You’re going to find so many awesome activities for preschoolers at home here!
I put this collection of at-home preschool activities together to help parents and teachers as we deal with extended school breaks.
Be sure to grab the free printable at the bottom of this post. Parents, use it with your children at home if you’d like. Teachers, send it to your students’ parents.
As I write this, more than 30 states in the U.S. have closed for at least two weeks, including mine. Provinces throughout Canada are closing schools, and over 100 countries world-wide have done the same.
There’s the possibility that some schools will be out for the remainder of the school year. Which, as you can expect, is leading to a lot of concern and confusion.
My hope is that this big list of ideas can be a little calm in that storm. Both for parents working at home who want to help their children, and for teachers who are struggling to help their students away from the classroom.
First, Some Encouragement
Before we jump into into the activities for preschoolers at home, let me bend your ear a moment.
Things are going to be okay. No, really. They will be. You’ve got this. No question.
Whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or both . . . you have got this.
I know you’re really concerned about your children’s education while schools are out for 2, 3, 4, or more weeks at a time. PLEASE give yourself a lot of grace and do NOT add more stress to yourselves right now.
Let me put some of those fears to rest.
Here are 5 things I’d like you to consider (and hopefully that will bring down your stress level a bit):
Lean Into Your Child’s School
First, here in the States the Department of Education hasn’t really shared much information about everything that’s going on right now.
Many states are trying to decide how to move forward. Your kids’ teachers and schools are likely still figuring this out too.
They’ll let you know if the kids need to be working on anything specific while schools are out. The teachers will also likely give some suggestions as to activities for preschoolers at home.
If the closures last an extended period of time, I do think there will be a need for a plan about this. But right now, with everyone everywhere scrambling . . . listen to the guidance coming from your child’s teacher. AND what works best for you and your family.
Schedules and Routines
Second, please don’t make yourself stick to a schedule you saw online just because you feel like you have to.
My work doesn’t stop, so I’ll be working online from home. I’m going to need some structure to my day. And my son does well with a bit of a routine. So we sat down and created a flexible routine that works for us.
Some families need a specific schedule, some families prefer a gentle routine, and other families are happy with a more super laid-back approach. Decide what will help YOU the most and go with that. And work the preschool activities into it as you can.
Remember the Good You Do
Third, parents are amazing! Look at what you’re doing for your kids. You’re keeping calm (at least in front of them), you’re on top of meals and such to get through an extended break, you’re spending quality time with your children. (And you’re here looking for activities preschoolers can do at home.)
You’re their safe space! Because that’s what children need the most right now – YOU! Many, many children are anxious about what’s happening right now. Having you there to connect with and love on them is the most important thing.
I know you’re worried you might not be patient enough. I know you’re worried about not meeting all of their educational needs. But you are rocking the heck out of being there for your kids!
Parents ARE Teachers
Fourth, parents are amazing teachers. You might scoff when you read that, but it’s true. Parents are a child’s first teacher.
Look at all of the things you’ve helped your child learn – how to tie their shoes, how to ride a bike, manners, kindness, potty training . . . and so much more.
You just don’t realize that you’re teaching them. But you are. Every single day, whether they are in school or out of school – they are learning from you. You have got this!
Learning Doesn’t Just Take Place in the Classroom
And finally, children learn SO MUCH from things around them. Simple things. Cooking with you, playing a fun game, walking around the neighborhood, and so on.
Keep it simple right now! If you want my advice, stick with these five general activities for preschoolers at home:
- PLAY – Play games, play outside, play pretend, just play!
- TALK – Talk about the day, talk about your family stories, talk about the cooking you’re doing, talk about future plans.
- CREATE – Create art, create science experiments, create goofy games, create amazing LEGO structures, create memories.
- READ – Read picture books, read chapter books, read magazines, read comic books, read stories you write together.
- SING – Sing favorite songs, sing while washing your hands, sing while having a dance party, sing your own made up songs.
When you’re ready for more activities, I’ve got you covered below.
Activities for Preschoolers at Home
My goal here is to share simpler activities that you can try with the kids without too many materials.
This post is a bit of a work in progress, so I’ll likely come back over the course of the week to make changes and add more ideas.
Below you’ll find ideas for a variety of subject areas. Pick and choose which will work best with your kids and add them to your plans. Start slowly and give yourself a lot of grace. You don’t have to do everything at once.
Simple Math Activities
Use the items that you already have on-hand to create simple math lessons for your preschoolers.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Count all of the red things in your living room.
- Sort the groceries (by color, by food, etc.). Make a small graph of the groceries on the kitchen table.
- Go into your yard and find 10 natural items.
- Use rocks and acorns to make patterns.
- Staple blank paper together to create a little book. Write a number on each page. Add that many stickers. Keep the book to read and count.
- Play a homemade game of shape memory using index cards with shapes drawn on them.
Be sure to check out over 30 more easy math activities for preschoolers, too!
Science Activities for Preschoolers at Home
Science is all around us, so there’s no need to make it too complicated for the kids.
Here are a few simple science activities to try at home:
- Go for a nature walk.
- Explore what happens when you mix water and dirt. This one is better done outside if possible, but can be brought indoors if needed.
- Pour baking soda in a pan. Let the kids drop vinegar from pipettes (or spoons) onto the vinegar. Consider coloring the vinegar or adding scent with extracts.
- Freeze things in water. Some possibilities – flowers, LEGO mini figures, small toys, coins, etc. Then let the kids experiment with different water temperatures to “rescue” what’s been frozen in ice.
- Host a taste test. Use foods you already have at home. Some possibilities – chocolate, marshmallows, crackers, green foods, etc. Observe the foods with all five senses. How does it feel? Sound? Look? Smell? Taste?
- Keep a simple science journal about all of your scientific adventures.
Pop over and read about 30 more easy science experiments for kids at home or school.
Easy Preschool Literacy Activities
Don’t let the thought of teaching early literacy worry you. There are so many simple activities that pack a punch.
Some literacy activities for preschoolers at home to try:
- Read. Then read again. And read some more.
- Integrate literacy with everything else you’re doing with the kids! Science journals, writing about their favorite paintings, recording information about a graph of favorite apples, and so on.
- Talk. And then talk some more. Everyday discussions that take place during your routine can have a large positive impact on language development.
- Play a simple rhyming game using your child’s name. How many rhymes can you all make up?
- Practice stretching words slowly to hear all of the sounds. This is especially fun if you’re pretending to talk like a whale.
- Make a name puzzle for your child. Write her name on a piece of paper and cut it apart. Use that to work on letters and words.
You can read about 40+ more early literacy activities if you need more ideas!
Sensory Activities for Preschoolers at Home
Sensory play is a must at home! Young children learn so much as they explore through their senses.
Below are some sensory ideas to try at home. Please note that these are more appropriate for older preschoolers. If you have younger children who still put things in their mouths, you’ll want to steer clear of any choking hazards. For the littles, use taste-safe material or age-appropriate materials.
- Put some stale pasta in a plastic tub. Add a few scoops, spoons, and bowls to the tub.
- Run scrap paper through your shredder to create a paper bin. Add some scissors and let the kids cut too.
- Add water to a sensory bin. Then put a little bit of scented shampoo or soap in the water. Add whisks, bowls, funnels, etc. This could also be done in the bathtub.
- Put a variety of materials into a large bin (small toys, beads, bells, paper clips – anything really). Add containers that have tops. Let the children place the materials into the containers and explore sounds.
- Make a simple sensory bottle by adding pasta, paper clips, pompoms, etc. into a clean, empty bottle. Seal shut before giving to young children.
Head over and find more than 40 more simple sensory activities for preschoolers.
I couldn’t put together a list of activities for preschoolers at home without including a little section on songs.
Singing and dancing allow children to work on SO MANY early learning concepts. Vocabulary, rhyming, gross motor movements, fine motor skills, literacy, math, science, and so much more.
Here are some song collections your preschoolers might enjoy:
- Hand washing songs
- Rhyming songs and fingerplays
- Alphabet songs
- St. Patrick’s Day songs for preschoolers
- Winter songs for preschoolers
- Christmas preschool songs
I will, of course, come back and add more song collections in the near future.
Art Activities for Preschoolers at Home
No matter where your preschoolers are, at home or at school, creativity is a must.
Let the kids experiment with different techniques and materials as they get into art and crafts. They’ll be learning how to express themselves, use their imaginations, and they’ll even touch on more “academic” knowledge this way, too.
Some easy art activities for preschoolers at home:
- Let the kids use paper and markers to draw anything they want. If they need a prompt, ask them to create their own magical creature, draw their family, use all the colors of the rainbow in one picture, etc.
- Hand the children some chalk and let them at the sidewalk or driveway! To “spice up” this activity, have the kids see what happens when they draw with wet chalk.
- Use random items you have on-hand to create art – paper clips, cotton balls, leftover plastic Easter eggs, Post-It Notes, old CDs, etc.
- Grab spare kitchen utensils, paint, and paper. Let the kids paint using potato mashers, spatulas, whisks, and anything else in those kitchen drawers. If you have washable ink, that would work well too, as would using water to “paint” with the utensils on the sidewalk or a driveway.
- Have the kids create their own jewelry with beads and string/yarn. If you don’t have any beads, consider cutting straws into smaller pieces or using buttons.
- Draw or write a hidden message with a white crayon on white paper. Have the kids use watercolors to paint over the page and uncover the surprise.
Read about more than 40 more fun art projects for kids, too!
Movement Ideas for Kids at Home
And we can’t forget encouraging those kids to move, can we?! It is SO important to ensure that young children are moving their bodies a lot throughout the day.
Some ideas to inspire you:
- Have a dance party at home! Turn up a favorite song and just dance.
- Challenge the kids to run in the shape of a triangle or a circle.
- Hold a hop-off. Who can hop 15 times? 25 times?
- Play a simple game of tag outside.
- Have the kids race to pick up natural items in the yard (flowers, pine cones, acorns, etc.).
- Use items you have to create a homemade obstacle course. Some ideas might include tree stumps, big baskets, bikes, etc.
I’ll be back with more movement ideas for you soon.
Messy Play Ideas to Do at Home
Don’t be scared to try messy play activities at home! Children can learn a ton through exposure to messy play fun. AND they get a chance to practice all of those cleaning up skills.
Check out some fun 25 messy play ideas at home activities.
Preschool Activities at Home Printable (Free!)
I put together a simple list of all of these starter activities for preschoolers at home. You can download it, print it out, and slap it up on your fridge.
When you’re at a loss of what to do, try one of the items on this list! And when you have time, you can pop back over here for even more possibilities.
During this time of crisis, you have my permission to email this file to your students’ parents. You may also place it in private locations (like private Facebook groups for your parents, or apps like Dojo) that you’ve set you for your class parents.
The file itself may not be placed anywhere public (like social media or public websites). You can place the link to this post in public places though!
If you have friends who would like it, please direct them to this post.
The printable is available to members of Fun-A-Day’s free email community. If you’re a member, add your information below and it will be sent to you. If you’re not a member yet, fill out the information to join and get the printable as a welcome gift!
What are some of YOUR go-to activities for preschoolers at home? Feel free to leave me even more ideas in the comments below.
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
Below are a few of the resources from Preschool Teacher 101. They would be great in the classroom, as part of a take-home pack you send home with your students, or for parents at home with preschoolers.
Click on each photo for more information: