4-5 Years


The Wheels on The Stroller Go...

We all know the old "Wheels on the Bus." Next time you go for a walk, try singing "Wheels on the Stroller." Some sample lyrics: The visor on the stroller goes up and down. The girls in the stroller go whee, whee, whee (or wah wah ...(read more)


Paper Plate Tambourines

Take 2 paper plates and decorate the bottoms of them with markers, crayons, tissue paper pieces, ribbons -- anything you have handy. Then put the two paper plates together so that the decorated bottoms are facing out. Begin to fasten the paper plates together by stapling ...(read more)


Painting with Golf Balls

Take an old shoe box or shirt box and put a piece of construction paper in it. Then take some poster paint and dab it on the paper in the box. Next place a golf ball in the box and have your child tilt the box all around ...(read more)


Hunting for Dinosaurs

This game can be played indoors or outdoors, but we usually save it for a rainy day. Give a child a large basket and have her gather all of her plastic toy dinosaurs. Once she is convinced that she has them all, count them according to size (e.g., ...(read more)


Spying the ABC's

While in the car ask your child to look at billboards, road signs, license plates and buildings to find the letters of the alphabet in order. For instance, to find an 'A'-the child might see Applebee's and say it aloud, then move on to finding a sign or ...(read more)


DIY: Seashell Picture Frame

Create a homemade seashell picture frame to remember your precious memories at the beach. Collect a variety of seashells from your summer vacation at the beach, and then glue them onto a simple frame for decoration....(read more)


Fingerprint Art

Your child may not yet be able to color and draw pictures, but you can help them create some unique artwork using a stamp pad and their own fingers! Using non-toxic ink pads, press your child's finger into various colors of pads and then press onto paper. Little ...(read more)


Crayon Games

While out and about, I always keep a bag of crayons in my purse for those moments in the day when like it or not, my kids are just forced to wait. When they tire of drawing and coloring pictures, we play crayon games (this is especially good for ...(read more)


Chalk the Walk

Mark off an area of your driveway, sidewalk or any other washable surface and let your kids go to town with Sidewalk Chalk. You can ask them to draw shapes, letters or numbers, or just let the little ones doodle. I'll draw objects or animals and then ask ...(read more)


Paper Tube Bird Feeder

Take an empty toilet paper tube and spread peanut butter all round the outside edge of the tube. Roll the peanut butter tube in bird seed. Cut a piece of yarn that is about 12 inches long. Attach it to each end of the tube to make ...(read more)


Clothes Pin Names

Write each letter of your child's name on a separate clothes pin. On a piece of paper, write your child's name. Mix up the clothes pins and have your child find each letter in their name, match it to the letter on the paper, and clip it on ...(read more)


Rock Family

Collect enough rocks to represent each member of your family. Paint the rocks either to look like each person, or simply write each person's name on the rock. Place your new Rock Family in your garden or near the front door for your family's enjoyment....(read more)


Digital P's and Q's

With a stack of colorful cards and a Sharpie or with an easel and a marker, you can quickly send thank yous for all the gifts your children receive on their birthdays. Write on the easel or the cards "Thank you for the [write gift name here]." With your ...(read more)


Point and Shoot: Digital Photography for the Preschool Set

While waiting for the doctor, toddlers get pretty bored. I found that bringing my digital camera (or phone) in and having my son take pictures of my funny faces, or having him pose with funny faces, helped the time go by more quickly. Short videos of him singing his favorite ...(read more)


Homemade bubbles

Mix together 2/3 cup of dishwashing liquid (Joy or Dawn work best), 1 quart of water, and 1/3 cup of glycerin. Stir with a whisk to combine all ingredients. Then pour a small amount of the liquid into a bowl or bowls for the kids to use. ...(read more)


Texture Walk

Take a texture walk with your child or children. Use the outdoors to take advantage of an excellent learning opportunity for your little ones. Take a walk and look for things that are soft like sand, dirt, etc. Look for pine cones or rocks that are hard ...(read more)


Indoor Tennis

My son invented a great new indoor game when he found a splatter screen in the kitchen and started hitting one of his stuffed fabric balls...indoor tennis! Splatter screens are wire mesh covers with a plastic handle that are made to keep grease from popping out of the pan ...(read more)


Toy Town

On a carpeted area or rug, tape down long (5 or 6 feet) strips of masking tape in straight and curved patterns. Make the strips intersect each other to form a system of 'roads' on the floor. Gather toys and divide them up by themes, i.e. railroad, farm, ...(read more)


Special Soup

If you're trying to cook and your little one keeps demanding your attention, give them their own large mixing bowl and spoon. Hand them the odds and ends of whatever you're using: i.e. potato or onion peels, celery leaves, pasta, etc. Add water and any spices you feel ...(read more)



What child doesn't love hide-and-seek? Here's a fun variation to play with a group, inside or outside. While the group counts to 50, one person goes to hide (find a place that's big enough to fit the whole group). When the group is finished counting, everyone spreads ...(read more)


I'm Going to the Beach and...

This is a good memory game for car rides, restaurants, or anywhere that requires you to sit still. One person starts the game by saying, 'I'm going to the beach and I'm going to bring my ....' Fill in the blank with anything you want, 'flip flops' for ...(read more)


Sticker Tag

A new twist on the old game of tag - great for all ages and sure to get your blood pumping. Get a bunch of stickers, any kind will work but I use sheets of colored adhesive dots that are inexpensive and can be found at office supply stores. ...(read more)


Creating Snacklaces

This is a slightly more nutritious variation of candy jewelry. Cut yarn or string in different lengths for your child to wear as a necklace or bracelet. Let your child decorate it by stringing on Cheerios or small pretzels. Make extras - they're fun to carry around ...(read more)


If You're Happy and You Know It, Talk about It.

This is a good conversation starter for the dinner table. Pick a feeling and ask, 'What was the most (fun, scary, embarassing, happy, silly, angering) experience this week?' Everyone takes turns telling a true story from the week. Turn it into a friendly competition of feelings and ...(read more)


Pass the...Centerpiece: Inspiring Dinnertime Conversation

Have each family member bring a small object that's important to them to the dinner table. It can be a toy, a picture, anything. Take turns talking about the importance of each object and why you wanted to share it. Listen patiently to each person without interrupting. ...(read more)


Twenty Questions: Interviewing Your Child

This is a neat exercise to do with or without a video camera, although a recording of this would make a great gift when your child grows up. Explain to your child that you would like to interview him or her (you can talk about what this means and ...(read more)


Bathtub ABCs and 123s

Squirt shaving cream on the sides of the bathtub and have your child use his or her pointer finger to practice writing numbers and letters. They can 'erase' by smearing the shaving cream and starting over again....(read more)


Paper Bag Pinatas

Give your child a small brown paper bag and let them decorate it how they want. This can be elaborately, with sequins and glitter, or simply, with crayons. Put a few pieces of candy in the bag and close by folding over the top. Punch two holes at the ...(read more)


Decorating Flower Pots and Planting Seeds

This can be a great party craft or a fun project at home. Have kids paint the outsides of their flower pots and allow to dry. When pots are dry enough to handle, have the kids pour in the potting soil and sprinkle seeds in. Hopefully in ...(read more)


More Fun with "Old MacDonald"

After we've exhausted all of the animals we can think of while singing "Old MacDonald," we add tractors, crops (such as apples or tomatoes), puddles or ponds, etc. and stretch our creativity thinking of sounds to go with them. The kids love coming up with silly sounds to go ...(read more)


Going on a Bear Hunt

With your kids, sing the old summer camp song 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt.' (If you can't remember the words, you can find them here www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/teddy/bearhunt.html). Afterwards go back through the song and discuss (depending on the age of your children) each environment they go through on the ...(read more)


Mural Mania

By just using big pieces of chart paper or butcher paper, drawing becomes a new, exciting activity. Pick a theme- a park, city block, or zoo and create a mural on a huge sheet of paper. Lasts for hours- brainstorm all the things that could go in the ...(read more)


Tissue Paper Butterflies

Use an assortment of solid color tissue paper or patterned paper. Using half-sheets (or smaller, depending on the size of the butterfly you want to make), lay the number of sheets that you wish to use on top of one another. Then, bunch them up a little in the ...(read more)


Personalizing Placemats

With your child, cut out pictures from magazines of your child's favorite things - foods, toys, colors, etc. Give your child a glue stick and then help your child paste pictures onto a large sheet of construction paper, card stock, or poster board. Laminate your finished product and ...(read more)


Give Me a Hard One to Guess

This game is a variation of '20 questions' and we played this with all four of our kids when they were 3, 4 and 5 years old. You say to your child, 'I have a hard one to guess.' Then you start giving clues, one by one. ...(read more)


Creating Collages

Gather a stack of old magazines and catalogs. Choose a theme with your child and go on a hunt for pictures connected to the theme (food, farm, family, animals, ocean, etc...). Cut out any pictures you find related to theme. You can then spend time classifying and sorting ...(read more)


Superhero Day

Announce that it is officially 'Superhero Day'. Your child should choose what kind of superhero he or she wants to be. Make decisions together about the superhero's costume and superpower. Create a story together about your superhero and his life. Find household props and dress-up clothes to ...(read more)


Go Fish!

Create a fishing pond for your toddler. With your child, cut out several paper fish from construction paper and attach a paper clip to each fish. Then tie a string to one of end of the fishing pole (yardstick or other rod) and a magnet to the other ...(read more)


Magic Mud

This is a fun and messy project for kids. Get out as many bowls as you want colors. Fill each bowl with a several heaping spoonfuls of corn starch, mix with a little water and food coloring. Keep adding water until it's soupy. If you let ...(read more)


Letter Learning

Start by drawing a big outline of a letter on a piece of paper and let your child color or paint inside the lines. Then cut it out and stick it up or you can join it to other letters in an alphabet garland or a special word or name. ...(read more)


Color Matchbox

On a large sheet of paper, draw a big square or rectangle and divide it into ten smaller squares. One for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, Grey, Black and White Then, using scraps of paper cut from magazines, have your child choose the scraps ...(read more)


Verde means Go!

When teaching my son how to say red, yellow or green in Spanish, we practice in the car with the signal lights. Each light we pass I say if the light is Rojo (Red), Amarillo (Yellow) or Green (Verde). Then after enough repetition I ask him which color ...(read more)


Building a Fort ...or Something Else

My toddlers love to hide behind and under things. I often find them under the table playing hide-and-seek, so we started putting a sheet over it to make a fort. Now we play a game called 'Build me a fort or something else' where they have to say ...(read more)


Paper Mache Maracas

Take a small balloon (water balloon size) and fill it with a handful of small beans or rice. Then, fill the balloon with air to create the base for the paper mache. You will also want to cut or tear many strips of newspaper before you make the ...(read more)


Searching for Worms

Kids like gooey things, especially gooey things deep in the soil. Go out in your yard and let your children know that you'll be looking for worms. Help your children to move the soil around very carefully using either their hands or small trowels. Explain how worms help ...(read more)


Painting with Straws

Drop a couple of drops of paint onto a piece of paper, and give your child a straw to blow the paint with. Be sure that they just use the straw as a blower -- something to move the paint around with. Some kids like to put their ...(read more)


Homemade Sprinkler

Who needs a watering can in the summer when your child can water the pots/plants with a homemade watering can? You kids will love doing this! Take an empty and clean gallon-size plastic milk jug. Poke holes towards the bottom of the container with a hammer and ...(read more)


Make Your Own Soap

Making your own soap is a fun activity with the kids and can also make for great gifts. Note: It's a good idea to rub any toys you put into the soap with rubbing alcohol beforehand. Melt glycerin soap (found at any craft store) in a ...(read more)


Finding Buried Treasure

Have you noticed that little kids love sparkly items? With this activity your child can pretend to be a pirate searching for lost treasure or an archaeologist searching for ancient artifacts. Take some little rocks and spray paint them gold. Older children can "help" with this part ...(read more)


Coin Collector

A great way to pass time at the doctor's office or in restaurants is to take out all of your change and have your child sort the coins by kind, size and color. They can stack them, create shapes with them, count them etc. If you have a ...(read more)


Ancient Times

While walking my 6 year old to school, we play a game we made up called 'Ancient Times.' He'll pick a time in history, for example, The Ice Age. Then we'll describe what we see. He'll pretend to see a woolly mammoth behind a parked car or ...(read more)


Sticker Dots

We all know that young kids love playing with stickers, but the problem is that they really do stick to everything and it's often hard to peel them off. Your floors, walls and furniture pay the price. What I do is buy lots of sheets of multi-colored sticker ...(read more)


Paper Scrapers

Next time you and your child visit a new city, try this fun technique when out in the streets. You need paper, a paintbrush and a crayon, with paper removed. Have child select a texture he'd like to capture, such as a manhole cover or a plaque ...(read more)


Ice Cube Painting

Begin by filling an ice cube tray with water. Then, help your child to add a drop or so of food coloring to each cube, creating a variety of colors. Put the tray into the freezer until frozen solid. Once they are frozen, pop the cubes out ...(read more)


Paper Bag Animals

Turn a brown lunch bag upside down so that the bottom of the bag becomes the top of the puppet. Use the flap for face, drawing on a nose and some eyes. When you open the flap, have your child draw a tongue under the flap or attach ...(read more)


Cookie Cutter Sandwiches

This is a fun way to let your kids help in the kitchen and get them to eat their sandwiches. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or something else that would be easy to cut through) and then help your child to cut the sandwich into a shape ...(read more)


Puddle Jumping

When it rains outside, we put on our raincoats and rain shoes and go in search of puddles. With each puddle comes a story depending on the shape and location of the puddle and at the end of the story we jump into that particular puddle signifying the end ...(read more)


Around-Town Scavenger Hunt

Pick one of your favorite places to visit: the aquarium, arboretum, or museum. Go to their website, and with your child, find pictures of 5-10 different things to look for. Then create a list for your child, adding pictures may be helpful for young ones. When you ...(read more)


Mix-It-Up Storytelling

This is a great activity for long car rides! You and your child (or children) take turns adding to a story. The parent begins by saying the first line (e.g. 'Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to go the circus. And then ...(read more)


Photograph Memory Game

A good way to get kids to remember faces and names of relatives is to take pictures of family members. When the film is developed ask for double prints. Use these photos to play the game of memory. Put all pictures face-down, and have your children turn ...(read more)


Dollar Daze

This is a great activity if you are waiting at an airport, the doctor's office, or for a bus. Take out some dollar bills (or higher) and have your child find the numbers and letters printed on them. For older children, you can ask them to tell you ...(read more)


Post-It Games

Keep a pad of post-its with you when you go out. When you need to pass a little time, take out ten, and you or your child can write Xs on half and Os on half. You can then have an impromptu game of tic-tac-toe on any table ...(read more)


The Goldfish Game

My children all played this precious snack-time game at their preschool, and it has remained our favorite way to eat goldfish crackers. How to play: Explain to your child that you're going to tell him a story while he eats, but he has to be patient and only eat ...(read more)


Rhyme Time

When you're in a waiting room with your child or anywhere where you need to 'kill' a few minutes, you can play this easy rhyming game. The parent starts by saying, 'I'm thinking of a word that rhymes with ____ and it starts with ___.' For example, you could say ...(read more)


Shape Spy

When you're out walking with your kids, make it more fun and even educational by playing 'Shape Spy.' Your kids may know their shapes from a book or puzzle, but can they identify them in everyday objects? When you pass a stop sign, tell them you 'shape spy' an octagon. ...(read more)


You're Getting Hotter!

Find an object that you want to hide. An object that is small, but not too small, will work best -- something such as a small stuffed animal or figurine. Hide the figurine somewhere in a room and take turns with your child being the 'finder' and the ...(read more)


Water Bottle Fun

Have your child help you mix together bubble solution, water, and food coloring in an empty plastic water bottle. Your child can then shake it up or squeeze it to see lots of colorful, bubbly fun. This activity is a great way to teach about colors. But ...(read more)


Paper Plate Clock

Write the numbers 1 through 12 on the outer edge of a white paper plate. Create hands for the clock by cutting off two half-inch wide strips of black poster board. Make one strip three inches tall and the other five inches tall. Cut off two small triangles ...(read more)


Go Speed Racer!

A fun game for your little speed demon: Find a large concrete area. The driveway is a good choice, as long as it's safe! Draw a chalk racetrack on your driveway, and then let your child speed around it on her trike or big wheel. ...(read more)


Easy Easter Eggs

A unique way to do your easter eggs this year! Begin with a batch of hard boiled eggs. (Alternately, you can take a wooden skewer and put it through a raw egg, letting the yolk and white run out.) Rinse the outside of the empty eggshells well ...(read more)


Hopscotch Spelling

A great way to improve spelling skills while having fun! Using either sidewalk chalk or foam interlocking-letter squares (you can find them at Right Start or Ross), list the alphabet. Say a word and have your kid(s) spell out the word hopping on the letters. Younger kids can ...(read more)


Musical Hoops

This is a great activity for groups of 2-6 children and a non-competitive alternative to musical chairs. Gather up several hoops or jump ropes tied in a loop, one for each child and adult. Place a different instrument (maracas, drums, home-made shakers, xylophones, etc.) in each hoop. ...(read more)


Animal Inventory

My daughter loves animals, and I thought this would be a fun way for her to combine her love of animals with learning about our part of the world. We took a camera and walked around our neighborhood, taking pictures of all the animals that we saw. We ...(read more)


Shoe Box Cars

Shoe boxes can be the perfect vehicle to jump start your child's imagination! Find a cardboard shoe box, and let your child decorate it with paints, construction paper, crayons and markers. Add headlights by gluing on two plastic milk jug lids or bottle caps, and make wheels out ...(read more)


Family Map

Purchase a large United States or world map, and a box of colorful thumbtacks. Place the map where your child can easily see it -- either on the wall or on a bulletin board. Talk with your child about where all of your family members live, and place ...(read more)

Ghostly Garland

This Halloween craft is also great way to recycle! Gather some used tissue paper or newspaper. Cut or tear the paper into pieces that are about 1' x 1' (if using newspaper, make the squares a little smaller). Have your child wad the paper up tightly into ...(read more)


Q-Tip Geometric Designs

Early math concepts include shapes. Help your child to learn his shapes in a fun way. Have your child take Q-Tips and place them on construction paper to make different shapes. You can also encourage your child by asking him to make a triangle or a square. ...(read more)


All about My Daddy (or Mommy)

Here's an idea for a cute Father's Day or Mother's Day gift. Staple several pieces of construction paper together to make a book. Ask your child to draw a picture of her daddy (or mom) on the cover. Depending on her age, you can help her by ...(read more)


I'm a Great Helper Coupon Book

To help your child realize what a help they can be to us grown ups, make it fun by creating a 'coupon' book of things they can do or 'give' to us. Take blank white 8 1/2 x 11 paper or construction paper and fold in half. To create the ...(read more)


Mixed-Up People

This is a drawing activity for at least two, and up to three people. Take a piece of paper and fold it in thirds; try to be as exact as possible. On the first third of the paper, draw the head of a pet, an animal or a person. Then, ...(read more)


Super Letter Hunt

Play a hidden alphabet game with your child. Write each letter of your child's name on a separate piece of paper. Then hide the letters throughout your house and send your child on a letter treasure hunt. When she has found them, help her put the letters ...(read more)


Princess Crowns

Using a piece of string, measure your child's head and cut the string to fit the size. Then use the string to measure a piece of construction paper; you might need to tape 2 pieces of paper together if your child's head is on the larger size. Once you have ...(read more)


Step into the Story

Next time you read a story to your preschooler, try this activity to develop his problem solving and creative thinking skills. When you get to a point in the story where the character faces a problem or needs to make a decision, stop reading and ask your child to ...(read more)


Wacky Day

On a day when you plan to stay home, have everyone put together the wildest, wackiest outfits they can find and wear them all day. Pair some striped pants or crazy skirt with sneakers or flip flops and a Tiara. Everyone needs to join in. Choose a ...(read more)


Cheesy ABC and 123 Pretzels

Little helpers can practice measuring and pouring while making these pretzels with you, and they will love shaping the pretzels into letters, numbers, or any shapes they choose. 1) Preheat oven to 425. 2) Lightly spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray. 3) Put 1 1/2 cups warm ...(read more)


What are they thinking?

Look through magazines or books for interesting or funny pictures. Ones with people and/or animals in action work best. Take turns with your child making up what the figures in the pictures are saying to one another. Cut out the pictures and paste them in a book. ...(read more)


Chickens, Foxes, and Snakes

This is a fun version of tag to be played with a group of children - at least 4 is best. Divide the players into 3 groups: chicken, foxes, and snakes. Explain that chickens eat snakes, foxes eat chickens, and snakes eat foxes. Then count to 3 ...(read more)


Ribbon Photo Albums

Would you like a less frustrating or time consuming option to scrapbooking with all those stickers and special paper? I did, so I decided to simplify the memory capturing process by making my photo albums more about the subject than the display. I bought a photo album, 8x8 ...(read more)


All About My Family Book

Create a "book" about your family. Take pictures of the people in your family, your pets, your home, your cars...anything that your child feels is a part of your family. Cut white paper into 4x6 sheets. Arrange the photos into a small 4x6 photo album, leaving a page ...(read more)


Grape Surprise

1. Mix the peanut butter, dry milk, and honey in a small bowl until a soft dough is formed. 2. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Flatten the balls into circles about 2 inches in diameter. 3. Have your child place a grape in the center of ...(read more)


Halloween Goo

Combine the ingredients listed to make a squishable, oozy material. This is great at Halloween! It can be placed in a wicker basket in a doorway, and it will ooze out. Or place it in a container and have kids feel it while blindfolded. If the ...(read more)


Crafty Fire Crackers

1. Cut 2 circles out of paper, about 3 - 4 inches across. You can paint or color them to match your toilet paper roll. Poke a small hole through the center of one of your paper circles and thread a 6 inch piece of yarn through it. The long ...(read more)


Cardboard Kazoo

Get an empty toilet paper tube and a piece of wax paper big enough to completely cover the end of the toilet paper roll. Secure the wax paper tightly onto one end of the toilet paper roll with a rubber band. With a nail or pen, poke a small hole ...(read more)


How Many Will Fit?

Here's a twist on a common game of guessing how many of an item are in a container. Have your child look at an empty, small, clear plastic jar and a group of small objects (such as peanuts, cottonballs, marbles, or Goldfish crackers) and estimate how many of the ...(read more)


Time to Rest

Pick a slow song or lullaby. Tell child to pretend to sleep with you or just lie down and listen. Play as much of the song as you like. This exercise encourages your child to experience relaxation and to listen. ...(read more)


Magic Cups

This simple game for toddlers and preschoolers is based on the same principle as peek-a-boo, the favorite game of many infants. To start the game, hide a small toy under one of three cups while your child is watching. Then move the cups around and ask him to guess ...(read more)


Drawing Music

Put on some music for your little one. It can be classical, jazzy, kids or adult music. Give him a paper and crayon and have him draw the music he hears. Does it make him want to make slow, lazy loops or fast and frantic dots? ...(read more)


Counting Cards

This is a very simple activity that reinforces numbers, both writing and counting. Using 3x5 cards, write the numerals 0-10 or if your child has mastered to 10, 0-20, one number per card. One the reverse side of the card, use small reward stickers and stick on the ...(read more)


Ice Ornament

Create an "ice ornament" or "ice sculpture" by arranging natural objects found on a nature walk (like pine cones, leaves, sticks, rocks) in a shallow pan. Fold a length of string in half and lay it in the pan so the fold is over the edge of the pan ...(read more)


Name Trees

Cut out a tree trunk with several branches. Then cut out leaves in various colors -- for a spring tree, you can use lighter shades of green; for an autumn tree, use reds and oranges. Have your child write each letter in his or her name on a ...(read more)


Name that Produce

Need an idea to make going to the grocery store more fun for kids? Want to encourage your child to be more excited about fruits and veggies? Make a game out of the produce section! As you are shopping, see how many different kinds of produce your ...(read more)


Bubble Count

My 4-year-old daughter made up this game, and I thought it was rather clever! As I blow bubbles, she pops them with her finger and says a number, starting with the number 1. As the bubbles float by, she pops them and counts the next number, and the ...(read more)


Summer Walk

Go for a summer walk through the neighborhood and point out the changes since spring and winter, or have you child point out the changes, if he or she is old enough. This works with any season and is a great way to teach your child about seasons and ...(read more)


Follow the Clapping Leader

You can do this with just you and your child or with a group of children. Clap out a rhythm on your shoulder, knee, arm, or some other body part, and your child or the group of children must follow. Any number can play this game and if you are ...(read more)


You've Got Mail!

Teach your preschooler about how the mail system works by writing a note together. Put the note in an envelope and address it to yourself (with your child's name, of course) and affix a stamp. Then take the letter to the mail box at the post office. ...(read more)


Indoor Hopscotch

This is a twist on the traditional hopscotch for little ones learning their ABC's and 123's. First start by making squares or rectangles with letters and numbers on them. Then lay them out all over the floor. Have your child start at one end of the room ...(read more)

Glitter Fireworks

These fireworks pictures are great decorations for 4th of July or New Year's. Spread glue on paper in radiating shapes (with rays like the sun or branches like trees). If the glue is soft enough, put some on the paper and blow air at it through a straw to ...(read more)


Living Room Plays

Next time you have a group of children together, try this fun activity. Let the children choose a story to act out, one that you know the story of, as well. Let each child choose each part that he or she wants to play -- it's fine if ...(read more)


Where Have You Been?

Get a large map of the world or of the United States. You can either tape it to your child's wall or roll it up for easy storage. Each time you take a trip, mark the place you visit with a sticker on your child's map. You'll ...(read more)


Jump Inside the Circle

Best played with a group of children. Have everyone sit in a large circle facing each other. One adult describes a child in the circle using visual clues, and everyone tries to guess which child it is. Example: "This person is wearing a red sweater and blue ...(read more)



4 to 10 children can play this game together. Spread out five hula hoops on a lawn (about 5 feet apart). One child is the shark. All other children stand inside one of the hula hoops. There cannot be more than 2 children in one hoop ...(read more)


Memory Master

Tell your child to stare at a picture in a catalog, a page of their favorite book, the contents of your purse, or even the opposite wall. After 60 seconds, your child should look away and you, as Memory Master, can quiz your child about what he or she has ...(read more)


Story Starter

Here's an activity you can do before bedtime or on long car rides. Suggest three or four characters (say a pig, a basket, a car, and an apple) and challenge your child to create a story that uses these characters. Then switch roles either using the same characters or ...(read more)


Family Records

Here's another great activity when you are waiting in a restaurant or at the doctor's office or at the airport. Family Records. How many times can your child (or you) hop on one foot in 20 seconds? Clap hands? Cluck your tongue? Snap fingers? Hold your breath? ...(read more)

Lollipop Valentines

1. From red construction paper, cut out a heart that's just larger than the lollipop and using glue stick, adhere it to the wrapper. 2. For the leaves, fold green paper in half and cut out a leaf shape, creating two-sided leaves. Leave the two sides ...(read more)


Making Flags

On a large piece of paper or poster board, draw the outline of the American flag, or any other country's flag design. Give your child the appropriate colors in markers or crayons to fill in the spaces. Or fill in the spaces with a collage of colors taken ...(read more)


Fire Chief Badges

Children enjoy decorating fire chief badges, which they can then wear on their shirts. Just trace a picture of a badge and cut it out. Give your child markers and a variety of craft materials to decorate the badge. Then glue or tape a safety pin to the back of ...(read more)


Ladybugs Rock!

On your next walk around the neighborhood, see if you can find a smooth, round rock. When you get home, have your child paint it red, then add black spots and maybe a face. Glue on googly eyes to complete the project. Very cute!...(read more)


Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments

Let the kids decorate the tree this year with these simple ornaments that smell as good as they look. To make the ornaments: 1) Combine 1 cup applesauce and 1 cup cinnamon in a small bowl until it forms a dough. (If dough is too wet, add a ...(read more)

Strawberry Yogurt Smoothies

Let your little ones help you make this nutritious treat! Wash the fresh strawberries. Peel a banana & slice it in half or in quarters. Let your little one help you count and then place all the fruit in an electric blender. Spoon the yogurt into the ...(read more)


Shoe Box Trains

Shoe boxes come in handy for so many crafts - here's another idea for any empty boxes you have lying around the house. Have your preschooler decorate the shoe box with markers, crayons, stickers, and other art supplies. Once they've finished decorating the shoe box, poke a hole ...(read more)


Easter Egg Shakers

If you find yourself with too many plastic Easter eggs, try making this quick musical instrument with your child! Pick out an egg or two, and fill it halfway full with uncooked rice, beans, or small dried pasta. Glue the halves together with a strong glue (this is ...(read more)


Consonant Crazy

This is a music activity that my daughter learned in preschool, and now she applies it to any song that she knows. Two tunes that work well are "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and the traditional birthday song. Choose a consonant letter from the alphabet and use ...(read more)


Cartography for Kids

When traveling on a long car trip, give your kids a laminated map of the US and, using a Vis a Vis pen, have them trace the map route along with you. You can also have a separate map where your child can color in the states you ...(read more)


History of the Holiday

As the holidays roll around, be sure to talk to your kids about each one. They all have a historical importance and fun facts to learn. Make it more than just a day they have off school or a reason to send a card. Most kids can't ...(read more)


Cutting Food

Here is a simple way to entertain your child while you are preparing meals in the kitchen. Give your child a cutting board and a plastic knife (or if they are old enough, a butter knife). Next give him some of the things you are using in your ...(read more)


5 Senses Game

This is a great activity for kids to do on a car trip. Name an object that you see while driving, for example, a tree, a cow, a tire, etc. Have your child describe it using the 5 senses: what does the object look like, does it ...(read more)


Valentine Stained Glass

To make a festive Valentine's Day window decoration, cut a large heart out of 2 sheets of red, pink, or white construction paper. The heart must be the same size & placement on both sheets because you will be using the heart-shaped holes not the hearts themselves. Next ...(read more)


Where in the World?

Use a map or globe; kids love that globes spin, but if you don't have one, use an atlas or a map. Let your child run their finger around it until they find the perfect spot. Then play a game called "Where in the world is this?" ...(read more)


Peanut Butter Caterpillars

This is a fun snack for your child to make. You will need one banana, peanut butter and raisins. Begin by slicing a banana into circles. Use peanut butter to stick the slices together to form a caterpillar as your child desires. Use raisins for the eyes, mouth and nose. ...(read more)


Magazine Flashcards

Cut out pictures from old magazines that illustrate simple 3 letter words, such as "dog" or "hat." Have your child help you glue these pictures onto construction paper. Write the word that describes the picture underneath of the picture and have your child read the word to you ...(read more)


A Seder Plate for Passover

This is a great way for kids to learn what items are included on a traditional Seder plate. Start by painting a large, sturdy white paper plate green, to commemorate that Passover is a spring holiday. Next, paint the inside bottoms of 5 white cupcake liners liners in ...(read more)


Making a Small Menorah

This is very cute and easy project for young kids to make at Hanukkah. Buy a small rectangular piece of white tile (about 8"-12" long x 3" wide). Have your child paint the tile. Once the tile is dry, glue a small piece of tile in the ...(read more)


Making Party Hats

Making party hats is a fun activity if you're planning to be home with the kids for New Year's. Foam visors are your best bet for inexpensive, simple, unadorned hats in festive colors, and you can usually find them at craft stores. Once you have your hats, have ...(read more)


Keep the Change

Here's an activity that will teach your child to count, add and be money savvy. Hand your child some pennies and ask him to count them. If he gets it correct, tell him he can keep the money in his piggy bank. Depending on the age and level of your ...(read more)


Spot Your Name

This is a fun way to encourage letter recognition and spelling of your child's name: Have your child write down her name on a piece of paper or if they are still learning to write their name, write it yourself in bold, capital letters. Then, using ...(read more)


Traffic Light Crossings

Turn crossing the street with your child into a multi-faceted learning activity: When you stop in front of a traffic light, ask your child to name the colors. Discuss what each color means in the context of the traffic light and crosswalk. Then talk about how to cross ...(read more)


Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Use a basket-style coffee filter (round shaped) to make a snowflake. Fold the filter in half three times. Cut out shapes along the edges of the folds to reveal a beautiful snowflake when unfolded. Discuss with your child the uniqueness of each snowflake made!...(read more)


Spring Collage

Go on a nature walk in the spring and pick up wild flowers, leaves, twigs, feathers, and other signs of spring in a paper bag. Next, help your child write "spring" on a paper plate. Then have him or her glue on the spring items to the plate. A pretty ...(read more)


Matzo Tickets

Looking for a way to keep the kids engaged during the Seder? Try passing out matzo tickets each time they participate in a positive way: To make the cards, draw simple pictures of matzo on unlined index cards or enlist the kids to help. Distribute during ...(read more)


St. Patrick's Day Lucky Clover Craft

Talk to your child about things she feels lucky to have in her life. It could be friends, family, pets, toys, etc. Then cut out a large four-leaf clover on green construction paper. For older children, you can draw the outline of the clover and have them ...(read more)


Tissue Paper Earth

Have your child draw and cut out a large circle on cardboard paper. Help them to draw some of the continents on their circle, creating a sketch of the Earth. Next, wad up pieces of blue and green tissue paper -- green for the continents and blue for the ...(read more)


10 Plagues Goody Bags

If you're planning on having a lot of small children at your Passover Seder this year, you may want to consider putting together some 10 Plagues goody bags to keep everyone occupied: You can probably find almost everything you'll need by scouring a few dollar stores. You can, ...(read more)


Animal Name Game

This is a fun and easy game to play in honor of Earth Day or any time! The object is to come up with as many names of animals who inhabit the earth as you can: You'll need at least 2 players with a strong grasp of the ...(read more)


Afikomen Diplomacy

At the beginning of the Passover Seder, it's traditional to hide a special piece of matzo or the afikomen for the kids to compete to find at the end of the evening. In most homes, the child who finds the afikomen receives a prize while the other kids wind up ...(read more)


The Counting Game

Often asking a child to count can become a chore for the child. It is important to always make learning fun. I find that counting from 1 to 100 is not that exciting for a 4 year old. So I try and make it a game. ...(read more)


Plant a Tree!

It's just that simple - plant a tree! Use this experience to honor a loved one. Teach your child about the many functions of trees and how they benefit our environment. Be sure to include a basic botany lesson -- how the roots will help the tree to drink ...(read more)


Recycling Matters

Gather the family and visit a nearby recycling plant. Be sure to call ahead to make arrangements for a guided tour. Help prepare and educate your child on recycling by checking out relevant books at your library and reading them together in preparations for your tour. Be sure to ...(read more)


Spring Cleaning!

Get the whole family together to do some spring cleaning - outdoors! Visit a park or lake nearby and spend an hour or two picking up trash in the area. Teach your child about litter, appropriate places to put trash, keeping our world clean, and recycling. Be sure to take ...(read more)


4th of July Cupcakes

Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe or the package directions. While the cupcakes are baking, hull and slice the strawberries in half. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes with white frosting. Now you and your kids are ready for the fun part! Decorate ...(read more)


Cinco Means Five

A great thing to do on Cinco de Mayo is teach your little one some Spanish words! You can select five words such as five colors or five fruits or vegetable or maybe 5 days of the week. You can also teach five words each week ...(read more)


Patriotic Plants

These will look festive on your front porch for the 4th of July or any of our patriotic holidays. Begin by painting the rim of the flowerpot white and the lower part of the pot blue (or paint the rim blue and the lower part white). Let the paint ...(read more)


Happy Birthday Apron

For your child's next birthday party, purchase a child-sized apron that can be decorated. Help the party guests to put fabric paint on their hands, and then let them make a handprint on the apron. Write the name of each child next to their handprint. Your child will have a ...(read more)


My Mommy and Me

Here's an idea for a cute Mother's Day gift -- or Father's Day gift. Staple several pieces of construction paper together to make a book. Ask your child to draw a picture of herself with her mom (or dad) on the cover. On each of the other pages, write ...(read more)



This Maypole makes a fun summer yard ornament or activity for a May birthday party. At your local home improvement or hardware store, select a material that would make a good pole to stick in the ground: a length of rebar, a wooden stake, a piece of metal ...(read more)


Egg Shaker

Here's an idea for a fun Easter treat that does not involve candy! Fill half of a plastic Easter egg with about 1 tablespoon of rice or small dried beans. Put a thin layer of craft glue around the rim of the egg and then snap the other ...(read more)

Sidewalk 'Painting'

On a warm day, take the kids outside to 'paint' the sidewalk using water instead of paint. They love that they are painting, but you don't have any clean-up! They can also do handprints and footprints by getting their hands and feet wet....(read more)

Lava Lamps

Take a jar or bottle of any size and pour a small amount of vegetable oil in it and then pour a small amount of water into the same bottle. Add a few drops of food coloring if you want to color the liquid. Then add sparkles, confetti and glitter ...(read more)

Blowing in the Wind (Creating a Wind Vane)

Teach your kids about wind and the weather with this fun activity. Decorate a large piece of construction paper with markers, paints or other art supplies. Then roll it into a long tube (about the size of a paper towel tube) and staple or tape the paper along ...(read more)

Marshmallow Architecture

Take a box of tooth picks and a bag of mini marshmallows and put them out on a table. Then show the kids how to create three-dimensional structures by placing the marshmallows onto the tooth picks. They have a great time creating big structures, houses, tunnels, etc. ...(read more)

Indoor treasure hunt

Tell the kids to hide in one room of the house. Then take some toy cars, action figures, or other non-breakable toys and objects and hide them in a different room. Once you are done hiding, give each kid a brown paper bag and then have them come ...(read more)


Freeze Dancing

Turn on the radio or CD Player and start to dance with the kiddies. Then turn the music off randomly and surprise the kids by saying 'Freeze.' If they don't freeze, they can be out or you can just continue to play without doing the elimination. With ...(read more)

Rainbow Stew

Stir together 1 cup cornstarch, 4 cups water, and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on the stove until thick. Remove from heat and wait for it to cool. Pour the mixture into sandwich-size ziploc bags, filling each one halfway. Scatter drops of ...(read more)


Making dreamcatchers is an easy, fun craft. Stretch a wire hanger into a diamond or circle shape. The kids love using their 'He-man' strength. Next stretch a nylon stocking over the hanger and tie at the top. Glue feathers, ribbons, sparkly beads, or any other decorations on. ...(read more)

Touring a Fire Station

Contact your local Fire Station and ask if they give tours. Most fire stations will provide tours for children and will tailor the tour to the age of the children attending. This is a great group activity! Many stations will even allow you to have a birthday ...(read more)

Tactile Fun with Textures

Using different textured materials (e.g. corduroy, silk, wool, etc.), cut out 4X4 squares of the materials and then punch hole in one corner. Hang all of the fabrics together on a single shower curtain ring. Babies can use this to explore different textures, toddlers can find new descriptive words for the ...(read more)

M&M Math

Dump a bag of M&Ms on the table and ask your child to sort them into different piles, by color. Then ask her to create vertical lines to show, without counting, which color has the most M&M's. You can add to the game by asking other questions such ...(read more)

Calling all Budding Thespians

Instead of simply reading your child's favorite book again, make it interactive. Let him/her choose a page or scene from the book and act it out. For example, my son loves construction equipment, so he goes through his books and tells me to be one of the bulldozers ...(read more)



Toddlers love to 'help' around the house. A great way to teach them to help with chores and enjoy them at the same time is to turn them into a game. Let your child choose a chore to help with (e.g. laundry or unloading the dishwasher). For ...(read more)

Say Cheese: Homemade Photo Albums

Help your toddler remember friends and relatives whom they do not get to see often. Choose or take a photograph of each person you wish to include in the book. Using colored markers, let your child help write the name of that person on a piece of paper. ...(read more)

Itty Bitty Bye... About So High

This is a great treasure hunt game that can be played indoors or out with older children and ones as young as 2. My 7, 5, and 3 year olds love it. Pick an object to hide and show it to your child. Your child covers their ...(read more)

Finger Painting with Pudding

Prepare pudding and tape paper to a table. Feel free to add food coloring to make a more colorful 'paint.' Give each child his or her own container of pudding, then let them use their fingers to paint on the paper. In addition to creating a pudding masterpiece, ...(read more)


Homemade Playdough

Mix together the flour, salt, water, food coloring, cream or tartar, and cooking oil in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture forms a large 'ball' and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove the ball from the heat. Once ...(read more)

Noodle Art

Let your kids get creative with what's in the pantry. Each time I cook pasta, I always save a little bit of the noodles in a baggie. Then once we have accumulated enough different types of noodles, we make art. Let the kids use their imagination and ...(read more)

Paper Plate Masks

Use a small white paper plate as the base for a child's mask. Cut two holes about where the child's eyes will be, then punch one hole on either side of the paper plate and tie a piece of string or yarn through each hole. This will be ...(read more)

Paper Tube Maracas

Take an empty paper towel or toilet paper tube. Cover one end with a small square of construction paper and fasten the square to the tube with a rubber band. Then fill the tube with dried beans or uncooked rice -- you can experiment with different amounts and ...(read more)

Life Size Paper Doll

Take a long piece of butcher paper and have your child lie down on top of it (his or her entire body needs to fit within the edges with a good margin around the sides). Trace around your child's body with a Sharpie. When your child stands up, ...(read more)

Picture Toast

Read a book with your child. In a small cup, mix 1/4 cup of milk with a few drops of food coloring. Use a Q-tip to paint the colored milk onto a piece of bread. Ask your child to paint their favorite part of the story or ...(read more)

What's Missing?

On a cookie sheet, place 5 or 6 small objects, such as a spoon, brush, book, toy, sock, or crayon. Allow your child to look at all the items on the cookie sheet. Have your child turn around, so you can remove one of the objects from the ...(read more)

Pinto Bean Letters and Numbers

Give your child a handful of uncooked pinto beans and have them use the beans to make letters or numbers. They can develop fine motor skills as they carefully lay the beans in rows and curves.

Picture Sort

Sort pictures into groups of boys/girls, tall/short, hair color, or young/old. Kids could also make a line of all the pictures from youngest to oldest or shortest to tallest.

Making Play Binoculars

Tape or glue two clean toilet tissue cardboard tolls together and then tape some string to each roll so that the child can put it around his/her neck. To make it extra fun, paint, color or add stickers before or after taping/gluing the rolls....(read more)

Oatmeal Drum

Making a drum out of the tall 42 oz cylindrical shaped oatmeal container. Take top off and cover the container using decorated paper. You can use glue to seal the edges. Then seal opening with construction paper by securely using tape. Little kids will enjoy drumming ...(read more)

Letter Hunt

Get a stack of index cards and write one letter on each card and then hide them around a room. After hiding the letters, ask your child to find as many of the index cards as possible. As they find each card tell them to say the letter out loud. ...(read more)

Blessing Ring/Birthday Ring

Cut thin strips of colored construction paper. Write the name of a blessing on each piece of paper. (Optional - Decorate the paper with stickers, etc.) Link the pieces of paper to form one long chain that you can hang on the fireplace or anywhere in the house. ...(read more)


Popsicle Painting

Paint pictures on white paper using different colors of popsicles. You can use this activity to illustrate the concept of melting ice turning into water.

Homemade Crayons

This is a fun craft you can do with your leftover broken crayons. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Get a muffin tin and line it with foil, spray foil lightly with non-stick spray. Then, take your old, broken crayon pieces (use pieces smaller than 1/2 inch) and ...(read more)

Pantry Painting

Painting doesn't have to be limited to paint brushes. You can use lots of different painting tools to produce different artistic results. Some ideas include: feathers, twigs or leaves, eyedroppers, toothbrushes, vegetable and pastry brushes Also, try adding something to change the texture of the paint. ...(read more)

Homemade Playdough -- No Cooking Required!

Into a large bowl, put 3 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 tablespoons of warm water, and 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil. Knead all ingredients together and form into balls (this is a great sensory development skill for younger children). Then gently work in a few ...(read more)

Two Scoops of Sugar ...or One or Three?

When you are out at a restaurant and want to occupy the kids, try this activity at the table as an alternative to Tic Tac Toe. Place ten (white) packets of sugar and one (pink) packet of artificial sweetener on the table. (Or you could use coins -- ten ...(read more)

Spin Art Cards

Have your little one help create birthday and/or holiday cards using a spin art machine. Once your child has completed the spin art, they can then add their artistic touch by 'signing' or adding a personal message....(read more)

Balloon Ball

Find a fairly large, open area of the house where your child won't be in danger of running into anything. Blow up a balloon and show your child how to hit the balloon into the air with his/her hands. Try to hit the balloon back and forth, counting ...(read more)

Greeting Card Lace-Ups

Using the pictures on the front of old greeting cards, punch holes around the outline of a character. Have your child lace a shoestring through the holes. Your child will think that she is 'sewing'!

Beanbag Balls

Use this activity to make totally awesome squishable balls. They are great for beanbag games or a good old game of catch. 1. Stretch the first balloon by inflating it halfway, holding it closed for about 30 seconds, and then deflating it. 2. Place a funnel in the balloon's neck ...(read more)

Mixing Colors

Teach your child how to mix two colors together to make another color (e.g. yellow blue makes green and red blue makes purple). To begin, fill up a couple of clear glasses with water. Then, allow your kids to add drops of food coloring to make your color mixes -- ...(read more)

Inside Out Science

Science isn't just projects, it's everywhere. My kids enjoy learning about things by taking them apart to see what's inside. Collect a few flowers and examine them together. Talk about their texture, take them apart carefully so you can see how they're made. Squish them in ...(read more)

Mixed-Up Words

This game requires that your child know at least some of the consonant sounds from the alphabet. Start by choosing an object (for example, a table), then substitute the first letter with another one (maybe a 'P'). Say the result, 'pable,' and see if your child can guess ...(read more)

Where I Live

All kids should know their address, but sometimes it's hard for little ones to memorize it. Help them by making your address part of a rhyme. Here are some examples: When I see my house I start to holler: 'That's where I live, #57 ...(read more)

Water Bottles Decorations

Before your next backyard party, have your older kids help you with this fun activity -- or set it up as a beginning-of-party craft. Take a small ponytail holder and pull it so that it is like a line. Slide a few beads onto it from ...(read more)

What's the 411? Important Information about Where You Live

Take a picture of your house and paste it on a piece of construction paper (older children can help with this). Cut out a picture of your state and paste it on the paper as well. Then write out your full address, city, state, and telephone number. If you have ...(read more)

Painting with Marbles

Place a white sheet of paper on a cookie sheet or other pan with taller sides. Place several drops of paint (different colors) on the paper. Then, place a few marbles in the pan, have your child roll them around, and see what designs can be made!...(read more)

Swinging Statues

Best played outside, but can also be done indoors if you clear a big enough space. You are the 'sculptor' and your child will be the 'statue.' Gently swing your child in circles (either by holding under their arms or just by holding hands) 2 or 3 times, ...(read more)

Freeze Tag

A classic game that never grows old. One person is 'It' and he or she chases the other players in an attempt to tag them. When players are tagged, they're frozen in place and can only be freed when another player crawls through their legs. The game ...(read more)

Melting Candles Tag

My son plays this at school - a different version of the traditional 'Freeze Tag.' One player is chosen as 'It,' and chases the other players in an attempt to tag them. When tagged, you freeze in place with your arms above your head (fingers touching) and begin ...(read more)

Toddler Charades

My 3-year old loves playing this simplified version of charades. Imitate an animal or object and have your child guess what you are. Alternatively, imitate an activity and have your child guess what you're doing. Take turns. Be sure to explain to your child that there ...(read more)

Playing Elevator

Spread a towel on the ground for your 'elevator.' Step in and push the pretend button to travel to different floors. Describe each step: 'The door is opening' (show with your hands). 'We're getting on the elevator' (step on the towel). 'We're pushing two' (push ...(read more)

Pack-n-Play: Packing for an Adventure

Have your child pack a backpack, small suitcase, or any available bag for 'taking a trip.' They can pack whatever they think they'll need - socks, jammies, toys, toothbrush. Take the bag to a pretend destination. What will you do there? Did you pack everything you ...(read more)

Dressing Mommy

My child's preschool puts on an annual Mother's Day Tea and every year there are always a few moms who come dressed in outfits specially chosen by their child. What a wonderful (and brave!) way to listen to your child's opinion! So, if you've ever struggled with your ...(read more)

Creating a Memory Art Book

When my toddler was still very young, I purchased a nice, large, spiral-bound sketch book. Every so often when he is coloring, painting, or using his markers, I get out the sketch pad and have him color on one of the pages. I date each page in the ...(read more)

Painting with Cars

Cover a table with butcher paper. Using washable paint, put some into little trays. Then, take a few little cars that have tread on their tires. Dip into paint and roll onto paper. Mix it up by using a few different colors....(read more)

Leaves, Acorns, and Rocks, Oh My! Building a Nature Collection

Children love to collect various items on an outdoor walk. Next time you go on a walk with your child, bring a bag with you. As your child collects leaves, acorns, and rocks, put them into your bag. When you arrive home, you and your child can ...(read more)

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

To make your own snow globe, first sand the inside of the lid of your jar until it's rough. Then, adhere the figurines with clear drying epoxy and let dry. Next, fill the jar with water until almost full. Sprinkle glitter and a pinch of glycerin (this ...(read more)

Making Melonballs

Have your kids help scoop out fruit with a melon baller into a bowl. Choose different colored fruit to make a colorful salad and serve in small bowls. Older children can help to count the number of balls that go in each bowl. If age appropriate, you ...(read more)

Sink or Swim?

Fill a small tub with water and ask your child if they think an object will sink or float. Then have them place (or toss depending on how messy you want to be) in the water. What happens next?

Homemade Obstacle Courses

Using various household or backyard objects, develop a running, jumping, ducking course for children to run around in the backyard. The kids can have a race or run just for fun!

Breaking the Piggy Bank or Banking 101

Sorting, counting, and rolling coins is a great way to teach your child about money. We put all our spare change in my son's piggy bank and then when it's full, my son gets to dump it out and we roll the coins together. First we have him ...(read more)

Stamping with Potatoes

You can make your own 'stamps' out of potatoes. Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes from slices of raw potatoes, or you can just cut a raw potato into thirds cross-wise (so you have three round ends to work with) and cut patterns in the potato ends. ...(read more)

Oodles of Doodles

When I need to distract my two-year-old twins while waiting at the doctor's office, on an airplane, or when we're at home, we play a game we call "oodles of doodles." I grab a pen and paper or, even better, a magnetic doodle pad and draw an animal, trees, ...(read more)

Paper Cup Telephone

Take 2 sturdy paper cups. Poke small holes in the bottom of each cup. String a long (6 ft or so) piece of yarn or kite string through the holes and secure with a knot. Pull the string tight and you can talk and listen through your ...(read more)


Cardboard Box Creations

Use a large cardboard box, big enough that your kid can crawl into it (stove or refrigerator boxes work great) and create your own playhouse, fort, car, truck, whatever he or she would like! Just cut windows and doors and decorate the outside of the box with markers ...(read more)


Squirrel Hunt

We leave the house and set out on a squirrel hunt. We spy them in trees, digging up nuts, chasing other squirrels. Count how many you can find! It's great - they are everywhere!

Pillow Mazes

Collect all the pillows and couch cushions you have and pile them in one room. Create mazes with them and have a blast tumbling around the room.

Sponge Painting

Cut several sponges into simple shapes: rectangles, triangles, circles, squares. You can get fancy and make a few stars or fish too! Use the sponges to dip into children's poster paint and sponge away on heavy set paper. You can create patterns, objects ...(read more)

Bathtub Painting

Mix the same amounts of Dr. Bronner's or similar soap and corn starch. Divide in several containers and add food coloring. Paint the tub with a brush or fingers!

Tissue Paper Flowers

Collect 5 or 6 pieces of different color tissue paper. Cut the paper stack into the shape of a long oval. Wrap a pipe-cleaner around the center of the stack and fold the pipe-cleaner down to create the 'stem' of the flower. Then fan out the ...(read more)

Singing Memories

Here's a fun way I have to help my toddlers remember holidays, visits with family, or outings in the city. I make up songs about each memorable event. You don't have to sing on key to get your kids hooked on these personal songs. You can either ...(read more)

Picnicking Indoors

For those long winter days when you can't get outside, your toddler will love having an indoor picnic. Have your child help you pack up a basket full of food. Together, you can then lay out a tablecloth or a sheet on the floor and put out plates ...(read more)

Counting Sticks

This is an activity to help your toddler with counting. Take large tongue depressors and glue different amounts of beans or fuzzy pom-poms onto them. Make enough sticks to show numbers 1-10. Let your child help you count each bean or pom-pom that is on the stick. You can write ...(read more)

Love Letters

My four-year-old isn't that interested in drawing, but he loves sending and receiving mail. So to stimulate his interest in arts and crafts, we make 'I Love You' cards. It doesn't have to be a special occasion to send an 'I Love You' card, so we make and ...(read more)

Ripping and Roaring

A great way to help your children build fine motor skills is to have them rip strips of paper. The dexterity needed to rip pieces of paper helps them gain fine motor control. You can use the strips to make art projects (we made flags and collages of ...(read more)

Spinning a Spiderweb

This activity is suited for several children -- a special playdate, or small birthday party. Designate one room as the spiderweb room. To begin creating the web, attach a small present to the end of a ball of string, and hide it somewhere out of sight within the ...(read more)

Eat Your Colors

My two-year-old twins love shouting out colors. One fun way to encourage them to eat fruit and to show off their knowledge of colors is to cut up a fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, kiwi etc. and then shout out 'eat something red...eat something orange.' ...(read more)


Tall Tales for Your Toddler

Try just starting a story in a quiet-ish moment. It can be a total non sequitur, no moral, no point, no lesson. Look at your little one and start with 'Did I ever tell you about ...' and just take it from there. The funny cat that ...(read more)

Cabinet Chaos

When my kids are home on a rainy day or I just want to entertain them in some way, I let them pick a cabinet or drawer in the kitchen and we empty the whole thing. The kitchen utensils drawer or one filled with tupperware storage containers or plastic ...(read more)

Shoe Hunt

My kids love to try on and wear my husband's and my shoes, so we made a game out of it. Get several pairs of shoes and put them in pile, then have the kids race to the stack and try to put on a matching pair. When ...(read more)

Creating Your Own Bookmarks

Make your own bookmarks using card stock. Cut a sheet of card stock into rectangles. Have your child color or paint them. You can also cut out shapes to glue to the bookmark or glue on small leaves. Then cover the bookmark with clear contact paper. ...(read more)

Tracing Shapes

Before starting this activity, take a half sheet paper and draw with a heavy black marker several simple shapes (heart, moon, star, flower, car, face, etc...) onto the paper. Then, give your child several half sheets of tracing paper and colored pencils. Have your child use ...(read more)

'I Spy' Bottles

Remove the wrapper from a two-liter plastic bottle. Insert 5-10 'I Spy' trinkets (penny, marble, plastic figures, bottle cap, etc.). After inserting the trinkets, fill the bottle three-quarters of the way to the top with beans or rice. Tell your child how many 'I Spy' items are in ...(read more)

Counting Beans

Keep a plastic container filled with different beans -- all colors and sizes. On a rainy afternoon, spread out a sheet or blanket on the floor and pour the beans out on a baking tray on the sheet. Give your toddler different cups, spoons, muffin tins ...(read more)

Handmade Snowflakes

Take a piece of white paper. Have the child fold it several times into a small piece. Cut off the corners, and cut triangles into the sides and open! It should resemble an original snowflake art to be hung in a window. You can make several and ...(read more)

Handprint Turkeys

Paint the palm of your child's hand with brown paint. Then, press your child's palm onto a piece of paper to create the turkey's body. Next paint your child's thumb brown for the neck and head and press down at an appropriate angle to the body. Paint each ...(read more)

Tray of Colors

Get a baking sheet tray. Choose a color and ask your child to find as many things as he can of that color. For example, if you said 'red', your child could find an apple, a red car, a red crayon, a red flower, a red bottle of nail ...(read more)

Crazy Centipede

Cut out circles of colored paper for your child and ask your child to stick them in a row on paper, with each circle overlapping slightly. Then draw eyes with a marker or glue on googly eyes from the craft store. For the finishing touches, add antennae and ...(read more)

Making Puppets

Puppets are fun to make and great to play with, especially when acting out stories. Silly dog -- An old sock can be quickly transformed into a "silly dog" puppet. Make a dog from a sock by cutting out two ears from some felt -- or any sort ...(read more)

Tiny Treasure Hunt

Loosely hide some tempting objects in your garden for your toddler to find and investigate. For little ones, you might use bigger objects and give a few hints; older children will enjoy more of a challenge. Try a folded-up dish towel with some toys hidden inside, a box ...(read more)

Laundry Fun

Get a large bowl. Have your child fill the bowl with water and add a small amount of soap -- either laundry detergent or dish soap will work fine. Then let your child wash some of their doll or teddy bear clothes and hang them on a ...(read more)

Target Practice

Put a large non-breakable bowl or bucket on the ground and ask your child to throw a ball in it. If she gets the ball in, ask her to take a step back and try again. See how far away she can be and still hit the target. ...(read more)

Jack and Jill Fetching A Pail of Water

Take either two bowls or buckets and a big sponge. Fill the first bucket with some water, but not all the way full. Have your child soak up the water with the sponge and then wring it out in the empty bucket. See how many times or ...(read more)


Off to the Races (Indoors)!

Create an obstacle course with masking tape on the floor around various things inside your house. For example, you can have your kids crawl through big cardboard boxes, climb onto the couch, crawl to the end of the couch and then jump down onto a stack of pillows, ...(read more)

Polly Want a Cracker

Take a cookie cutter and punch a nice shape out of a slice of white bread. You can save the scraps for breadcrumbs or make ones with the center cut out. Punch a hole into the bread for yarn to hang, thread the yarn through the bread shape. ...(read more)

Paper Dolls

Take a sheet of paper and fold it into fourths, lengthwise. Draw the outline of a doll on the top fold, making sure that the figure touches both sides of the paper. Cut out the figure with scissors and spread it open. If you don't cut along the creases, you ...(read more)

Easter Egg Mobile

Cut out Easter eggs out of colored construction paper, or decorate white paper eggs with markers, paint, yarn, etc. Punch a hole in the top of each egg and tie it with string onto the bottom of a hanger. Presto! Your very own Easter mobile. You can also do a ...(read more)

Ziploc Bag Painting

A fun way to teach colors and color mixing (red and white make pink, etc) with less mess. Take large storage bags and have your child pour a little paint, just one color, in the bag (if you have paint with squirt tops, that's even better!). Then, have ...(read more)

Tie Dying for Tots

A great way to save some of your kids' stained clothing is to tie dye it. The kids love it. Take any light color garment and gather a small section in your hand (this is what will create the tie-dye circles). Bind the section together ...(read more)

Homemade Bud Vase

This is a fun activity for springtime, when the flowers are beginning to bloom. Take a glass bottle, such as a salad dressing bottle or a taco sauce bottle, and remove the label. Then, let your child apply small pieces of masking tape all over the bottle until ...(read more)

Growing a Garden

After the cold weather is over, invite the children to explore in the backyard with you. Buy a children's gardening set (trowel, spade, gloves) so that they can help you clear the dirt in order to prepare the soil so that you can plant pretty flower seeds or tomatoes. ...(read more)

Bug-gy Safari

This is a fun spring and summer activity. Children love pill bugs (also known as roly-poly bugs), and these bugs become good pets for a little while. On a nice day, take a walk outside with your kids, and keep your eyes on the ground for any pill ...(read more)


Bug Catcher Jar

Help your child make a bug-catching jar for your next walk or park outing. Begin by cleaning an empty plastic peanut butter jar. Soak the jar in water to remove the label. Then, cut a few holes in the lid with a knife or utility scissors. ...(read more)

Making a Frog Bank

Give your child a small box such as a pound sugar box. Have him or her cover it with green construction paper and lay the box flat. Your child can now cut out four legs from the construction paper and glue them onto the sides and front. Now, remove two ...(read more)

Playing Footsies

Every six months, trace your child's foot to see how much his or her feet have grown. As your child grows older, he or she will have fun painting the toe nails, drawing happy faces on each toe, or just being creative. This is a fun art project ...(read more)

Handprint Art

Here's a great idea for the next time you're looking for a creative gift. Paint your child's hand with fabric paint and apply to a clean t-shirt or apron. Write your child's name and the year in paint or permanent marker underneath the hand print. You can ...(read more)

Fun with Melting Ice

Kids will love this game of watching a toy slowly melt out of a block of ice. Begin by cutting the top off an empty, clean milk carton. Put a toy inside and fill the milk carton with water -- you don't have to fill it all the ...(read more)

Tricycle Wash

Let your child 'wash' his or her 'car.' Kids enjoy washing their ride-on cars and scooters, and this will entertain them for at least 15-30 minutes. Keep an eye on the little ones if they may drink soapy water. You also don't have to use soap -- this ...(read more)

Backyard Campout

Who needs to go to the forest or the beach for a camping trip? Take your tents to the backyard and experience a night under the stars. Put some hot cocoa in a thermos and bring out some special treats, such as s'mores cookies. Tell stories around ...(read more)

Portable Flannel Box

Create a fun, portable flannel board for your next road trip or doctor's office visit. To begin, cover the top of a shoe box with felt, secure the felt underneath with glue, staples, or a hot glue gun. This will form the base of the flannel board. ...(read more)

Cleaning Old Coins

Have your child clean old coins to make them sparkle again. Fill a bowl with a small amount of soapy water and place a few coins in the bowl. Your child will have fun brushing the coins with a toothbrush to make them look brand new. When the ...(read more)

Water Cycle: The Cotton Ball & Water Activity

Read a book about rain...suggested titles are : It's Raining Cats and Dogs: All Kinds of Weather and Why We Have It by Franklyn M. Branley; April Showers by George Shannon; or any book with a story that involves rain. Introduce the topics of Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, and Collection. ...(read more)

Wind Spinners

To get ready for the activity, begin by cutting the top and bottom off an empty and clean two-liter bottle. Then, help your child to paint bright slanted stripes in alternating colors. Allow paint to dry. Once the paint has dried, cut the painted plastic tube into ...(read more)

Making a Placemat

Instead of throwing away the attraction maps that you receive from an amusement park, keep them and make placemats from them. Let your child pick out which part to use, cut the map to size, and cover the map with clear contact paper. Easy and cheap placemats for ...(read more)

Serving Up Smoothies

Going to the store to pick out fruit ingredients for making smoothies. My favorite recipe is to add two cups of milk to a blender, and to that add 1/2 cup of strawberries, 1 or 2 sliced bananas, and 1/2 cup of yogurt. It is so tasty, and ...(read more)


On a nice sunny day, let your kids strip down to a diaper or undies/swimsuit and let them fingerpaint outside. Have paper ready, but you can also let them paint on your kiddie table or let them paint themselves. My kids painted their whole bodies and all our ...(read more)

Wet Chalk Works of Art

Drawing with Wet Chalk: Mix together six tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup of water and pour over a piece of chalk; let soak for ten minutes. Use wet colored chalk to draw on white paper. If you use white chalk, draw on colored paper. ...(read more)

Sidewalk Shape Game

Draw shapes on the sidewalk with chalk (do 2 or 3 of each shape if you have multiple children). Then make a game out of finding the shapes. For younger kids, you can just ask 'can you find the triangle' and have them go stand on it. ...(read more)

Bubble Painting

In a cup, mix equal parts of water and dishwashing liquid (not dishwasher detergent). Add paint to this mixture until you get the color you want. Use a straw to blow bubbles in the paint mixture until the bubbles froth up a bit over the cup -- older ...(read more)

Finger Painting with Table Salt

Pour a lot of salt onto a cookie sheet and have your child practice their numbers or ABCs with their finger.

Construction Junction

If you have any new construction happening in your area, find a good place to park and let your kids watch the bulldozers, cranes, and large trucks. Let them watch the construction workers build houses, etc. For older kids, you can name the different kinds of machines being ...(read more)

Body Paint

Kids love to paint and will be so excited to paint their own body!! This activity is perfect for a warm day outside! To create your own body paint, combine non-toxic, washable powdered tempera paint and baby shampoo. Then head outside and let your child go to ...(read more)

Playing House

Make a play house out of big appliance boxes. You can ask Sears or Home Depot for boxes, maybe even Costco or Sam's Club. Into the sides of the box, cut doors and windows with a utility knife. You and your child can then paint the house. ...(read more)

Making a Piggy Bank

Make a piggy bank out of an empty coffee can. Begin by gluing pink felt around the can. Then, help your child to add googly eyes to the front -- or draw eyes on with a marker -- and glue two small felt triangles to the top of ...(read more)

Bookmarking Basics

You can make really cute animal bookmarks by using foam shapes for animals found at a craft store or you can cut the shapes out yourself from larger pieces of foam. Begin with a small animal shape or animal face, and allow your child to decorate it with smaller ...(read more)

Pretend Grocery Store

Set up a room in your house like a grocery store. Put some of your kids' favorite foods on tables and other low pieces of furniture -- these will make the aisles of the grocery store. Then give your kids something to use as a basket. My ...(read more)

T-Shirt Masterpieces

Personalize your child's very own t-shirt by painting it to make it his or her own. To begin, support the t-shirt with piece of cardboard and place wax paper between the cardboard and t-shirt so the paint doesn't stick. Next, let your child decide on a design -- ...(read more)

Birthday Hat

This year, let your child create his or her own birthday hat! To begin, staple or tape a piece construction paper into the shape of a cone. Then, let your child decorate the hat with glitter glue, ribbons, streamers, pom-poms, foam letters -- whatever your child can dream ...(read more)

Domino Math

Use dominoes to help teach math to young children by adding the dots on two or more dominoes, or just adding the dots on one domino for younger kids. You can also use this activity to teach counting!


Cookie Math

The next time you bake sugar cookies, use this activity to help your child work on counting skills and learn the significance of numbers. For example, your child can add three chocolate chips to a cookie because he is 3 years old, and he can create a cookie with ...(read more)

Around-the-House ABCs

Label different items in your house with the letter that the word begins with. For example, a cabinet would be labeled with a C. This activity is great for children who have built their vocabulary and are ready to begin working on pre-reading skills. This activity helps ...(read more)

Placemats from the Heart

Every season, or month, choose a different one of your preschooler's works of art as a placemat for dinner. No need to worry about ruining a keepsake. You can insert the artwork into a plastic sleeve that you would use for professional documents. Your child will love ...(read more)

Ring in the Big Day

When your child is having a hard time waiting for a special day to arrive, use this craft to help him or her mark the time still left until the big day. Create a stack of construction paper strips; each strip should be big enough to staple or tape ...(read more)

Kitchen Fork Chimes

Make a wind chime using your old forks and spoons. Begin by drilling a small hole into the end of a few old forks and spoons, then thread fishing line through the hold and tie off the end. Then, give your child a bowl of beads to string ...(read more)

Make Your Own Dot-to-Dot

Write the numbers one through ten on colored sticker dots. Have your child place the numbered stickers all over a piece of paper. Then, let your child use a crayon or marker to draw a line connecting the numbers in order from one to ten. He or ...(read more)

Identifying Opposites

Read The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. Have your child demonstrate the pairs of opposite words using their own feet. For example, put one foot low and one foot high. One foot forward and one foot back. One foot loud and one foot quiet. The ...(read more)

Using Tongs

Set a pile of cotton balls on the table. Have your child use tongs (small ones) to pick up the cotton balls and place them in a small bowl. This activity is a wonderful way to build up the hand muscles that your child will use when he ...(read more)

Ball Match

Cut a hole in the side of a shoe box. Make sure the hole is big enough for your child's hand to fit inside. Put a tennis ball, golf ball, ping-pong ball, and a styrofoam ball inside the box and replace the lid. On the table next ...(read more)

Making Popovers

Kids love to cook and this recipe is easy and rewarding. Let your preschooler pour ingredients into the bowl and help mix them all together. Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. While preheating the oven, put your ungreased muffin pan in the oven so that ...(read more)

Playing Card Categories

You can turn a deck of cards into a great learning game! Give cards to child and ask them to divided them into groups of red and black. Then ask then to divide into hearts, clovers, spades, diamonds. Then into number groups. You can create a ...(read more)

Postcard game #2

Does your preschooler enjoy opening your mailbox, grabbing the contents, and shouting 'my mail'? Give her a reason for her glee, other than your daily delivery of bills and catalogs. Keep a stack of 4x6 index cards at hand, and, every few days, ask your little one to ...(read more)

Fun with Flashlights

Hide one of your child's favorite toys, turn off the lights, and let her find it with a flashlight. Start out with obvious hiding places and then make it harder. Be sure to give your child clues like "you're getting closer" or "it is behind you." These ...(read more)

Indoor Boat Ride

While on a bed with your child/children, pretend you are on a sailing boat. Locate marine life (jumping dolphins, sharks, whales) and search for land. Have your child create a story about why you are on the boat and where you are going, even what you will see ...(read more)


Shoes to Lace

Trace your child's feet in his or her tennis shoes onto tagboard or cardboard and cut out the outline of the shoes. Then, mark eight spots on the shoes and punch out holes in these spots using a hole punch. Lace the cardboard cut-outs as you would your ...(read more)

Indoor Balance Beam

If you have a little gymnast in your house, use this activity to get him or her off the furniture and onto a safer surface. Grab a bunch of throw pillows from around the house and line them up on the floor. Let your child walk across the ...(read more)

Indoor Jump Rope

Here's a clever way to re-purpose your jump rope or even a long piece of yarn. Stretch your jump rope, or other long string, on the floor and use it as a "tightrope"; your child can walk backwards, forwards, eyes closed, etc. For an added "circus" touch, give ...(read more)

Rice pouring

Using pitchers of uncooked rice, which is easier to sweep up than sand, show your child how to pour rice into various size plastic bottles with large and small openings. Once your child has mastered that task, give him or her a funnel and try this fun activity again! ...(read more)

Ants on a Log

Children love to be in the kitchen. This is a simple sanck recipe, for children to make. Cut celery stalks in to 3 inch pieces. Let child spread peanut butter into center of stalk and add raisins to create ants! If child has a peanut allergy, you ...(read more)

Sock Toss

This is easy indoor entertainment for preschoolers. Mark a line of masking tape on the floor, and set up an empty bucket or laundry basket or other receptacle a couple of feet beyond the line of tape. Take turns seeing if you can toss rolled-up socks into the ...(read more)

At-Home Scavenger Hunt

Create a scavenger hunt for your child by creating a photo list of his or her favorite things. An easy way to create the list is to take photos of your child's things with a digital camera and then print the pictures onto plain paper -- alternately, you can ...(read more)

Perfect Putty

Here is a fun recipe for putty, an excellent sensory tool that your child can have fun with! Perfect Putty Recipe: 1. Mix 1 part liquid starch and 2 parts white glue. Experiment with the amounts until it reaches the consistency of putty. 2. The more ...(read more)

Bean Math

Give your child 5 lima beans (or other similar item) and a piece of construction paper divided in half. (For a game on the road, you can also put the beans in a ziploc bag and put a piece of tape down the middle). Have child divide the beans ...(read more)

Create Your Own Puzzle

Have your child draw or paint a picture. Once the picture is done, glue the picture onto a piece of cardboard and then cut it into 'puzzle' pieces. Your child will delight in seeing his or her work of art turned into a puzzle and will have a ...(read more)

Memory Boxes

This is a fun activity and the outcome is a clever keepsake. Help your child to decorate an old shoe box. You can cover the shoe box with wrapping paper, paint it, or cover it with plain paper that can be decorated with stickers and markers. Once ...(read more)

Face Collage

Take a stack of old magazines and cut out eyes, noses, mouths, ears, and hair. Then, draw an oval on a piece of drawing paper or construction paper. Give your child the cut-out facial features and the blank oval for a face, and let him or her create ...(read more)

Shoebox Diorama

Almost all kids have little plastic animal figurines. This project gives your child something new to do with them. Take some old magazines and catalogs, and cut out pictures of scenery -- mountain ranges, jungles, forests, etc. Alternatively, your child can draw his or her own scenery. ...(read more)

Colorful Cupcake Decorating

Kids really love this activity. You and your child can begin by baking a batch of cupcakes as you usually would (using a simple cake mix is the easiest). Make the cupcakes nice and big so that the children can hold on to them for easier decorating. ...(read more)


A specialized game of questions, 'Favorites' is a great way to pass time. Simply take turns with your child asking to hear each other's favorite whatever - color, animal, cereal, drink, sport, book, etc. It passes the time and children of all ages usually enjoy sharing with you ...(read more)

What's Your Middle Name?

This is a fun game that helps kids learn their letters. We have an imaginary friend named Samuel Serendipity and we continually change the first letter of his middle name and then think of all the words his middle name could be. Ex. For Samuel P. Serendipity, my ...(read more)

Milk Carton Blocks

Don't throw away your empty milk cartons... start washing them out and creating a collection. When you fold down the top of the milk carton, they can become excellent building blocks -- large enough to build a fort. Once you get a good number of them collected, allow ...(read more)

Learning to Recycle

Teach your child an earth-friendly lesson about conserving our resources while saving money simply by recycling your bottles and cans! Invite your little one to help you collect your household recycling and take it to your local recycling center. (To find your nearest center, log on ...(read more)

Yarn letters

Write the letters of the alphabet -- or the letters of your child's name, for a shorter activity -- on individual pieces of construction paper. Then, help your child dip a piece of yarn into a bowl of liquid starch. Your child can then place yarn on top ...(read more)

Sticker Stories

Give your child several sheets of paper and some stickers. If you wish, you can cut the paper into shapes (example: hearts for Valentine's Day). Your child can then put the stickers (and draw, too) on the paper to 'write' his or her story. When done, ...(read more)

Whose Name Is It?

On a piece of paper, write the name of your child, a family member, friend, pet, favorite character from a book or TV show, etc. and ask your child to guess whose name it is. If she needs help you can give her clues (example: it is someone in ...(read more)

Bored with Board Games?

After you've played Candy Land or Chutes & Ladders for the 10th time in one day, mix it up a bit by playing them in Spanish (or another language). Games that use only colors or numbers work best to keep it simple for your child (and you!)....(read more)

'Word of the Day' Jar

Expand your child's vocabulary! Create a 'Word of the Day' Jar for your house. Decorate a large jar in any way you want -- glued-on tissue paper, construction paper, stickers, etc. You can encourage your child to practice his or her letters by dressing up the jar with ...(read more)

Thumbprint Tree

This is a fun art project for little ones! To get ready, cut out a tree trunk and branches on brown construction paper and glue it to a light colored piece of paper. Then, take your child's thumb (or let your child do this part herself) and put ...(read more)

Key match

Using a variety of keys, trace their shapes onto a piece of construction paper. Then give the paper and the keys to your child and have them try to match the correct key with the outlined shape on the paper. A great challenge for older kids! ...(read more)


Fruit Loop Pattern Necklaces

Using fruit loops and dental floss, create a pattern for your child to follow. For instance, blue loop, red loop, blue loop, red loop, and then have child tell you next piece in the pattern and add to necklace. You can increase the difficulty by adding more colors ...(read more)

Milk Carton Bird Feeder

Cut out a long window on the side of an empty juice or milk carton (the side opposite from the pour nozzle). Paint the carton brown all over and leave it to dry. Once the first coat of brown is dry, add long streaks of dark brown and ...(read more)

Fruit Shakes

Here is a delicious and healthy fruit snack. Begin by chopping 5 dates (or any fruit that you have on hand). Then take 1 cup of vanilla soy milk, 2 tablespoon of honey, 1 regular container of yogurt, and put all ingredients, including the fruit, into a blender. ...(read more)

Pirate Treasure Map

This activity is a ton of fun -- both indoors and out! Begin by tearing the edges of the construction paper to give it rough edges. Then, crumple the paper into a ball so that it is creased. Flatten the paper, and dip it in warm water. Put ...(read more)

Seashell Memory Box

Here is a fun way for your child to remember her last trip to the beach! Wash off the seashells that you brought home and turn them into a nice keepsake. Begin by finding an old but clean plastic food container (like one of the Ziploc or Glad ...(read more)

Leaf Puppet

Draw the outline of face and neck, about 1.5 inches long, onto a piece of white construction paper. Let your child color in the face and give him or her eyes, nose, and mouth. Then cut the shape out. Next, help your child to draw, color in, and cut ...(read more)

Creative Gift Bags

Your little one can help create a gift bag. Take a solid color paper bag and have your child apply stickers of their choice to it. They can also use markers to create a personalized message. I've found this is a great way to get my child ...(read more)

Family & Friends Photo Album

Have your child put together an album with pictures of their family and friends. I like to start with many pictures and allow my daughter to select the ones she would like to include in 'her' album. While we are selecting the pictures, she also tells me a ...(read more)

Fruit Kabobs

Let your child slice some of his or her favorite fruit into bite size pieces with a plastic knife. Your child can then put the fruit onto chop sticks or wooden skewers. This is a great time to practice colors and counting. Enjoy the fruit kabobs immediately, ...(read more)

What's That Sound?

Try this activity to help your child learn to identify different sounds. Gather different noisemaking props in advance and don't let your child see them. Stand behind your child's back and make different noises with your props. Then see if he or she can guess what is making ...(read more)

Pasta Jewelry

Spread some of newspapers over your work area, and then pour some different pasta shapes out on the newspaper. Let your child help you paint each of the pasta shapes with different colors of craft paint, and then let the paint dry thoroughly. While the paint is drying, ...(read more)

Dress Up and Learn

This is a great interactive way for kids to learn about people or events. Choose a local museum or art gallery, then take a trip to your local thrift shop and choose clothing, accessories and props that are applicable to where you will be going. For example, if ...(read more)


Coffee Filter Flowers

Begin with a stack of white, basket-style coffee filters. Give your child a stack of the coffee filters and a bunch of markers, and let him or her decorate them. These will form the petals of the flowers. Once they're done, group the filters into stacks of ...(read more)

Nature Silhouettes

This activity combines the challenge of a nature hunt with the satisfaction of a simple painting project. Help your child to search the yard or park for an interesting stick, flower, leaf, or rock. Once you arrive home, place your child's treasure on a piece of white paper ...(read more)

Backyard Boogie

Take your music and dancing outside for a change! With an extension cord or an outside outlet, you can play your kids favorite music or some of your old favories (we've played Abba, Billy Joel and the Eagles) and have a backyard dance party. I have ...(read more)

Walking on Cans

Use large, empty cans (coffee tins are a good choice -- the cans need to be very sturdy) to make stilts for your preschooler. Poke holes on two sides of each can towards the bottom; the top of the tin, with the plastic top, will be the bottom of ...(read more)

Snow Painting

On those cold snowy winter days, bundle up your kids and give them a couple of spray bottles. Fill the spray bottles with water and add a little food coloring to each one. The kids can spray the colored water onto the snow and create a masterpieces!...(read more)


Take unwrapped crayons and (this is a good way to use up all those old and broken crayons) and break them into small pieces. Then tear off two sheets of wax paper of equal length, and put the crayon pieces in between the sheets. Carefully place the wax ...(read more)

Microwave S'mores

There's no need to go camping for this quick and tasty treat! You can have your preschooler assemble these. Begin by letting your child break a graham cracker in half and a chocolate bar into half or thirds. Then, help your child place one graham cracker half ...(read more)

Sink Soak

This will keep your little ones busy for a long time. Fill the kitchen sink or bathroom sink with some water. Then give your kids measuring cups, spoons, plastic bowls, etc. and they will have a splashing good time. You may want to put them in short-sleeve ...(read more)

Sudoku for Kids

If you are a Sudoku fan, you will enjoy working on this project with your child. Make a mini Sudoku board -- 4 square boxes comprised of four smaller squares. Gather four each of four different kinds of coins (or cut out 4 different shaped pieces and make ...(read more)

That Stinks!

Explore the sense of smell with your preschooler or school-age child. You'll need to gather up some distinctly smelly items, such as pickle juice, cinnamon, baby powder, perfume, vanilla, ginger, cocoa powder,coffee, etc. Shake or spray a little of each on cotton balls (one cotton ball per scent). ...(read more)

Matching Grab Bags

This game is great fun for both preschoolers and school-age kids, and helps develop fine motor skills. Gather up various small objects -- you'll need 2 of each item (one for you and one for your child). Examples of items that you can use: buttons, pennies (and ...(read more)

Sound Hike

Take your child on a walk around your neighborhood and listen for different sounds of nature. Can you hear birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind, sticks breaking underfoot, dogs barking, or water flowing? Now, listen for 'people' noises: people talking or laughing, children playing, cars and trucks ...(read more)

Bubble Wrap Art

Don't throw away the bubble wrap protecting your valuable shipments -- save it for a fun art project! Protect your table with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth, and put several colors of tempera paint onto a paper plate. Give your child a large paintbrush or sponge brush, and ...(read more)

Pipe Cleaner Peepers

Pipe cleaners (chenille stems) are handy to have on hand for a variety of projects. Your preschooler will have loads of fun designing their very own pair of unbreakable glasses with this activity. Use 3-4 pipe cleaners to make the 'glasses' and decorate with additional pipe cleaners. ...(read more)

For the Dora Lover

Whenever you need to explain that you have to go somewhere to your little one who loves Dora, make it into an adventure! When we go to the bagel shop I say, 'We have to go up the hill, through the park, to the bagel shop.' My daughter loves it ...(read more)

Marshmallow Fun

At a birthday party or special event, this game is sure to be a hit. Get a bag of marshmallows, some string, a safety pin, and a whipped cream, like Cool Whip. Take the string and cut about a 2 foot piece. Put a knot at the end, and at ...(read more)

Bird Watching

If you are in an area with several kinds of birds, take the time to learn the birds and point out the different kinds to your child and say hello. In our local park with have sparrows, cardinals, and bluebirds, and we say hello to them and talk about their ...(read more)

Neighborhood Map

This is a good activity for kids who are starting to learn their city, state, and address. Print up a map of your neighborhood or town with your child; if you're a pretty good artist, you can create a map yourself. The map doesn't need to include all ...(read more)

Kitchen Bowling

Another indoor, rainy day activity. Raid your recycling bin for a bunch of plastic bottles. Stand them up on the floor in a group. Then have your players stand a distance away, and take turns rolling a ball towards the 'pins.' You can give each child ...(read more)

Sketch Together

Much as children love to draw wild abstractions, they also like to see the creation of representational pictures. If you enjoy sketching at all yourself, it is great fun to pick up a sketch pad and draw alongside your preschooler. No matter what your picture looks like, you ...(read more)

Drawing Portraits

Too often, when our little ones ask us to draw a picture of them, we resort to the quick stick figure. As an alternative, a fun activity can be to sit opposite your little one as you each draw a picture of the other. Your child will ...(read more)

Making a Picture Frame

Cut out one rectangle-shaped piece of cardboard to at least 5" by 7". Cut out another frame-shaped piece of cardboard to the same dimensions. Staple three of the outer edges together so that a 4" by 6" photo can fit inside. Get out the glue, glitter, and ...(read more)


Shopping List

Little ones always seem to be interested in going to the grocery store and being in charge of the shopping list. But since most kids under the age of 5 can't read, you can create a special shopping list just for them. With your child, take old newspapers and circulars ...(read more)

Butterfly Magnet

Begin by painting a coffee filter with water colors and allow it to dry completely. Once dry, glue the coffee filter to one side of a clothes pin, and glue a small magnet (1/2 inch by 1/4 inch) to the other side of the clothes pin. Next glue ...(read more)


Let your little ones create their very own Kaleidoscope and see the wonders of their own work! Paint an empty toilet paper roll with water paints. Cut up several different colors of tissue papers into very small pieces. Glue these pieces of tissue paper onto a piece ...(read more)

Daily Journal

Each night before you put your child to bed, set aside a few minutes to reflect on the day. In a spiral notebook, ask your child what the best or worst part of his/ her day was and have them draw a simple picture. You can then ...(read more)

Q-Tip Painting

Draw a simple picture on a piece of construction paper. For example, a large tree. Then show your child how to fill in the picture by using just the tip of a cotton swap. This will create "dots" of color that blend together to make a whole. ...(read more)

Gluey Ghost Necklaces

Place a piece of waxed paper on top of a paper plate. Give your child a glue bottle and have him squeeze out the glue into the shape of a ghost. Let the glue dry completely and then have your child peel the ghost from the waxed paper. ...(read more)

Spider treats

Have your child cut 2 pieces of black string licorice into 4 pieces each, making eight equal pieces in all. Stick each of these pieces into a large-sized marshmallow (four on each side to make spider legs). Add two mini-chocolate chips for eyes and you have a ...(read more)


Here is a great way to recycle old newspaper. Let your child tear one full page into 20 strips longways. Fold the strips in the middle and staple them together. Using a paint stir stick from your local home store, attach the newspaper bundle with masking tape. ...(read more)

Tiny Ships

Using acorn tops or walnut shells, children can create boats that actually float! Take the clean, halved shell and place a small amount of clay in the bottom. Stick a toothpick in the clay. Cut a small square-shaped sail out of paper, put this sail on the ...(read more)

Halloween Spiders

1. Bend a black pipe cleaner into a V shape. Push the base of the V up through one of the button's buttonholes until it protrudes 1/2 inch. Then, bend the 1/2-inch length over the top of the button. Use the same method to thread the three other pipe cleaners ...(read more)

Real Bug Juice

1. Mix the strawberries and lemonade concentrate in a blender until smooth and thick. 2. Gradually add ginger ale. 3. Transfer the beverage to a punch bowl. Stir in any remaining ginger ale and the raisins. Place the gummy worms on the rim of ...(read more)

Egg Carton Spiders

Make your own spooky Halloween spider! Cut apart the bottom of an egg carton. Give your child one egg section to color and draw a spider face on the front. Poke four (or eight!) black pipe cleaners through the side of the carton section and bend to ...(read more)

Ghost Stick Puppets

Trace around your child's foot, with shoe on, on a piece of white construction paper or card stock. Have child cut out the shoe print and add a spooky face. Glue it to a popsicle stick and you have a ghost stick puppet!...(read more)

Give That Kid a Gold Star

Sometimes, remembering a rule can be difficult. After all, "use your big kid manners" is a fairly abstract concept. Help to make good manners and personal responsibility easier by breaking the concepts down into pieces (don't tease your brother, pick up your toys, etc.), and then make following ...(read more)

Mealtime Math

Introduce basic math concepts of addition and subtraction at meal or snack time, and maybe even get your child to eat his vegetables, too! This activity can be done with any food that has pieces, such as carrot sticks, apple slices, or crackers. First have your child count ...(read more)

Homemade Pick-Up Sticks

Go on a nature hike with your child and find ten twigs of equal lengths (about 10-12 inches). Paint each stick a different color. After letting the paint dry, have one person hold all the sticks over floor and drop them. Take turns trying to remove sticks without ...(read more)

Preschooler "Baby Book"

Every preschooler loves to talk about and praise themselves! Take a small photo album or scrap book, and let your preschooler choose his favorite photos and mementos to put into the book. Then he can share the pictures and stories with friends and family. This is especially ...(read more)

DIY Chia Head

Take a clear plastic cup and make a face using pipe cleaner for the mouth, a pom-pom for the nose and googly eyes. Then fill the cup 3/4 of the way with potting soil and plant grass seeds in it. The kids can water it each day and ...(read more)

Red Light, Green Light Clean-Up Game

Anything to make clean-up interesting! Make it a "race" using Red Light/Green Light, either between siblings or with your own participation. On the "Green Light" command, put away as many toys as possible before you have to temporarily "freeze" on the Red Light command. ...(read more)

What is a Dozen?

Help your preschooler learn what a dozen is and practice counting to 12. Let your child decorate an empty egg carton with crayons, markers, stickers, and/or paint. Then he can fill each compartment with any small item, such as marbles, small toy cars, crackers, or whatever he'd like, as ...(read more)

Make a Daisy Chain

Next time you're at the park (or anywhere that has daisies), pick 7-10 daisies, picking them so that there is at least 2 inches of stem at the bottom. Slit the stems with your fingernail, pull one stem of one daisy through the stem of another and repeat until you ...(read more)


Button Collage

Try this fun activity to practice counting and sorting, and end up with 3 pieces of artwork! Collect an assortment of buttons before starting. You may find that you have extras around the house that came with clothes or you can buy some at a fabric store. Write ...(read more)

Red Car, Green Car

Whenever we're in the car and my toddler seems bored I ask her to find a red car. She loves this game! It's turned into finding all different colors. You can also do this activity by asking what color the car in front of you or beside ...(read more)

All-Season Snowman

Make an indoor snowman any time of year using stackable boxes and household items for clothes and eyes, nose and mouth! Use your preschooler's creativity, but some suggestions are vanilla wafers for eyes, raisins for mouth, and a cracker for a nose. ...(read more)

Monster Day

Tell your children that today is "monster day," and they get to be any kind of monsters they want. Have them go through the dress-up box, their drawers, or the rag pile and put together a monster outfit. Anything goes! Use Halloween makeup, eye shadow and lipstick, homemade ...(read more)

Flashlight Fun

Dim the lights so that the beam of a flashlight is visible. If your child is older, you can offer him a flashlight and take turns playing "tag" with the spotlight. You can make hand puppets, or experiment with the shadows created by placing different objects in front ...(read more)

Backyard "Drive In" Movie Theatre

One evening, set up a "Backyard Theater." Either bring the TV outdoors or use a projector to project your movie onto a sheet or light colored wall. Make it a special event: set up blankets or lawn chairs and create a picnic atmosphere. Let your children pick ...(read more)

Colored Ice

Young children are fascinated by changes in their environment. This activity is a very simple way (especially on a hot day) to cool off while learning a little about science. Make ice cubes with water that has been colored with food dye. Best colors are red, blue, ...(read more)

Create your own Superhero

Is your little one a fan of Batman, Superman or any other Superfriend? Add some individuality by helping your child create her own superhero. What would her name and super power be? How would her costume look? Draw a picture of your child's superhero, or help ...(read more)

Make a list

In our house, this activity started with all those Christmas and birthday wish lists my sons like to keep. Help your child make a list of anything that interests her: friends, favorite animals, most delicious ice cream flavors, songs, likes, dislikes. Decorate the list with drawings or magazine ...(read more)

DIY Mr. Potato Head

Take an uncooked, unpeeled potato and have your child decorate it with any interesting items you can find about the house: buttons, raisins, marshmallows, tissue paper, fabric. Your child can even make features out of playdough. Use pieces of toothpicks to fasten everything on. ...(read more)

Finger Puppets

Draw different pictures of people on a piece of paper. Make them about 6" high. Have your child color them, then cut them out (with your help if necessary). Poke holes in the tops of the legs - make them large enough to fit your fingers. ...(read more)


Mr. and Mrs. Chin

This is a hilarious and very wacky activity to do with older children. Paint a simple upside-down face on your child's chin using makeup, body paint, or anything washable. The eyes should be at the bottom of your child's chin, with the nose above (between the eyes and ...(read more)

Dye your Daisies

A fun way to help your child visualize how plants use water is to add a few drops of food coloring to a glass of water, then place a white daisy into the glass. Over the next few days the daisy will change colors as it "drinks" the water. ...(read more)

Jump the River

Using a long rope, form a V-shape on grass or a carpeted area. Use some type of markers for jumping spots, like small rocks or masking tape. Staring at the bottom of the V, have kids jump over to the other side of the rope. Then move ...(read more)

Beanbag Balance

Using homemade or store-bought beanbags, see if your kids can balance beanbags on their heads while walking a jump rope on the grass. You can make the line straight or curvy; try to balance walking forward, backwards and sideways. Have a race and see who can walk the ...(read more)

Feelings Journal

Sometimes kids have a really difficult time dealing with strong feelings, and those feelings can come out directed at mom, dad or siblings in a negative way. Try to channel and understand those trying times by keeping a "Feelings Journal." When your child comes home from school or ...(read more)

Fruit Shapes

Cut a watermelon or peeled apple into thin slices. Give your child small metal cookie cutters and let him cut out shapes from the slices. As a reward for his hard work, he gets to eat the shapes! A good alternative to the fruit would be to ...(read more)

Flower Pots

Your little ones can make flower pots using plastic flowers and flour, water, and food coloring. Mix the flour with the water and food coloring to make paste. Place the paste mixture into a plastic container (recycled food containers work great) to make the base for the flowers ...(read more)

Sandpaper Prints

**Please note: A portion of this activity requires the use of an iron. Only adults should handle a hot iron, and children should be supervised and kept away from the iron at all times. Using crayons, have your child draw pictures directly onto sandpaper. ...(read more)

Sugar Cube Shapes

Build a castle, a house, or a boat using sugar cubes! Just let your child's imagination run wild with this activity. Glue (or use frosting) to adhere the sugar cubes onto heavy cardboard in any shape/layout/design of your choice. You can make 3 dimensional letters ...(read more)


This is a great activity and could be done at the beach -- you'll just need to include at least 30 minutes in your time for everything to harden and make sure you have access to fresh water! Dig a hole about 12 inches square and about 6 inches ...(read more)

Turtle Bowls

Use a paper bowl and construction paper to make a fun turtle craft. Help your preschooler cut out a circle and 4 triangles from green paper. Turn the bowl upside down, making the turtle's shell, and glue or tape the green circle to the edge of the bowl, ...(read more)

Homemade Sand

Make sand at home! Half the fun is creating, and half is playing with the material. Mix all listed ingredients together in a plastic bin, and then give your child small containers, shovels, funnels so that they can dump and fill. Toy cars and bulldozers are also ...(read more)

Crayon Resist Paintings

Have your child draw a picture with crayons, pressing down firmly to leave a heavy coating of crayon. Light colored crayons work best. Then have your child paint over the crayon drawing with watercolor paint. It's better to use a darker color of paint and lots of ...(read more)

Create Your Own Songs

Bring out the songwriter in your child. Choose a simple tune you know well (i.e. "Jingle Bells" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb") and make up new words to the song. The songs don't have to make sense or be "good"; this is just about having fun and ...(read more)

Homemade 'Twister'

Create your own Twister game for you & your kids! Get colored construction paper and tape it to the floor. Then, you can make small cards to pull at random to give the directions. So kids can call out directions, you can simply draw either a hand ...(read more)

Dinosaur Sock Puppets

Have your child stuff an old sock with cloth or paper scraps. While he's doing that, cut a wide oval out of cardboard. Fold the cardboard oval in half and help your child glue it to the instep of the sock. Next, decide what kind of ...(read more)

Paper Body Parts

Cut out ovals and circles from construction paper to make body parts -- one circle for the head; a large oval for the body; and a series of circles and ovals for the arms and legs. Help your child to assemble the body from the parts by attaching the ...(read more)

Number Plates

Practice counting with this easy activity. Draw lines on a plain paper plate to divide it into 4 or 8 wedges. Write consecutive numbers in the wedges (1 through 4 or 1 through 8). Have your child count out and glue the corresponding number of beans or ...(read more)

Candles on a Cake

Who doesn't love a birthday cake? Use this fun idea to help your little ones work on addition and quantity. Begin by making a cake out of playdough. Put candles in the cake and count them. Then place the cake on a plastic lid and make another one. ...(read more)

Flower Handprints

A cute variation on the hand print. Dip your child's hand in paint (or paint her hand with a paintbrush). Place painted hand on construction paper with fingers spread out. Repeat two more times to make 3 hand prints side by side. Glue a strip of ...(read more)

Butterfly Picture

Make a butterfly picture from your child's feet! Trace your child's feet on paper in a V-formation. Glue a popsicle stick in the middle of the V (the body of the butterfly). Add pipe cleaner antennae. Let your child decorate the inside of feet (wings) with ...(read more)

Name that Instrument

This activity works well with children who are familiar with different types of instruments that are played in symphonies and orchestras. You can either choose a classical piece or other songs where instruments are heard. As you play the songs, ask your child what instruments he hears. If he ...(read more)

Music Acting

Play or sing a song that tells a story or describes movement such as "Jack and Jill" or "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain." Act out the movements to the story. This activity will encourage the children to listen to the words of the story and follow direction. ...(read more)

Slow and Fast

This activity can be done with or without music. If you have a CD with different tempos of music, randomly play small sections of songs that are fast or slow. When your child hears a fast song, tell him to move fast. When the song is slow, tell your child ...(read more)

Wrist Bells

Make wrist bells for your child to use as instruments. Choose either elastic or ribbon. Cut a piece of elastic or ribbon that will fit snugly but not too tightly on your child's wrist. String 2-3 bells on it and tie it on your child's wrist. Now he is ready ...(read more)

Marching to Tunes

Pick a song that you can march to. Demonstrate how to march and encourage your child to march with you to the beat of the song. You can march while playing an instrument such as shaking a bell. This activity teaches your child to listen and move to the beat ...(read more)

Animal Freeze Dance

You can play this with or without a song. Pick an animal and say, "Dance like a rabbit!" After a little while say, "Freeze." Then stop moving and then call out another animal to imitate its movement. Between animals say, "Freeze." You can take turns with your child ...(read more)

Playing Rhythm Sticks

Choose a song that has a good beat to play rhythm sticks with your child. Give two rhythm sticks to your child and use two for yourself. You can either buy rhythm sticks or make them yourself with round wooden dowels (each stick is approximately 5 inches). Encourage your child ...(read more)


Make Your Own Candle Holders

A really fun colorful activity is to make your own candle holders. You'll need baby food jars, colored sand, aluminum foil, and short tapered candles. Put different colored sand into small measuring cups that the kids can pour. Have the kids pour in one color at a ...(read more)

Simple Scavenger Hunt

This simple scavenger hunt can be done by children as young as 18 months and is a fun activity for a rainy day. Draw pictures of 2 common household items, such as a shoe and a book, on an index card or piece of paper and write the items' ...(read more)

You Are My Sunshine!

A fun twist on the song "You Are My Sunshine." In this modified version, you replace "sun" with the name of your child or members of your family, friends, etc. Our rendition will go, "You are my Gwen-shine, my only Gwen-shine, you make me happy, when skies are ...(read more)

Clean Up by Color

Get large plastic buckets (or sand buckets if you have lots of really little toys )in a variety of solid colors (red, blue, yellow, green, pink). Ask your child to clean up his/her toys by putting the toys in the bucket corresponding to the color bucket. Great for ...(read more)

Circles in the Sand

Looking for something new and different to encourage learning while playing outside with your child? Create your own "learning board" out of sand. If you do not have a sandbox, purchase some sand and place it in a large, flat container like a baking pan. Help your child ...(read more)

Collage Cards

After spending time with family, my daughter (5 years old) and I chose one image to turn into a card to send to one family member who lives far away. In this case, my daughter chose her second cousin (2 year old girl) who lives across the country. ...(read more)

Tea Party Time

Help your little one to learn good manners by having a tea party. Set a table with your finest plastic ware and be sure to use your best manners. Modeling this behavior in playtime helps your little one to remember it at dinner time....(read more)

Ad-libbing Song Lyrics

Start by singing a favorite song with your child that he or she knows well. Second verse: change the lyrics to include either your child, your pet, or something in the immediate environment. Get your child contributing their own made-up lyrics--it will really get them giggling! ...(read more)

Picture a Good Choice Being Made

Responsibility charts can be hard -- and overwhelming -- for our younger children. Make the process easier by creating a picture that your child can help you finish by making good choices. For example, if your child is really into dinosaurs, you could draw the background of a ...(read more)

Be the Teacher

While kids might not always like going to school, they usually like to play school at home. Not only is this a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it's a good way to reinforce what your kids have been learning in the classroom. You can also use ...(read more)

Duck Duck Goose

An oldie but a goodie! Have a group of children (4 or more) sit in a circle. Pick one (or you can do it) walk around the outside of the children naming each one "duck" and lightly tapping each one on the head. When the child is ...(read more)

It's Hard to Say Goodbye

Sometimes it can be hard to stop doing something that is fun. A good way to make the transition easier is to help your child say goodbye to whatever it is that your child is doing. For example, if your child is playing with a toy and it's ...(read more)

Five Minute Warning

Another great trick to get kids to cooperate when it's time to change activities or leave a fun event is to give them a "five-minute warning." With older children, this can be a great way to not only help them to transition between activities but also teach the passage ...(read more)

First and Last Letters

A great way to begin teaching your child to recognize his or her name in writing is to focus on the first and last letters of the name. So, for example, if your child's name were Bobby, you would focus on teaching B and Y first. This can ...(read more)

Dot-to-Dot Writing

The first word that each child usually learns to write is his or her name. If your child has a long name, like mine does, that can be a daunting task. Help to make those long (and short) names easier to practice writing by creating dot-to-dot letters for ...(read more)

Magna Doodle Names

This game is a great way to pass the time on a road trip or a wait in a restaurant. Use a travel Magna Doodle to help your child learn to recognize names. You can start with the child's name but then move on to other words like ...(read more)


Simon Says

Simon Says is a great way to teach close listening skills. In case it's been a while since you've played, here's a refresher: Stand opposite from your child (or group of children) and give them different tasks to do -- stand on one foot, tap your nose with ...(read more)

Three Steps to Listening

When my daughter was having trouble listening and following directions in school, her teacher suggested that I give her three-step tasks to complete. These help her to focus her listening and her memory. So instead of just asking her to get dressed for school, I ask her to ...(read more)

What are Good Rules for...?

Next time you're headed to a restaurant or some other place where your child will need to be on his or her best behavior, make a game out of learning the rules. In the car on the way to the location, ask your child, "What do you think are ...(read more)

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice

Posting a list of rules and responsibilities for your house can be a good way to help your child remember the things that you find to be most important -- and to help your child begin reading. For younger children, you can add pictures to your list of rules ...(read more)

Role Reversal

Sometimes it's a fun treat for your child to get to be the "parent" for a little while. One afternoon, make a game out of reversing roles with your kids. It can be their job to remind you of the rules and of using polite behavior, and you ...(read more)

Countdown to Your Turn

Sharing is always a difficult thing to do (even for grown-ups) and can be especially challenging during playdates and playgroups. One way to make a "turn" seem more finite and concrete is to have the kids count to a certain number and then the turn is over. For ...(read more)

Sing a Song of "It's My Turn"

It happens on every playdate -- two children want to play with the same toy. One way to help them to learn to take turns and work things out for themselves is to have them sing a song while playing with the toy. Once that song is over, ...(read more)

Learning Feelings

Next time you're reading your child's favorite book, be sure to help your child to name the different feelings that the characters might have. The Olivia and Pigeon books are especially good for this. You can talk about why Olivia is frustrated that she can't find her favorite ...(read more)

Capture the Moment

Sometimes when a child is feeling intense emotions -- happy or sad -- drawing a picture can help her to identify the emotions and talk about them. A drawing of an especially good experience will help your child to remember the event and how it made her feel. ...(read more)


Helping Game

Kids love to be helpers. Next time you're working in the kitchen or doing chores around the house, get your child involved. Give them a task that is manageable, one step at a time, and help them learn to be more self-sufficient and responsible in the process. ...(read more)

Clean Up Song

Every preschool teacher has his or her favorite clean-up song. Find out what your child's teacher uses and incorporate it into your daily routine. A favorite that we use is "Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share." It works ...(read more)

Picture Labels

Labeling your child's room is a great way to begin teaching your child word recognition. Start with easy words, like books and toys. A picture can be added to the label, too, for pre-readers. You can then progress into harder words, like trains, trucks, animals. This ...(read more)

The Cheese Stands Alone

Make your next clean-up time a little more fun by making up a song to go along with the process. We use "Farmer in the Dell": "The dolls go on the shelf, the dolls go on the shelf. High ho the derry-oh, the dolls go on the ...(read more)

Pointillism for Preschoolers

Seurat's got nothing on your kid! Cut out lots of small circles of colored construction paper. Then, give your child an image to recreate. Good ones to start with are things like big ladybugs or flowers. See if your child can take the small pieces of ...(read more)

Mix and Match Faces

Cut out several faces -- pictures from magazines, pictures of family members, and/or pictures of animals. Then cut them in half lengthwise (this usually works better if you mount the faces on cardboard or cardstock first). Mix up all of the faces in a big pile and ...(read more)

Natural Mosaics

Next time you return from a nature walk with a pocketful of rocks and leaves, put them all out on your kitchen table and see if you can create a mosaic from them. Sort them by color or shade and then arrange them into a pattern. You can ...(read more)

True or False?

Teach your child the meaning of truth and exaggeration. Say two sentences and ask her to tell which one is true. For instance: 1. We went to the grocery store to buy eggs or 2. We flew a space ship to the grocery store to buy a ...(read more)

What's Missing?

On a piece of paper draw a picture with something missing. On a picture of a face, leave off an eyebrow or on a picture of a car, leave off a wheel. Ask your child if he or she can figure out what is missing and finish the ...(read more)

Rainbow Letters

This helps kids learn directionality in forming letters and can help reinforce name writing. On a piece of construction paper write the first letter of your child's name with a dark marker. First have your child trace the letter with her finger, using the correct formation sequence. ...(read more)

Hula Hoop Dancing

Get out those tried and true hoops and have some fun! They can be used as a boat for "Row, Row Your Boat." You can dance around, inside and outside the hoop. You can play musical hoops and freeze inside like a statue when the music turns ...(read more)

Child's First Reading Book

Children often recognize logos from stores that you frequent. In fact, I remember that one of my son's first words was Costco. In the very early stages of reading, it is fun to make a book for your child that he can read without any help. Begin by finding ...(read more)

Clap, Pat, Drum to the Beat

See what kind of rhythms you can make with just your own body. This can be done with two people or a whole group. Begin by clapping. Clap a slow, steady beat until everyone is clapping in unison. Then clap slowly and quickly. Can you ...(read more)

Monkey See, Monkey Do Music

Put on some fun music and take turns being the "monkey." The monkey's job is to imitate what the other dancer is doing. Does the music make you want to clap? spin? hop? roll? sleep? Monkey see, monkey do! Take turns and see how creative you ...(read more)

Shell Painting

Collect seashells (or buy a small bag from the craft store) of all shapes and sizes....white shells work best for this craft! Make sure the shells are clean and dry and then let your child paint each shell. For some extra shine, spray the shells with clear acrylic ...(read more)

Winter Windows

Add a small amount of liquid dish soap to white tempera paint. Mix it thoroughly. Have your child paint pictures or designs on a window. Cover the windows with plastic wrap and let the paint sit overnight. The next day, remove the plastic wrap from the ...(read more)

Burlap Prints

Place the newsprint on your table or other flat surface. Tape the piece of burlap on the newsprint. Have your child use paintbrushes or sponges to paint the burlap. When your child has finished painting, lift the burlap from the newsprint and allow it to dry. Display ...(read more)

Straw Beading

For many kids, stringing beads on a string can be frustrating. You can make it easier if you let them string beads on a coffee stirrer or pipe cleaner. You can hot glue a bead on one end of a straw or bend the end of the pipe ...(read more)

Wintry Painting

Directions for making Crystal Paint: Combine 1 cup Epsom salt with 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring or liquid tempera paint to make different colors. Be sure to mix the paint well and store in a small jar. ...(read more)

Tweezer Sort

Tweezers are great for strengthening and refining fine motor skills. Use an old ice cube tray and hot glue a different color craft bead (these are sometimes called pony beads) to the bottom of each section of the tray. Put a pair of tweezers (they can be blunt ...(read more)

Make a Pull Train

Help your children connect shoe boxes together with cord or string. Add an extra piece of string to the front box for a handle. Decorate boxes with colorful precut shapes (triangles, squares, circles, etc) Put special toys in the box cars, pull on the string and with ...(read more)

Left or Right?

Teach your child left and right with this fun game! Call out a body part such as "left foot," "right shoulder," etc. and then toss a ball or balloon to a player who tries to hit the ball with that body part. That's the only rule. No ...(read more)

The Opposites Game

A great game to play while in the car, waiting at a doctor's office, etc. Start teaching your children antonyms. You say hot, they say cold. You say up, they say down. Continue and once they get the hang of it, siblings will play by themselves! ...(read more)

Word Search

Make a simple word search for your beginning reader. On a piece of paper, hide simple, familiar words in rows of letters. Let your child find and circle them. If you have quad-lined or "graph" paper, it's even easier. This is great for times when you're ...(read more)

Fruit Stamps

Your preschooler will love making creative designs using ordinary foods. Cut oranges, lemons, or apples in half, and pour nontoxic, washable liquid paint into small shallow bowls. Dip fruit into paint and stamp onto paper. You can also try this with leaves, carrots, corn on the cob, ...(read more)

Family Flashcards

This is the grown-up version of the Who Loves Baby book that both my kids adored. Take photos of family and friends who don't live nearby and adhere them to card stock or have them laminated. Then either use them like flashcards or punch a hole in the ...(read more)

Building Block Boxes

Wrap empty boxes of varying sizes with brown paper bags. You can use shoe boxes, cereal boxes, Mac and Cheese boxes, etc. After they are wrapped, the kids can decorate them with crayons & stickers and then stack them as high as themselves. These are great for ...(read more)

Handprint Wreath

Trace your child's hand onto green construction paper or card stock. Cut out 10 - 12 individual hand shapes, allowing older children to help if they are able to use scissors. Gently fold a paper plate in half and cut out the center, leaving a circular outer ring. ...(read more)

An Aquarium in the Fridge

Make one box of Berry Blue Jell-O, according to directions, and pour into clear glass or plastic containers. Allow to set in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Carefully place gummy fish into each cup and return to the refrigerator. Each cup will look like a mini ...(read more)

Homemade Ukelele

Begin by painting palm trees or gluing tropical pictures onto the empty tissue box. After it dries, show your child how to stretch the rubber bands over the hole. (If needed, cut the hole into a larger oval shape.) Place a pencil under the rubber bands and ...(read more)

Walk the Numbers

Trace each of your child's feet onto a piece of cardboard or construction paper and have him or her help you cut out a number of copies of both. Then write a number (1, 2, 3, etc.) on each one, and lay them out in different patterns on the ...(read more)

Make a Pencil Holder

Cover your workspace with newspaper. Using paintbrushes, let your child help you to coat the outside of a clean, dry aluminum can with tacky craft glue, such as Aleene's. Have your child roll the can in small dry pasta noodles, or apply larger dry noodles one at a ...(read more)

Mirror Image Drawing

My daughter's Kindergarten class did this as an activity last year and the pictures came out gorgeous! Find in a magazine a full page 8 1/2 x 11 picture of an animal, if possible just of the face. Fold or cut the picture in half vertically. Tape or ...(read more)