In light of the current situation with COVID-19, I wanted to share some simple and fun activity ideas to do with your little ones if your family is staying home at this time. The activities included are meant to be as simple as possible, with little prep and materials required. I would also advise loosely following a schedule, similar to your child's school/daycare schedule, which will help maintain the structure that they need when they are little. This would include semi-regular times for meals/snacks/naps/bedtime, as well as opportunities for both free play (supervised activity that is not directed by an adult) and activities you and your child can do together. I'm hoping this post helps someone out there, and if you have any suggestions you would like to add, please feel free to comment them down below! Music and Movement Yoga - Yoga is a great way to get moving with your preschooler and burn some energy. One of the channels I use with my class is Cosmic Kids Yoga, which has a variety of kids yoga videos involving a variety of themes and favorite characters. Just Dance - Just Dance is also a great way to get your preschooler moving. If you don't have a console, no worries! There's a variety of kids Just Dance videos uploaded on YouTube. I like to search "just dance kids playlists" and turn on a playlist to play a variety of videos back to back. Balloon play - Balloons make for a great time playing and moving around! Blow up some balloons in the living room, turn on some toddler tunes, and have fun! You can also make a game out of collecting the balloons, and trying to hold as many as possible. Indoor obstacle course - An indoor obstacle course is a great way to get creative and keep you kids moving. This blog post has some ideas to get you started. Around the House Fun At home makeover - Have fun giving your little one a makeover! Cooking / Baking together - Young children love to help out, and cooking/baking together is a great way to have fun and practice developmental skills like language, fine motor control, and mathematics. Helping with chores - Along the same lines of encouraging children to help, get them involved with some household chores. Your little one may be able to help you out with simple tasks like sweeping, picking up toys, setting the table, matching socks, etc. Backyard fun - While the weather is a little mucky, it doesn't mean that you can't have fun outside. If it's raining, why not throw on a rain jacket/hat/boots and have fun? When it is not raining, your little one may enjoy helping you garden, or using their imaginations playing with chalk, bubbles, etc.
Learning a new skill - Time off at home is a great opportunity to learn new skills. For example, if your child is showing signs of potty training readiness, this may be a good time to begin potty training! Your child might also enjoy learning to ride a tricycle, or practicing sign language with you. There are plenty of apps and videos available to help you get started on ASL or baby sign. Art Painting - Painting is a great activity for children, and there are so many different ways they can paint! If you're looking for little to no-mess options, these are some ideas to try: -painting with water (they can paint with water on paper, and most other surfaces) -ziploc bag painting -painting with ice
Card Donations - There are a variety of organizations that collect card donations for those who need them, such as hospitals. Have fun making and decorating cards with your child! This is one example of an organization that accepts card donations. Simple Science Walking Rainbows - This experiment is not only super colorful...but super simple too! Only requires a few everyday items. You can find directions here. Baking Soda and Vinegar - For an easy and exciting experiment, try adding vinegar to baking soda and see what happens. More information and similar projects can be found here.
Magic Milk - It's not called "magic" milk for nothing. What your little one will observe with this experiment will be truly amazing, and only calls for a few ingredients. Directions can be found here.
Fine Motor Activities Hole punching - If you have a set of individual hole punchers, this is a great way for your preschooler to practice their fine motor skills. All you need is a hole puncher and paper. Collander threading - If you have fake flowers or pipecleaners, you can have your preschooler practice threading them through the holes in a collander. This is a great fine motor activity and improves hand-eye coordination. Freeze and free activity - This activity requires very little prep and is a great way to build patience and fine motor skills. You can find directions here. Beading - Beading is a great way to build fine motor skills, and your child can make something new that they can be proud of. Besides beads, you can also use uncooked pasta. Puzzles - You can also make your own puzzles with cereal boxes, as seen here.
Sensory Activities Water pouring bin - Out of all of the sensory bins you can do, this is one of the easiest, with nearly zero clean-up. Perfect to do outside if you can. What you would do is take a large plastic bin, and fill with water. I usually add a few different measuring cups to the bin, each full of water with a few drops a food coloring. You can use two different colors to see them mix to make a new color. Foam sensory bin - To make a bubble-foam sensory bin, fill a bin with water and add some dish soap or bubble bath. Then take either a hand mixer or whisk to create the foam/bubbles. You can also add a little food coloring as well. Baby doll bathing - A great simple activity for preschoolers and toddlers is giving baby dolls (or animal toys or toy trucks) a bath. Grab a baby doll tub (or another plastic bin), some water and soap, wash rags, and you are good to go. Math and Literacy Activities Sorting by attributes - Have your child sort any item you have a variety of, such as buttons or socks, by different attributes like color, size and shape. Sensory tracing trays - Tracing trays are very easy to make, all you need is a tray and salt/sugar/drink mix/etc to put inside it. I usually use a pack of ABC flashcards, have the child pick a flash card, and then they would trace the letter in the tracing tray. It is a great way to have children practice tracing and letter recognition. Reading - Reading to your child is crucial to their language and social development, so grab a book and snuggle up. You can also watch read alouds on YouTube with your child, like these from Storytime at Awnie's House.
Other Fun Games and Ideas Scavenger Hunt - A scavenger hunt is a great way for children to practice recognizing colors/shapes and staying on task. You can have your little one look for items of a certain color, like finding things in your home that are blue for example. There are also premade scavenger hunt lists available online, like this one. Solo cup stacking - One of my classes' favorite no-prep activities is building with solo cups. You can use the red ones, or get a set with different colors. Movie Party - Throw a movie party with your family, complete with snacks and cozy blankets! Did you know that as of this post being made, Frozen 2 has been released early on Disney+? Virtual Tours - Lots of public places at this time are offering (or have already been offering) virtual tours online. You can watch some zoo tours here. You can also check out your local museums and zoos social media and youtube accounts, as they likely have some fun content to explore as well. **This post is originally from my second blog Teacher J's Prek (https://teacherjsprek.blogspot.com)