Are you looking for awesome activities for preschoolers at home AND school? If you’re a regular Fun-A-Day reader, you know I believe learning takes place everywhere, both in the classroom and out. So I put together this collection of classroom and at-home preschool activities to help both parents and teachers.
These simple preschool ideas can keep children engaged and learning while at school. AND they’re perfect for children at home during the summer, over holiday breaks, or homeschooling.
You’ll find activities that cover a wide variety of subject areas – math, literacy, art, movement, science, sensory, music, and even messy play. Most of the preschool ideas shared below are also pretty simple to setup, so you have the kids engaged quickly and easily.
Related: Free Preschool Printables
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 or keep the list on-hand when you need new inspiration.
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.
Do you have any favorite movement activities for the kids?
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.
Tips for Parents with Preschoolers at Home
If you’re a parent with preschoolers at home, these tips are for you. If you’re a teacher, feel free to share these suggestions with your students’ parents before long breaks.
Schedules and Routines
Children of all ages thrive with a routine, especially younger kids. This doesn’t have to be a strict down-to-the second schedule, by any means! You definitely don’t need to make yourself stick to a schedule you saw online just because you feel like you have to.
Take a look at your responsibilities, available times for the family, and come up with a flexible routine that works for you.
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
I want you to remember that parents are amazing! Look at what you’re doing for your kids. You’re loving them, you’re on top of meals and, 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 – YOU! Many children are anxious about changes that happen around winter and summer break. 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
Please remember that 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
One more thing – 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! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, 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 above.
At-Home Preschool Materials
I know it can be overwhelming thinking of all the things you might need for your preschooler. So, I’ve created a list of the most basic things that you might need for your at-home preschool time. Here are my suggestions (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
All of these things can certainly come in handy as your little one begins to learn a variety of preschool concepts. However, I think the most important thing you can give the children is your time and attention! Be sure to play with your children as often as possible. It is so important and there are so many learning opportunities to be had.
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:
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.
If you’re a teacher, make copies of the printable and send it home with your students! Or give their parents the link to this post so they can grab it themselves.
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.
Originally posted March 2020.