19 Creative Indoor Play Ideas For Toddlers and Preschoolers

It’s raining and cold again outside. You don’t want to go to the park or an indoor play centre, but how do you keep your toddler engaged and entertained? Well, you’ve come to the right place!  We’ve collected 19 creative play ideas for toddlers and older children. They’re easy to set up, and will keep little ones entertained for hours!

indoor play activities toddlers and preschoolers

19 Indoor Play Ideas for Kids

Painting Pasta to Thread

 

Painting Pasta to Thread
Painting Pasta to Thread

Got some tubular pasta in the kitchen? You can turn them into a fun activity for the kids. All you need for this pasta painting activity are watercolour paints, any tubular pasta, and brushes. Simply let your kids paint the pasta in different patterns, dry, thread, and you have yourself a DIY accessory.

Sticky Window Colour Sorting Activity

play ideas for kids- colour sorting activity
Sticky Window Colour Sorting Activity

For this activity, you will need contact paper (sticky side up) and some coloured paper or tissue. This window colour sorting activity is a great way to introduce your kids to colours. Plus, matching and sorting the colours can provide hours of learning and fun.

Colour Toss

Colour Toss
Colour Toss

Ball games are always a big hit with children! This colour toss ball game is great for indoor play and helps develop your child’s gross motor skills and colour recognition. It will be fun to see who can shoot more balls in the basket and who gets to match all the colours right.

Alphabet Bingo Game

Alphabet Bingo Game
Alphabet Bingo Game

This activity can help kids learn their letters while having fun. Besides that, it’s a game that can amuse not just the children but the whole family. Alphabet Bingo Game is great for family night, or during cold weather.

Marshmallow and Toothpick Building Challenge

play ideas for kids - marshmallow toothpick building challenge

Marshmallow and Toothpick Building Challenge is an awesome game that inspires creativity and encourages your children to develop their focus. You will need only two materials for this activity, marshmallows and toothpicks. And that’s it!

Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers

Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers
Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers

Here’s a creative way to upcycle cardboard boxes and cups. Create a moving colour targets game for your children. As well as upcycling, it’s a fun target activity that can help your children practice their motor skills and improve their aim.

DIY Baby Toy Slot Box

DIY Baby Toy Slot Box
DIY Baby Toy Slot Box

Do you have unused shoe boxes around the house? You can turn them into a toy. Recycle your shoe boxes at home by making a DIY Baby Toy Slot Box for your children. It’s simple and easy to make and it’s perfect for your toddlers or preschoolers.

DIY Colour Sorting Toy

play ideas for kids - colour sorting activity

DIY Colour Sorting Toy is fun indoor activity that helps your child develop their fine motor skills. This indoor activity is great for preschoolers and toddlers. They’ll love pulling the velcro squares off, dropping them in the container, dumping them out, and sorting the blocks based on colour.

Baby Ball Drop

Baby Ball Drop
Baby Ball Drop

Keep your one year old busy with this simple indoor activity. The Baby Ball Drop involves only 2 items; an empty wipes container and coloured balls. Hand them over to your baby and then watch their hand-eye coordination improve.

Sticker Sorting Activity

Sticker Sorting Activity
Sticker Sorting Activity

If you need a quick and easy activity for your toddlers, this Sticker Sorting Activity is perfect. It’s an engaging activity that teaches colour recognition and helps enhance motor skills. Plus, this activity will keep your child entertained for ages.

Colour Sorting Cups

Colour Sorting Cups
Colour Sorting Cups

Another sorting activity that incorporates learning through fun is this colour sorting cups activity. It’s a great game, inexpensive, and easy to set up. Perfect for helping to teach toddlers to recognise colours.

Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity

Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity
Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity

Grab your children’s favourite stuffed animals and set up a grooming station for them in one part of the house.  Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play encourages creativity and imagination. Additionally it is a great activity to keep your kids busy for hours (and let’s face it, isn’t that the whole point?).

Colour Skee Ball Game

play ideas for kids - colour skee ball game
Colour Skee Ball Game

The Colour Skee Ball Game is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Setting up this game is quick and easy.  The items you’ll need for this fun activity are; baskets, boxes, and coloured balls. Your children will love the challenge of throwing the balls and trying to get them into the baskets.

Window Art

Window Art
Window Art

This window art activity will give your children a new surface to play with. This activity came from Adventures And Play and it’s an engaging way to encourage your child’s creativity and imagination.

Rainbow Rice

play ideas for kids - rainbow rice
Rainbow Rice

This Rainbow Rice activity will be a huge hit with your children. The colourful rice is super fun to make and very pretty to look at. Your children will love mixing the different colours and it will keep them busy for quite a long time. Vacuuming it all up might keep you busy for a while, too, so make sure to pop a tablecloth or something underneath for easy collection.

Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculpture

Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculptures
Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculptures

Instead of throwing away that styrofoam that came in with your package, why not use it to build sculptures? Promote creativity and imagination by letting your children make sculptures out of styrofoam and bamboo skewers.

Cereal Box Puzzles

Cereal Box Puzzles
Cereal Box Puzzles

Another fun indoor activity that makes use of things at home that you would usually throw in the garbage. Recycling can creative, too, with Cereal Box Puzzles. Reuse your cereal boxes, cut them up into different shapes and put some tape at the back and they’re ready.

Homemade Button Snake

Homemade Button Snake
Homemade Button Snake

Making a homemade button snake is an inexpensive activity for fine motor skills development. This activity needs a few basic materials and it teaches your children how to do up buttons.

Masking Tape Speedway

Masking Tape Speedway
Masking Tape Speedway

If you have boys who love race cars, then this masking tape speedway activity could be right up their alley! Give your children some masking tape and get their creativity working by creating tracks for their cars and toys. Encourages imagination and creative thinking.

Want to see more fun indoor play ideas for kids? See our blog on 11 Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers.

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Baby Development Skills: Visual Cognition

What is visual cognition?

Visual cognition is the ability to interpret information through vision, for example object and face recognition and colour recognition.

Simply put, it’s the ability to see something and to recognise and identify the object. This can include working out sizes, colours, shapes and spatial relationships (whether something is close or far).

How can you help baby develop visual cognition skills?

Newborn to Four Months:

Encourage baby to look at your face, by making sounds and movements with your face. Keep your face within about 30cms of baby’s face to help them to focus.

Try black and white images – the high contrast helps baby to focus and distinguish shapes.

Use toys like rattles to get your baby’s attention, and move the rattle around to encourage baby to track the object with her eyes.

You could use a mobile above baby’s change mat, or a baby gym on the floor. Don’t use a baby mobile above baby’s cot, as it’s important to keep visual stimulation to a minimum so that baby can learn to put themselves to sleep without distractions.

Place a baby safe mirror near baby to encourage self recognition.

Always ensure that baby wears a hat and isn’t exposed to bright sunlight to protect their developing eyes.

Five to Six Months:

Play peek a boo with baby.

Let baby have exposure to lots of shapes and textures, as well as bright colours and patterns.

Encourage baby to track objects with her eyes and head as you move them from side to side, up and down.

Six to Twelve Months:

Read to baby, and let her follow the pictures in the books. Point out objects in the stories to her – “here’s the dog, and look! What is the cat doing?”

Encourage baby to put objects into containers.

Point out objects for baby to reach for.

Play hide and seek games with toys – put teddy under a blanket and encourage baby to find it.

Give baby toys to stack, and start talking about different colours.

Twelve to Eighteen Months:

Encourage baby to point to things.

Show baby objects in the sky, such as planes and birds, to develop long distance vision.

Play games with baby where you encourage her to get a particular object out of a pile of objects. For example, where’s the ball in amongst soft toys.

Give toddlers a crayon and encourage them scribble.

Let her stack objects or containers.

Roll a ball back and forth on the floor to encourage visual tracking.

Eighteen Months to Two Years:

Show baby photos of herself and ask her who it is.

Encourage her to match simple shapes.

Find particular pictures in books.

Find some simple puzzles (ones with chunky knobs are great for little hands).

Two to Three Years:

Encourage your toddler to point out objects in  books.

Show your toddler family photos and allow them to pick out familiar family members.

Encourage your toddler to match large and small objects.

Encourage your child to string chunky beads together on a shoelace or string.

Do lots of drawing, painting and colouring.

Go to the playground as often as you can.

Play catch with a ball, a soft toy, or even rolled up socks!

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Baby Development Skills: Hand Eye Co-Ordination

What is hand eye co-ordination?

Hand eye co-ordination combines vision and hand movement to complete a task. It requires the coordination of eye movement with hand movement, and processing visual input to guide the  hand to reach and grasp while working out where the hand is in relation to other physical objects. In other words, a baby is learning to combine a whole bunch of skills into one seamless whole.

It’s amazing when you think about it.

Why do babies need to develop hand eye co-ordination?

Babies are developing their hand eye co-ordination so that they can learn to hold a pencil and form letters, tie their shoelaces, throw a ball to where they want it to go, button a shirt, and manoeuvre food into their mouths.

How do babies develop hand eye co-ordination?

Babies will naturally open and shut their hands, and try to bring their hands (or feet!) to their mouths. You can help in the early months by letting baby grab at objects while sitting on your lap, or by using a baby gym, for example.

How can you help your baby develop hand eye co-ordination?

Newborn:

Your baby will naturally practice hand eye coordination. Taste testing fingers and toes in the mouth is an early way for baby to co-ordinate getting an object to go where she wants it to go.

Babies learn through play, like other animals, learn through play. You can help baby by playing with her. When your baby is very young, you can shake a rattle at her. The sound will catch her attention, and pretty soon she’ll begin to bat at it. As her hand eye co-ordination develops, she’ll be able to grasp it and pull it towards her mouth for further exploration.

Three to Six Months:

Your baby will start to learn about Cause and Effect, and will soon work out that to get the toy to move on the baby gym, she needs to kick it. Trying to kick it will develop her hand eye coordination.

It’s a good idea to provide lots of different colours and textures at this age, so that baby’s natural curiousity will spur her on in her efforts to grab things.

Six to Twelve Months:

Your baby’s hand eye coordination will gradually improve, as will her Fine Motor Skills, and by twelve months she should be able to combine these skills to pick up small objects like raisins in a pincher grip.

There are particular activities and toys that will help children develop their hand eye co-ordination. Always ensure that toys are age appropriate, to prevent frustration and to allow even youngest babies a sense of achievement when they manage to do what they’ve been trying to do.

Providing a variety of toys in different colours, shapes and textures, and rotating these regularly will allow baby to experience a wide range of objects.


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