Kids Preschool Activities

Ideas for activities you can do with your preschooler.

You hear it on the news and you read about it in your favorite parent magazines. Too much TV is not healthy for preschoolers. And it makes sense to you. But in a media driven society, what can you do to steer your child away from the television? The following activities are fun, creative, and inexpensive ways to capture their minds and hearts. Please be sure to use your judgment as to which activities are appropriate for your child.

Indoor Play

- Wash windows using a spray bottle filled with water and about ¼ cup of vinegar.

- Make bathtub paints of your own by mixing ½ cup of baby soap, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring. Be sure to test an inconspicuous spot in your tub before letting your child use it.

- Let you child create confetti by giving them a hole puncher and different colored construction paper. They can use the confetti later for art projects or a party.

- If you child is skilled enough, allow them to sharpen the pencils in your home. You may be surprised at how excited they will be to take on this project.

- Allow your child to make a tent or a cave out of blankets, couches, and or chairs. They will have hours of creative play.

Kitchen Craftiness

- Hot summer days call for cool treats. Making them at home makes the treats even more enjoyable. Make your own popsicles by using an ice cube tray, juice, and toothpicks. Freeze and enjoy.

- Create a taste testing game. Have your child cover his or her eyes (or use a blindfold) and have your child guess what treats they are sampling. Be sure to offer very different tastes (sweet, sour, salty) and textures (smooth, rough, crunchy).

- Make homemade peanut butter with your little peanut. You will need peanuts (preferably in the shell so your child is busy shelling them for a while) and a food processor. Place shelled peanuts in the processor and grind until smooth. Be sure to store in an airtight container.

- Brave parents can try this one in their kitchen. All you need is a cookie sheet and some flour. Sprinkle the flour on the cookie sheet and let your little one create pictures, letters, or numbers - whatever their hearts desire.

- Having a hard time getting junior to eat fruits and vegetables? Have them help you make kebabs and watch your children fight over them! All you need are a few popsicle sticks (or skewers if you re comfortable with that) and cut up pieces of fruits or vegetables. Have your child create patterns or talk about the colors and sizes as they place them on the sticks.

Outdoor Activities

- A favorite summer activity for little ones is drawing on the sidewalk (or driveway) with chalk. All you need is a box of jumbo chalk and a sunny day (regular chalk works too). Play hopscotch or draw pictures - your driveway is the limit!

- Does your house need painting? Why not enlist your child's help - for fun? Give your child a bucket of water and a paintbrush. Have them "paint" your house until the sun goes down.

- Improve your child's gross motor skills by creating an obstacle course. Collect various outdoor toys - hula hoops, slides, etc - and set them up in a tricky, but safe, order. Invite a neighbor to join in the fun. You will be the talk of the town.

- Arrange for a picnic in your backyard or a local park. All you need is food, a blanket and outdoor toys for your child to play with. Enjoy the peacefulness by looking at clouds or make some noise running around - the choice is up to you.

- Go on a nature walk with your child. Bring a notebook or journal, as well as some crayons or pencils, for your children to record all of the unique things they saw on their journey. You can then save these drawings and memories to write a story some time.

Educational Activities

- Create your own alphabet book. Start by collecting old magazines from family and friends so that you can hunt for pictures. Once collected, sit down and cut out pictures that you can paste on the pages (appropriately labeled A to Z).

- Play I Spy with beginning sounds. Ask you child to spy something in the room that starts with /b/. Take turns.

- Help your child form letters out of play dough. All you need is play dough and a table! They can try spelling their name or making numbers.

- Write each letter of the alphabet on an index card and mix them up. Have your child put them in order.

- Write numbers 1 to 10 on index cards and tape them up around a room (on windows, doors, etc) in your home. Then call out a number and have your child find it and bring it to you.

Music and Drama

- Have some fun and play some circle games such as Ring Around the Rosie, the Hokey Pokey, London Bridge, or Skip To My Lou. You'll get your work out as well!

- Play some music tapes and dance. Have your child be the leader and then you are the leader.

- Play different professions with your child: post office, school, doctor, or beauty salon. Collect or make props and outfits that would apply to each profession and get creative with them!

- Make homemade instruments out of pots and pans, glasses filled with water, or spoons. Be creative and see what beats you can come up with.

- Another homemade instrument is sandpaper blocks. Glue sandpaper onto two wooden blocks and once they are dry, rub them together for some neat sounds.

Arts and Crafts

- Create secret messages with your child. Using a white crayon, draw a picture or write a secret message on a piece of white paper. Then using tempera paint, paint over the area you drew/wrote on and watch it appear!

- Make your own puzzle! First, draw a picture or find an old photograph. Then cut the picture into pieces by cutting squiggly lines, zigzags, or curvy lines. Mix the pieces up and try to put the puzzle together!

- Have your child help you set a fancy table using homemade napkin rings. All you need is an empty toilet tissue cardboard roll, or a paper towel cardboard roll, a pair of scissors, and some paint or glitter. Help your child cut an appropriate size for the napkin ring and then let them paint and decorate until their heart is content. You could even encourage them to make matching placemats as well.

- Make your own bird feeder with your child. The only materials you need are a pinecone, string, some peanut butter, bird seed, and a knife. First tie the string onto a secure place of the pine cone. Then spread the peanut butter all over the pinecone. Finally, dip the pinecone into the birdseed being sure to cover all spots. Now you are ready to hang it in a special place in your yard for the birds to enjoy.

- Make a time capsule with your child. Include items such as a picture of a favorite toy, an empty box of your child's favorite food, or a homemade video. The possibilities are endless. Be imaginative and then tuck the time capsule away in the attic. Pull it out after waiting at least six months.

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