Snow days, holidays, and teacher work days have left many of us with cabin fever – and that’s not to mention our kids. While older children are often able to find ways to entertain themselves, whether by reading books, catching up on school assignments, or finding other creative ways to play, preschoolers require a bit more attention on our part as parents.
Not only do preschoolers miss the stimulation and social interaction of their classroom when school is out, they don’t always have the tools necessary to come up with their own creative play. And of course, one of the greatest benefits of a preschool class is that “play” frequently incorporates elements of learning, resulting in a stimulating, yet educational, activity.
While it’s great to think that we can re-create the preschool environment at home, those of us without the training, fortitude, and creativity of the amazing teachers leading our preschoolers towards academic success know that it’s harder than it looks. But with a little direction, some basic arts and craft supplies, and a touch of creativity, we can ensure that our preschoolers stay busy at home while learning a thing or two along the way.
To get you started, here are 10 great activities you can try to keep your preschoolers learning at home.
1. Magic Letters
“Magic Letters” comes to us via No Time for Flash Cards as part of their Alphabet For Starters series. The goal of this activity is to introduce beginning learners to letters. Click here for complete instructions.
White Paper, Wax or crayon and watercolor paint.
Turn this fun activity into a game by having your preschoolers guess the letter based on the sound and as they are revealing the letter underneath.
2. Alphabet Rice Seek and Find
If you’ve ever watched preschoolers play on the beach or in a sandbox, then you know there are few things that can keep their attention longer than digging. The creative minds at Conversations in Literacy came up with a great way to harness that love and turn it into a fun learning activity. Get complete instructions here.
We love that this activity uses a bin with a lid, which makes it easy to store for later use.
3. Salt Letter Tracing
For little ones just learning their letters, there are going to be mistakes. This fantastic activity, brought to us by This Mumma’s Life, gives preschoolers the chance to learn their letters in a fun way that can be repeated over and over again, without using up sheets of paper or other supplies. Find all the fun details here!
A tray, paint, cardstock, and salt
Don’t worry if you don’t have a tray that looks just like the one in the photo…you can always use a cookie sheet.
4. DIY Number Rocks
While a lot of focus is placed on teaching preschoolers their letters, let’s not forget the importance of match! The creative brain behind B-Inspired Mama has offered up a cute, easy way to make learning numbers fun. Click here for full instructions and discover creative ways to make number matching and beginning math fun for you AND your preschoolers.
Rocks and paint
Collecting rocks is half the fun in this cute number matching game!
5. Numbers Maze
Keeping with the theme of “number fun,” we turned to Hands On As We Grow for this cute learning activity. Using just a bit of sidewalk chalk and your preschooler’s energy, you can teach numbers while working out some wiggles, making this game a win-win situation all around. Find full instructions here.
Side walk chalk and a sunny day for outside play, or tape and a little bit of floor space for indoor fun
If the weather’s agreeable, you can get outside to learn and play with this numbers maze – and while you’re at it, play a round or two of hopscotch!
6. Physics Fun for Preschoolers
If the thought of having to help your kids with their physics homework in high school is already giving you heart palpitations, don’t worry. As it turns out, you don’t need to be Einstein to make physics fun, especially with this science-based project for preschoolers from Preschool Powol Packets. Find out how it works here.
Coins, a ruler, and a small block
Not only is this activity easy, but it also teaches preschoolers about balance while practicing fine motor skills with a Montessori-style approach. Who knew physics could be so much fun?
7. Clean Mud
While preschoolers think that playing in the mud is one of life’s greatest pleasures, parents see it as a nightmare. But who says you can’t both be happy? “Clean Mud” is a fun, sensory play material that we found thanks to Happy Hooligans. Using basic household supplies, you and your preschoolers can have fun for days. Get the recipe and how-to instructions here.
A bar of Ivory soap, hot water, and a roll of toilet paper.
Give your kids all the sensory fun of playing in the mud while keeping your house clean – who wouldn’t love this idea?!
8. Color Wheel Hunt
If you have preschoolers, chances are your living room is already covered in toys. Thanks to the site Toddler Approved, we’ve found a way you can put those toys to good use and teach your kids colors and sorting skills at the same time. Find out more here.
Colorful toys, tape, and multi-colored construction paper
Not only will this activity teach your preschoolers about colors and sorting, but you can use it as a way to teach them about cleaning up their toys while you’re at it.
9. Imagination Play: Learning to Care for Others
It’s never to early to start teaching our kids the value of caring for others. Whether you’re trying to prepare your preschooler for a new addition to the family, or you just want to give them some basic caring skills, imaginative play is a perfect solution. One scenario we love in particular is the “veterinary office” from Little Bins for Little Hands. Using items you already have in the house, you’ll have your preschooler occupied for hours while teaching them skills that will last a lifetime.
Stuffed animals, band-aids, medicine droppers, and other “medical supplies” that are appropriate for little one. Get some ideas here.
Imagination and life skills packed into one simple activity…we simply love this idea!
10. Pom Pom Sorting
Preschool programs are designed to provide kids with the educational building blocks they’ll need to succeed in school. Fortunately, with ideas like this one from Busy Toddler, you can continue teaching those skills – even when your kids are home. In this fun and easy pom pom game, kids will not only learn gross motor skill, but colors and sorting come into play, as well. Get all the details here.
Pom poms, bowls, and clothespins (simple kitchen tongs can be used, as well)
If you’ve got a well-supplied craft box, you probably already have some pom poms, making this activity one that you can have ready at a moments’ notice.
Have any great learning ideas for preschoolers? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!