PRESCHOOL IN PLACE - RESOURCES

PARENT RESOURCES

FREE PLAY & INSIDE PLAY ACTIVITIES

  • Color Search - Tape three pieces of different colored paper to the floor in separate areas of a room. Have them gather things from around the house that match that color and place it on the corresponding color.
  • Shape Search - Create a shape with painter’s tape on the floor. Have them find things among their toys that match that shape (i.e., square – books, blocks; circle – baby doll, play food items)
  • Lacing – yarn, large cereal loops or paper clips
  • Balloon Volleyball - Blow up a balloon, draw a funny face on it with a permanent marker! Play volleyball. Count how many times they can bop it without it hitting the ground.
  • Build a Fort or Reading Cave - Read a book inside with a flashlight. Have a tidy snack picnic.
  • Race Track - Draw a race track on a large piece of paper (or on a flattened/cut up large box) and tape it to the floor. Or, create a floor racetrack with painters tape. Get out the cars!
  • Build with Blocks or Lego© - Free play is encouraged. If your child prefers direction, give them a challenge: “How tall can you make it?” “Can you build something that uses every piece?”
  • Hot and Cold:  Hide a stuffed animal or favorite toy for the child to find. As the child gets closer let them know they’re getting warmer or hot when they’re close. Tell them they’re cool or cold as they get farther away. 
  • Bake - if you have the patience/mess tolerance…can be stress inducing
  • Sorting – Empty your sock drawer, separate all the socks. Have them find the match or sort by color. Another easy color sort is colored blocks. Or silverware (minus knives 😊)
  • Animal Care - Brush their pet or stuffed animals.  
  • Puzzle – Don’t have a puzzle? Cut up a page of a magazine into 10-15 pieces. Instant puzzle! Bonus: have them glue their puzzle onto a piece of paper
  • Scavenger Hunt - Sample Inside Scavenger Hunt (PDF) checklist and Outside Scavenger Hunt (PDF) checklist - or make up your own!
  • Toy Hide and Seek - Gather a collection of 8-10 small toys such as a set of cars, trains, play foods, or blocks. Have your child count them. Then have your child close their eyes as you hide them around the room. As they collect them they count as they go until they find them all. Repeat!
  • Busy Toddler - 40+ Best Indoor Activities for Toddlers

MOVEMENT

  • Hot Lava Game - Place cushions, towels or pillows on the floor and try to get from one side of the room to the other by only stepping on those items.
  • Dance Party – Turn it up and dance with them! Turn down the lights and add glow sticks!
  • Obstacle Course - Create an obstacle course using everyday things around your home: a garbage can becomes a basketball net and a crumpled up paper is a ball; a couch cushion becomes a trampoline; plastic cups are cones. Integrate hops, spins, dinosaur stomps, penguin walks.
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga
  • GoNoodle Song and Movement Videos   
  • 87 Energy Busting Indoor Activities

ART

  • Mo Willems “Lunch Doodles – Ages 4 to adult. Have a paper and pencil or crayons ready!
  • Free Art Station: put out paper, stickers, scissors, glue, small materials you might typically recycle (snack boxes or bags with pictures, magazine pages, twist ties, rubber bands, chopsticks). Create open-ended art together!
  • Patterning with Cereal. Draw a pattern or line or zig zag on paper and have your child add cereal following the line. Or have them create their own unique pattern on a blank paper.
  • Illustrate a Story - Staple several pieces of paper together.  Your child is the author and illustrator but help them to dictate the words as needed.
  • Art Gallery - Use markers or crayons to create masterpieces of art to display in the hallway.  Each day choose a theme.  The Bug Collection.  Animals With Spots.  Things that are Green.  My family.
  • Picture Post - Draw a picture and mail it to a family member or friend.
  • Finish the Animal Face - Find or print a picture of an animal face. Cut it in half and glue or staple to a piece of paper. Have them draw the other half! Creativity encouraged!
  • Tear Art – Tear magazine pages or construction paper and arrange it to make a picture, glue it to a piece of paper!
  • Nature Art - Collect leaves and sticks, glue or tape them to a piece of paper
  • Super Hero Masks – Use thin cardboard (repurpose a cereal box?) or paper plates. Cut out the mask for them, and invite them to decorate it with stickers or markers. Secure with rubber bands. (To add a play cape, use a small blanket and a chip clip or rubber band!)
  • Coloring Sheet – Parents, draw a doodle and have your child color it in! Everyone can create!

SENSORY

  • Shaving Cream Art – Put shaving cream in a tray or pan.  Draw pictures, letters or name.
  • Bring the Outdoors In!  Fill a bin or pan with dirt, grass, flowers, sticks or small rocks from your yard.  Add any small toys, plastic animals, or cars for imaginative play!
  • Filling and Pouring - Fill a bin with water (add a few drops of food coloring if you have it).  Add various measurement cups or small containers. 

OUTSIDE PLAY ACTIVITIES

  • Sidewalk Chalk 
  • Bubbles 
  • Paint with Water - Find paint brushes and a small bucket or bowl and fill it with water. Show your child how to draw a shape, or letters or numbers, or free hand designs. Also works great on a wooden fence – challenge them to paint an entire section!
  • Dinosaur Toy Wash - Get an old sponge, washcloth, or brush, throw a set of plastic toys in a bin with water and some dish soap suds. Wash away! Scrub those toys! Rinse with a second bucket. Add a drying station with a towel!
  • Garden Care - Plant seeds, pull weeds, water plants together
  • Gather Collections - Give your child a small bag and invite them to search for interesting things!  Leaves, seed pods, dandelions, rocks.  
  • Nature Walk or Hike - Around the block or in a County Park. Santa Clara County open spaces and trails are open at this point. Go to those within a short drive of your neighborhood, try to go at non-peak times like early in the morning, keep social distancing of 6+ feet, and avoid touching gates or restroom handles.

SCIENCE & MATH

  • Seed Exploration – Get any fruit or vegetable from the kitchen. Have your child guess what the seed might look like before you cut it open. Once open, take out seeds to explore them. Talk about their size, shape, color, and feel (smooth, rough, pokey).
  • Plant Nursery - Plant dry beans or seeds. Use a plastic baggie with a few damp cotton balls or damp tissue. Tape to a window and check growth progress daily. Your child will see the plant emerge and roots form! Transplant to a cup with dirt. 
  • Counting Games with Dice. Correspond with large motor movements. Hop 6 times, stand on 1 foot for the count of 3, etc.  Use during snack time.  Choose 3 pretzels, 2 grapes, etc.
  • Calendar - Make your own calendar with sticky notes. 1 sticky note for each day. Have your child write the corresponding number or use stickers to represent the day (5 stickers on the 5th of March

EVENING PLAY

  • Flashlight Search - Call out a shape or color, and have your child shine the flashlight on that shape in the room. “Rectangle” (picture frame). “Brown” (couch).
  • Flashlight Toy Hide and Seek - “Hide” a set of small toys such as dinosaurs in visible places (with a few out of reach on the curtain rod or door frame or on top of a picture frame). Then, have your preschooler use a flashlight to “find” each item by shining the light on it.
  • Glow Stick or Flashlight Dance Party
  • Shadow Puppets! 

SPECIAL FAMILY EVENTS & PROJECTS

  • Family Date Night – get dressed up, light a candle, fancy napkins, play Italian music
  • Drive-In Movie – Fill box or laundry basket (their car) with blankets and stuffed animals to watch a movie. Have kids draw up an easy menu…popcorn, juice box, fruit snacks (any snack you have on hand).  Allow them to place an order from the menu during their favorite movie.
  • Living Room Campout – Recreate a campout with sleeping bags and pillows, a play campfire and smores.
  • Bath Fun – Throw their Duplo© blocks in the bath for a break from the normal bath routine.
  • Tidy Up! Have your child help go through old toys, books, and clothing and box them up to donate. 

FAVORITE PRESCHOOL SONGS

The teachers compiled a list of favorite classroom songs for movement and play. The Favorite Preschool Songs list (PDF) includes links to YouTube videos for each song. 

TIPS

  • Follow your child’s lead - let them explore their interests. 
  • Alternate high energy and low energy activities
  • Children love to help. Give them a daily chore. Have them clean up after each activity.
  • Rotate toys.
  • Fresh air every day.
  • Build in downtime – for them and you.
  • Create a routine/schedule, with flexibility.