Our Play Out Childcare team have a great list of activity ideas for pre-schoolers:
Build a fort:
Building a fort is usually pretty quick and easy to do and it will spark your child’s natural imagination and will help them to entertain themselves. Plus the best bit about a fort is you can snuggle down inside with lots of blankets and pillows, perfect for when your feeling poorly.
Give your toddler a piece of paper and a crayon (washable ones are best for avoiding scribbled on walls) and show them how rubbing a crayon on a piece of paper over different surfaces makes different patterns and textures. They can go around the whole house doing this and they will love it.
Nothing gets a child more excited than a big bowl of water. This can be quite messy so make sure you put down plenty of towels. Grab a box and fill it with different things that would be fun to add to the water such as dolls, little boats, spoons, cups, and bubbles.
This is super easy to make you just need flour and oil, mix them together until you have the desired consistency. Gather anything that would be fun to use in the sand such as shells, yogurt pots, and spoons. Again, this can be messy; a wipeable mat would be best.
At nursery, all of the age groups love exploring playdough, you can use children’s knives, forks, cookie cutters and rolling pins to mould it and enjoy! This recipe makes the perfect ball for 1 child to use:
8 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of oil
A splash of food colouring if you have any
Add small amounts of water and mix until it makes dough!
The toddlers and 3-5’s absolutely love our dancing Sticky Kids CD’s, if they’re bursting to get active at home, you can find Sticky Kids on YouTube and do some dancing at home!
If you mix water and cornflour to the desired consistency, the gloop is great to explore the liquid and solid textures.
Bring the slide inside:
If you have a small lightweight baby slide sat in your garden, bring it in! (If you have space to) Your child will find it very exciting that they get to bring a bit of the outdoors inside. (Obviously, give the slide a good clean beforehand) The same goes for tunnels and tents!
Your toddler will love looking through photo albums with you and it’s a lovely way to spend some time together. Tell your child stories relating to photos and point out family members and quiz your child on all their names.
See what odd crafty bits you have lying around and have a google – we’ve found ideas like cotton wool lambs, egg cup chicks, and paper cone bunnies! Or get your cardboard together and do some junk modelling!
Why not pick out a few items of clothing from your own wardrobe and let your toddler dress up and play with them? They will love pretending to be just like mummy/daddy.
Get some fresh air:
Obviously you can’t go into public but you can go into your garden (if you have one) to let your toddler have a good run around. They will be craving some fresh air after being cooped up at home so try making an obstacle course – use tunnels, hoops, footballs, cones or any equipment you have (be creative!)
If your child is not feeling well, they may want to just cuddle up with a story. We have story time twice a day at nursery, and stories are available throughout the day, the children love sharing stories.
Puzzles and board games:
Another activity to do with children if they want to cuddle up is doing a puzzle or playing a game together. Get those old board games out from the cupboard and get the whole family involved!
Let the children join in with your daily tasks, they love having responsibilities and feeling like they’re helping! If you’re making dinner, get them involved with stirring the pots, or mash the potatoes!
You may have seen an experiment going around at the moment teaching children the importance of washing their hands. Grind pepper in a bowl of water. Put their finger in the bowl and some pepper will be on their finger – this represents the germs. Then put soap on their finger and put their finger in again and see what happens!