It’s that time of year. Time to think about indoor fun. Time to think about new activities to keep the kids busy and stimulated. I spent some time looking at the blog BUSY TODDLERS: making it to naps, one activity at a time. I am linking to several of her posts. WAIT! If you have older preschoolers, don’t despair, there are lots of things in here that would interest them. Simply click on the photo to link to the full blog post.
Post it notes! These are great fun for kids. In the activity above the goal is to match letters to the ones in your child’s name. You could do this for all the alphabet – or even for those letters your child is less familiar with (our Pre-K families probably got this information on their recent conference form!) I would also consider making this an active game by having your child run, hop, spin, crawl, etc. to put on the letter. All that movement will further stimulate your child’s brain.
This is the same kind of idea as the one above but with numbers. For the youngest children you could just write the numerals in the colors of the sticky notes. Encourage your child to match the orange sticky note to the orange numeral 3, etc. They will be matching colors but can also build some awareness of numbers.
There is a wide array of concepts this post it note idea could adapt to; colors, shapes, emotions, and even sight words, etc. as children begin working on those in Kindergarten.
Manipulating stickers is a wonderful fine motor activity. This changes the typical sticker play a little by placing it on a vertical surface. Imagine how this will strengthen the wrist muscles. For children working on patterning this would be a great way to do that.
If you’ve never thought about play in the bathtub (even when your child is in there for getting clean) I’d encourage you to, especially in the winter! There are so many ways to play. I remember my nephew often putting on his swimsuit and playing with plastic animals in the tub for almost an hour at a time. I’m sure a quick search on Pinterest for “bathtub play for kids” will offer you a wide array of options.
While this is a fairly traditional (read “old school”) game, it’s still a good one! The Peak Performance Center has a website all about helping people improve their performance. In it they explain that human memory is a process that involves three domains: encoding, storage and retrieval. This fun game supports growth in all three areas. By the way, this is a great alternative to smart phones while you are waiting at a restaurant, etc.
Very young children will love this activity. Surprisingly I am confident our oldest kids would also enjoy this as well. While this seems like a “just keep them busy” activity, children are actually building hand-eye coordination, building strength in their hands and even cementing knowledge in the physical make-up of some dry foods. Remember, there is learning active in all play experiences.
We LOVE shaving cream at preschool. This is actually an activity I’ve done with my grand kids, multiple times. They love it and they ask for it, even the seven year old. At a recent conference, we were also talking to a family about using shaving cream as a way to practice drawing shapes, letters and numbers. You could even combine this with the previous idea for playing in the tub.
Colored ice is also a staple around here. Often the church staff or members ask us about the ice trays with colored water stored in the freezer. You can also freeze a popsicle stick standing up in the tray (just stick it through some cling wrap) and then children can use this for painting too. Also, adding salt to the mix brings in some science experimentation.
Perhaps you remember doing this as a child. It’s so fun to expose a “secret” message, picture, shapes, etc. while painting with water color. Psst, it’s just white crayon drawn on white paper. You and your child could take turns drawing or writing the secret part.
This blog had a ton of other ideas. I’d encourage you to check it out. Also we have some previous posts about indoor activities. Some include much more active play. I’ve linked to a few of those below:
Have fun playing!