Preschoolers are naturally active and curious. The days as a parent of a preschooler can seem extremely long and exhausting. Plus, it is so important to teach them some basic concepts. Our preschool activities will help pass the time in a fun and productive way. Your preschooler will learn basic science concepts, cause and effect, how to follow directions, and many other early learning skills. Choose one activity from each group each day or explore one of our activities for a few hours. Let your preschooler take the lead and get messy if they wish. A nice hot bath after playing with paint or bubbles a perfect end to a fun morning and encourages a nice afternoon nap. Explore and learn with your child while having fun!
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Preschool Art Activities
Preschoolers love art activities – both process art and craft art. Process art, as the name implies, concentrates on the process of completing the project, with each child’s finished work different upon completion. Craft art has directions and each completed project looks the same. In this article, we have presented process art projects. We have divided the activities into those using paint and those using paper. Whatever the interest of your child, you will find the perfect activity that they will love.
Painting Art Activities for Preschoolers
Washable paint, newspaper, paper towels, and inexpensive brushes help make these activities not only fun, but also easy and quick to clean up. You may need to help your preschooler with some of these activities, especially the first time they do one. Make sure you have them help clean up after their project is complete to teach responsibility.
Apple or Potato Stamp Painting
Using an apple or potato to create a stamp is an old favorite that is simple and fun. Simply cut an apple or potato in half and let your child decide what shape they want. This is a good way to teach shape recognition – squares, circles, triangles, etc. You may need to cut the shape for your child. They will learn quickly how to dip their stamp and create a design. Their little hands may have trouble holding the stamp. You can stick a fork in the top of the stamp for easy grasping.
You will need four relatively deep bowls or cups, deep enough to stick a straw in easily. In each bowl, put ½ cup of water, a squirt of dish detergent, and fifteen drops of food coloring. Pierce the top of the straw at the top to keep your preschooler from swallowing the colored water. Use a new straw for each child and color. Have them insert the straw into the bowl and blow bubbles until they have a large ball of small bubbles. Press a piece of paper onto the bubbles until they pop. Repeat with each color as many times as desired. Creates a colorful painting quickly and easily.
Eye Dropper Painting
Teach colors and develop fine motor skills with this fun activity. You will need several non-breakable eyedroppers, washable paint or food coloring, water, cups, and absorbent, plain, white paper towels. Make sure the surface on which your child is working will not absorb the liquid – a plastic tray works well. Place about ten drops of food coloring in a cup with four tablespoons of water or dilute washable paint so it is thin enough to draw up into the eyedropper. Show your preschooler how to draw up the color and let it drop onto the paper toweling. The resultant design will blend and blur making this an excellent activity for teaching color recognition and how colors mix to make new colors.
Pom Pom Painting
Simple, fun, and easy for your preschooler to do, simply clip a pom pom to a clothespin, dip it in paint, and create a unique drawing. Pom pom painting is perfect for making clouds, ornaments on a cut-out Christmas tree, or you can twist them and join the circles together, creating unique “flowers.”
Truck Wheel Painting
It won’t be just your preschool boy who will love this idea. Easy and quick, all you do is provide butcher paper, tempura paint, and toy trucks. Lay the butcher paper on top of a dollar store shower curtain on the driveway or other smooth concrete surface. Secure the edges with large rocks, bricks, or anything heavy. Put some blobs of paint on the butcher paper and let your little one run toy trucks through the paint and across the paper. Provide a tub of soapy water to wash off the toy trucks when your child completes this project.
Paper Art Activities for Preschoolers
Purchase super fine sandpaper for these three different art activities that will keep your toddler entertained for hours.
- Sandpaper and Chalk Painting #1
Mix equal parts of water and cornstarch to make your chalk and color it with food coloring or liquid water color paint. This watery chalk mixture creates texture and will not flake after drying.
- Sandpaper and Chalk Painting #2
Use regular colored chalk for your preschooler’s sandpaper art. They will love blowing away the excess chalk.
- Sandpaper and Watercolors
Have your preschooler draw a design on the super fine sandpaper with a white crayon, then use liquid water colors on top of the crayon. Dry the sandpaper by weighting the four corners to keep it from buckling.
Cut paper shapes of various colors from construction paper and let your toddler draw designs on them with markers or crayons. Then they can piece the various shapes together to on a white piece of paper to make a “quilt.” You might also want to get some books with pictures of quilts from the library to share with your preschooler. Other types of colored paper can be used, such as pictures of flowers or animals from magazines, or wallpaper samples.
Preschool children thrive on doing art of any kind. Look online for more process art projects as well as craft projects for your preschooler.
Preschool Science Activities
Preschoolers are inherently curious, so science activities satisfy even the most active child. Our selection includes hands-on science activities that are easy to set up and work well with the short attention span of a preschooler. Most use inexpensive items, many of which you can find around the house. Science activities teach many learning skills, among them:
- Problem solving and how to develop and ask questions and seek and find answers
- Exploration of the senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste
- Observation skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Experimenting skills
Chemical Reactions with Soda and Vinegar
You probably should do this experiment outside as it can be messy – part of the fun for your preschooler is the mess it makes. Let your child discover on their own what happens when baking soda and vinegar mix. Observe these experiments with your preschooler repeatedly and they will understand the consistency of the chemical reaction that results. Plus, the activities guarantee fun! You will need these materials:
- Containers – small glass jars work well
- White vinegar
- Food coloring
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
- Glitter (optional)
Use a small bottle of vinegar for those little hands and fill each container ½ to ¾ full of vinegar and add food coloring. Add some glitter if you wish and a generous squeeze of dish detergent to each of your containers. Make sure you clear the area around the containers before you add the baking soda. Encourage your preschooler to make a prediction about what may happen when the baking soda is added to each container. Put a heaping spoonful of baking soda in each jar and see what happens. Let them mix and play with the resultant liquid. Remember to have them help clean up when the experiment is complete.
Use our quick and easy bubble recipe to create bubbles for simple science activities. Combine one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent to fifteen tablespoons of water. For stronger bubbles, add a teaspoon of glycerin (found in most drugstores). Make sure your little one knows it will burn eyes to avoid problems.
- You can use straws for blowing bubbles. Just make sure your preschooler keeps the end of the straw out of their mouth to avoid “drinking” the bubble mixture. Begin by having your preschooler blow on their hand without the bubble solution. Once you are sure they understand the concept, let them blow a bunch of tiny bubbles for practice.
- If your preschooler is following directions and you feel they can keep from sucking on a straw, try a bubble pipe. Put a hole large enough for a drinking straw into a paper cup about an inch from the bottom of the cup. Insert your straw and add dish soap, water, and some food coloring if you wish. Let your preschooler blow bubbles to fill and then overflow the pipe.
- You can divide your bubble mixture into several small containers and add a different color of food coloring to each. Let your child pop bubbles onto a piece of paper or try to catch and pop the bubbles with the paper to create a picture.
- You can also give your preschooler a fly swatter to dip in a shallow dish of the bubble mixture. Waving the fly swatter in the air produces tiny bubbles as the solution pours through the tiny holes.
- You can blow larger bubbles with a small funnel or a plastic soda bottle with the bottom cut off. Instruct your preschooler to blow in the smaller end of each.
- Put some of your larger bubbles on a paper plate and pop them in the freezer to create “crystals.”
- If you have bubble liquid left, fill a small, clear, plastic, soda bottle with the mixture and add some food coloring. Let your preschooler have fun shaking the bottle and making colored bubbles.
Change the color of flowers and watch your fascinated preschooler’s reaction. Simply use white daisies, roses, or carnations, setting them in jars of food dye, colored water. Cut the flower stems at a 45-degree angle and place in jars of warm, colored water. In a day or so, the flowers will change color.
Creating a Rain Cloud in a Jar
This easy “experiment” is a fun sensory activity that provides practice in fine motor skills. You will need a glass jar or clear cup and a strainer that fits on top of the cup, cotton balls, a cup or other container of water, food coloring (optional), and a plastic eye dropper. Set the strainer on top of the container and fill it with cotton balls. Have your preschooler use the eyedropper to add water until “rain” begins to fall into the jar. You can add food coloring if you wish.
Let your preschooler choose some seed packets at the garden center. They may wish to have flowers or try a few vegetables. If you have a suitable place in your garden, let your preschooler create their own flower bed or small vegetable garden. Alternatively, use clean pots and potting soil to guarantee success. Choose easy to grow seeds, such as lettuce and green beans for vegetables. If you wish, you can start with small plants. Tending the garden or pots – watering and weeding as necessary – is a good lesson in responsibility.
Exploring the Five Senses
Use a large tray or cover a table with a plastic table cloth or shower curtain from the dollar store. You may wish to combine some of these items, such as popcorn for sound and taste. Use the following or come up with your own ideas:
- Taste – candy, a teaspoon of honey, any finger food your child enjoys
- Touch – cooked spaghetti or rice
- Smell – banana, orange, lemon, vinegar
- Sight – any colorful object, shapes
- Hearing – bubble wrap, clickers, hand clapping, popping corn
Your preschooler will love playing scientist and exploring the awesome word around us. You can teach basic science concepts by using repetition, explaining the activity from different angles and varying the approach.
Physical Activities for Preschoolers
Preschool learning activities involving physical skills teach children coordination as well as how to get and keep their bodies in good physical shape. Our selection of physical activity for preschoolers adds the element of fun so important in developing a love of getting and staying healthy and active.
Hit the Target
Increase arm and upper body strength throwing bean bags or small stuffed toys at a target. You can teach number and/or color recognition by having the target labeled with certain numbers or filled in with the primary colors.
Preschoolers love to jump and seem to never get tired of doing so. Use paper plates as “lily pads” and let your preschooler pretend to be a frog jumping from one lily pad to the next. Put on some music and have your preschooler jump in place, seeing how high they can jump. You can also challenge your preschooler to see how far they can jump. Hop scotch is an old favorite that may be a bit challenging for your preschooler. However, modify the game with fewer blocks and they should be able to hop, skip, and jump there way through the course.
Games Using Tape Lines
There are probably no easier physical activities for preschoolers than those using tape lines on the floor.
- Balance Beam
A long straight line can be used as a balance beam, especially fun if you pretend the area on both sides must be avoided as it is hot lava or cold water.
- “Frisbee” Tossing
Lines taped on the floor become targets for plastic lids.
- Newspaper Toss
Make a circle on the floor and toss wadded balls of newspaper to see how many you can put inside the circle.
- Keep the Balloon Up
Blow up small balloons for this active game that helps with eye-hand coordination. Start with one balloon and add more as your child improves their ability to keep the single balloon in the air. You may be surprised how many they can control!
- Water Balloons
A perfect outside activity for a hot spring or summer day. Kids love the squishiness of the filled balloons. If you wish, dress your preschooler in swim clothes and let them pop the balloons with their feet or sit on them.
- Balloon “Yo-Yo”
Attach a small balloon to a funnel and fill it with rice, small seeds, or beans. Have your preschooler hold the balloon or funnel to assist in this task. Secure the end with a knot and attach a rubber band. Loop rubber bands together until you have a length suitable for the height of your preschooler. You will be amazed at how long your preschooler can entertain themselves with this simple toy that helps with gross motor skills.
- Balloon “Tennis”
Create paddles or “rackets” with plastic forks attached to paper plates or simply use empty paper towel rolls. Hitting the balloon teaches hand-eye coordination, keeping the balloon off the ground helps balance/steadiness, and hitting the balloon to each other teaches team play.
Whether you choose a mental or physical activity for your preschool child, fun is sure to follow each of the ideas we have included in this article. Your preschooler will explore in ways unique and exciting as they try our science, physical activities, and artistic ideas for preschoolers. Have fun!
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