Fun Family Activities for Preschoolers

Beautiful sunset in the mountains with a tent in the foreground. Just one of many Family Activities for Preschoolers.If there’s one thing that kids have and adults don’t, it is the sense of wonder when encountering the world for the first time. In their early years, almost everything is amazing by default. That’s why stuff we might consider routine, they’ll find to be incredibly fascinating.

This sense of wonder needs to be fueled, and the things they do in this period will shape them for the rest of their lives, even if they cannot always remember the events later on.

While not an exhaustive list by any measure, here are some simple and accessible activities to do with your child that will be fun for the whole family.

Explore places your kids have never been to before

Exploring new places is a great way to entertain kids and break them out of a routine. Depending on where you’re visiting, they can be relaxing activities for parents as well.

Kid-oriented locations such as amusement parks are guaranteed to be a hit with the little ones, but are sure to tire everybody out by the end of the day (even if it’s the good kind of tired).

If you want something more mellow and relaxed, consider a walk through a more interesting part of town, with distinctive architecture. Or go to one of the more secluded parks where the kids can play around by themselves, under your watchful eye, of course.

Tall buildings or other high vantage points such as hills overlooking the city are another prime candidate and won’t wear you down as much.

Do a camping trip

Get one big tent (or multiple ones, depending on your preference), hop into a car, and go spend a night or two out in the middle of nature.

Besides being fun, camping is an activity where kids learn a bunch by being involved in “grown-up” stuff. There are a number of tasks that go into a good camping trip that can be delegated to the kids, such as picking up firewood or helping set up a small tent.

These mini tasks can be very educational for children, and foster a sense of pride in their accomplishments, while having fun the whole time.

Geocaching

In case you’ve never heard of it before, geocaching is one of the modern ways of entertainment, made possible thanks to technology.

It involves using GPS and figuring out clues along the way, in order to find a hidden treasure box filled with minor trinkets and swag.

Most geocaching apps come with multiple difficulty levels, depending on complexity, length or terrain so it’s easy to find a cache the little one can handle too.

At all times, try to include them in the process as much as possible. This can mean letting them handle the GPS and pointing the way, reaching for clues in places that embarrass adults and so on.

Geocaching teaches kids to be aware of their surroundings and look for signs to help them navigate around. On top of that, they’ll learn to use GPS early on and be comfortable using it, which is a boon in this hyper-connected day and age.

Water gun fights

Although on the messy side, water gun fights are bound to be a hit with the kids and a great place to let them release some competitive energies in a harmless way. Of course, they are even more entertained when mom and dad get wet.

Go to museums

Museums are a great place to go on a family outing to stimulate the curiosity of the kids. Natural museums, science museums and aquariums are fun, and offer the opportunity to approach a world that would otherwise be remote and abstract.

Triceratops at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Photo by: Ken Lund

Some museums include documentaries specially designed for children, with more of an emphasis on special effects.

Go to a local recreation center

Recreation centers are a great place to get a child into sports. Chances are very high that other families will bring their kids, too. Making a sports outing a group activity where they can meet new friends adds to the enjoyment.

Even if a child isn’t into sports, a recreation center can teach them a few skills that might come in handy later in life, such as swimming, dancing and various other games.

The greatest advantage of recreation centers however, is that you can go there regularly. They can become an anchor point in the lives of children, as they build habits and friendships with other kids. The same applies for parents too, as you form friendships and commiserate with other parents.

Make water rockets

If you want to spark an interest in science and engineering stuff, a fun place to start is water rockets. For a preschooler, seeing bottles fly up in the sky using only water will look like magic.

But what will make it even more fun is that you can easily involve the kids in the activity, all the while generating an air of mystery about what you are doing.

To get you started, here are a couple of easy to follow DIY videos on YouTube:

Plant and grow a crop, tree or flower

If you have the space and time, teaching a child the basics of plant growing can be a fun pastime. The littles can learn the value of patience and the concept that work done today will sometime produce results far into the future.

Kids will be kids however, so it’s best to choose a plant that isn’t pretentious and doesn’t require much effort to grow and stay alive. If you pick one that’s too high maintenance, you run the risk that your child will get bored and be annoyed by all the attention he must give to the plant.

If you’re looking for decorative plants, consider lavender and peonies. If you want something more practical, then look at potatoes, or even tomatoes.

Take them bowling

Bowling is a great family game, and there’s really no reason not to include children. Some bowling alleys offer bumpers. This makes it impossible to roll a gutter ball making the whole experience more fun for young children. The only limiting factor in bowling is the weight of the ball. Fortunately, the lightest balls weigh around 6 pounds, so they are easy enough to handle.

Picnics and frisbees

This is a classic family activity, mostly because it’s fun for the kids and relaxing for the grownups. It pairs nicely with longer walks in parks or a hiking trail.

Teach kids how to make lava lamps

Lava lamps will probably be an interesting attention grabber for kids who haven’t had the chance to see one before. However, the science behind the lava lamps isn’t all that complicated. In fact, it’s simple enough that you can improvise one at home with minimal effort and expense, all the while teaching the little one a thing or two about science. And the best part is, it only takes a few minutes.

All you need is some vegetable oil, water, fizzy tablets like Alka Seltzer and food coloring.  Here’s a short two-minute video that shows everything you need to do to make a DIY lava lamp.

Go fishing

A fishing trip can be a great opportunity to have some outdoor fun and relax while doing something that feels productive. That being said, fishing is definitely one of those activities that can be very boring if you’re unprepared or just plain unlucky. Nobody likes to sit around for hours and not catch anything, children least of all.

If you haven’t gone fishing before, consider trying it out by yourself once or twice to get the hang of it. Your kids will feel more comfortable if they see you know what you’re doing. You’ll also find out if the location has sufficient fish for the little ones to catch.

Here are some articles you can use as starting points to figure out fishing:

Paper tablecloth art

This is a simple trick to make dinner time more fun. Simply replace the kitchen tablecloth with a paper one, and let the kids have fun by drawing all over it. You can even join them and add your own drawings.

Outdoor and indoor games to play with kids

There is no shortage of board games or video games to play with kids, but sometimes the most fun ones don’t involve screens or figurines. These are the more traditional indoor and outdoor games like hide and seek or tag. Fortunately, there’s a lot of room for creativity if you want to do something more unusual.

The string laser robbery

Who wouldn’t like to feel like a movie cat burglar for a day? Fortunately, there is a way to do it that doesn’t involve the police.

The objective of the game is to acquire a treasure object placed somewhere in the room. However, to make the task more difficult, you’ll create a maze of “lasers”, composed of yarns or strings that crisscross the room, forcing the child to twist and turn to avoid the lasers and reach his prize.

There’s a lot of room to be creative, with the rules and “punishments” for touching the strings.

Photo by: Airman 1st Class Allison Payne

 

As for how to attach the strings themselves, you can do so either by tying them up to rigid furniture wherever possible, command hooks or by using special kinds of tape, specifically designed not to tear off wall paint or wallpaper.

Who wouldn’t like to feel like a movie cat burglar for a day? Fortunately, there is a way to do it that doesn’t involve the police.

The objective of the game is to acquire a treasure object placed somewhere in the room. However, to make the task more difficult, you’ll create a maze of “lasers”, composed of yarns or strings that crisscross the room, forcing the child to twist and turn to avoid the lasers and reach his prize.

There’s a lot of room to be creative, with the rules and “punishments” for touching the strings.

As for how to attach the strings themselves, you can do so either by tying them up to rigid furniture wherever possible, command hooks or by using special kinds of tape, specifically designed not to tear off wall paint or wallpaper.

Let the kids try to knock you down

This one is bound to be a laughter bringer, although you should take care to prevent things going overboard and prevent any injuries.  

Simply go into a solid power stance, with both feet planted firmly into the ground and challenge the little ones to bring you down. This game is best played in a pool where the kids can fall and play around and not fall on hard surfaces.

Be prepared for some rough play, as they struggle to take you down to their level.

Hammer of truth

A neat and simple bluffing game, where each of the participants gets an inflatable toy hammer, and then takes turns telling either a truth or a lie. If they say a lie, the other participants must then commence battle on the deceiver.

From a gaming perspective the rules don’t make much sense. Unless of course you want to be struck by a toy hammer, which is really the point of the game.

Improvised golf

Going to a regular golf course with kids can be expensive in both time and money. A quick solution is to take the most fun parts of golfing, namely the swinging and hitting, and turn it into a separate activity.

For instance, you could set up a practice range in your backyard where the child has to hit various targets, such as water bottles, pine cones, and the like.

Tug of war

A great outdoors game for kids, since it has simple rules and that don’t leave much room for interpretation. It’s competitive and physical at the same time, and can be a lot of fun even for the losers.

The only real difficulty is that it requires a group bigger than the average family, so it’s best played at children’s playgrounds or parties.

Hopscotch

This game has been around for ages, because it’s just so much fun to play. Even without any rules, mastering the skip and hop should be enough to keep a child entertained for long enough to help release some of their excess energy.

If they want a more complex experience, you can choose from any one of the more complex variation of the rules.

Cornhole

A game that adults and kids alike will enjoy, and even play together as equals (or almost equals). For those who haven’t heard of the game, it involves a platform elevated on only one end, with a hole located at the far side of it.

Cornhole game platform and bags.

Photo by: cfarnsworth

This game can be played with two people or in teams. Standing at a distance, players take turns throwing bags filled with corn at the platform. If the bag lands on the platform, it gets 1 point, if it goes through the hole, the player’s team scores 3 points. Kids and adult can throw from different distances to make this a fair game. First team to 21 points wins.

Conclusion

Families that do stuff together, stick together. The above list isn’t nearly exhaustive, and every family will likely find their own little things to do with the kids to bring more fun and joy into the house. What matters, in the end, is to simply make the time to be with your kids and enjoy them.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Paul Bonea

Paul Bonea is the author behind Hasty Reader, a book and self-improvement blog, where he seeks the most useful information a reader can use to make their life better. His favorite topics offer a new angle to on common human experiences, such as relationships, friendships and working lives.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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