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October 10, 2019

Six Fun Ideas for Playing & Learning Indoors

Dance party

Indoor games and activities for preschool children and up.

The research is in: fancy toys and tablets may keep kids entertained, but fun, hands-on learning drives learning best of all. And, here’s a fun fact: all it takes is time, energy and attention. We’ve got great ideas below that build your child’s learning foundations AND build your families bonds!

1. Practice math.

Measuring builds math skills. Find a measuring tape or ruler, a thermometer and a weight and let the math games begin! Place a cup out in the rain and take turns measuring the water as the cup fills up. Talk about centimeters and inches. How many centimeters is it raining? How many inches? Measure the time it takes for water to accumulate and guess how long it would take for the cup to fill up. Take the temperature of the water in the cup. Does the temperature match the weather outside? How heavy is the water that accumulated in the cup?

Have your little one guess measurements. Then, explore different ways of finding answers to questions about measuring.

2. Step up your dance moves.

There are many ways to stay active while indoors. Wrestling, cartwheels and jumping on the bed are a few ways kids like to practice their motor skills when they feel cooped up. But dancing is great too!

Check out these kid-approved Go Noodle dance video recommendations from Brighter Futures mama, Kirsten and her son, Emerson:

“My kid loves to dance. And he loves to laugh. In other words, he’s a pretty normal five-year-old. Go Noodle’s wide range of videos make movement fun. One video may just be goofy with a great beat – perfect for a quick dance session. Another may teach a specific dance combination – great for building coordination. And others provide brain teasers activated by movement – ideal for nurturing focus.

“My kid recommends:

  • ‘How to Dab’ teaches kids how to (wait for it) dab. Then, the Blazer Fresh crew adds some additional steps. My kid finds this video irresistible.
  • ‘Pat ‘n’ Rub’ features a guy in a cat mask, like all the Brainercise With Mr. Catman videos. He takes children through the classic challenge: pat your head while you rub your belly. This video gets my family concentrating – and then laughing – every time!
  • ‘Go Bananas’ is one of my kid’s favorite how-to-dance videos. He then uses all the moves during family dance parties.
3. Declare an official Day of the Book.

Day of the book is your official day for making a pileof your favorite books and then presenting them to the rest of the family. Pick your top three. Then vote for the very best book in the household. Too difficult to pick just one? Make categories and have fun choosing “best book for silliness” and “best book for balancing on your head.” Make a parade for the winners and march through the house, reading your favorite lines. When you’re done celebrating your favorite reads, everyone can pick a corner and read their pile of favorite books.

4. Play restaurant.

Preschool and pre-K learnersare learning the purpose of money. Your little learner sees you at the store or when you go out to eat and is learning money can be earned and provide basic needs. Buying and selling are concepts your child can also explore through play. And playing restaurant is one great way to do it!

To play restaurant, first build the environment. Make menus together and set the table. What will you serve? Is tonight’s special canned spaghetti or will you be eating play food? What types of silverware do you need to eat a Play-Doh sandwich?

Next, name your restaurant. Have fun choosing a name that truly reflects the personality of the chef. Decide who will be the customer and who will be serving the food. Now, use your imagination and play along. Don’t forget to pay for your meal and to leave a good tip!

Teachers and children engage in play activities that are flexible and creative. Are activities open-ended, giving children chances to play with them in new ways or get creative? Teachers can nurture their playful learning by listening to children’s thoughts, asking questions and encouraging them to explore their own ideas.

5. Start a musical band.

You don’t need electric guitars or a set of drums to get your family band started. Whileyour little learner may not be ready for formal music lessons, they can develop musical skills, like identifying a beat or melody. They can now recognize different instruments too.

To identify a rhythm, turn on the radio or stream your favorite tunes. Then, clap to the music until you find a pattern. Is it one-two-three or one-two, one-two? To find the melody, sing and hum away. Once you have had fun with your favorites, experiment with a new song. Try music of all different types and styles.

To make your own music, find objects you can shake for sounds. Gather jars and fill them with dry beans or pebbles. Use empty cans, boxes or Tupperware as drums. See how many items you can use as instruments for your very own family music band.

Six Fun Outdoor Ideas For Hoosier Children

6. Go on vacation.

Whoa! Hold on there. Traveling requires money and passports, and most importantly, lots of planning, right? No worries! For this vacation, all you need is your imagination. Pull out a map and pick somewhere — anywhere in the world. Where do you want to visit? Now, look up some facts about your destination. What do people eat there? What sights are there to see?

Ask your little one:
How can we get there?
Is it a place we can drive to or do we need to get on a plane or boat to get there?

Is your destination international? Make paper passports with your little one and walk them through the steps of what people do when they travel.

Ask your little globetrotter:
What will the weather be like?

Pick the types of clothes you would wear there and teach them how to pack a travel bag.

Pretend traveling is a fun game. It can help you teach your little learner about planning and preparing, and about the big world your little one is part of.

BONUS: Looking for something quick and easy to do for rainy days? These ideas require little to no prep time!

1) Rainy dance party.

2) Splashing in puddles.

3) Mud kitchen.

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