Preschoolers are curious little people who love to explore but keeping them busy and engaged during the day can be quite a challenge. Here are some simple, fun and educational ideas to make life with them creative and enjoyable.
• Blow Bubbles
Always keep a tub of bubble solution handy in the kitchen as a wonderful solution to your little ones boredom. You can buy them very cheaply from the £ shops and they often come with lots of different size and shaped pipes to make unusual bubbles which your little one will love popping or catching or blowing. Or you can make your own bubble solution from washing up liquid to save yourself some money. Let your child play in the sink with some bubbles too and let them have fun looking at the rainbows.
• Make a Necklace
Making necklaces and bracelets is a brilliant way to have fun but it is also a great way to develop your little ones dexterity. You can buy large beads or buttons from the ELC which they can thread onto coloured threads or wool or I remember letting my kids just play with my spare button box. But remember to tape the end to make it easy to thread and at the other end to stop all the beads from falling off! Also make sure they are old enough not to put the beads in their mouth.
• The Magic Paint Brush
I remember my own kids playing outside with a bucket of water and some paintbrushes and having enormous fun just making pictures with water that dried up easily with no mess. They can also paint in the bath too!
• Make a Person
Draw round your child onto a large sheet of paper and let them colour in and draw their own clothes, hair and face. Glue on some wool for hair and use old fabric for their clothes and use real buttons or even real shoelaces on their shoes or trainers.
Keep a supply of things like toilet paper tubes, old boxes, buttons, feathers, sequins and glitter around for creating – particularly on wet days. Just keep an eye on your child when they are creating and working with small parts as you don’t want to end up in A & E if they’ve popped something up their nose!
Also try playing with potatoes as they are wonderful for artistic activities. You can stick all kinds of things in a potato like feathers, twigs or straws and you can cut out shapes and paint with them.
• Finger Paint
Kids LOVE finger painting but have you thought of doing it with shaving cream or spurty cream on the kitchen table or in the bath? Or have you ever filled a tray with sand, salt or flour and let them draw pictures or trace letters in it?
• Scissor Fun
Preschoolers love to cut and stick. So get out all your (and their) old magazines, Christmas or birthday cards and help them cut and stick the pictures onto a collage. Just remember to buy plastic safety scissors designed just for young children’s fingers to avoid any injuries.
• Read a Book
Read to your little one everyday and sing nursery rhymes. Children love being read to and it develops their language and vocabulary skills too. Point to words so they begin to get the idea that we read from left to right across the page. It’s a good idea to make sure you have baskets of books always around at their level so they can dip in and out of a book when they feel like it.
• Paint wax resist eggs from hard boiled eggs
Get some hard boiled eggs, some wax crayons and some food colouring and draw pictures or designs onto the eggs. Then dip the eggs in the dye and the dye won’t soak through the crayon so your child will love discovering their patterns.
• Pots and Pans
Give your kids some clean, empty pots and pans and some wooden spoons and let them play. They will spend hours having fun with this very simple and old fashioned idea.
• Water Play
Kids love water so why not let them play with it. Fill the sink or bowl with warm water and let them “wash” saucepan lids, toys and cutlery (not knives!) It’s a good idea to put a towel under their chair at the sink to soak up all the drips and it also stops them from slipping.
You can also check out easy to do craft ideas for toddlers at
Sue Atkins is a former Deputy Head with 22 years teaching experience and is now a Parent Coach. She has written many books on self esteem, toddlers and teenagers and has a collection of Confident Parent CD’s available from her website. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the famous black and yellow series published worldwide and available from all good bookshops. For more information go to => http://www.positive-parents.com
Jackie Groundsell is known as the queen of women's business networking lunches - the Connector. She supports thousands of small business owners through her events and lunch-time meetings