Stuck inside with your preschooler a lot these days? Yeah, me too.
It's 2021! PARTY! Well, not quite. School is still virtual here, and my baby doesn't make it any easier to take my toddler out. Plus in a lot of the country it is just too flippin' cold to spend much time outside. So I put this list of fun and easy indoor preschool activities together for you. You know, for those days where you can't stand to watch one more episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Or just feel guilty about screen time, because #momguilt.
P.S. You're doing a great job.
I hope a few of these fun and easy indoor preschool activities break up your day a bit. Maybe some are in your repertoire already, but with any luck you'll find a few new ones here. Preschoolers have so much energy, and these fun and easy indoor preschool activities are meant to help them get the wiggles out without leaving the house.
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Jumping is fun, easy, and well, exhausting. Since toddlers have near endless energy levels, jumping is a perfect way to get some of that energy out. An indoor trampoline certainly makes for a fun and easy indoor preschool activity, and I love the one I got my preschooler, but so does his baby sister, so it can really only be out during her naps.
Indoor Preschool Activity 1: Flash Card Jumps
If you don't already have number flashcards, just write 1-10 on a few sheets of paper and cut them up. Then, hold up a random card and ask your preschooler to identify the number, and have them jump that number of times! You can also place the cards on the ground and ask them to jump in order.
Indoor Preschool Activity 2: Balloon Jumps
Hang a balloon upside down from the ceiling or a doorway, and challenge them to jump to reach it.
A word of caution- balloons are a choking hazard once deflated or popped. Be sure to keep a close eye on your child with any activity involving balloons.
Indoor Preschool Activity 3: Hopscotch
You can create a hopscotch on your floor using masking or painter's tape. A basic block outline works fine, if you're feeling ambitious you can add numbers (or dots to represent the numbers).
Indoor Preschool Activity 4: Jumping Obstacle Course
One of my most said mom-phrases is "feet on the floor!" and oftentimes I'm saying it when my son is getting onto something he'd like to jump off of. Instead of trying to fight it, I distract him by creating a quick obstacle course. Usually this involves him jumping over blocks or stuffed animals, with space between for him to land. My ideal course meanders around the living room, then ultimately leads him to his toddler lounger.
On-the-move Fun and Easy Preschool Activities
Dancing and moving are also fantastic ways to get the wiggles out of a preschool aged toddler.
Indoor Preschool Activity 5: The Floor is Lava!
Who doesn't remember this from their own childhood? A high-stakes version of the pillow obstacle course, your preschooler wants to avoid touching the floor while playing this game.
Indoor Preschool Activity 6: Indoor 'Snowball' Fight
I hear those fake snowballs are a load of fun, however you can also use crumpled up newspaper, magazine pages, or grocery ads. Around here real snow is a major, airport-closing event, so this isn't one we can easily replicate outdoors.
Indoor Preschool Activity 7: Don't Let the Balloon Touch the Floor
Another classic I grew up with, batting around a balloon like we were playing volleyball. Only with no nets, or boundary lines, or even teams. Plus you know, using a balloon that was either blown up with good old-fashioned human breath, or that the helium had faded away in.
Indoor Preschool Activity 8: Letter Stomp
Grab some letter sized paper and a marker, then write down one letter on each page. Do NOT feel like you need to do the whole alphabet here! For example, using the letters in their name or even just A, B, and C, are both great ways to start doing this activity.
There are multiple ways to play this game. For instance, you can have your child identify a letter and ask them to stomp or jump on it. Alternatively, you can tell them what letter you'd like them to go to. After mastering that, an older preschooler may be able to start spelling their name or a sight word by going letter to letter.
Indoor Preschool Activity 9: Dance Party!
Turn on some music and jam! I like to use Alexa and have her play music that's included in the basic prime membership, since I don't listen to enough to justify the additional amazon music service. Usually I go with Disney music, because it's both kid friendly AND not annoying to adults. Amazon has a pre-programmed playlist called "Disney Hits" you can ask Alexa to play that includes songs from Frozen, Moana, Lion King, and more.
You can even do a Freeze Dance with this free Alexa skill. You'll need to enable the skill on your amazon account, then to use say "Alexa, Freeze Dance". Then when you are done, either say "Alexa, leave" or ask her to do something else so she moves on.
Indoor Preschool Activity 10: Dance/Workout Video
The holidays include a lot of things, and one of those things are an abundance of advertisements for workout gear. I noticed when the commercial for the Mirror would come on, my toddler mimicked the people jumping. I had two thoughts: first, this is adorable, and second, I can work with this.
If you have Amazon Prime it includes Zumba Fitness Concert Live which is just professional Zumba dancers on a stage with music, and the audience working out with them in the background. There's no actual instruction, which makes it feel less like a workout video which I like. After all, the goal is just to get our kids moving, not to isolate their quads!
Indoor Preschool Activity 11: Paper Airplanes
Grab some letter sized paper and fold up a traditional paper airplane. The most important thing to make it active is that your toddler doesn't just throw it, they go get it too! Younger preschoolers and toddlers can just throw it around, but as they get older they can see how far they can fly their plane.
Indoor Preschool Activity 12: Scavenger Hunt
There are countless ways to do a scavenger hung at home. One that requires zero preparation is to just come up with a shape or color, then ask your preschooler to find things in a space which are that shape or color.
With just a minute to prepare, you can also turn those simple wood puzzles they've pretty much outgrown into a hunt. Hide the pieces around your living room and watch your toddler search them out before putting them into the board.
Indoor Preschool Activity 13: Make an Instrument or Noisemaker
Find an empty water bottle, make sure it's dry inside, then toss in some uncooked rice. Make sure to tape the lid on well, like with packing tape, to make sure you don't end up with rice in your couch cushions.
Another version is to take an empty Kleenex box. Just remove the plastic, then put some rubber bands around it to create a preschooler's guitar. Make sure the rubber bands you use aren't too tight, otherwise they'll crush the box.
Ta-da! You just created two instruments (aka noisemakers) for your toddler to parade around with.
Indoor Preschool Activity 14: Bowling
Set up either 6 or 10 "bowling pins" in a room or hallway, and let your preschooler knock them down by rolling balls at them!
If you don't have a set you can use plastic cups or empty water bottles. Since those are light, any ball they use should have enough momentum to knock them over. Much like the paper airplanes, to keep this active for your preschooler- as opposed to active for mom!- show them how to set it up and let them take over. Their triangles won't be perfect, and heck, may not even resemble triangles. That's ok!
Brain Building, Sensory, and Imaginative Play Activities
Sometimes even the most rambunctious toddler needs some time playing with stuff in one place.
Indoor Preschool Activity 15: Cup Stack
We have this super cute set that was given to my daughter, which her older brother LOVES playing with. Good old fashioned plastic cups work great for this activity though, and with more advanced fine motor skills your child can build much wider and taller towers with them which is handy for older preschoolers. Plus, as everyone knows, the bigger the tower, the more satisfying it is to knock down!
Indoor Preschool Activity 16: Sensory Bin
Sensory Bins don't have to be complicated- my favorite uses just a few things from your kitchen and can come together in a minute or two to create one.
To start all you really need is a container, and a medium, for example: oats, rice, beans, or water. Then add some tools or toys for your preschooler to explore the medium with.
Indoor Preschool Activity 17: Create a Blanket Fort
Going back to our generation's childhood again here. Who didn't make- and love- a blanket fort? They make some really neat kits for it now, and I will probably break down and buy one at some point this year since they look so fun. But I haven't yet, mostly because a big blanket and a couch or table work just fine.
Indoor Preschool Activity 18: Car Wash
Similar to a sensory bin, this activity uses your kitchen sink. You'll also want a toddler stepstool so they can reach.
Fill your sink with some soap and water, then let your preschooler wash their toys! They can be more than just cars, but we have lots of toy cars so I call it a car wash. Most of the small balls we have are solid and hallow, so those tend to float which is fun.
One caveat- be sure the toys your toddler is washing can handle being submerged. Any balls with small holes in them for example will get water inside, which can then grow mold. Mold is gross, and can be dangerous, so you'll want to make sure you review the toys they're using here.
Indoor Preschool Activity 19: Puzzles
My son LOVES puzzles. These sight word puzzles are my his current favorite, but he also enjoys larger ones like this one once he has done it a few times and is familiar with it. I love that they engage his critical thinking and problem solving skills, plus they usually make for pretty quiet play.
Indoor Preschool Activity 20: Boxes
Do you know what young children and cats have in common? They both adore cardboard boxes!
After a few boxes have stacked up on me before recycle day, a super fun and easy indoor preschool activity is to just put a few of them in the middle of the living room. Then just, well, see what happens. I like to let their imagination guide them, my son tends to end up inside a box with some of his toys. If you have a particularly large box- oh, and a kid who DOESN'T like to draw on walls- crayons can be a great addition for this activity.
What are your favorite fun and easy indoor preschool activities for your little one?