Finding new, creative, and fun activities to do with your preschooler at home can be challenging in the best of times. In 2020, when many kids have now been home for months on end, it can seem downright impossible. How can you keep your preschooler occupied, engaged, stimulated, and entertained with the same old activities you have been trotting out for months now? Fear not! We have put together a list of new activities that you can do with your toddler that will hold their attention and stimulate their developing brains. Here are some great creative activities you should try with your preschooler.
1. Color Mixing Cubes
Teach preschoolers about mixing colors by freezing different (primary) colors of paint into ice cubes. Take them outside on a hot day and let them melt. See what colors they make when they run together. This is a great lesson that is very visual for preschoolers.
2. Tie-Dye T-shirts
This was fun and fashionable in the 60s, the 90s, and again today! Creating a customizable, wearable piece of art is something your child will love doing with you and the shirt will be a prized possession afterward. You can also do sweatshirts, shorts, pillowcases, and more.
Teaching your child the basics of cooking at a young age is a phenomenal idea. Not only does it teach a lot of important skills, but it will also serve them throughout their lives. Teach them the rules of cooking, give them tasks they can do themselves, and let them be a little creative with ingredients. They will be excited and hopefully a little more adventurous when it comes to eating something they cooked themselves.
This is a perfect activity if you have extra magazines around, and if you don’t you can check on social media or at your local library to see if you can pick some used ones up. With some kid-safe scissors, this activity will occupy your child’s attention and help develop their motor skills. The final product can be very cool too.
5. Nature Collage
Similar to the magazine collage above but this activity has the added wrinkle of getting your preschooler outside first. Take a nature walk with a bag or backpack and collect as many fun leaves, sticks, and other lightweight material as possible. Come back and start gluing.
6. Paper Plate Tambourines
This is an art and music project in one. Decorate two paper plates, put beads or dried beans in between them, and staple them together. Put on some music and let your kids rock out with their new jamming tambourines.
7. The Name Game
Preschool is when your child learns how to spell and write their name. Help this process along by playing fun games with your child’s name. Write it in highlighter and let them trace it, cut it up in flashcards and have them put it in the right order, or write it in bubble letters and let them decorate each letter.
8. Copy an Artist
Free drawing is great but for an added level of concentration and attention to detail, give them a famous work of art and let them try to copy it. Obviously, the simpler the better. Something like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is always a good go-to.
This is another great practice to get preschoolers into that has the chance to stay with them for the rest of their lives. Yoga promotes both physical and mental health and will help your preschooler with flexibility and dexterity. If you’re not a yogi yourself, there are plenty of YouTube videos to help you plan the perfect class.
10. Blanket Fort
An oldie but a goodie! If you haven’t yet strung up a bunch of sheets or blankets for your child to play underneath, you are missing out. It is a great way to freshen up independent playtime and allows you to either play with your preschooler or maybe even get some much-needed parent time.
11. Costume Dress-Up
Not much stokes a child’s imagination like putting on a costume. Whether it is last year’s Halloween costume, something you picked up at a clothes resale store, or mommy or daddy’s clothes, kids love to dress up. One tip to prepare for this in the future, check out the sales post-Halloween to stock up on costumes to use throughout the year for cheap.
12. Tape Art
Using tape to create art is another medium that you can try. It will hit different motor skills than painting or drawing and is flexible enough to create art projects big or small. Once your child has taped out their art on paper, you can have them color the whole sheet in, and then remove the tape to teach them about negative space.
13. Homemade Play-Doh
Play-Doh is awesome and not all that expensive but toddlers and preschoolers can give up on it pretty quickly. To extend the activity time, making it yourself is a great idea. You can find all sorts of recipes online but mixing 1 cup of baby oil with 8 cups of flour, splitting it into batches, and adding food coloring to each will make a nice slime/Play-Doh hybrid your kids will absolutely love.
14. Sock Puppets
Another classic activity from parents’ childhoods, repurposing your old socks to create the characters for a magical puppet show is both a great developmental activity for preschoolers and a good way to clean out your sock drawer. You can teach your kids about arts and crafts (making the puppets), the theater (putting on the puppet show), and recycling (using old socks instead of throwing them out). It is a big win all around.
15. Making Home Movies
Making movies is easier to do at home than ever before. Pretty much everyone’s phone is a high-def movie camera, and if you don’t already have simple movie editing software on your home computer, you can find it for free with relative ease. For kids who love TV and movies, making shows of their own can be very stimulating.
Author Bio: Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare