Fun indoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers (Part 2)

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.

(Beads alternate with 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.

(2 year old Lamb enjoying a puzzle)


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.



  • mom2kiddos
    July 7, 2011 6:44 am

    Love all your ideas here. Do you usually sit with them when they do the beading and tracing? How long can they usually stay on one activity?

  • Runnermom-jen
    July 7, 2011 11:20 am

    These are all great ideas…but I make my kids play with Play-Doh outside.

  • Ingrid
    July 7, 2011 4:53 pm

    The last one reminded me of when Taliese was about 2 i cut a slot in a box and gave her a set of cards and she would spent ages ‘posting’ and ‘re-posting them’. Was great for dinner prep time!

  • Mama J
    July 7, 2011 9:36 pm

    Thanks! I sat with them when they were new to beading and tracing, also as long as I felt unsure if they might put the beads in their mouths. Puppy is 5 now, she can bead on her own using beading string. Lamb is almost 3 and I know him well enough now, to know that he won’t put them in his mouth. I’ll have to sit with him if he’s using beading string as it’s too flip-floppy for him to handle independently. But he can manage beading wire pretty well, so I can leave him alone on that one.

    Tracing: I had to sit with them at first, to teach them how to do it. They can both do it on their own now, so I can run off to cook!

    How long can they stay on one activity? It depends on their current interest level, mood of the day, and how confident they feel about it. If it’s a favourite activity, I can leave them for more than 30 minutes.

  • Mama J
    July 7, 2011 9:42 pm

    Thanks. Yeah … play doh can be a real pain to clean up. When my eldest was 4, she used to love cutting the stuff into a zillion little pieces and they went everywhere. I couldn’t make her stay outside at the time, else I would’ve shoved her straight out!

  • Mama J
    July 7, 2011 9:46 pm

    Oh MY – that is a super idea. Safe, Simple, Cheap and Creative! I’ll try that with Lamb soon, although he may be too old for that now – but who knows? It will definitely go on the List for Piglet.

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  • karonadrummond
    November 6, 2012 10:08 pm

    Thanks for the great ideas! The photos are very helpful, too.

  • Mama J
    November 9, 2012 2:24 am

    Thanks, Karona!

  • katesurfs
    December 24, 2012 9:14 pm

    You know you’re a true teacher when…. you’re obsessed with laminating things! Love the post!

  • Mama J
    January 21, 2013 5:04 pm

    Thanks! I’m obsessed with clear wrapping books too. Does that count? 🙂

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