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Ah, preschoolers. Too little for toddler activities, and not big enough to do the things the “big kids” can do. (As a recent example, there were many tears last year when Brutus and Gertrude were allowed to watch “The Fork Awakens” and Matilda was not.)
The best thing about preschoolers is…they can amuse themselves. Yes, mothers of babies and toddlers, the day is coming when you will be able to have time to get something done, I promise. But only a little bit of time. And only until they hear you having a snack.
For those times when your children need a little help to amuse themselves, here are my favorite indoor activities for preschoolers.
Shaving Cream “Snow”
This was an activity I found on Pinterest, and used for Matilda’s Frozen-themed birthday party one year. All it requires is shaving cream, cornstarch, and glitter. Knead these inexpensive ingredients together, and eventually, it sticks together and feels cold to the touch, just like real snow! Check out detailed directions in this post from Two Sisters Crafting.
If you still have the container from bringing actual snow inside as in my Indoor Activities for Toddlers post, you can put the fake snow in there and you’ll be all set. I made this again this morning for Matilda and she has been playing with it for going on two hours, which gave me time to write this post!
Make a “Road” out of Tape
This activity was a lifesaver when Matilda was a newborn, and kept Brutus entertained for hours. Take some painter’s tape and make a “road” on the floor. You can either use several pieces of tape and make a wide road, as we did in the picture, or just use one strip for toy cars. In our previous home, we had hardwood floors, but this idea can also work on the carpet.
For extra fun, make the road “turn” a few times around the room! I tried and tried to find a picture of this out of the literally thousands of pictures I’ve taken of the kids over the years, but was unsuccessful. I’ll update this post as soon as I locate it!
I know, I know. The mess caused by crafts with preschoolers used to strike fear into my heart, too. I have found that the amount of time it will buy you to get something done is priceless, though, as are the benefits to your child’s creativity. Here are some craft ideas that are a little less messy to get you started:
- Cutting and pasting pictures from catalogs or grocery store ads
- Decorating a page with stickers
- Stringing beads
- Practicing writing your name
- Tracing in a maze book (our favorites are published by Kumon, but the Dollar Store has plenty of options
- Play dough
- Water colors
- Paint Sticks (I didn’t discover these until Matilda was preschool age, and boy were we missing out. They are awesome!)
The Preschool age group is the time to start introducing board games. They teach your children taking turns, counting, and being a good sport. We love the games Mr. Adventure and I played as kids, such as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, but we have had some really fun games gifted to us that we didn’t even know about!
- Sequence for Kids – This game is really good for teaching strategy to kids. Each player has three animal cards, and has to put down a card to place a chip on the board that corresponds to the animal. To win, you need to get three chips in a row. Our copy of this game is pretty much destroyed because we played it so much when Brutus and Gertrude were little, but we are still using it now that Matilda can play!
- Hoot, Owl, Hoot
- Silly Street
The last two games are cooperative games, meaning that everyone works together to win the game. This type of game is awesome for younger preschoolers just learning how to play games, but those who are poor losers may get upset when another player’s mistake causes everyone to lose.
What are your favorite indoor things to do with preschoolers?