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25 Fun Activities for Preschoolers (for Home or School)

The preschool years are a time of non-stop fun and learning.

The moments you get to spend with your children, getting your hands dirty or playing games, are priceless and will benefit them forever.

This post is a unique collection, made just for parents and teachers, so that you have a new set of ideas to try out at home to keep the learning fun and fresh.

I reached out to some of the most influential parenting and educational bloggers and asked them to share one of their favourite classroom or parent-child activities for preschoolers that is both fun and educational at the same time.

Pin - Awesome activity ideas for parents of preschoolers

Here are all 25 responses and they’re as creative and varied as I expected.

These games and activities will help develop children’s:

1. Ice-Melting Fun

One of my favourite preschool activities (oh boy, I have so many favourites!!) is an ice-melting activity that has kids melting a block of ice with salt and water with tools and instruments like tweezers, pâté knives, turkey basters, spoons, etc.

Ice melting preschool activity

You simply freeze lots of small objects in a block of ice and let the kids work away at melting the ice to extract the objects. You can choose from so many themes.

A few of our favourites are: freeze plastic dinosaurs in a block of ice for a “dino dig,” freeze plastic fish, marine life and seashells in a block of ice for a “frozen ocean dig” or freeze plastic gems and jewels in a block of ice for “diamond dig.”

Another favourite is to freeze various items in a rubber glove filled with water like we did for our Haunted Halloween Hands and our Elsa’s Frozen Hands activity.

Above, you can see a photo of my daycare children hard at work melting Elsa’s frozen hands to get to the treasures frozen inside.

Here are links to some of the ice melting experiments we’ve done here:

Jackie – https://happyhooligans.ca/

2. Crafts

One of our favorite things to do when my daughter was younger was to get on the floor and do crafts.

Craft drawers

I would make periodic trips to the dollar store and stock up on poster paper, stickers, pompoms, pipe cleaners, glitter glue, poster paint, pencils, erasers, tiny notebooks, felt sheets, sticky notes, crinkle paper rolls, paper plates and cups, plastic spoons, balloons, cupcake wrappers, googly eyes, tissue paper, foam stickers, yarn, aluminium foil and anything at all that could fit in our crafts drawers.

I would also periodically Google for “dollar store crafts for kids” and look on Pinterest to keep my head full of ideas.

Whenever we had some time, I would pull out a few supplies and we would craft away.

Or, I would ask her to “pick a drawer” to craft from (we have a colorful set of drawers to keep our craft supplies in) and she would get so excited!

Most of our “crafts” ended in the trash at cleanup time, and a few on her wall (which she still cherishes, even after 5+ years!), but making Pinterest-worthy crafts was never the goal.

We just both liked doing stuff with our hands and that was a great way to spend time together, creatively exploring whatever material we had at hand, and jabbering or giggling away throughout the process.

She is 10 now, and even to this day, “doing crafts” is one of her favorite ways to spend her free time. I join her when I can, and at other times she is happy to do it on her own. It’s been a great outlet for both connecting and de-stressing – for both of us!

Sumitha – https://afineparent.com/

3. Letter Memory Game

We like to take matching capital and lowercase plastic letters and hide them under upside-down cups in an array. We do about 8 letters at a time for a total of 16 cups.

The children can then play memory, lifting up two cups at a time and peeking underneath to find if their letters are a match. It’s a fun way to practice letter recognition and includes some fine motor skills as well.

Amy – https://planningplaytime.com/

4. Sensory Wall Mosaic Art

Sensory Wall Mosaic art is my favorite kids’ activity for this age range. It’s a great way to explore colors, textures, and shapes. It also makes a great collaborative project.

Maryanne – https://www.mamasmiles.com/

5. Fill the Square

Make a square on the ground using duct tape. Set blocks or Duplo Lego bricks next to the square and invite your child to fill the square using the blocks.

Child placing Lego in a square

It can be challenging because you have to find pieces that fit, like a puzzle.

Angela – https://teachingmama.org/

6. Play Dough

Play dough is probably our go-to activity for when we are busy and I need a breather.

Play dough is a very affordable option for kids that is extremely versatile. You can even make it at home with just a few common household items.

Play dough can be adapted to meet the child wherever they are developmentally, with just a little bit of creativity. Play dough is a fantastic way to incorporate any topic you want to work with your child on while having fun.

I discuss a couple different ways play dough challenges kids here.

You can check out some of my cool play dough mats on my website store!

Stephanie – http://parentingchaos.com/

7. Golf Tees and Pom Poms

Golf tees and pom poms are some of my favourite “OT tools”! Fine motor fun with busy fingers!

Child placing pom-poms on golf tees

Here we are making a birthday cake 🎂 and adding some candles using our “pinchy fingers” 👌to insert the golf tees into cardboard and adding mini pom poms on top. The kids love blowing the pom poms off too after singing Happy Birthday!

Cindy – https://www.yourkidsot.com/

8. Feelings Games

One of my favourite ways to help preschoolers develop emotional intelligence is through playing simple games that help them recognise different feelings.

For example, we might show a face, make a pose, draw a picture, or choose a colour that represents different emotions such as sadness, happiness, anger, loneliness, or jealousy.

As children learn to name and identify different emotions, they are able to recognise these emotions in themselves and others.

Chelsea – http://www.momentsaday.com/

9. Language Play

Preschoolers need lots of opportunities to play with language to build their phonological awareness. One of the best ways to do this is through lots of back and forth conversations. The other way is through reading aloud to them and talking about the books.

A few of my favorites for building phonological awareness include The Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas and Frog on a Log by Kes Gray.

Jodie – https://growingbookbybook.com

10. Sticker Activities

I love quick activities with stickers. Match the foam stickers, trace them and match the outlines, or cut them in half to complete each shape for an extra challenge.

Fun preschool activity with stickers

Visit The Activity Mom for free printable sticker puzzles to get started.

Nicole – https://activity-mom.com/

11. Paint with Spaghetti Brooms

My favorite activity is “Paint with spaghetti brooms

Preschool children painting with spaghetti

This activity blends sensory and art into one and kids love that! It is such a sensory and visual treat.

Suja – http://www.funlittles.com/

12. Handprint Art

One of my favourite arts and crafts activities for preschool kids is creating handprint art. It’s great to get kids creating and using their imagination and there are so many different things you can add to a printed handprint.

Handprint painting of fire engine

In fact, we recently shared a fantastic piece of handprint art. It’s a fire truck and quite simple to make.

Handprint art is a great sensory activity for young ones, inspires creativity and can be a great conversation starter and means to get kids talking and practicing language skills as they chat about their art.

Painting can give little ones a real sense of accomplishment and is a simple and fun task.

I hope you enjoy this fun fire truck painting idea

Angela – https://www.theinspirationedit.com/

13. Farm Themed Yoga

Farm themed yoga is the perfect way to include gross motor skills and body awareness into your farm unit.

Child doing yoga

Kids get to learn about farm animals as they move their bodies just like the animals on the farm! 

Chanda – https://www.pinkoatmeal.com/

14. Invitations to Play

My favorite activities for preschoolers are invitations to play. I like to set up a tray with playdough and add other elements for them to play with. These usually have a theme of some sort.

Recently we did something similar called Spaghetti Bead Towers. This is a great activity for fine motor skills.

Child making a spaghetti bead tower

I put the playdough in the center of the tray and an assortment of beads in the compartments around the tray. Then I added dry spaghetti noodles to the playdough.

I had my preschooler add the beads to those noodles to create towers. You could even ask the child to thread them on in a pattern to make it more challenging.

Heather – http://www.glitteronadime.com/

15. Scavenger Hunts

I absolutely love scavenger hunts! You can do them indoors or outdoors, they can be easily tailored to any season or subject, and children of all ages can participate.

Autumn scavenger hunt

There are so many things that children learn while searching for objects included in a scavenger hunt. They learn to pay attention to the world around them and use their memories to recall where they may have seen specific items in the past.

Scavenger hunts are perfect opportunities to reinforce basic skills such as colors and shapes or letter recognition. They also encourage children to get up and move! Here is a link to download my free Autumn scavenger hunt pdf (shown in the pic above)! 

Erin – http://preschoolponderings.blogspot.com/

16. Matching Pairs Memory Game

A simple but engaging little activity that Adam and I have kept going back to is a Matching Pairs Memory Game.

It’s great because it challenges him to be focused and stretch his memory muscle, both of which are super beneficial to overall cognitive development.

There is even an element of strategy in how you pick the cards, which keeps the game fun as the child gets older. It is quick and difficulty can easily be adjusted by increasing or reducing the number of pairs on the table.

It can be played as single player or competitive. We like to also take the opportunity to talk about the pictures on the cards, to develop vocabulary and help memorization.

Emil – https://www.adam-mila.com/

(Get your own set of printable memory card games here!)

17. Pinecone Owls

I think for this time of year it would have to be these Pinecone Owls – they are super simple to make, look great, but even better are incredibly tactile.

Pinecone owls

Such a fabulous contrast between the soft cotton wool and the almost prickly pine cone! Great for fine motor skills too!

Maggy – https://www.redtedart.com/

18. Dessert Pizzas

I love to make dessert pizzas with preschoolers. The thought of making a cookie crust and adding all kinds of yummy toppings gets preschoolers smiling and their mouths watering. Mine too! This activity can be done as a group or one-on-one with mom or grandma.

It is an excellent activity because of how easy it is to create a dessert pizza. All you need is a premade sugar cookie tube rolled out onto a pizza pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Cook the dough and let cool completely. Slice up the pizza and give each child a slice.

Pizza with sweet toppings

The “sauce” can be icing, jam, chocolate sauce, or flavored cream cheese. Then add any toppings you like. This can include fruits, chocolate candy pieces, sprinkles and gummy candies. A preschooler can help in every aspect of this delicious treat.

Use dessert pizza for almost any theme you are teaching, including making shapes out of the dough with cookie cutters, using toppings to make a face for a unit on “I am Special.” Try a Christmas tree shaped cookie dough or an Easter egg shape dough. The possibilities are endless!

Baking with preschoolers covers a multitude of lessons, including learning to listen, following directions, working on fine and gross motor skills, and creativity.

Denise – Grandmateachesme.com

19. Slime

One of our all-time favorite activities to do with children is to make slime. Not only is it really easy to make with items you probably already have at home but it is also so simple to customize each batch to your child’s interests!

Some of our favorite recipes are making scented slime and slime with texture like Pom Pom slime. But you can add glitter for children that love sparkle, color dye to match their favorite color or scents like lavender to help create a calming and anxiety-reducing effect while they play.

Pom poms in slime

The benefits of slime are numerous and pretty extraordinary for such a simple activity. Making the slime helps develop fine motor skills as well as developing listening and problem-solving skills.

It can also help create a fun learning experience as they experiment and use scientific processing to explore different ingredients.

Playing with the slime is also fantastic for fine motor skills and is the perfect sensory activity. Not only do they experience touch but if you make your slime scented, colored and textured you are adding a whole new level of sensory experience.

Kirsty – https://merakimother.com/

20. Completing Drawing Prompts With Crafts

A popular activity in preschool is to give the children a drawing prompt of anything they want and then let them complete the picture with any craft materials they have at hand.

Drawing prompt sketches

I usually ask them what they want to make this time and draw it on the spot, but if more than two children start asking for the same drawing prompt, then I make a “master one” and photocopy it for everyone to save time.

For anyone who wants to do this without having to draw the prompts, I have a few drawing prompts available on my website – a set of incomplete animal drawings and a Christmas themed set.

Both sets of printables are free to download as PDFs and I will add more from time to time since the children always come up with new ideas (unicorn requests seem to be very popular at the moment).

Rodrigo – https://boxofideas.uk/

21. Invitations to Play

I love invitation to play activities where preschoolers can freely express their imagination. Their creative minds can come up with the most amazing and unexpected ideas!

I did one such activity with my three-year-old daughter. We called it the Christmas tree decoration party.

For this one, we made creative use of aluminium foil as the wrapping base for a cardboard Christmas tree and let my daughter loose on it for decoration.

Check out the amazing outcome of our Christmas tree ornaments.

Christmas tree hanging decorations

This is also a fun activity to help develop fine motor and scissor skills in preschoolers.

Shikha – https://www.thejoysharing.com/

22. Body Bridges

One of our favorite activities for preschoolers is called Body BridgesIn this fun activity, kids use their bodies to create “bridges” for toy cars by moving into different positions. We’ve tried plank pose, downward dog, crab walk position, and more!

Little girl making a bridge with her body

This gross motor activity is great for building core strength, shoulder and wrist stability, and hand strength!

Claire and Lauren – https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/

23. Sorting Box Play

I am fortunate to be able to spend my days learning through play with my students who are ages three to five.

One of the biggest challenges for me as a teacher is to come up with things that my students can explore all by themselves.

Whatever I choose has to be simple to prepare and yet bring value to the learning process.

A recent favorite activity of our students is our sorting box. We change up our sorting box all the time to keep the process interesting.

To prepare this simple matching game, we fill one compartment with colorful loose parts and then put matching colored stickers in the other compartments.

Children sorting items in a box

The children sort the colorful loose parts by matching them to the colorful dots. Super simple but lots of learning going on!

Deborah – https://teachpreschool.org/

24. Letter Crafts

Preschool is a wonderful age to do letter crafts and activities. It’s a great time to encourage early literacy by helping them discover letters and their sounds in fun and creative ways.

For a number of years, I hosted the 31 Days of ABC, a collection of letter activities and crafts from bloggers all over the web.

Letter crafts don’t have to involve a lot of prep work or materials. In fact, some of my favorites involve using found materials from nature. And, they are easy to adapt to other languages, which is important in our bilingual household.

For example, Q can be for “Question” or “¿Qué?” in this easy craft that encourages investigation.

Letter 'N' made with leaves

Leanna – https://alldonemonkey.com/

25. Playdough

My favourite activity for preschoolers would be playdough. A great, big batch of homemade playdough does the trick!

Child rolling playdough

Playing with playdough can help a preschooler build many skills without even realising. The cutters and gizmos that come with playdough in the shops are fun to use, but my most effective activities come from using just the dough on its own.

You can work on coordination skills by squishing the dough into one big ball, pounding it flat, or rolling it out on the table using both hands to make a sausage.

Rolling small balls between both hands is also great for bilateral coordination.

Working with playdough also strengthens the muscles of the hands, and if you use the fingers to roll little balls, you are working on fine motor
skills as well.

I outline some of the benefits of playdough activities here and I also have a great homemade playdough recipe.

I usually spend some time playing with my kids with just the playdough, seeing what we can make together. Then once we have done lots of bilateral and fine motor work, I let them play with the cutters, rollers and other playdough toys – usually keeps them entertained for ages!

Tracey – https://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all these new activity ideas!

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