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12 ideas to keep a preschooler amused at home

We love our little bundles of joy. As they slowly empty their wardrobe of the neatly folded clothes and throw them across the bedroom, it’s hard not to smile at their determination. Then you’ll find all the books removed from the bookshelf or the sticky handprints. I’ve even found play-doh stuck to the carpet! The worst of all was the full nappy, removed, and discarded along the hallway. Amusing a preschooler is not an easy task at all!


Sometimes those four walls you live in can start to feel really small. My go-to strategy every time I’m feeling like this is to pack the kids into the car along with scooters and go to the park. We love to visit Webb Park at Redhead for a play as we can then wander along the boardwalk to the beach for a while. Our favourite beach is Caves, I’ll pack a bag and head out for a couple of hours of exploring and fun.  But what about when you can’t go out? What can you do to keep your preschooler amused at home?


Let’s get messy!

Being stuck indoors requires a little more effort. Firstly, take a deep breath in. The house you tidied last night before you went to bed is going to get messy. Accept it and move on. Hopefully, later in the day, you can involve your little ones in a game that encourages putting things away.  

Remember you’re hanging out with a master of playtime. Your little one is designed to find a game everywhere they look. Remember those clothes thrown on the floor in the bedroom? Let them take the lead. It’s not often that kids get to make decisions, particularly when they’re preschoolers. They’ll love telling you what to do and involving you in their game. Ask them open questions to allow their imagination to flow – ‘What are we building?’ ‘How are we going to do that?’ 

Sometimes we could do with some extra ideas to keep us occupied, particularly if we’ve been stuck inside for a while. Have a look at our list and see if there’s something your family will enjoy.


1. Build a Fort

Drape a couple of towels over your dining room table to make a fort underneath. Pull a few chairs around you and cover them with blankets. Have a look around your home for the best spot. Fill your fort or cubby with beanbags, cushions, and blankets and let the kids take their favourite teddy inside.


2. Design an obstacle course

Amusing a preschooler might be as simple as building a course around your home. There are so many things you have lying around you can use, pillows, cushions, toys to navigate around, towels to crawl beneath.  The possibilities are endless. Kids love lights and sound, so maybe add ‘flashlight bend’ or ‘noisy corner’ to your course.


3. Fancy dress party

Get out some old clothes you don’t wear anymore, scarves, hats, glasses, and shoes. Have fun putting together silly outfits and pretending to be the characters who wear them. Try turning things inside out, or making a cape out of a skirt. The more layers the better!


4. Puppet show

You can make puppets out of so many things. Try a sock with some googly eyes. Cardboard shapes cut out and painted and stuck to lolly sticks or straws. Once you’ve got your puppets ready, drape a towel that you can sit behind with only your puppets on show. Young kids love being the voice of the puppets and making stories. It’s a great way to engage them and let them experience roleplay. 


5. Bake a cake

Preschoolers love helping Mum or Dad in the kitchen. Breaking eggs, measuring flour, and mixing the cake will keep them amused. Once you’ve baked the cake and let it cool give them free reign to decorate it. It might not look quite like you would have done it but they’ll have had fun and it will still taste good!


6. Create your own band

This one is better during the day when you won’t annoy the neighbours as it’ll get noisy. If you have a guitar, some maracas, or a xylophone you’re ready to go.  If not, get creative. A wooden spoon banged on a pan makes a great drum. Rice put into an empty Milo can is a great shaker.  And anyone can sing! Allow your inner rock star to shine.


7. Hide and Seek

We all grew up playing hide and seek and this is still a much-loved game in my family. It’s amazing how many places you can find to hide when you need to. You might find that your little one hides in the same spot every time. Then you’ll have fun pretending you haven’t found them!


8. Get creative

Use old shoe boxes or cardboard boxes and some sticky tape and get creative. Ask your child what you’ll be building. Let them choose. You might end up with a space rocket, a den, a train, or a robot costume. Who knows? Just make sure only you are in charge of the scissors!


9. Plant some food

Have you got some little pots, some soil, and some seeds? How about getting your little one gardening? They’ll love filling the pots with soil and all the mess that entails. Give them a seed to push into the earth. Then a watering can once they’re ready. You’ll need to do this outside under cover if it’s raining as you won’t want this mess inside. When a child has grown food they are more likely to try it so this is a great idea for those that don’t love their veggie’s.


10. Simon Says

Do you remember this? If Simon didn’t say it you don’t do it. This is a great game to play in a little group. Simon says sit down. Then Simon can say, stand up. Simon says stand on one leg. Maybe Simon will say, shout ‘Hello’. Simon says touch your tummy. Sit down. Did I catch you out?


11. Read a book

You know your child’s favourite book. The one where if you try and miss a page at bedtime they know because you’ve read it that many times? Ask them to read you the story. As they follow the pictures, remembering some parts perfectly and making some parts up you’ll enjoy a little quiet time together.


12. Set up a treasure hunt with clues

Hide some things around the house in places your child can find and give them some clues to the ‘treasure’. As they find each piece, give them the next clue.  Depending on how much you hide will depend on how long this game lasts!  Don’t make it too difficult for them to find or they’ll lose interest. You might have a reward at the end, like to read them a book or play with their train set or let them watch PlaySchool.


Preschoolers are very active and sometimes it’s hard finding new things to do with them. This is a precious time that goes by so fast. Hopefully, you can use some of these ideas, maybe even incorporate them with an online video chat with family and friends

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