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Ideas for keeping pre-schoolers entertained at home

(48 Posts)
soniamumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Mar-20 15:26:13

Stuck at home and running out of ideas to keep little ones occupied? Fear not. Use our list of ways to keep preschoolers entertained and add your own below.

We’ve already had some great ideas on this thread, so we’ve collated some of those with our own suggestions. We’ll keep adding to them as we go and please do keep sharing yours. Together we can beat the 'I'm boreds'!

1. Get arty

Tate Kids has lots of brilliant ideas for art lovers of all ages but some really sweet ideas for tiny art appreciators.

Go to the Tate

2. Go on a tour of San Diego zoo

Watch the animal web cams for polar bears, monkeys, giraffes and more and take part in fun activities.

Go to San Diego zoo

3. Build Kinetic sandcastles

“Kinetic sand in a large plastic container with moulds and spades.” Worriedaboutmom

Get Kinetic sand here

Related: Ideas for keeping primary school aged children entertained

4. Do some yoga

Cosmic Kids Yoga - mindfulness and yoga with stories and music for children aged three plus.

5. Make a den

Blanket dens (indoors or out) and snacks inside, obvs.

6. Make a pretend ‘car wash’.

Get them a washing up bowl full of water and a cloth and let them wash all their toy vehicles in the garden. Or go ambitious and let them wash their big ride-on toys.

Related: Ideas for keeping secondary school aged children entertained

7. Make a zoo

“Bring ALL the cuddlies downstairs and make a zoo, make a poster, brochure, map of the zoo, set up a gift shop, and record an advert for the zoo.” EllieQuinn

8. Make a beach in your back garden

If you’re the proud owner of a sand pit, slap on the sunscreen and let them have ice-lollies in the sand and build sandcastles. Hey presto! A day at the beach! (You can even fling some sand in the bottom of your bag and strew it in various corners of your car for that REAL been to the seaside feel.

View sandpits here

9. Do some gardening

Dig out old seeds (or order online) and make egg cress heads by washing out your empty boiled egg shells and planting them up with soil and seeds. Or you can grow them on a bit of damp kitchen roll or cotton wool. In fact, the little blighters grow on almost anything so don’t let your toddler spill them on your carpet!

Get Cress seeds here

10. Go on a virtual ride at Walt Disney World Epcot

Can’t face another viewing of Frozen? Take them on a ride on Frozen Ever After at Walt Disney World Epcot for a change.

Related: The best online learning resources for children

11. Theme you Wendy house

Theme your Wendy house with a few accessories. Some blankets and a bowl of porridge - it’s The Three Bears’ cottage, bucket of water and a fireman’s helmet - it’s Fireman Sam’s house. Or stuff a pair of tights with newspaper, put shoes on the feet and wedge the legs under the bottom of the Wendy house and watch them roar with laughter as they realise they’re back in Kansas and the Wicked Witch is dead.

What are your suggestions for keeping pre-schoolers entertained? Post them on the thread and we’ll add them to the list.

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OP’s posts: |
ImfinallyaMummy Thu 19-Mar-20 20:24:32

I was really hopeful seeing this title but so deflated no one has posted!

SundayGirlB Thu 19-Mar-20 21:26:38

@ImfinallyaMummy me too! I have a 10 month old who is very active and everyday we were at softplay or a baby group once or twice a day!

I've been thinking messy play with
shredded paper (watch they don't eat obviously), 'moon sand' which is flour and oil, and jelly. All messy plays for this age are food based which doesn't seem right at the moment so a bit stuck! Also limited on resources as trying not to go out.

Looking for household objects for his treasure basket too as it has been negelcted and he is bored of it.

Trying to get a routine in place which involves time reading, singing/instruments, going for a walk (for now), our own soft play of sofa cushions and pillows etc and just some free play and mummy have a coffee time.

How am I going to fill the days....

Mmsnet101 Thu 19-Mar-20 21:41:39

Our normal baby groups have moved to online Skype sessions from next week to we're planning to do that a few mornings.

Time in the garden playing with the dog and gardening (weather permitting). Seen a meme about keeping a toddler busy by letting them paint the fence... With a tub of water and a paint brush.

Bookbug app - songs and stories. I'm doing some of the gaelic ones (more to keep my mind active rather than singing the same songs everyday).

babybythesea Thu 19-Mar-20 22:39:23

If you’ve got a kindle then you can download 2 books (101 things to do outside and 101 things to do on a rainy day) which have some good ideas in.
You can get them as real books too but delivery might be slow at the moment.

babybythesea Thu 19-Mar-20 22:41:52

Saw a lovely idea, if you have a fence and coloured chalk. You could do it on the floor too.
Use tape (masking tape or similar) to mark out the lines of a random geometric pattern - lots of cross crossing tape to create loads of squares and triangles. They then colour it in and you peel the tape off. It might take longer to put the tape up than they take to colour it though....

paintcolourwoes Thu 19-Mar-20 22:42:39

It became painfully obvious this morning that my 3yo is going to be the problem over this period and not my 5yo. I have loads of plans to entertain the older one but the younger one is harder!

babybythesea Thu 19-Mar-20 23:44:21

If they like drawing and colouring, one lovely craft thing to do is make a card for the local old people’s home.
They are locked down, and so not getting any visitors. So today at school my class (what’s left of them) made cards. They all wrote down something that made them happy, and drew a picture.
Something like that would be lovely for the old folks to receive.

LollySox Thu 19-Mar-20 23:47:36

I need ideas for entertaining a very active 2 year old while working from home confused

Hedgehogblues Thu 19-Mar-20 23:51:39

I made my 11 month old ice cubes coloured with food dye. She loved them. She played with them for ages

ConfessionsOfTeenageDramaQueen Thu 19-Mar-20 23:53:07

Someone recently got my 3 yo some paints in a tube, they're almost like crayons so much less mess.

Also indoor sand boxes (that go on a table).

CoffeeBeansGalore Fri 20-Mar-20 00:27:36

Youtube have Cosmic Kids yoga. Also kids zumba. There's a chap who is doing dance for kids for free for an hour a day as well.

Make little wool pom poms (wrapping wool around 2 cardboard "donuts", when the hole is full, cut into the wool inbetween the cardboard & then tie up tightly.
Look for "making" kits, ones you get with plaster of paris & paints to decorate your model.
Make your own play dough.
Grow seeds/plant strawberries in boxes on windowsills.
Grow cress "heads" & let them decorate the pots first.
Plant sunflower seeds if you have suitable sunny outdoor area & measure the height as they grow.
Pick & press flowers/pretty leaves & make into pictures or bookmarks.
Cut out pictures & make a collage (print them off the internet or use newspapers & magazines).
Draw round their hands on cardboard (cereal box etc) & let them paint nails & draw rings on the fingers.
Make indoor dens/tents with old sheets or duvet covers & let them use cushions to make it cosy.
Make home made pizza bases & let them choose & put on the topping.
Make fun sandwiches with character cookie cutters.

AlphaJura Fri 20-Mar-20 10:56:14

Make play dough
Games (hungry hippos etc)
Digging in the garden

l0v3f00d Fri 20-Mar-20 14:38:20

Cleaning their bikes and scooters in the garden

liberoncolours Fri 20-Mar-20 20:47:45

Make you own gym circuit round the living room or garden, for every day, something to balance on, then run on, then jump off, them crawl through etc.

Ride ons, inside and out - if you can bear the damage to the floors

Have a routine - gym. reading time, drawing/paint time, finding bugs time, build a railway time, etc

Making cakes

Embrace the mess!

Undecided91 Fri 20-Mar-20 20:50:56

How to occupy a 3year old while working from home? sad

Mamibaer Sat 21-Mar-20 06:21:26

Someone on here suggested sitting my one year old in a big cardboard box with some baby crayons

AutumnLeavesSeptember Sat 21-Mar-20 19:05:18

And taping the lid so I can get some work done? Great idea @Mamibear grin

Mamibaer Sun 22-Mar-20 01:37:04

grin Don‘t tempt me! @AutumnLeavesSeptember

HoneyBee03 Sun 22-Mar-20 10:06:47

Definitely need ideas for my 20 month old that don't require my involvement if possible! Need to get 8 hours work done each day, somehow....

Any ideas I have (colouring, tv, playful, etc) only keep him busy for a few minutes at a time.

liberoncolours Sun 22-Mar-20 10:23:12

My dc are primary age now but I went through a few months of having to be at home when one was 2 - 3 to do with illness. Definitely total involvement was needed, could only work when they were asleep!! Unless of course you go for autumnleaves's idea smile

DressingGownofDoom Mon 23-Mar-20 00:41:37

Water always entertains them. Put some water in a basin and get them to bath their babies/dinosaurs/wash their cars. Chuck them in the garden with a sand and water table. Put action songs on Alexa and teach them the actions - head shoulders knees and toes, the Hokey Cokey, baby shark, sleeping bunnies. Get some orchard games in.

severalboxes Mon 23-Mar-20 06:17:04

Mumsnet! If you have any multi-age suggestions that would be good too - 10mo and 3.5yo, I can think of loads for older one to do but much less that's baby-compatible.

Powerof4 Mon 23-Mar-20 20:06:47

I’ve a very physical and sociable 4yo, we’re doing roughly the following (not all every day), along with video calling a friend most days:

1) Early morning walk to somewhere quiet (saw hardly anyone today). Finding sticks, bugs, etc.
2) Trampoline, junior swing ball, frisbee, ball in garden
3) Baking - very simple cookie and pitta bread recipes that use few ingredients. I’ve the biscuits. (I think next week we’ll do the biscuits & make sandwiches on a cake stand and enact the tiger who came to tea with teddies/read the book). Help making lunch by eg trying to spread & cut own sandwiches
4) Comic or making time - bit of colouring/cutting/sticking/paint - mixing all those at once to keep her interested. Writing letters/ making cards/ stickers/ making extra pages for favourite story books.
5) Reading books/audiobooks
6) playing games - Orchard games’ Counting Mountain, snakes & ladders type games.
7) Physical games - Twister, Charades, Yoga (cosmic yoga), Disco, rough & tumble, more garden time - pottering/digging/planting seeds
8) TV while dinner cooks
9) bath, stories, bed

Powerof4 Mon 23-Mar-20 20:11:47

Treasure baskets for 8-12 month olds and rice bin with pouring, scooping implements for 1-2 years used to keep mine independently entertained for quite some time.

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