Wondering what to do with those preschoolers when you can't take them outside? In the North East, we have cold weather and snow coming, so I'll definitely need something to keep my kids busy when we can't go out in the yard or on the playground at school. I've compiled a list of 45 indoor activities that are sure to please.
1. Magic Milk Experiment
Kids will love this fun experiment. You only need milk, a shallow dish, food coloring, dish soap, and cotton buds to do this as well. Colors can be chosen by each child and they can create fun designs. Children of all ages will love this magic trick!
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2. Sensory Treasure Hunt
Sensory activities for toddlers are always a big hit and this one is tons of fun. What's even better is that you can use it over and over by simply switching out what you bury. Be prepared for rice to go all over, but the fun your kids will have and the learning they experience is well worth the mess.
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3. Pattern Blocks
Activities that develop multiple skills in one are a personal favorite. Pattern blocks are great for motor skills, shape and color recognition, and patience with trying to line everything up. This set in particular also teaches sea creatures!
Learn More: Simple Everyday Mom
4. Dinosaur Color Match
Dinosaurs are typically a favorite among preschool-aged kids, which will draw them in for this activity. Simply print out this sheet and have them match the colors. They can also be laminated if used in a classroom setting.
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5. Smush Painting
I get anxious when I think about painting with my kids. It always turns into a big mess and a need for baths, so I try to avoid it. This activity may just make me rethink it! Pieces of construction paper or cardstock work best with this if you plan on keeping the artwork. I used canvases from the dollar store and they worked well too.
Learn More: Happy Toddler Club
6. Paper Chains
I remember making paper chains all the time when I was a kid. All you need is colored paper cut into strips and either tape, glue, or a stapler. They can be used as a decoration for any holiday or birthday, or even just to decorate your classroom or child's bedroom.
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7. Indoor Skating Rink
This activity is best at home, on a softer surface. Just stick some contact paper to the floor and let those preschoolers play. You might set it up as a hockey rink with goals, or just leave it plain for a skating rink. It's great for motor skills and tons of fun for kids.
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8. Giant Floor Maze
Some kids love mazes, while others don't, but if they are giant and have a treat at the end, most will give it a try. Make them as detailed as you'd like (or think is appropriate for your kiddos), and get those toy trucks and cars ready to drive through. Add this to your list of activities for toddlers!
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9. Bean Bag Toss
Most of us have some empty boxes laying around. Here you'll find step-by-step instructions on how to turn them into a fun indoor game. They can be personalized or even decorated by your kids! This is a great movement activity that allows kids to get some energy out and have some fun.
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10. Balloon Tennis
Balloons are so much fun for kids. Balloon tennis takes the classic game of tennis and makes it safe to play indoors. I could see this being used when your kids need to get out some energy. It can also be good for indoor recess.
Learn More: Little Bins For Little Hands
11. Rainbow Noodles
Making rainbow noodles is something I've never done and never thought to do before. Some parents use this to try to get their kids to eat something different, but I think that I would just use it as a fun activity.
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12. Straw Rockets
What a blast these will be! Get ready for lift-off with some cute little rockets. Just print the template out, have kids color and cut them out, and you have the perfect activity for kids! I could see these being used for a science lesson as well.
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13. Giant Nail Salon
My little one loves to see my nails after I style them, so I bet this would be a hit in my house. Trace your hands on some cardboard, add exaggerated nails and let them paint away. I've seen people give kids old nail polish for this, but washable paints will work just fine!
Learn More: Happy Toddler Playtime
14. Tunnel Race
This fun game will be loved by kids (and maybe adults). Recycle those empty toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Blowing the pom poms around the course uses a lot of facial muscles, which helps with their speech as well.
Learn More: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
15. Brown Bear, Brown Bear Motor Activity
Eric Carle is a beloved author and this activity is the perfect follow-up to reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear. It gets kids moving around like a bear and would make for a fun indoor recess game. See who can stay in position the longest or walk the furthest!
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16. Push and Pull Motor Activity
Get those kids pushing and pulling things and release some energy! They can either push and pull one another or some stuffed animals or other toys. Have them race each other or try the activity on different types of flooring, so you can discuss friction.
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17. Name Hop
What a great way to teach little kids how to spell their names in a kinesthetic way. Write each letter on a paper plate and have them jump from letter to letter. They can shout out each letter or do a dance as they go to each one.
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18. Wheelbarrow Walk
I don't know why I haven't done this with my kids yet. Wheelbarrow walks are something I did all the time as a kid, with my aunts and uncle. This link adds the puzzle element to it but is not necessary.
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19. Ring Toss Game
Here's a cheap way to make a fun game for kids. It can be used for indoor recess or just a fun game at home. Some schools do a circus program and this would be the perfect extension activity to have in your classroom.
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20. Freeze Dance Alternatives
Freeze dance can be lots of fun, however, it can cause anxiety for kids worrying about being eliminated. Here you'll find 6 close alternatives to the classic game, that will put kids' minds at ease. You can still play favorite songs too. These will surely become favorite activities for toddlers.
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21. Pumpkin Seed Names
Who knew you could dye pumpkin seeds? While this activity calls for them to be for name spelling, they could be used for so many things. This provides both a visual and tactile way of learning to spell their names too!
Learn More: Fun A Day
22. Alphabet Kaboom
This is a simple letter game that kids can play during indoor recess, which will help with letter or sound recognition. The original author also noted that she used the same idea for other concepts, such as number recognition.
Learn More: The Many Little Joys
23. Say It, Make It, Write It
Here's a great way to learn letter writing. First kids say the letter, then they make it with playdough and then they write it. It also provides learning for visual and tactile learners. This is a great activity for centers.
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24. Counting with Buttons
This activity is great for counting, but also for color recognition and matching. It would go well as a follow-up activity to reading Pete The Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons as well! If you are looking for activities for toddlers, then you need to include this one.
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25. Math Counting Game
Kids love games that involve food. This is another one to add to your arsenal of activities for toddlers too. You can use their favorite snack food to help motivate them to participate in this and it's easily set up and cleaned up.
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26. Playdough Maze
Hand-eye coordination is difficult to learn for preschoolers, making this the perfect activity for them. Start off with simpler mazes and then as they are able to complete them more quickly, then you can increase the difficulty level.
Learn More: Mom Life Made Easy
27. Magic Snowballs
Sensory activities are always a big hit and if you live in a warmer region, it may be the only way your child will experience snow. My little one hated the snow last winter, so I'll definitely be trying this out with her. It'll be a great snow day alternative.
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28. Color Changing Slime
Slime can be made and used in a variety of ways. Color-changing slime is especially fun for kids as it adds some science to the mix. Playing with it gives sensory input and also increases hand strength, but be prepared for it to end up everywhere.
Learn More: Simple Everyday Mom
29. Tape Towers
Talk about easy setup! Just throw some painter's tape on the wall and have kids see how many blocks it takes to get to the same height. You can encourage them to count the blocks, have a race, or create patterns while building.
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30. Dino Footprint Cookies
Here's an indoor activity that kids will definitely enjoy, especially those dinosaur lovers. Make or buy your favorite cookie dough and have kids make dinosaur footprints on them. Then you can bake and eat them or let them make a landscape with them.
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31. Fizzing Ice Cubes
What a fun and easy science experiment that kids can be involved in and stay safe. It does require some preparation on your part, but it will be well worth it when you see how excited children get when they see the ice cubes fizzing.
Learn More: Toddler At Play
32. Dinosaur Action Cube
These animal movement activity dice are great! Most of the movements are easy, even if they don't know anything about the dinosaurs or you could use this after learning about them. There are plenty of books and videos available on dinosaurs that kids will love.
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33. Tin Can Golf
Movement activities are always a big hit and this one looks like a blast, plus it is a great way to reuse empty cans. Golf requires a level of eye-hand coordination and patience, which teaches resilience, making this game a winner.
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34. XO Hop
I have a small house, so I'm always looking for activities that don't take up much space. XO hop is exactly what I need for my kids. You only need a few items to set it up and kids will play for hours. It's another great indoor activity that will get lots of energy out.
Learn More: Best Toys 4 Toddlers
35. Indoor Scavenger Hunt
While these are printable, you can create your own scavenger hunt based on what you have available in your home. It also helps kids practice counting and number writing if you use the ones provided in the link.
Learn More: KC Edventures
36. Alphabet Basketball
Print these out and get ready for some indoor basketball fun. It is a fun spin on a classic game. You could even play Horse! It's up to you, depending on space and skill level.
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37. Spider Web Obstacle Course
This is one of those activities for toddlers that they will either love or hate. I don't think it would go over well in my house, but who knows? Simply take a piece of string and create your obstacle course.
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38. Silly Putty
I prefer silly putty over slime, for obvious reasons and this one is so easy to make. Simple things like this allow kids to use their imagination while playing. They can form it into anything they can dream up and it will help build hand strength, which is important for writing stamina.
Learn More: Happy Toddler Playtime
39. Cherry Blossom Craft
This looks like a fun activity and will make for a cute homemade decoration as well. It's perfect for Spring and can be used as a follow-up to reading any book about it. It looks like it might get messy, so keep that in mind.
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40. Gravity Painting
A combination of sensory and motor activity, that also demonstrates gravity is amazing for preschoolers! All kids do is use watercolor paints and then hold the paper up before it dries to get the drip effect. Then once it's dry, they glue on cotton balls to complete the scene.
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41. Cardboard Marble Run
I always have empty toilet paper and paper towel tubes laying around and this is the perfect way to use them. Glue them in a box and let the fun begin. Kids will love this activity.
Learn More: Happy Mom Hacks
42. Penny Spinners
I don't know how I've never seen these before. Kids can design their own top by painting or drawing on a paper circle and then sticking a penny in the middle. What a quick, fun activity that leaves kids with a toy to play with over and over.
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43. Bath Bombs
My kids love bath bombs. It is great that you can make them with a variety of colors and scents, but be careful if making them at school, due to allergies. It's also a great sensory activity that allows kids to learn new scents and colors as well.
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44. DIY Snow Globes
These snow globes are so cute and can be used as holiday gifts or decor. I think grandparents, aunts, uncles, and alike would love to receive these, especially when there's a photo inside!
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45. Indoor Bowling
My daughter loves Daniel Tiger, which is where this activity came from. It's also a great way to recycle water bottles and they can be painted however you'd like. You can also have kids paint them.
Learn More: PBS