Preschool Activities and Ideas for Learning at Home

It can be challenging to keep preschoolers engaged while at home, especially when the whole family has been forced to change their routine!

Here are some suggestions on ways to make the days feel a bit easier and more predicable for you and your child(ren)

    • Instead of trying to create “preschool at home” just refocus to your own family’s situation and set attainable goals for your time at home.
    • Create a schedule for the day- but don’t put too much pressure on it
      • A consistent schedule is extremely helpful for children. It helps them to begin to understand the balance between enjoyable tasks such as play, and the functional tasks such as resting or brushing their teeth.
    • If you have things to accomplish, help your child to find an activity that they are interested in and let them know, “While I watch you play, I am going to do some of my work, too. When we are both all done with our work we can move on to the next activity!”
    • Don’t forget, this is temporary! Enjoy the quality time with your child without putting too much pressure on yourself to make this new routine feel perfectly productive. Your best is sure to be good enough for your family!

Listed below are different activities (many of which we do at school) that are also simple and fun for home!

Sing songs

    • Simple Ideas: If You’re Happy and You Know It; Where is Thumbkin?; Mary Had a Little Lamb; The Itsy Bitsy Spider; Rain, Rain Go Away; Twinkle Twinkle Little Star;
    • Play the ‘shoe game’- each child closes their eyes while a grownup or older child hides one of their shoes around the room. The grownup can give clues using direction words.
    • Play an ‘I Spy’ game- (can use colors, beginning letter sounds, rhymes with, shapes etc. to give clues) “I spy with my little eye…something that is blue.” Or “I spy with my little eye… something that begins with a B sound.”
    • Write tasks for children on small pieces of paper and place them inside of plastic eggs. Hide the eggs around the house. Children can find one egg at a time and complete the task inside. Examples: “Sing the alphabet while jumping on one foot.”, “Sing your favorite song.”, “Count to 20 while hopping like a frog.”…

Art

    • Create art invitations for children with everyday items such as paper towel rolls, empty tissue boxes, cut up cardboard from boxes, paper grocery bags etc. Offer the everyday item with a cup of crayons or a small container of paint. Once they’ve added color they can continue the project by using glue or tape to add other items (old lids, cut up paper, twigs or leaves collected outside, etc.)
    • Collect nature items outside and make a collage picture using what you’ve found
    • Marshmallow and toothpick structures

Literacy

    • Read books!
    • Listen to pre-recorded stories (Scholastic has a great selection here:https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/free-audio-books-and-why-you-should-try-them.html) or watch a live story time…Blue Manatee Literacy Project (a Cincy bookstore) is offering live story time on Instagram Stories every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 am. (@bluemanateebooks)
    • Create a simple fort with blankets and add a basket of books inside for a cozy reading spot (and later add a clipboard and a few writing utensils for a special writing spot!).
    • Practice story telling. Tell a story together where you each take a turn or ask your child to tell you a story and then invite them to document it by providing illustrations as you write the words!
    • Provide writing opportunities- pads of paper, old envelopes, post it notes, real pens (children love ‘real’ writing opportunities!) Invite them to write a letter to a family member or teacher they are missing, help you create a grocery list etc.
    • Create a ‘word bank’ for children- a list of words they are particularly interested in writing (such as family members’ names, favorite t.v. show characters, favorite sport or teams, favorite book titles etc. )
    • Alphabet scavenger hunt- looking for objects around the house that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
    • Guess what’s in the box- create a “mystery box” using an old shoebox or baby wipe container. Place mystery items in the box and children can guess what it is based off of how it feels.

Math

    • Count the amount of crackers, blueberries, cheerios etc. they have at snack or meal time.
    • Create patterns with legos or other toys.
    • Count the steps as you walk up or down.
    • Play hide and seek and choose a different number to count to each time.
    • “Shape talk” as you play, take a walk or build with blocks.
    • Point out numbers on houses or apartments as you take a walk.
    • Empty egg carton with tongs and pom-poms/cotton balls
    • Empty spice shaker with toothpicks or dry spaghetti pieces
    • Memory games- using notecards with numbers, dots, sticker pictures, etc. on the back side

Science

    • Take a walk and collect nature items. Invite children to count and sort them when you get back home. Save them and allow children to add them as accessories with their blocks or small dolls and animals for further open ended play.
    • Bake together! Encourage your child to develop theories and make predictions about what will happen once ingredients are combined and then baked. Ask them why they think the end result turned out the way it did.
    • Offer sensory explorations as possible:

-Fill the sink with soapy water and let your child help with dishes.

-Fill the sink with soapy water and let your child help clean some toys (that can get wet!)

-Fill the sink with just water and some empty containers, let them fill and pour.

-Add salt, rice, water, beans, sand, etc. with spoons, scoops, small dishes, figurines, and other small toys into a bin or box and allow children to scoop, pour, dump, and explore the materials. Place a towel or tablecloth underneath to keep messes at bay!

-Foam tray with golf tees or toothpicks

-Playdough: add some simple accessories (no need for lots of “playdough kits”!) such as old marker lids, toothpicks, small bowls or plates, real muffin and cookie pans, milk caps, corks…

Gross Motor/Movement

    • Look up some yoga poses and invite your child to try. –
    • https://awakeandmindful.com/best-kids-yoga-videos-on-youtube/ – here’s a link to a few child friendly yoga videos.
    • Create an obstacle course (inside or outside!) where children can practice skills like jumping, balancing, kicking, tossing, stretching, skipping etc.
    • Have a dance party!
    • Play ‘Simon Says’ and include directions that allow children to move. “Simon says, jump 10 times!” (walk like a bear, crawl like a crab, do 15 toe touches, do 8 jumping jacks, twirl 3 times, stretch as high as you can!)
    • Indoor bowling with plastic bottles and a soft ball
    • Indoor baseball with paper towel tubes and balloons

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