Joey School

25 Activities That Will Spark Excitement in Your Preschooler and Reduce Screen Time

25 Activities That Will Spark Excitement in Your Preschooler and Reduce Screen Time

Preschool age is so fun! It’s the time before kids actually say the words, “I’m bored.” But how often do they ask for your phone or to watch their favorite show? Sometimes screens can provide value and fun to children’s lives, but it doesn’t need to be what they do all the time.

As two veteran moms, we understand that screens can be lifesavers, but we have also experienced the mom guilt that comes from allowing your child to have too much screen time.  

In this post we’re sharing some fun, simple ideas that have brought lots of enjoyment and learning to our own kids and our preschoolers all while helping reduce screen time. Some of them require a little prep, but, the hours of play make it well worth it! 

Pro mama tip: It’s fun to switch it up between indoor and outdoor activities. These activities can be done with just you and your preschooler or you can use them as an activity with a group of children.    

Preschooler Smiling


Sensory Play Bins

  • Playdough - Preschoolers never get tired of playdough. Add a cookie sheet, some cookie cutters, a rolling pin and playdough scissors and you’ve got it made!  
  • Outdoor Sandbox - Fill it with buckets and shovels, hide plastic animals, bugs, or shells for your little ones to find. 
  • Indoor Sandbox - Fill it with Kinetic sand. Put in some fun molds and rollers, and plastic dinosaurs or bones for children to find!

    • Water Beads - Add some scoopers and tweezers to turn this into a fine motor activity. Set a bowl in the middle of the water beads for little ones to fill by picking up their beads with the tools.
    • Rice Bin - Use plain white rice or dye it different colors. Add in measuring cups, spoons, funnels, and bottles for them to scoop dig and fill!

    Child playing

     

    Board and Card Games - A few of our personal favorites: 

    Movement Activities -

    Here are some more of our favorite movement activities! For more detailed instructions, make sure to check out our article 6 Favorite Movement Activities for Preschoolers (Coming Soon).

     

  • The Sleeping Game
  • Races
  • Dance Party
  • Obstacle Course
  • Gymnastics

  • Child doing gymnastics

     

    Dramatic Play

    • Dress up - From princess and superhero costumes to your own clothes. Kids love to dress up and be something new!  

    • Build a fort - Cover couches and chairs with blankets. Make believe it is a house, castle or animal cave. Invite stuffed animals to make it a party!

    • Set up an indoor or outdoor picnic - Invite stuffed animals! Let your child help you decide what to serve and prepare the food.  

    • Build a zoo - Using a mixture of all the blocks you have (our personal favorite Magnatiles), build a zoo and put different animals inside. Encourage your little one to group all the same types of animals together.

    • Play doctor or vet - invite your favorite stuffed animals to be your patients.

    Art

  • Washable Tempera Paint Projects - Paint with sponges, cut fruit or vegetables, string, textured balls, puff balls, or fingers, dip and paint! Sky's the limit! 
  • If you are looking for something a little less messy, watercolor painting is a great option. Any water coloring book page will do.   
  • Lacing beads - Preschoolers do best with large plastic lacing beads and string that holds firm at the end. A great DIY way to do this is to put tape around the end of the string. Pony lacing string and these large plastic needles are also wonderful options.   
  • Foam stickers - This is a great activity for your child’s fine motor skills. The foam stickers are easier and really fun for them to take and peel the back off of!  
  • Process Art - Process art is not meant to look a certain way. It’s sole purpose is to explore and have fun! Try these creative and fun process art projects. Tell us which one is your child’s favorite!   
      • Mix food coloring and shaving cream together. Paint on paper or the wall of the bathtub!
      • Write on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk, then use a large wet paint brush or spray bottle with water to erase it!  
      • Dip chalk in water. Use it to write on dark paper.
      • Mix water and food coloring. Use a water dropper to paint with!

    We hope these ideas will spark enthusiasm and help you and your preschooler fill your days with delight and excitement and provide great alternatives to screen time. There is nothing better than watching them learn and grow through exploration and play!