5 Stay At Home Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Some days at home fly by, and at the end of the day I honestly cannot tell you what we did all day.  BUT, some days at home drag...you know the days when you think it is lunch time but you look down at your watch to see it is only 9:00 am...  These are the days that I just need some go to activities.  Activities that fill the time in a productive way and get us through the day.

Today I plan to share with you the 5 activities we go back to ALL THE TIME.  These are not hard to set up, and offer lots of open ended playing/crafting.

Magna Tiles

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OK, I've mentioned these in so many of my posts (and I don't have that many!), but, seriously, we use these ALL THE TIME.  They are the perfect for preschoolers.  I think one of the reasons I like these so much is that this is something that Emma is able to be successful in.  They are so easy to build with. We normally just build on the floor, but there are lots of other options as well.  These tiles stick to the garage door, so they can easily become an outside activity. I saw on Instagram where someone cut up a cereal box in the shapes of these tiles and created a puzzle with them.  Here, you see that we built off of the fridge.  This just gave a little variety and 'newness' to an old activity.  

Rice Bin

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I talked about how much we love our rice bin in 5 Ideas for Sensory Fun.  This really is our go-to.  We love it.  Sometimes this only lasts for about five minutes, but sometimes Emma will play in the rice bin for an entire hour.  You can get all of the necessary materials at the dollar tree. All you need is a plastic tub, rice, measuring cups and spoons, ice trays, scoops, funnels, foam letters.  We especially love these handy scoopers from Learning Resources. Anything you want to add in is perfectly fine! 

Painting

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We paint at least once a week, if not multiple times a week.  This is just a good way to get our creative juices flowing.  Sometimes Emma does this while I am doing chores, but sometimes I sit down and paint with her.  She, of course, loves when I sit with her the best.  I'm always surprised by the conversations that take place when we are sitting next to each other creating.

Here are a few tips:

  • Offer 4-6 colors
  • Spread out a vinyl table cloth underneath
  • Set out one paint brush for each color paint
  • Give suggestions if they ask what they should paint, but don't give any instructions. Let this be there thing.
  • Always ask them about their painting in the end.  "Tell me about your painting!" "I love your painting. What's your favorite part?" "My favorite part is..."

Puzzles

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This one is not very open ended, but puzzles are a go-to for me when I need to do something and Emma is right under foot.  Puzzles normally distract her for at least 2 minutes...just kidding...they last longer than that.  We love all sorts of puzzles.  This is a great activity for fine motor skills, cognitive development, problem solving skills, and SELF ESTEEM.  Emma is always so PROUD when she works hard to figure out how a puzzle fits together.

**Side note-Emma did not enjoy puzzles for the longest time.  The ONLY way she became interested in them was from a game on the Kindle.  No kidding.  I think this helped her learn the concept of fitting the pieces together.  Once she mastered this on the tablet, we moved back to floor puzzles.  Now that is her first choice.  It just took a little work and encouragement to get there.**

Art Box

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I've shared about our Art Box on Instagram before (click here to follow if you don't already).  This is an easy concept.  I have a box of art supplies. Emma gets to use the art supplies however she wishes.  She always has a new idea.  My only rule when we have this out is that everything has to stay in one place, usually on the coffee table or kitchen table.

This is what is in the box:

  • construction paper
  • paper plates
  • scissors
  • glue
  • popsicle sticks
  • googly eyes
  • yarn
  • plastic straws
  • toilet paper rolls
  • foam sheets
  • anything random I feel like recycling

I hope this gives you some ideas for those days at home that are dragging. If your toddler or preschooler don't like some of these activities, pick something else.  Just always have at least five activities you can pull on on those long days.  It helps SO MUCH!

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