Here’s my 2nd installment of indoor, hands-on activities for toddlers and preschoolers, following on from the 1st. I love how they bring me closer to my Bunnies!
11) Alphabet games. Use alphabets in peg puzzles, or print on paper and laminate. I use both for variety. Get your kids to arrange them in alphabetical order. Start with lowercase only, or uppercase only, then get them to match lowercase to uppercase. Older kids can cut out square blocks of alphabets printed on paper, and glue them in alphabetical order on a long sheet of paper.
12) Sorting and counting coins. Kids can sort coins by size and value. I also keep coins and big laminated number cards together in a ziploc bag. They can count coins and place them on the appropriate numbered card. Use buttons for variety. (Supervise for choking risks.)
13) Card games. Play Snap! Or use picture cards to play matching games – you’ll need at least 2 of each card. Lay them in a row and ask your child to match the pictures. My Bunnies love their dinosaur and other animal cards.
14) Shape tracing. Make cardboard stencil shapes using hard card. Show your child how to trace along the inside of the shape. Teach shape names. Show her how to draw straight lines across, inside the shape (this prepares her for writing). Then decorate them using crayons, colour pencils or marker pens. Or stick coloured bits of paper inside the border.
15) Sewing/lacing. Another great way to learn shapes (aren’t flashcards boring?). Make cardboard shapes with holes punched on the edges and provide a yarn tipped with tape. Laminate the shapes to make them last longer. Later, they can sew alphabets. A good fine motor activity.
16) Beading. Start with big beads and a drinking straw. Soft wire or felt cleaners are also great. My 2 year old boy loved this! A fun challenge that stimulates fine motor skills and concentration. Move on to smaller beads and beading string later. For variety, use dry macaroni.
17) Cheerios necklace. Provide a container of cheerios and nylon string. String together and eat! Look for the whole-wheat variety.
18) Puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles and peg puzzles are a favourite with my Bunnies. They started with peg puzzles at 1 year old and progressed to 2-piece puzzles. Look for puzzle sets that contain 4-piece, 6-piece, 9-piece and 12 piece puzzles so that they can move from simple to more complex challenges. Another excellent fine motor exercise.
19) Play dough. A hot favourite. Show kids how to mould objects with their hands and keep a box of cookie cutters available. Learn alphabet formation too. We love homemade play dough – cheap and 100% non-toxic!
20) Clay dough. Use clay dough like play dough, but let it harden. If you like, make your own. Our most recent: shark teeth necklaces.
21) Clothes pegs. Keep colourful clothes pegs in a plastic box. Open the box and let your child clip the pegs onto the sides. Teach counting by counting together how many pegs he’s clipped on. A great fine motor activity to strengthen little fingers and prepare them for writing. My kids loved this.
Staying home with kids need not be boring!! Have FUN building up your activity resource!
Update on related posts: Fun indoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers (Part 1); (Part 3); (Part 4); Fun ways to learn writing the alphabet; Learning the alphabet and honing glueing skills; Keeping a toddler occupied while a preschooler learns (17 ideas); Sensory play.