite snacks and resources, and give you all the tips and tricks I know to starting this sweet rhythm in your own home. Let’s dive in.

What is coffee and tea time?

I knew from the moment I found out that I was going to be a mama that I wanted our home to be rich with literature, picture books, and learning together. We had already decided we would homeschool someday and as our daughter grew into her toddler years and we began reading more picture books together, I found that we both loved this time of togetherness and connection.

When I heard Lindsey of Treehouse Schoolhouse share about her homeschool “milk and coffee hour”, I knew that we had found a name for our little routine. We started calling our picture book reading time, “coffee and tea” time and the name stuck. In short, this is the time of morning where we set aside our chores and spend time reading and learning together with our warm drinks and a snack.

This routine can happen anywhere in your home. We often will sit on the couch together to keep things cozy and informal, but sometimes we turn it into a little tea party complete with real dishes. Often during the warmer months I grab a picnic blanket and we take our books and drinks outside to enjoy the sunshine while learning. The key is being together and making it something that feels right and special for your home and family.

tea set on checked table cloth

Now, before I go any further, I want to say that I am in no rush to start formal education. I believe that toddlers and preshoolers needs lots of time to play and explore; reading books and baking together; working on puzzles, playing games, and lots of time for imagination and free play. Some of the best learning is done organically as we live life side by side which is why I love including my 3-year-old in my own daily rhythms of cooking and baking, laundry, and cleaning.

However, if you have a preschooler like I do who is craving a little more structure and curious about learning or if you want to carve out a little time in your day to intentionally connect with your small children, this may be for you. What I am about to share is a very, very gentle approach to learning and one that has been a huge blessing for us.

What activities do you include in your preschool morning time?

This loosely structured preschool time is similar in many ways to what most in the homeschool community would call morning time. We started with just reading 2-3 picture books together every day and it has slowly morphed into more of a preschool learning time. We now include scripture memory work, letter recognition and sounds, number recognition, counting, finger tracing, and date/time/weather.

We still read picture books and we include poetry as well. We also do Bible reading together using my favorite children’s Bible from Lithos Kids, The Kingdom of God Bible Storybook.

Sometimes we do a craft or activity that correlates to one of our picture books. Almost always there are snacks. The whole routine takes may 20-30 minutes and it is a time that my daughter asks for if we miss it. Some days we do all of the previous activities and some days we just do 2-3. We really follow her interests at this point.

stack of books

How do I start a preschool morning routine?

Your morning time routine doesn’t have to have a special name, although something about naming it makes it a little extra special. If you’re wanting to start a little rhythm of learning and don’t know where to begin, start by dreaming of what you would like this time to look like, make a list. Talk with seasoned homeschool mamas and learn from their wisdom. Follow along in homeschool facebook groups. Check out this blog post from Connecting with Littles to learn what she does with her preschoolers.

As you form an idea of what you would like to do in your home, slowly implement things one at a time, gradually building until you get it where you want to be.

If you still feel lost with where to start, here’s a few ideas. These are things that we include in our morning time, some everyday, some just a couple of times a week. When children are very young, it is important to just follow their lead and don’t pressure them into more than they are ready for.

Picture Books

Picture books, and reading in general, builds language skills, introduces vocabulary words, develops imagination and listening skills, and it introduces concepts and stories outside of their own little worlds.

Creating a literature rich home is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child and it doesn’t have to be costly. Check out your local library and see how many picture books you can check out. Search online thrift stores like Thrift Books and Better World Books for used copies of books.

For picture books recommendations, check out this blog post where I share some of our favorites. You can download a free printable list of our favorites here. For more picture book recommendations Mud Pies with Sprinkles and Brighter Day Press are two more fantastic resources.


Poetry is something I didn’t get a lot of exposure to growing up in my own homeschool experience and it is something I want to be sure and include with our own kids. For really early learners, we have enjoyed A Child’s Garden of Verses. These simple, sweet poems are a delight to read (and listen to!) and short enough to keep the attention of even young children.

puzzle pieces on picnic blanket

Date, Time, Weather

We have benefited from including some simple date, time, and weather review in our learning routine. It’s as simple as asking questions like, “Is it sunny? Cloudy? Rainy, cold, snowy?” Include discussions on the month and day of the week. You can find free or inexpensive preschool learning bundles everywhere. These are the ones we have used and really enjoyed.

Memory Work

This can include anything you would like it to include: memorizing poetry, rhymes, hymns, scripture, etc. Children, even young children, have an amazing capacity for memory. I’m a big advocate of tapping into that while they are young and filling their minds (and memories!) with good things. Ideas for memory work:

  • Simple poems – Check out A Child’s Garden of Verses for ideas
  • Scripture memory – I would recommend starting with these passages (in no particualar order): Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Psalm 100, Ephesians 10-18; Galatians 5:22-23
  • Hymns – If you want your children to learn hymns, I would recommend adding a good hymnal to your home library. I like this one. Choose your favorites to begin with or start at the beginning of the hymnal and work your way through.

Letters and numbers

Depending on the ages and stages of your children, you may or may not want to include letter and number recognition, letter sounds, tracing, and other pre-reading skills. We have kept this very simple to date as I am in no rush to push my 3 year-old to read, but as she as shown interest we have started to include more intentional work in this area. If you want to intentionally work on these things, here’s a couple of resources that have been very helpful to us.

silicone muffin liners with colored beads

Sensory activities

Simple sensory trays are a great tool to encourage your kids toward sensory exploration, motor skill development, imagination, and problem solving. We love these trays for sensory exploration.

To create a sensory bin, you simply need a “bases” such as rice, dry beans, sand or water beads and some objects to put inside. Try creating bins with objects of multiple sizes, shapes, and textures such as buttons, letter tiles, cotton balls, or animal figurines

Don’t forget to include small scoops, measuring cups, funnels, and pinchers for children to scoop, grasp, dump, and pour their items. The kitchen is a great place to look for tools to include in the sensory bin.

You can totally make your own bin with items from around your house, but if you want something that looks a little more cohesive, check out this wooden set.

One fun idea is to create a sensory bin theme related to a book that you have read. For example, one of our favorite winter books is The Mitten by Jan Brett. I will fill a big tray with rice, a mitten, animal figurines, miniature trees, and anything else I can find related to the book. So simple and fun.

For step-by-step instructions on coloring the rice for the sensory bins, check out this blog post over at Handmade Learners. For more ideas on sensory bin fillers and items to include, check out this amazing blog post from Apples, Blocks, and Crayons full of ideas to make learning more fun.

For more sensory activities, check out these ideas from Fox Farm Home.


Crafting is another fun way to practice motor skills and work on art. Crafts at this age can be incredibly simple and still be fun. Kiddos enjoy using a glue stick to glue scraps of paper, designing with pom poms and pipe cleaners, and applying stickers to their projects.

  • Pinterest is an excellent place to search for craft ideas. I love to hop on there and look for something related to a picture book we have read, like “bunny craft” or “flower craft.” A simple craft is such a fun way to connect and talk about a story you have read.
  • Organic crafting is also a fun way to let your kids explore different objects and textures and use their imagination. Go to your local Dollar Tree or Dollar General and browse the craft isles for random craft materials: pipe cleaners, beads, wooden objects, pop poms, etc. Create a bin or basket dedicated to independent crafting and put it in a place where your child can easily access it throughout the day (or pull it out on special days!).

Check out this page over at Apples, Blocks, and Crayons for some crafting inspiration for your little ones. My friend over at Mud Pies with Sprinkles also has amazing craft and sensory play activity ideas.

muffins with crumb topping

Snacks and treats for coffee and tea time

Snacks as a part of our morning routine make things a little extra special, fill bellies, and help keep attention. Sometimes I will bake something special, like muffins or donuts, but often it is something simple.

A few of our favorites:

No-bake snack ideas:

Pro tip: make an extra batch of muffins or quick bread and toss it in the freezer for a quick morning time snack when you don’t have time to bake.

Our coffee and tea time is truly a delight for all of us. We love the time of connection and learning together. I hope this inspires you to start your own morning time routine with your littles or gives you some fresh ideas if you already have a rhythm.

Do you have toddlers or preschoolers in your home that you do a morning time with?

*Some links are affiliate links which just means that I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to purchase. Thank you for supporting my small business.

Related: How to Flourish in Motherhood When You Feel Overwhelmed; Days of Joyful Motherhood by Deepening your Connection with Your Little Ones

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