We have all spent plenty of time indoors in the last two years, which means we should be learning how to get creative with the activities we can choose from inside.
If you’re looking for a new way to spice up indoor time with preschoolers, look no further. Here are six creative indoor activities for preschoolers — and parents and teachers will appreciate.
1. Create funky wax art.
Have a bunch of old, partially used Crayola stubs lying around? Here’s how to turn them into a fun, easy art project.
- Hot glue or another strong glue.
- A thick canvas board OR
- A hairdryer
- Glue poster board to a piece of cardboard or set up the canvas. Surround the area with old newspaper or craft cloth to protect the floors and walls from any wax-spatter.
- Glue the crayons to the top of the canvas in a line. Have your child choose which colors go where.
- With supervision, allow your child to aim the hairdryer toward the crayons. The wax will melt down and create a fun piece of drip art that looks different every time!
2. Play the tape-shape game.
We love this play-to-learn indoor activities for preschoolers from Toddler Approved! All you need is painter’s tape, though you could get creative and use other supplies on hand. Here’s how you play:
- Tape a variety of shapes and letters to the floor
- Instruct your toddler to get to the designated shape or letter using fun cues. For example: “Gallop like a horse to the star!” or “hop on one leg to the triangle!”
This is a great way to practice word association, learn the letters and shapes, and get your growing gamers up and moving.
Please, no extra supplies. We got you:
3. Create a scavenger or treasure hunt.
These indoor activities for preschoolers require a little bit of pre-planning, but the best part is that once it’s set up, kids can spend hours navigating the game on their own, while you sit back and watch.
For a scavenger hunt, create a list of items for your children to find around the house. (We don’t recommend adding “get mommy a big glass of wine” to the list, though we know it’s tempting.) The hunt could include physical items like “three cotton swabs from the bathroom upstairs” or “something green and gold” or it could feature open-ended questions that encourage interaction, like “find out what your big sister’s favorite movie is” and “ask dad to sing the alphabet backwards!”
To create a treasure hunt, hide riddles and clues around the house for your children to find. It’s up to you what the big prize will be at the end!
Sounds fun… but also like a lot of setup. Anything simpler? Yep, here you go:
4. Just dance (but make it creative).
Sounds simple — because it is. Host a one-hour dance party, and make it sound like the event of the century. Have everyone disperse to put on their favorite “party outfit” and then meet in the living room (or a gathering space) and turn on the jams. Keep the party going by coming up with dancing games like these:
- Give your tiny dancer(s) instructions for how to groove. E.g. “This time, dance like an elephant!” When the music stops (when you press pause), everyone in the room has to freeze in a pose related to the animal. Leave it up to interpretation. The point is having fun, getting active, and passing time.
- Get out the wedding DJ playlist and play songs with instructions, like “Hokey Pokey” or “The Macarena.” Here’s a YouTube playlist full of kid-friendly songs.
What if we want to use the indoor time to learn new skills? Great thinking. Here are some ideas:
5. Get in the kitchen.
Baking with a child always sounds fun, until the mess starts. Here is a really simple and relatively clean idea to get kids involved with cooking:
- Make some pancake batter — up to you whether you want to involve the kids in the process or just show them how you’re doing it.
- Divide the batter in multiple bowls and pass out food dye. Let your crafty cooks dye the batter their favorite colors by putting a few drops of color in each bowl.
- Cook the pancakes. Viola! A tasty treat in a variety of fun colors with very little effort.
Tip: If you want to make tie-dye pancakes, show the kids how to swirl the food dye in the batter without fully mixing it. There should still be pockets of tan. When cooked, the pancake will be swirled with color.
6. Experiment with science.
Make an at-home lava lamp and teach your kids some basic science lessons about density and carbon dioxide. Here’s what you need:
- Water bottle or another clear bottle
- Vegetable oil
- Food coloring
- Pour water in the bottle until it is ¼ to ½ full.
- Fill the rest of the water bottle with oil. Watch the oil and water separate and explain to your kids that oil has a lower density than water, partly because water molecules pack very tightly together.
- Once the oil and water have separated, add the food coloring.
- Cut an Alka-Seltzer tablet into small pieces and drop them in the bottle. Watch as it gets really groovy inside. Explain that this is because Alka-Seltzer has two chemicals that react with water and make carbon dioxide, which carries the colorful water to the top and then escapes, letting the big drops of color water sail back down into the bottle.
You’re going to look like a genius, and your kids are going to have a lot of fun watching their science experiment make a colorful display!
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