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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!
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.
1. POOL NOODLE ACTIVITIES from Learning 4 Kids
2. STICKER NAMES TODDLER ACTIVITY from Busy Toddler
3. Simple counting activity for children with pom poms and cupcake liners from Laughing Kids Learn
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.
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 Preschool
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
20. LETTER HUNT FOR EARLY LITERACY from Busy Toddler
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
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
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 Buddy
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
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
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 play
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
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.
56. DUPLO BLOCKS COUNTING & TOWER MATCHING BUSY BAG from All Our Days
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
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
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 Mockeri
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$)!
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.
photo credit: Oksana Kuzmina / shutterstock.com