The big list of activity ideas for young kids: 81 ideas to have fun and learn new things

Raluca Loteanu July 16, 2017
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list of activity ideas for young kids

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When I wrote about how to create a successful stay-at-home mom schedule, one of the important steps that I’ve mentioned was creating a list of activity ideas. Making this list is an important step for easily creating a lot of great schedules for you and your kids. But it’s not easy to find ideas and sometimes you just don’t have time to make any online research! This is why I wanted to share here our list of activity ideas for young kids.

I’ve created this list for me and my son and I’m sure that you’ll also find some great inspiration on it! It includes 81 ideas grouped into different categories. The activities are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers and they help to build and practice a lot of useful skills.

From my experience, this list is enough to schedule two months of play activities. If the child will like the activities on the list you will certainly repeat them several times, so 81 ideas are more than enough to have inspiration for a lot of playful moments!

{ If you want to check out the activities that we have already tried, you can find some of them in “Our Playful Moments” series. }

I group the activities that I do with my son into several categories. Some of them are the ones that he does at preschool too: fine motor skills, gross motor skills, literacy activities, counting activities, art and craft activities, logic activities. The rest of them are the ones that I also find important or the ones that Bogdan especially wants to do: sensory activities, science activities, dramatic/pretend play ideas, outdoor games, scavenger hunts, quiet time activities, songs and movement, social skills.

No matter what kind of activities you want to try with your kids, I hope that you’ll find some great ideas on this list! Each category includes several ideas from blogs that I like. All ideas are easy to put into practice and don’t require a lot of materials or preparations.

Fine motor skills

1. POOL NOODLE ACTIVITIES from Learning 4 Kids

2. STICKER NAMES TODDLER ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler

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3. Simple counting activity for children with pom poms and cupcake liners from Laughing Kids Learnlist of activity ideas for young kids

3. Play with sponge blocks (like this Sponge Tower Time from Toddler Approved)

4. Scissors skills practice: We have the Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Book but we activities in the book seem too complicated for Bogdan at this point, so I just invent easy tasks inspired by the book. Here are an idea that I like: Cutting Busy Box from A Crafty Living.

5. Tracing: This is the activity on which we focus the most in this period. Bogdan likes doing a lot of mazes, that are the first step for developing handwriting skills. The next step is tracing and I encourage him to do this too. Now we have two activity books that we use: Wipe Clean Workbooks: Pre-K from Scholastic and Wipe Clean Workbook: Numbers 1-50. We also have a lot of activity sheets that we received from preschool.

Gross motor skills

6. Bean bag toss: Here is a tutorial on how to make No-Sew Bean Bags (from Disney Baby). And here is a game idea from Dirt & BoogersBean Bag Toss.

7. Obstacle course (inside or outside)

8. Walk the line activity with tape from Hands On as We Grow

9. “The floor is lava” game from Hands On as We Grow

10. Kick the Cup (also an alphabet activity) from Mom Inspired Life

11. Tape Jumping Game from Hands On as We Grow

12. GROSS MOTOR FARM GAME from Modern Preschoollist of activity ideas for young kids

Literacy activities

13. FOUR SIMPLE ALPHABET GAMES from Frugal Fun 4 Boys

14. SECRET LETTERS ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler

15. PAPER PLATE BIG ALPHABET MEMORY GAME from Frugal Fun 4 Boys

16. MAGNETIC ALPHABET FISHING from Busy Toddler

17. STICKER NAME RECOGNITION ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler

18. ALPHABET POST-IT WALL from Busy Toddler

19. Alphabet Sensory Play from Play to Learn Preschool (we have these puzzles)

20. LETTER HUNT FOR EARLY LITERACY from Busy Toddler

Counting activities

21. TWO PRESCHOOL MATH ACTIVITIES WITH DUPLO LEGOS from Frugal Fun 4 Boys

22. Number Towers from Activity Mom

23. ROLL & CROSS MATH GAME from Busy Toddler

24. Straw and Pom Poms Counting Game from Nurture Store

25. APPLE COUNTING ACTIVITY from Simple Play Ideas

Sensory activities

26. Sensory bins: There are a lot of ways to create sensory bins. If you never tried this before you can find many ideas on Pinterest.

27. DINOSAUR ARCHAEOLOGY: CLOUD DOUGH SENSORY from Busy Toddler

28. SCOOPING STATION: A SENSORY POURING ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler

29. Rainbow Sensory Box from eHow

30. Car Wash Sensory Bin from My Mundane and Miraculous Life

31. BUTTON EXCAVATING: A DIGGING SENSORY ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler

Art & craft activities

32. Painting with Trucks – Art for Kids from Learn Play Imagine

33. Inspirational Splatter Paint Art Project for Kids from Buggy and Buddy

34. Process Art for Kids Using Plastic Wrap and Watercolor Paint from Buggy and Buddylist of activity ideas for young kids

35. Flowering tree from Krokotak

36. Heart Fingerprint Tree Craft from Easy Peasy and Fun

37. Easy Pipe Cleaner Finger Puppets from One Little Project

38. Bottle Cap Bugs from This Grandma is Fun

Science activities

39. Simple Color Mixing Science Experiments for Preschoolers from My Mundane and Miraculous Life

40. FROZEN DINOSAUR EGGS EXCAVATION ICE SCIENCE ACTIVITY from Little Bins for Little Hands

41. Fizzing Colours! A Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiment for Preschoolers from Happy Hooligans

42. Milk Colors experiment from Modern Parents Messy Kids

43. Walking Rainbow experiment from Steam Powered Family

Dramatic/pretend play ideas

44. VET ANIMAL HOSPITAL DRAMATIC PLAY from Pocket of Preschool

45. Ice Cream Parlor Dramatic Play from Play to Learn Preschool

46. Drive-in restaurant dramatic playlist of activity ideas for young kids

47. Grocery store dramatic play

48. PIZZA RESTAURANT DRAMATIC PLAY from Pocket of Preschool

49. Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity from Sunny Day Family

50. BIRTHDAY PARTY PLAYDOUGH from Mess for Less

51. Dentist Play Dough Pretend Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning

52. PRETEND PLAY TOY STORE from No Time for Flashcards

Quiet time activities

The quiet time activities basically depend on the toys you have on hand. Hare are 3 of my favorite quiet time alternatives.Busy boxes

53. Busy boxes: These boxes are filled with toys that the child doesn’t usually have on hand. The fact that the child can use them only during quiet time is making them more interesting and the child is more likely to use them for a long period of time.

54. Puzzles

55. Stickers

56. DUPLO BLOCKS COUNTING & TOWER MATCHING BUSY BAG from All Our Dayslist of activity ideas for young kids

Songs and movement

57. 10 Movement Songs for Preschoolers from Growing Hands On Kids

58. MUSIC WITH KIDS: SONG CUBES AND FINDING THE BEAT from Pre-K Pages

59. Dance party

Logic activities

60. Activity books with mazes, sequencing, spotting the differences, matching activities and so on: We have these books: Logic, Grade Pre-k (Thinking Skills Workbooks) and Big Preschool Workbook that have similar activities with the ones that Bogdan does at preschool. For more interesting activities I recommend you to try Usborne activity books, they are really great!

61. COLOR BLOCK PUZZLES from Simple Play Ideas

62. GIANT SHAPE MATCH ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler

63. Opposites game for preschool from The Measured Mom

Social skills activities

64. Pretend play with plush toys: This activity allows me to open discussions about all important issues that we face at some point, like aggression, sharing, turning turns.

65. Learn about Emotions with Build-a-Face Story Stones from Where Imagination Grows

66. Managing Big Emotions: Printable Emotions Cards & Matching Game from Childhood 101

67. EMOTIONS FLASH CARDS from Mockerilist of activity ideas for young kids

Outdoor games

68. Ball toss

69. Egg race (running with a plastic egg on a spoon)

70. Sack race

71. Painting with water from Happy Hooligans

72. FILL THE BUCKET OUTDOOR WATER GAME from The Resourceful Mama

73. Color Hop game for toddlers from Learn Play Imagine

74. ALPHABET LEARNING WITH CHALK & ROCKS from And Next Comes L

75. Rock Toss with Chalk Shapes from Smile and Wave

76. SIDEWALK CHALK ANATOMY ACTIVITY FOR KIDS from True Aim Education

77. A Big Chalk Maze for Preschoolers from Hands On as We Grow


For planning more fun outdoor activities, check out our Playful guide of summer toys for young kids (12 ideas under 20$)!


Hunts

78. Nature scavenger hunt (you can download our printable file and use it with your kids)

79. Lego hunt

80. COLOR HUNT from Busy Toddler

81. INDOOR BUG HUNT from No Time for Flash Cards


At the end, I can only wish you to have a lot of playful moments with your kids! If you want to use our method of creating a successful activity schedule for you and your kids, you can find all the details here, where you will also be able to download our printable planner.If you like to do activities with your children, you will love this list of activity ideas for young kids! You'll find here 81 ideas to try and enjoy! | Activity ideas for kids | Activity ideas for preschoolers | Activity ideas for toddlers | Play ideas for kids

If you like to do activities with your children, you will love this list of activity ideas for young kids! You'll find here 81 ideas to try and enjoy! | Activity ideas for kids | Activity ideas for preschoolers | Activity ideas for toddlers | Play ideas for kids If you like to do activities with your children, you will love this list of activity ideas for young kids! You'll find here 81 ideas to try and enjoy! | Activity ideas for kids | Activity ideas for preschoolers | Activity ideas for toddlers | Play ideas for kids

photo credit: Oksana Kuzmina  / shutterstock.com

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Raluca Loteanu

If you find yourself on this blog I invite you to discover us as the happy family we are, who look with optimism and joy at life. If you want to contact me, you can find me on email, I gladly respond to each message.

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