This is a sponsored post on behalf of Google Kids Space.
As the weather gets colder and snow days are on the horizon, so comes the realization that you now have to find educational activities for your preschoolers or young kids, to help keep them busy—and ideally, learning—inside. Those unexpected days stuck indoors are a wonderful way to try out new activities that give your kid’s brain a workout and help reinforce important skills. And really, it’s the kind of stuff you may not have time to do together on a regular old day.
That’s why we’re so happy to be working with our sponsor Google Kids Space*. It’s a kids mode filled with quality content designed to help spark curiosity and creativity, so your child can discover, create, and grow. We’re talking expert-recommended apps and games, along with creative and fun videos and a slew of fantastic books, all of which are available on select Android tablets, starting at just $59.
And it’s the perfect addition to this helpful list of fun, educational indoor activities. Add in a little preschool energy and you’ve got the makings of a very full indoor day.
1. Craft away!
We’re pretty sure crafting is a preschooler’s Olympics, but if you need some fresh ideas, Joy Cho of Oh Joy has some fun, unique ideas that will definitely change things up in a very good way. We love this color scavenger hunt idea (above) that’s as simple as sending your kids around the house to find items. Or, grab some fun kits, like these Preschool Chef Club boxes that let kids get “crafty” in the kitchen.
2. Get creative with all those building blocks
We know that you’re probably already swimming in blocks, from old fashioned wooden blocks to kid-fave Duplo blocks, but we’ve found a few clever ways to put them to new use. Try measuring items around your house, making letters, or even “screen printing” with them (dip the wheels of your Duplo cars in paint and roll away!). Or, work on counting skills with this clever activity from The Imagination Tree.
3. Offer up a little educational screen time
There are lots of things we love about screen time, but at the top of our list is the fact that it allows kids to independently engage in educational activities. So, while you’re grabbing some coffee or catching up on the stuff you need to do around your home, your kids can be watching cool DIY videos or reading fantastic books or learning new math skills through smart math apps, all of which you’ll find (and more) with Google Kids Space, a kids mode on select Android tablets.
Google Kids Mode is sorted into 5 tabs: Home, Play Read, Watch AND Make, with a library of books, along with recommended apps and games vetted by child education and media experts. Although honestly, if your kids are like ours, they may spend as much time customizing their avatar, with more than a thousand possibilities for kids to explore their interests, with diversity & inclusion at the heart of the options.
And, thanks to the suite of parental controls you’ll find through the Family Link app by Google, which can be customized to fit your family’s needs, you can rest more easily giving them that bit of independence. Plus, the tablets start at just $59 (or $99 with a fantastic case included), which makes it more affordable than some of the not-even-educational toys your kids might be playing with.
4. Feeling bored? Try board games!
Playing board games is a wonderful bonding opportunity, so pull out some of your favorite board games and have a little marathon (or just play Monopoly and you’ll be set for half the day – ha). We don’t often think of classic board games as educational, but even games like Sorry (counting) or Candyland (colors) are teaching kids valuable skills. But there are a plethora of new-to-us games, like Mobi Math (above) for example, that are worth adding to your arsenal and will grow with your child.
5. Make some messes, er magic… in your kitchen.
You’ve probably got all the ingredients you might need to make some fun treats that will actually be a mini science lesson in the process. Did you know that you can shake a jar of cream until it turns to butter? Or make one-ingredient ice cream (above) that uses fruit! Or if the winter weather cooperates, turn some fresh, clean snow outside into some sweet maple snow candy or even, snow ice cream.
6. Practice writing letters without pencils, crayons, or paper!
Here’s a creative way for your preschoolers to practice handwriting: put away the pencils and paper, and give your little kinesthetic learner the chance to make some shaving cream letters, like this tutorial from Fun with Mama. And if they’ve got their manuscript letters down, you can show them how to make a few cursive letters, especially since there’s a good chance they won’t get that in school anymore, even though they’ll need to learn how to sign their name one day. But definitely consider an apron. Just sayin’.
7. Make active time, learning time
With all that time inside, it’s important that your preschooler has some active time too, get their heart pumping, and let’s be honest: tire them out a little! There are lots of fun ways to get kids moving, from mom and kid yoga, to just putting on your favorite music and having a dance party, to silly activities like this balloon tennis idea from Grumpy Dumpling. If you can’t make paper plate rackets, you can just use your hands.
What’s great is that these simple, fun activities can be easily made educational too, whether it’s reciting a letter of the alphabet every time you hit the balloon, to having them tell you about the music you’re playing (slow, fast, high, low, loud, soft?).
8. Read out loud. But like an Oscar winner.
Did you know that reading out loud can actually help with your child’s attention and behavior? So, grab your favorite picture book and read aloud with as much charisma as you can muster, with extra bonus points if you create different voices for each character. If you need some new books, stock up on some of the best kids books of 2020.
9. Take up sewing. Or lacing, rather.
We’ve found that lacing cards, like these adorable ones from Wee Gallery, are a great way to strengthen little fingers and practice dexterity. With the thick thread and holes that are large enough for little hands to work with, these cards will have your preschooler “sewing” before the day is out. And, it’s also a wonderful way to practice learning how to tie shoes.
10. Download free educational printables and coloring pages
There are no shortage of free educational printables and coloring pages on the web. Over the years, we’ve featured a slew of awesome printables for kids of all ages, like this one that works on sight words from Simply Kinder. All you need is a printer and some crayons or markers, and you’re good to go.
Thank you so much to our partner, Google Kids Space, for graciously sponsoring this post and making it easier and more affordable for parents to get access to awesome educational activities and so much more.
*Google Kids Space requires a Google Account for your child. Parental controls require the Family Link app on a supported Android, Chromebook, or iOS device. Books and video content not available in all regions. Video content subject to availability of YouTube Kids app. Books content requires the Play Books app. Availability of apps, books, and video content may change without notice.