We are super excited to share with you the best of the best preschool activities!
Preschool is a time of exploration, discovery, and growth for young children.
It is a magical time when they begin to develop their social and emotional skills, as well as their cognitive and physical abilities.
And the best way to nurture this development is through engaging, fun and interactive activities.
These activities are designed to be simple, easy to set up, and adaptable to different ages and abilities. So, whether you are a parent, teacher, or caregiver, I hope you find these activities helpful and enjoyable.
Let's get to it! 12 fun and educational preschool activities for happy kids!
The 12 Best Preschool Activities For Happy Kids
Sensory play is an excellent way to engage preschoolers' senses and promote exploration and discovery.
Give kids materials and objects that stimulate their sense of touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste (oh my!).
One of my favorite sensory play activities for preschoolers is making homemade playdough.
This activity is not only fun but also helps children develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity.
To make play dough, you will need the following:
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of water
- Food coloring (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and cream of tartar.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the water, vegetable oil, and food coloring (if using).
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture forms a dough.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes until it is smooth and pliable.
- Give little ones the play dough along with some tools and accessories, such as cookie cutters, rolling pins, and plastic knives.
Now let their imaginations soar as they create different shapes, animals, and objects.
This activity also allows children to learn about color mixing and basic math concepts, such as counting and measuring. WIN-WIN!
Other sensory play activities that preschoolers enjoy include finger painting, exploring sensory bins with different materials (such as rice, beans, or sand), and playing with bubbles.
Story-Telling and Pretend Play
Preschoolers love to use their imaginations and engage in pretend play.
This type of play helps children develop their creativity, social skills, and language abilities.
One of the best ways to encourage pretend play is by telling stories. Reading books to children is a great way to introduce them to different characters and settings, but storytelling allows children to use their imaginations to create their own stories.
To start, gather a group of children and ask them to sit in a circle. Begin by telling a simple story, such as "Once upon a time, there was a little mouse who lived in a hole in the wall."
Encourage the children to add to the story by suggesting what the mouse does next or what other characters might be involved.
This activity not only promotes creativity and imagination but also helps children develop their listening and speaking skills.
Other pretend play activities that preschoolers enjoy include dress-up, playing with dolls or action figures, and creating their own plays or puppet shows.
Science and Nature Activities
Preschoolers are naturally curious about the world around them, and science and nature activities are a great way to encourage their curiosity and promote learning.
One of my favorite science activities for preschoolers is creating a "volcano."
- Baking soda
- Food coloring (optional)
- A container, such as a plastic bottle or cup
- A tray or large bowl to catch the "eruption"
- Place the container on the tray or bowl.
- Pour baking soda into the container, filling it about halfway.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the baking soda (if desired).
- Pour vinegar into the container until it covers the baking soda.
- Watch as the mixture reacts and bubbles over, creating an "eruption."
This activity also helps children understand basic chemical reactions and the properties of different materials.
Other science and nature activities that preschoolers enjoy include planting seeds, observing and caring for animals (such as butterflies or ladybugs), and exploring different textures and materials in nature (such as leaves, rocks, or flowers).
Music and Movement
Music and movement activities are great for promoting physical activity and creativity in preschoolers. These activities can also help children develop their coordination, rhythm, and language skills.
One of my favorite music and movement activities for preschoolers is "freeze dance."
To play, simply put on some music and have the children dance around. When the music stops, they must freeze in place. This activity not only promotes physical activity but also helps children develop their listening and following directions skills.
Other music and movement activities that preschoolers enjoy include playing with rhythm instruments (such as drums or maracas), singing songs and nursery rhymes, and creating their own dance routines.
Art activities are a great way to promote creativity and self-expression in preschoolers. These activities can also help children develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and color recognition.
One of my favorite art activities for preschoolers is making "rainbow" paper. To make rainbow paper, you will need:
- White paper
- Watercolors or food coloring
- A container or tray with shallow sides
- Fill the container or tray with a shallow layer of water.
- Add a few drops of watercolors or food coloring to the water.
- Dip the paper into the water and move it around to create different patterns and colors.
- Remove the paper from the water and let it dry.
Children can use the rainbow paper to create their own artwork or cut out shapes and objects to use in other activities.
Other art activities that preschoolers enjoy include drawing and coloring, making collages, and creating their own sculptures with materials such as playdough or clay.
Cooking and Baking
Cooking and baking activities are not only fun but also help kids learn all about nutrition, math, and science. These activities can also help children develop their fine motor skills, following directions, and teamwork skills.
One fun and easy cooking activity for preschoolers is making "ants on a log." To make ants on a log, you will need:
- Celery sticks
- Peanut butter or cream cheese
- Cut celery sticks into small pieces, about 2-3 inches long.
- Spread peanut butter or cream cheese on the celery sticks.
- Place a few raisins on top of the peanut butter or cream cheese to create the "ants."
Depending on age and ability, children can also help with measuring ingredients, stirring, and mixing.
Other cooking and baking activities that preschoolers enjoy include making homemade pizzas, muffins, or fruit salads.
Dramatic play activities are designed to encourage children to use their imaginations and creativity to role-play different scenarios and situations. These activities can also help children develop their language, social, and emotional skills.
One fun and easy dramatic play activity for preschoolers is creating a pretend grocery store. To create a pretend grocery store, you will need:
- Empty food containers, such as cereal boxes or milk cartons
- Play money
- A cash register or calculator
- Shopping bags or baskets
- Set up the empty food containers on shelves or tables, creating a "grocery store" display.
- Give children play money and shopping bags or baskets.
- Let children take turns being the shopper and the cashier, role-playing different scenarios, such as buying groceries or checking out.
Other dramatic play activities that preschoolers enjoy include creating a pretend doctor's office, restaurant, or fire station.
Math and Counting
Math and counting activities are designed to help children develop their math skills, such as number recognition, counting, and sorting. These activities can also help children develop their problem-solving, critical thinking, and reasoning skills.
One fun and easy math activity for preschoolers is creating a counting tray. To create a counting tray, you will need:
- A tray or container with sections
- Small objects, such as pom-poms or buttons
- Number cards or dice
- Fill each section of the tray with a different number of objects, such as one pom-pom in one section, two pom-poms in another section, and so on.
- Give children number cards or dice and encourage them to count the objects in each section and match them to the corresponding number.
Other math and counting activities that preschoolers enjoy include sorting objects by color or size, counting objects in a group, and
Outdoor exploration activities are designed to help children learn about nature and the environment.
These activities can also help children develop their gross motor and sensory skills.
One fun and easy outdoor exploration activity for preschoolers is creating a nature scavenger hunt.
(Grab this FREE Nature Scavenger Hunt printable right here.)
To create a nature scavenger hunt, you will need:
- A list of items for the kids to find, such as a leaf, a flower, a rock, and a stick
- A bag or container for children to collect the items in
- Give each child a bag or container and a list of items to find.
- Let children explore the outdoor area, such as a park or backyard, and look for the items on the list.
- Encourage children to use their senses, such as touch and sight, to find the items.
Other outdoor exploration activities that preschoolers enjoy include going on a nature walk, playing in a sandbox or water table, or planting a garden.
Board Games and Puzzles
Board games are an excellent way to promote social skills, turn-taking, and strategy.
You can play simple games like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders or more complex games like Monopoly or Scrabble Junior. Board games help develop problem-solving skills and improve critical thinking.
Puzzles are another great activity that promotes problem-solving and fine motor skills. You can start with simple puzzles with large pieces and work your way up to more complex ones. Puzzles help develop spatial awareness, attention to detail, and perseverance.
Building and Construction
Building and construction activities promote spatial awareness, problem-solving, and creativity.
You can provide materials like blocks, Legos, or cardboard boxes and let your child build and create their own structures.
You can also encourage them to work together with others to build bigger and more complex structures.
Reading to preschoolers is one of the best ways to promote language development, improve listening skills, and enhance imagination. Not only does it help build their vocabulary and comprehension, but it's also a great bonding activity.
You can make storytime even more engaging by using props, like finger puppets or stuffed animals, or encouraging your child to act out parts of the story.
Final Thoughts on the Best Preschool Activities
The best preschool activities for kids are both fun and educational. From sensory play and cooking to dramatic play and outdoor exploration, there are so many exciting activities that children can enjoy while also developing their skills and abilities.
Whether you're a parent, teacher, or caregiver, taking the time to plan and participate in these activities with your child can make a big difference in their growth and development.
So go ahead and get creative with your preschool activities, and watch your child's face light up with excitement and wonder as they learn and play!
Remember, learning is a lifelong journey, and it all begins in those early years of preschool. Let's make it a fun and memorable experience for our little ones!