A fun activity that will keep your child occupied for hours. How to Do: Get your child a new puzzle and hide the pieces around the house. On. Free preschool printable activities, crafts, lesson plans, themes and ideal for home schooling, preschool and kindergarten teachers, daycare, child care. With over one thousand ideas for preschoolers, we are confident that you can find just the perfect activity for school, home or just for fun.
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Masada Siegel is journalist and a crisis communications consultant. Check out her website Secret Scottsdale for fun activities to do with kids during coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
34 Fun Educational Indoor Activities For Kids Which Help Them Once They’re Back In School
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As a parent, your kids are the light of your life. Some of that light, however, can quickly start dimming when you’re forced to keep them indoors for days on end. This may be due to illness, school closure, or anything else that might spring up unexpectedly (like COVID-19), but no matter the cause, it’s important to know how to navigate this situation.
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Even if you love them to bits and enjoy the time you spend together, instances that require you and the kids to remain indoors are more likely to leave you frazzled than calm, collected and resourceful. For this reason, we’ve come up with a list of educational indoor activities for kids that’ll keep you sane, and your kids entertained during lockdown.
The following indoor activities were recommended by parents and childcare experts:
1. Teach your kids new life skills
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School and extracurricular activity time aside, it can be difficult to find time to impart necessary life skills to your children. The best time for doing this is during the holiday season, or during unexpected breaks in their school schedule. Simple things like learning how to type, how to surf the internet safely, how to do simple cooking, doing basic cleaning around the house, or even using a knife safely when eating are important. You can also do fun things like playing the piano, hula hooping, or singing. Whatever the skill is that you think your kids need to know, take the time to introduce it to them in a fun way at home.
Lena from What Mommy Does puts it this way: “I think this time we have our kids at home presents a unique opportunity to those of us who don’t homeschool to spend quality time teaching our kids life skills that will help them when they grow up and leave the house.”
She adds, “While I don’t dictate my children’s “fun” activities, I do have a list of things I personally want to teach them, and this includes meal planning, making bread from scratch, cooking using only what’s in the pantry, washing clothes, mopping the floor, budgeting for necessities, and learning new skills.”
The Savvy Couple further elaborated on the importance of teaching kids life skills:
“These are skills that seem to have gone by the wayside that we think our kids will pick up as they go, instead of taking the time to teach them. The simple act of kids learning to tie their own shoes is a big one. As busy parents, we often move our kids quickly from one activity to the next. This means we either tie our kid’s shoes for them or use an easier type of shoe with no laces. Take the time to teach your kid a basic skill they’ll need for the rest of their lives.”
Check out The Savvy Couple’s Activities for Kids at Home listing for more helpful ideas!
2. Reinforce and re-learn old skills
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Bring back the good ol’ times with some nostalgic or traditional activities. This can range from relearning how to make a friendship bracelet to learning how to navigate a non-digital map. Even simple things like using sneakers with laces (as opposed to Velcro) sometimes need to be relearnt. Go with your gut on what needs to be reinforced or re-learned and fit in some time for a refresher course.
3. Alphabet Matching for younger children
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According to Carly from the Mommy On Purpose website, alphabet matching is a great learning activity for younger children. She details the process below:
“Teach them letters using a magnetic alphabet set and a cookie sheet. Write the alphabet on the cookie sheet using washable markers (or alphabet stickers) and have your kiddo match the magnetic letters to the letters on the sheet.”
Another option Carly recommends is writing the alphabet on the fridge.
“Just check an inconspicuous place first to make sure those “washable” markers do in fact wash off!” she warns.
For preschoolers: “Just let them go at it and match the alphabet in any order. Congratulate them for the effort… say something like, “Yay, you matched the letter “D”!
For older children: “Ask them to do it in order (A-B-C-D) and work on what sounds the letter makes while they match it. If your child has a great memory and this is “too easy”, ask them to match randomly by sound only, phonetically - (“Can you match the letter that makes the sound mmmmmm”?).
4. Learn about a new country or culture
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You don’t need to have travelled all over the world to be able to introduce your children to new countries or cultures. There are fun ways to let your kids experience different cultures without leaving your home, and this can include trying new cuisines, embracing the culture of new places through the reenactment of entertainment (singing and dancing), and learning the basics in terms of new languages. Play a game with your children by letting them blindly point out a place on a map, after which you all find a way to bring one aspect of that place into your home, if only for one day!
5. Teach them how to garden indoors
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Gardening can help your children learn about where food comes from, and how things grow. If you and the kids must be indoors for a while, and can’t go outside to enjoy nature, consider creating an indoor garden. If you’re not sure where to start, there are many YouTube channels which detail this process, even providing advice on the easiest things to grow. To start off with, try regrowing vegetable scraps including lettuce, avocados, green onions, carrot greens, green peppers or celery.
6. Teach them how to cook and bake
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The Savvy Couple recommends that parents take advantage of the educational opportunities that come with cooking together.
“You have math, health, independence, following directions, reading and so many more aspects you can bring in. Have your child research what they want to make. Help them with a budget to shop for the ingredients or find what they need in the pantry/refrigerator. Read through the ingredients and instructions and discuss with them different aspects of the recipe. Get out the measuring tools and have them do all the measuring, pouring and mixing. Cooking is a life skill they will also need for the rest of their life!”
7. Practice storytelling aloud and writing stories
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There’s a difference between reading aloud and reading in your head, and this is likely to be something you can work with your child on improving. Let them build their confidence and make use of their vivid imagination as they story tell straight from their head. If this is a new activity, you can help them build the story until they’re more confident. Storytelling is a skill they can have fun with now and appreciate later. Get into the storytelling activity by asking questions when there’s room to do so. Afterward, try to help them get that story onto paper!
8. Teach them about uncommon spices for cooking
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Go beyond just cooking with your children – introduce them to commonly used spices, and the differences between each. This will involve a lot of taste testing, and a way to get them even more involved is allowing them to help select recipes to make together. Even the pickiest eater may be a little more willing to try new things, especially if they cooked it up themselves!
9. Create a family time capsule
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Create something you can look back on in a year, or even as far off as ten years with your own family time capsule. You can include photos, letters, lists of best local spots, favorite foods, or even a magazine or two. The kids can also write and toss in the names of some of their best friends and most loved toys to look back on later. DIY capsules can be made by placing these items into a box, bottle, or a paper bag. Hide it away somewhere safe and set a date to open it up!
10. Read a new (or old) book together
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Whether your little ones are strong readers or they’re just getting started, reading is a great way to bond and help them build their vocabulary. Reading with you may give them a different perspective on a story they’ve read before, and you’ll enjoy the snuggle time together!
Rese Buse from the lifestyle blog Tiaras & Tantrums recommends going a step further for younger school-aged children by creating a curriculum around a book.
“Simply select a book and create assignments around the book in each subject. It is very simple to create 10-12 different activities based on one book,” she notes. These assignments can be science, math, or even art oriented, which will help your kids learn while enjoying a good book.
For more Tips for Remote Home Schooling During Emergencies check out Rese’s blog!
11. Start a new craft project
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Craft is always a good idea if you want to keep the kids busy while they’re at home. While this is a popular at-home activity for many parents, Maggy from Red Ted Art says “finding the right kind of activity” is key. This means that whatever you do should be age appropriate. She also advises parents to “manage your expectations”.
“With younger kids there are lots of Preschool Crafts you can try out,” she says. “Go for easy ideas that will really engage the children and help develop cognitive and fine motor skills – you can also introduce things such as color theory and shape activities.”
If your kids are under 5, Maggy advises parents to remember that the goal is to work together.
“Few under 5’s can truly work independently,” she says. “So you will have to set the time aside to work with them. It’s a good idea to pick out projects you can make together that they can then play with. Our toilet paper roll characters are great for this, or maybe something like a DIY Dolls house that you can add to over time.”
For kids 8 and over Maggy says parents should look towards getting into projects that encourage “independent crafting”, while for those between the 5-8 year mark, parents should help as much as possible, while still taking cues to know when to let them work independently.
Tip: Stock up on all the necessary supplies before getting into a craft project. This will cut out the need for spontaneous trips to the craft store with the kids. Oh, and if you run out of ideas, Pinterest can help!
12. Teach them how to paint or draw
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Creativity is something many children are born with, but this can also be encouraged through immersion. If you’ve tried quilling or making origami hearts for special occasion cards, the next step might be teaching the kids how to draw or paint. Feed their imagination by teaching them what a pencil and a paint brush can do. Chances are, you’ll be surprised by how quickly they learn!
13. Play some old educational board games (or puzzles)
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Board games and puzzles, especially educational ones, are great for reducing screen time for kids of all ages and can help with family bonding.
Kirsten Maxwell from Kids Are A Trip notes, “As a parent of three teens, the biggest battle (when indoors) is getting them off their devices. We find time every day for family time, trying activities like tennis, one-on-one walks in our neighborhood, family game time, and even baking together. I’m trying to teach my kids life skills they might not be learning in school.”
In terms of educational games to make use of the time, try games like Yahtzee, Scrabble and chess. Also get a few puzzles which are great for problem solving. Other lessons puzzles can help teach include patience, recognition of shapes, and delayed gratification. If parents will be involved, look for more complex puzzles.
14. Lego kits
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Putting all those tiny Lego pieces together is something best suited for older kids. This will seem more fun than educational to them, but little do they know the levels of creativity that are being encouraged through the process. This activity can also improve fine motor skills, problem-solving and other areas tied to overall brain development. You can purchase a basic Lego set, or a themed set featuring anything from Disney’s Frozen to Star Wars.
15. Open a workbook that feels more like a play book
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The best workbooks won’t even feel like work at all, and this is the case for many of the fun and educational workbooks available from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This will keep the kids quiet for a while, but they certainly won’t be bored – you may even have to ask them to take a break, or to leave some for later! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Achieve! Workbooks have vibrant colors, humor, and captivating photos, and can be downloaded for free online.
16. Become a bird watcher and feeder
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Teach your kids about responsibility and compassion through the simple act of allowing them to feed birds right in your front yard. All they’ll need to do is leave food out for the birds via the feeder (if you have one) every day. If you don’t have a birdfeeder, you can make one yourself with the help of your kids. While the birds are feeding, you can all scope for species you recognize. Encourage the kids to take lots of photos of the birds or try some sketching. Later, you can check out the Bird Watcher’s Digest for more intricate details.
17. Become a fish watcher
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Much like bird watching, fish watching is an interesting pastime that’s free. Consider getting your kids a couple of fishes so they can learn about what fishes do day to day. If you don’t think they’re ready for the responsibility that comes with having a fish as a pet, you can also stream a live feed of the National Aquarium where they’ll be able to watch fishes swim about to their heart’s content.
18. Watch the NASA livestream with them
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Spaceships, far off planets, astronauts and aliens… all of these are likely to be intriguing to your child. They’ll likely have lots of questions about the whole process of astronauts going up to space, and then some. Satisfy their curiosity – well, at least some of it – by letting them watch a NASA Live Stream which often features views from the International Space Station (ISS). If you’re lucky, you may even be able to see astronauts moving around in their space suits!
19. Teach them about the undersea world, coral reefs and why they are important
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What can rival learning about the undersea to introduce your children to something worlds apart from what they see every day? The great thing about this lesson is that you won’t even have to leave your house, as there are lots of educational programs you can tune in to with your kids. You can teach your children about the different species of fish, coral reefs, overfishing, pollution, and any number of topics that will likely come in handy when they’re back at school.
20. Write thank you cards
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Is there anyone you’ve been meaning to send a ‘thank you’ card to, but haven’t found the time? Is there someone your child would like to give a well-meaning card to? If either of these questions was answered with a yes, then this might be a great project for you to get into with your kids. You can make this into a DIY project where the kids get to decorate their own cards. Stock up at the art supply store beforehand!
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Origami is associated with Japanese culture, and the process of making origami is very hands-on. Your children will love an opportunity to learn more about this art form which will stretch their imagination and inspire them. For this process, all you’ll need is a few sheets of colored paper, which will make it possible for your kids to make just about any paper animal under the sun. Origami making can help improve fine motor skills and brain development. During the process of making origami art, younger kids will be exposed to a world of colors!
22. Make multiplication fun
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Math can be hard, but math at home can be a little less stressful. This is especially true when you allow kids to learn things like multiplication through play. Fun ways to do this is by playing games like baseball multiplication which involves flashcards, playing ‘rock, paper, scissors’ with a twist where kids are required to multiply the fingers that come up, or even playing a few rounds of multiplication wars with playing cards. Youngers kids may find it super fun to simply hop around on one foot and see how far they can get counting by 2s, 3s, or even 4s!
23. Perform basic scientific experiments at home
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Though many children find science to be one of the harder subjects, doing this at home can help your child learn how to translate scientific ideas and methods to real life. If your kids already love science, they’ll be over the moon to try fun projects which can include growing salt or sugar crystals on a string, learning about reflection and refraction, and doing density experiments. With the latter, try using a jar with honey, water and oil in equal parts and have your child add various items to see which ones sink or float!
24. Learn a new language
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Nowadays, kids don’t necessarily need to be planted in a foreign space to learn a new language – there are lots of web platforms and apps parents can introduce them to which make learning a new language fun. As you learn together, try to speak the new language around the house. Your kids will love this form of ‘secret’ communication. Try the When I Grow Up app, or the Count the Animals app for younger kids. You can also learn ASL (American sign language) with your children!
25. Help them learn hard subjects that may not be learned in school
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Consider subject areas your kids aren’t already learning about in school and give them an at-home introduction. Try focusing on topics that address frequently asked questions, like where do babies come from? You can also discuss racial inequality, and how to deal with the loss of a loved one, with older kids. Talk about these things using simple language that your child can understand – don’t underestimate their ability to share feedback or ask thought provoking questions.
26. Download educational printables
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There’s plenty of online material available to help you create conducive learning conditions inside your home. Whether you need a simple worksheet (like those available on Education.com), or something craft oriented, you’ll just need to do a search to find the options that work best for the project you have in mind. You can also download free PDF versions of educational workbooks from publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which will help keep your kids occupied and in learning more.
27. Watch an awesome documentary
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Documentaries have a way of taking you into a whole new world, and since the kids are home, you can take them with you this time around. Take a break from the home schooling, make some popcorn and get cozy as you get sucked into a kid-friendly TV space. The Disneynature: Earth documentary is highly recommended, as are compilations you can stream through Netflix or other mediums, like Spellbound, Penguins, and Winger Migration.
28. Spend screen time smarter and teach them the importance of low screen time
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Limiting screen time is important for the holistic development of your child. If you’re from a household where screen time rules are lax though, keep in mind that when you switch things up, there are likely to be protests. As far as screen time goes though, the younger the child the less they should be watching – and that certainly does not suggest that older kids have free reign to do as they please! Try diverting the need of your kids to be glued to the screen with more educational activities that can be done offline.
Tip: Want to find out more about the importance of setting screen time limits in your home? Check out our post which details 12 Effective Expert Methods To Limit Screen Time For Children.
29. Teach them about charity and kindness
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Being kind and charitable are traits kids can learn to emulate from their parents. You can emphasize the importance of these characteristics by explaining to your kids how they can help make life better for others. With that said, one of best ways to encourage charity is by getting children involved when you sort out clothing items or toys they have outgrown. Have set times of the year where you donate to charity and be sure to get your kids involved in the round-up process of putting together these items for donation. You can even let them search for a charity they like (older kids) so they can potentially get more involved later.
30. Teach them about being resilient
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Resilience is important, especially in uncertain times. One of the people who highlights the importance of fostering this trait is Amy McCready, Founder of PositiveParentingSolutions.com and author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World.
Recently in a Facebook video centered on Positive Parenting Solutions, the author spoke about what parents can do at home with kids during school closures. Teaching kids’ resilience, which is by definition the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations, was at the forefront of the conversation.
31. Teach them the basics of sewing
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It’ll be easier to teach older children to sew, what with the art of threading a needle and all. This will appeal to children who like being able to do things on their own, and especially those with an interest in fashion. Maggy from Red Ted Art recommends teaching kids to sew, noting: “It will take longer at first, and then they can work on projects independently. This can keep them busy for long periods of time.” Sewing is also a skill that will come in handy later, like when they get to college, and need to quickly patch up a cherished clothing item.
32. Teach them the basics of knitting
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Similar ‘rules’ apply for sewing and knitting, in that this is an activity which is best suited for older kids. Maggy from Red Ted Art recommends knitting in a group, or sitting side by side and working on a knitting project together.
“What’s fun about this exercise is that once they get the hang of it, you can help them put their projects together and they can either wear or use what you both made,” Maggy adds.
33. Teach them how to relax
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Knowing how to relax is a skill everyone needs, and kids are not excluded. Bouncing off the walls seems a regular state of being for most kids, but this state of being tends to get old quickly. You can teach your kids though that taking it easy has benefits, including greater concentration and lower stress levels. If you’re into yoga, you can do a group session with your kids, or try guided meditation. Not only can these activities help them reel in their boundless energy, but they also help with increasing flexibility and overall fitness.
34. Practice cursive or calligraphy
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Calligraphy and cursive are art forms related to writing, and this may or may not be something your kids are familiar with. In the age of texting and computers, very few people even pay attention to this at all, but you can teach your kids to appreciate both cursive and calligraphy. Older kids especially will catch on quick, while younger kids will have fun trying to form the different letters. You can look up an online course for calligraphy, which will be a useful skill for everyone involved!
Take heart… normalcy is around the bend!
Whatever it is, the thing that has you and the kids locked indoors for longer than usual is sure to get back to normal in time – and then of course, you’ll be back to missing your little munchkins while they’re at school. Enjoy the extended time together while it lasts!
Bonus tip: Go on a well-deserved all-inclusive family vacation to the Caribbean, when all of this is over! Beaches Resorts features three all-inclusive resorts with spectacular water parks and a prime location on a tropical beach. All resorts are located within a 2-hour flight from United States borders.
Beaches offers Kids Camps, lots to do for both parents and kids and even Sesame Street® characters, and nanny services. The best thing: unlimited food, drinks, water sports, the water park - it is all included in your stay!
The Ultimate List of 50+ At-Home Preschool Activities (Toddlers, Too!)
Inside: Fill your time at home with these simple to set up at-home preschool activities, ranging from literacy games to yoga poses. Each idea builds important skills, too!
Finding ways to entertain your children at home often feels overwhelming. Finding ways to do this while focusing on their skill development can sound even harder. Don’t worry, putting together activities at home is simple and requires fairly basic supplies! The sorted list below will inspire you to fill your afternoons with fun fine motor games and art activities .
For the most part, you probably have access to a good amount of the supplies used in these activities. If not, you can put together some great activities with similar structures with what you do have! Some of the common items used in these activities are tape, pipe cleaners, clothespins, and whatever toys you have on hand!
50+ At-Home Activities for Preschoolers (and Toddlers!)
Fine Motor Activities
Squeezing Water with Basters – Add mini basters to a tub of water to work on squeezing the hand muscles.
Pipe Cleaner Beading – Preschoolers will use their pincer grasp to slide beads onto the pipe cleaners.
Q-Tip Foil Painting – Provide sheets of foil, paint, and q-tips to use as paint brushes.
Garlic Press Playdough – Show children how to squeeze playdough through a garlic press or citrus squeezer.
Cut Straw Threading – Cut straws into smaller pieces for preschoolers to thread onto yarn, creating a necklace.
Hole Punching Paper – Preschoolers will hole punch various colors of paper to strengthen hand muscles. (The Resourceful Mama)
Bead Drop – Cut out a lid with four small holes to drop beads through into a jar. (Modern Preschool)
Peeling Tape – Lay strips of painter’s tape down on a table for toddlers to peel off. (Hands On As We Grow)
Squeezing Sponges – Include some giant sponges into a bin of water for squeezing. (Things to Share and Remember)
Pipe Cleaner Weaving – Preschoolers will weave pipe cleaners back and forth through a cooling rack. (JDaniel4’s Mom)
Pom-Pom Tube Drop – Tape toilet paper tubes to the wall to create a course for the pom-poms to drop through. (Teaching Littles)
Clothespin Clipping – Provide a wire basket for children to clip clothespins onto. (School Time Snippets)
Cutting Strips – Print off these strips with lines for preschoolers to cut, working on their scissor skills. (Planes and Balloons)
Easy Paper Tunnels – Tape pieces of paper onto the ground in an arched formation for toddlers to push cars or a ball through. (Mama Papa Bubba)
Rubber Band Pinecones – Wrap rubber bands around pinecones to work on coordination. (The Imagination Tree)
Math and Cognitive Skill Activities
Playdough Counting Mats – Roll balls of playdough to match the number on the printable mats.
Number Matching with Paper Cups – Match the number on top of the paper cups with the amount of dots on the paper. (Fun Learning for Kids)
DIY Counting Cards – Make your own counting cards using stickers or dots. (Learn with Play at Home)
Car Park Numbers – Tape numbers on top of toy cars and create a cardboard parking lot with numbered spaces to match them together. (B-Inspired Mama)
Shape Hunt – Hide different shape cut-outs around your space for preschoolers to hunt for and find.
Simple Shape Puzzles – Draw shapes onto multiple popsicle sticks for homemade puzzle pieces. (Toddler At Play)
Tape Shape Outlines – Put down outlines of shapes using painter’s tape to trace around with different small objects. (Learning 4 Kids)
House Color Hunt – Have a scavenger hunt where preschoolers have to search for different objects around the house that match the colors on the sheet. (Toddler At Play)
Shape Sorting – Sort toys and various objects into piles on the floor by shape. (Busy Toddler)
Fill to the Line – Draw or tape a line over a clear container for preschoolers to fill to that line. (Days With Grey)
Circle Stampers – Simply dip empty paper rolls into various colors of paint to make a stamp for circle shapes.
Watercolor Garland – Paint with watercolors and q-tips to create a beautiful decoration. (Artbar)
Sponge Painting – Clip sponges with clothespins to make sponge brushes. (Busy Toddler)
Paper Plate Sculptures – Decorate paper plates and cut the sides to connect the plates together. (Kids Activities)
Fizzy Flour Paint – Create your own flour paint that fizzes using flour and baking soda. (Playdough to Plato)
Sponge Rainbow – Paint the different colors of the rainbow on a sponge to swipe a rainbow onto paper.
Blow Paint – Use a straw to blow the watercolors around the paper, creating a fun effect. (Simple Everyday Mom)
Yarn Process Art – Drag the pieces of yarn around the paper through the paint. (Buggy and Buddy)
DIY Paintbrushes – Experiment with clipping various objects to clothespins to make unique paintbrushes. (The Inspired Home)
Painting With Bubbles – Use a paint and soap mixture to blow bubbles onto the paper, leaving an outline of them behind. (Early Learning Ideas)
Citrus Printing – Cut citrus fruits in half to stamp with paint, leaving behind a fun print. (Rhythms of Play)
Introduce Journals – Show your preschooler how journals are books for writing and drawing their thoughts in.
Cupcake Tin Letter Sorting – Preschoolers will sort out the letters into the correct cupcake liner. (The Imagination Tree)
Post-It Alphabet – Write down letters onto post-it notes for kids to stick under the matching letter. (Busy Toddler)
Playdough Name Prints – Push foam or magnetic letters into the playdough to make a print of the child’s name letter by letter. (123 Homeschool 4 Me)
Name Stamp – Glue foam letters backwards to a popsicle stick to create a stamp. (My Bored Toddler)
Touch and Feel Letters – Glue pipe cleaners onto pieces of cardboard to create letters that toddlers can touch. (Teach Me Mommy)
Sensory Letter Hunt – Bury letters in a sensory bin for preschoolers to dig through and match onto the paper. (Busy Toddler)
Hidden Letters – Write down the child’s name with white crayon for them to reveal with watercolors. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
Large Motor Activities
Bubble Wrap Runway – Tape leftover bubble wrap down onto the ground for toddlers to walk on and pop. (Hands On As We Grow)
Hallway Maze – Tape streamers to the walls of your hallway to make a laser maze to move through without touching the streamers. (It’s Always Autumn)
Indoor Obstacle Course – Set up a simple obstacle course within your own home to promote movement. (How to Run a Home Daycare)
Walk the Lines – Lay lines of painters tape on the ground in various paths for toddlers to follow. (Hands On As We Grow)
Texture Walk – Tape various materials onto the ground for toddlers to walk on, experiencing all of the different textures. (A Cotton Kandi Life)
Yoga for Kids – Get the body moving and stretching with these yoga poses for young kids. (Kids Yoga Stories)
Toddler and Preschool Activity Plans
Looking for an entire year’s worth of learning activities? We’ve done the work for you!
I have helped create each of these packets, along with a team of talented educators and homeschoolers.
Easy to follow activity plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners.
Every theme comes with recommended reading lists, songs, material lists, and more.
Click on the graphics below for more details.
Toddlers (18 – 36 months):
Preschool (3 – 5 Years):
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Filed Under: Home Activities, preschool, Printables, ToddlersTagged With: collection, home, home activities, parenting, preschool, printables, toddlerИсточник: https://teaching2and3yearolds.com/at-home-preschool-activities/
25 simple activities to help prepare your child for preschool
When your child was a baby, do you remember feeling slightly anxious about whether or not they were meeting developmental milestones on time? As a therapist mom, it was constantly on my mind. Looking back, I can see how ridiculous I was, but at the same time I can't really blame first-time-mom-therapist me.
Happily, I can report that I've done a 180 in my view of child development (while I certainly still empathize with first-time parent angst). I no longer worry if my child is behind on a skill or struggling with any particular activity that I know is normal for their age range.
Because every child IS uniquely and wonderfully different. So please consider this list of preparation skills for preschool a guideline, and not something to get worried about. Learning is not something that should be forced, but rather encouraged through fun and child-led interest .
With that in mind, below is a list of 25 age-appropriate skills that will help your child feel more confident in preschool . The list includes activities to build skills in all areas, including fine motor skills , self-help , visual motor skills and social/emotional skills .
Having practiced some of these at home, your child will feel more confident in their new preschool environment.
Children can start practicing these skills anywhere from age 2-4. The list below is organized in a way that breaks each skill down from very easy to more advanced in skill level. And don't worry—these are basic activities that won't require any Pinterest-worthy-craftiness. You can practice them all in the comfort of your own home with little to no materials.
My hope is that you and your little one can practice these skills in a pressure free, natural environment that is fun for the both of you. If your child has a hard time with any of these activities, let them know it's okay and pick something else that might be closer to their interest level.
It is just preschool, after all!
Scissor skills + pre-scissor skills
1. Learning how to orient and hold scissors correctly
Before kids learn to cut, this is the first logical step. The prompt I use is "Is your thumb in the small hole?" and/or "Is your thumb on top?" Usually kids who are learning to cut will pronate (turn over) their wrists at first so they need this reminder. Practice 3 times in a row to make sure they have scissor orientation down.
2. Learning how to snip by cutting play dough, cutting straws or small strips of index card paper
This is the fun part! Kids seriously love learning to cut this way. It provides immediate feedback with no stress as far as which way to aim the scissors. Get ready for some tongues to come poking out as it might take some serious concentration. The thicker consistency of these materials gives more proprioceptive feedback and requires less graded control of the scissors.
3. Learning how to cut on a line
While this is the end goal, don't feel pressured to have your child complete this skill if they simply aren't ready. Go back to numbers one and two and have fun! In-hand manipulation of scissors, while using the other hand simultaneously to hold paper AND steering to stay on a line is a very advanced skill.
Coloring, pre-writing + other visual motor skills
4. Identifying basic shapes, colors and letters
Read, read and read some more! You can even practice letter sounds while you're at it.
Start with having them "fill in" very small objects first (i.e. stars in the sky) then gradually move to larger objects (only use pictures with one solid object and no background, as the background is too distracting for children in this age group).
6. Imitate straight lines horizontally then vertically
I have found that drawing a line and saying "zoom!" (and then inviting your child to imitate you) is the most effective way for kids to learn this skill.
7. Imitate a circle, a cross, a square
After they have mastered the lines, move on to a circle. It's okay to start with just circular motions if that is where they are at, then move onto a circle with a definite end. Next you can try a cross: A cross is very difficult for some, as it requires the brain to cross midline. If they can do all of those things, go ahead and try a square!
8. Connect dots
Have them draw a line from one dot to the next. If that's too easy, try multiple dots in a row or draw a picture with dots. Connecting dots helps to improve visual tracking for pre-reading skills and improves motor planning skills .
9. Trace straight lines then curvy lines
You don't need any fancy tracing books to practice this skill. Just sit alongside them and have them trace on top of your lines. This will improve their visual attention and visual tracking skills.
10. Practice imitating easier vertical letters such as L, E, F, H, T and I
Always work on capital letters first before attempting lower case. Most letters of the alphabet are too difficult for pre-school aged children. Diagonals and curves are the hardest, so start with letters that use straight lines such as those listed above.
11. Practice writing their name
This can mean recognizing and saying the letters in their name, imitating the first letter of their name or even writing the whole name—remember to use capitals! Respect where they are at and don't push them when they're not ready. Try using multi-sensory approaches vs using standard pen and paper, for example, writing their name in a sandbox using their fingers, or using playdough to form the letters of their name.
Hand + grasp development
12. Practice holding crayon/marker correctly
Keep in mind, a tripod grasp isn't expected to emerge until age 3.5-4. It is natural and OKAY for them to use alternative grasps at first. In fact, there is a very natural progression of grasp. You can try my tried and true "point, pick and flip" trick to teach proper grasp. Have them point the writing utensil at themselves, use thumb and index to "pick" it up near the tip, then flip the back end of the crayon into their web-space and there you have it: a tripod grasp!
13. Writing/coloring/drawing on a horizontal surface (window, chalkboard or easel)
The angle and position that this places the arm in is going to help develop stability of the shoulder, wrist and forearm. We call this "proximal stability." A stable base is necessary in order for small, fine motor movements of the hand to develop.
14. Use small or broken crayons/chalk to facilitate proper grasp
This is one of my favorite ways to help strengthen the fingers that make up a tripod grasp (the index, middle and thumb). Since there is very little to hang on to, using broken crayons forces these three fingers to do all the work. (Credit due to Handwriting Without Tears for this concept.)
15. Clothespin activities
Clothespins strengthen the three fingers that make up the tripod grasp, which also strengthens the muscles of the thumb space and helps develop proper hand arch. Use clothespins to attach to literally anything—a string, a piece of paper, a shirt.
16. Tong activities
You can use the tongs from your kitchen and have your child practice squeezing them together to pick up literally anything! I promise your kiddos are going to love this one. Some easy household items you can use are: cotton balls, toy cars, ice cubes, markers or crayons. Just put them into a pile and grab some bowls or a muffin tray for them to use as a target drop. This is going to strengthen so many muscles of the hand and arm and promote an age appropriate grasp.
Playdough is great work all around for strengthening the hands. I like it most for developing the arches of the hand, especially when rolling into snakes or small balls against the palm. You can do so much with playdough—roll it into a snake and then pinch along the length of it, place small toothpicks into it for a birthday cake, spell out their name, etc.
18. Take turns
How else will your child learn how to take turns if you aren't practicing this skill with them at home? Ask them for a turn using their prized toy, or play a simple board game that involves reciprocal turn taking (Go-Fish, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Don't Break the Ice or Candyland are classic examples).
19. Clean up and put away
When they are finished playing with all those toy cars or dolls, have them clean them up before choosing a new toy.
20. Sit and finish an activity in its entirety
Generally speaking, pre-school aged children should be able to sit down for at least 5 minutes to complete a preferred task, whether that's finishing a puzzle, coloring a picture or building a structure with blocks or Legos.
21. Learn how to ask for help
This is so important. If they aren't learning to ask for help at home, then they won't be able to ask their teacher for help when they need it.
22. Make eye contact
It is important to teach children how to make eye contact when they are speaking to someone or saying hello. It tells the person who is being spoken to, and it also shows respect and tells the other person you are paying attention to them.
23. Practice taking off and putting on shoes + pulling down and pulling up pants
They will need to put shoes on and off occasionally at school. They will need to know how to pull pants up and down by their knee level so they can use the potty.
24. Practice using a spoon and fork
25. Practice washing their hands
Break it down into simple steps:
Step 1: get soap
Step 2: rub hands together
Step 3: rinse hands
Step 4: turn off faucet
Step 5: dry hands
Originally published by Ashley Thurn on .
Here are some products we love to get started:
Dough Parlour play dough
Created by a mama and preschool teacher, Dough Parlour's play dough is the best we've ever found. The premium-quality, fruity-scented modeling dough is made from 100% non-toxic ingredients, is 100% biodegradable and is handcrafted in Canada. (And we want to play with it as much as our kids!)
Wise Elk fishing game
Simple but engaging, this magnetic fishing game is a great way to develop focus and patience and learn how to take turns.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.
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Family Arts and Crafts
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You have come to the right place if you are looking for fun, learning and engaging Family themed activities to do with toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners. Our activities are used by teachers, moms, dads, child care providers and more!
All our activities are available at no cost and are free to print and share. Select below to get started.
Use a milk carton cut in half and cover with construction paper. Have children add windows, doors, trees, Etc. cut from construction paper (or draw on details) to resemble the child’s house. Have the children draw the members of their families (they always want to include the pets also) on tongue depressors and place them into the house. When finished the children form a town and take their “family members” to visit other families.
The children are given a shape of a house. They are then supplied with play dough cutters that are in the shape of a mother, father, child, dog, cat and fish. The children are instructed to dip the appropriate family members in paint and then put in their home. Label the figures with the family member’s names.
Trace the child’s hand print twice. Cut out. Also cut out a long rectangle (this will be the arms). Glue one hand print on either end of the long rectangle (arms). Write on the arm part: My family is special because ___________________. Have the children finish the sentence.
Make a rainbow of our hand prints when studying friends. Just lightly draw on the arches of the rainbow on a large piece of butcher paper. Use different colors of paint to paint the children’s hand prints and make a beautiful rainbow.
Make a collage of pictures of things we like to do with our friends and family.
You can also make a mural with their hand prints becoming flowers. Paint on stems and some grass with their hand prints for the flowers. Title it “Friendships bloom in our classroom.”
Give each child a cut out of a person (kind of like a gingerbread man pattern). You can use the multi cultural colored paper (of course!) then the kids can decorate and make any family members they wish to. Then attach them to popsicle sticks and there you go.
Have the children go through magazines and find pictures of all the things their mothers do. Cut them out and glue them onto construction paper. The same can be done for dad. Another variation is to have the children cut out pictures to represent the people in their family and the things they like to do as a family.
Bring a shoe box for each child.
Have the children:
Paint a background on the inside of it.
Make stand up pictures of your house and family.
Glue the pictures in your box.
Illustrate a picture of each member of the family. Include the pet if the child has one. Cut out each family member. Glue each picture on strong paper or cardboard. Hang your pictures on a hanger with yarn or string to make a mobile. Print the last name on a piece of paper and fasten it to the hanger. Hang your mobile in the classroom.
Encourage your children to talk about all the people that belong in their family. Mother, father, sister, brother, grand parents, aunts and uncles. To make a family tree you will need: an orange juice can for each child, a small branch from a tree for each child, construction paper cut into circles and punched with a small hole, string or wool and some plaster of paris. Cover the can with paper and decorate. Go for a walk and have each child pick a branch to put in the can 2/3rds full of plaster. Allow to dry overnight. Ask the children to draw a picture on one side of a circle and you write the name of the family member on the other side. Punch hole and thread – hang on tree.
Give them each a tree shape drawn on a piece of paper and sponges cut into apple shapes have them sponge paint the apples onto the tree to represent each family member provider will write names on the apples.
Make outlines (silhouettes) of different family members: mom, dad, brother, sisters, self, and even pets and the children make a family collage. You could send home a piece of paper with a note asking for each member of the family to trace or have traced their handprint on the paper. Each person could decorate any way they wanted to. The children enjoy talking about their family’s handprints. Then hang them on the bulletin board.
Each child is given a book at the beginning of the unit with a caption on each page. (Books can be made using newsprint and construction paper.) My mother is special because… My dad can… Grandparents are special because….The best part of being a brother/sister is… Each day the children are asked to draw a different picture and complete the sentence with you help. A wonderful book to bring home and ‘read’.
Take a walk and have the children collect four or five different sized rocks to make a family. Bring them back and paint them. Then let the children play with their families. Encourage them to make up stories about their rock families. For example have them name their rocks and tell what each one likes to do. Help them expand their stories by asking questions.
Shaving Just Like Daddy
Materials: whipping cream, mixer, bowl, small cups, crafts sticks or tongue depressors, mirror
Procedure: Give each child a small cup full of ‘shaving cream’ (whipped cream) and a ‘razor’ (craft stick). Looking into a mirror, the children put the shaving cream on their faces, all over their imaginary beards and mustaches.
Then, slowly and carefully, they ‘shave’ off their whiskers until they can feel their smooth faces. Next time they can give someone else a shave.
Be sure the children understand that real razors are not to play with.
Put on the cream.
You can have a taste,
Now shave it off carefully,
And make a funny face!
Three Bear Family
First get a refrigerator or wash machine box and cut off one of the sides. Then on the center piece cut a peaked roof and a window on each of the sides. It’s no longer a complete box but an opened up “U” shape.
The kids can get on both sides of it and paint it using bright colors. When this is dry, use it as kind of a back drop for the house. The kids build beds, chairs, and a table using the hollow blocks – good math activity trying to figure out the different size beds: if we use two blocks for the baby bed, how many for mom’s and dad’s?
Same thing with the chairs. Provide pillows and blankets, and: a baby bonnet for baby bear, an apron and hat for mama bear, a tie and hat for papa bear, a dress and barrette with yellow curls for goldilocks, a giant bowl, middle sized bowl and baby bowl, a giant wooden spoon (the kind that hangs on the wall – a thrift store find), a tablespoon and a baby spoon.
Then enact the play.
Have parents share favorite family recipe or tradition. Have parents come in and read to children.
Make a chart titled “How many people in your Family?” On a large poster board, list children’s names. Glue small people cutouts next to each child corresponding with the number of people in the family. Line them up neatly so the children can compare size of family.
Grow Your Own Family Tree
Large sheet of paper
Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
1) Draw a tree on the large sheet of paper. Be sure to give your tree lots of branches!
2) Cut out a color paper shape to represent you — a circle if you are a girl or a square if you are a boy. Write your name on the shape and paste it on the trunk of your tree.
3) Cut out shapes for all of your present family members and others important to you — mothers, brothers, neighbors, pets. Write names on the shapes and paste them on the lower branches of your tree.
4) Cut out shapes for all your past family members and others important to you — grandparents, great-aunts, friends. Write names on the shapes and paste them on the upper branches of your tree.
5) Draw a picture on each shape that tells something about that person.
6) Congratulations! You have started doing genealogy — recording your family history!
More Family History Fun!
Take your tree to a family gathering! Ask if there are more family members to add to your tree. Remember to add pictures, too.
Make a memory book! Have family members tell you their favorite family memory. Write them down in a notebook.
Create a scrapbook! Collect photographs, postcards, souvenirs and other items from your favorite family activities. Save them in an album or box.
Food Group Snacks
During family week take the time to discuss what we should eat to stay healthy. Talk about the different food groups and a food group for each day.
Encourage your children to have healthy eating habits.
Milk Products- milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese
Fruit – fruit salad, fruit kabobs or sliced fruits.
Vegetables – an assortment of fresh vegetables, vegetable soup or a garden green salad.
Grain Products – muffins, crackers, toast or cookies for a real treat
Meat & Alternatives – chicken, peanut butter, eggs and tofu for something new.
Graham Cracker Houses
Spread with peanut butter and apply to sides of SMALL milk carton, decorate the houses with mini marshmallows, red hots, raisins, Etc.
Place broccoli stalks on each plate with a cherry tomato for each family member. Serve ranch dressing on the side.
Song-“I Love Mommy” (or Daddy, Brother, Sister, Etc.)
(tune: Frere Jacques)
I love Mommy, I love Mommy.
Yes I do; yes I do.
And my mommy loves me,
Yes, my mommy loves me,
Loves me too; loves me too.
Some families are large. (spread arms out wide)
Some families are small (bring arms close together)
But I love my family (cross arms over chest) best of all!
Title: A Day with Dad
My dad works in an office downtown,
And when he’s home, he works all around.
He cleans up dishes and that job’s hard;
Then he rakes up leaves and mows the front yard.
But Dad always finds some time for me,
And that’s what makes a family.
I didn’t understand at first
why Daddy went away.
I thought that it must be my fault
because he wouldn’t stay.
Did he still love Mom and me?
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘Of course.’
‘Then,’ I said, ‘Explain to me:’
‘What does it mean, ‘divorce’?’
This might be a good time to talk about divorce, and that it means that both parents still love their children very very much.
Both Fingerplays above, Divorce, and A Day with Dad are copyrighted by Terry Graham and published in Fingerplays and Rhymes, Humanics Limited. Both are used with the author’s permission. Thank you, Terry!
Sung to ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’
Let’s all go to the woods today,
We’re sure of a big surprise.
Let’s all go to the woods today,
We’ll walk there side by side.
We know that we’ll have lots of fun,
We’ll eat and play and dance and run.
Today’s the day we have our family picnic!
Materials: Felt-tip markers. Making the Puppets: Use felt-tip markers to draw two eyes, a nose and a mouth on each finger of one hand.
Here is Daddy. (thumb)
Here is Mommy. (index)
Here I am for three. (pinky)
Together we’re a family,
As happy as can be! (clap!)
Here are the windows,
Here is the door.
Come on in, I’ll show you more.
Here is the kitchen, the living room too.
A bathroom, three bedrooms, and a room for you!
An attic, a chimney, and a roof above.
And my house is a home,
‘Cause it’s filled with love!
My puppy has a doghouse,
just outside my door.
He licks me when I pet him
and wags his tail for more.
He’s always there beside me,
no matter what I do.
My puppy is my special friend,
and a family member too!
With My Family
Sung to ‘The Muffin Man’
Tell me what you like to do
Like to do, like to do.
Tell me what you like to do
With your family.
Edward likes to rake the leaves
Rake the leaves, rake the leaves.
Edward likes to rake the leaves
With his family.
Let the children talk about what they like to do.
Music In Our Home
Mother plays the violin.
Daddy plays the flute.
Big brother blows the horn,
Little sister keeps the beat
By clanging on a pot.
And I try to sing along
Whether I know the words or not.
Dear Reader: You can help us make this theme even better!
All of our theme ideas have come from our imagination and from reader submissions. Please use this form to contact us if you have crafts, activities, games, recipes, songs or poems that you would like us to add to this theme.
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Preschool Activities and Crafts
First-School features free fun preschool lesson plans, educational early childhood activities, printable crafts, worksheets, calendar of events and other resources for children of preschool age. The preschool crafts, lesson plans and activities are appropriate and adaptable for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten level (ages 2 to 6).
First-School's content is ideal for home schooling, preschool and kindergarten teachers, daycare, child care providers, after-school and babysitters.
How to use and have fun in First-School:
The basic materials needed for most activities are: a printer, paper, coloring tools, child safe scissors and glue. Review a suggested list of additional preschool materials for the extras. Most materials are around your home and are recyclables!
Visit Preschool Themes and Printable Activities to choose themes, lesson plans, printable crafts and activities to tailor your calendar of activities and curriculum.
Visit Holidays and Events to include special holiday activities and celebrations to your monthly activities.
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