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Cut up craft foam in various shapes and let your kids create elaborate bath murals with them in the tub! You don’t have to fill up the tub with water; they can use warm water in a bowl and brush the foam and stick them to the wall. Cut out monster shapes, face parts, animals, and whatever your imagination can think up.
If your toddler or preschooler loves to play with trains and cars, make this great cardboard train tunnel! Cut out tunnel holes along the bottom and add roads along the top and break out the trains and cars.
Build a couple of cardboard houses with colored duct tape and allow your kids to decorate them with crayons, markers, and paint. Set them up and watch them think of things to do with the little houses. Fun!
You probably have a pile of stickers on hand if you have a preschooler or toddler in the house. Try turning them into magnets by sticking them on a free promotional fridge magnets or magnet sheets and cutting them out! Let your kid stick the magnets on a baking tray or a magnet board — you could practice counting or matching together, for example!
Toddlers and preschoolers love to play with dirt, but there’s no dirt indoors! What to do on cold days? Make your own dirt dough, of course! All you need is baking soda, brown or black liquid watercolor, and a little water. You can also make fizzy mud with it, too!
Keep your kids warm indoors and have them build snowmen with this great activity. Combine cornstarch and foaming shaving cream to create “snow” and show them how to create snowmen with buttons, fabric, and other random materials. It’s easy to create and clean up, perfect for an indoor activity!
What kid doesn’t like bubbles? With warm water, dish detergent, and washable colored paint, you can create a fun bubblefest for your preschooler to play with!
Teach your kids about shapes and color while moving their bodies with a fun game of shape hopscotch! You just need colored paper for this indoor activity.
Sometimes toddlers and preschoolers can get antsy when staying home all day. Blow up an inflatable pool and fill it with balls. Set up a slide that goes into it and your kids will play with your DIY ball pit all day!
No sand required for this indoor activity! Just dump uncooked oatmeal into a plastic bin and fill it with measuring cups, scoopers, and the like. Let your kids explore their indoor sandbox!
This one is an actual sand box, but with the addition of rocks, little construction trucks, and pvc connectors all in a large rubbermaid box. When playtime is over, just put the lid on and put it away for another cold and rainy day! NOTE: If your toddler still puts things in his/her mouth, you might want to forgo the rocks.
Make edible paint with milk and food coloring and have fun painting marshmallows and popcorn with your toddler and/or preschooler! Then, of course, eat your beautiful creations.
Tape up press n seal wrap on a window and give colored tissue paper to your kids to create their “stained glass” art!
Indoor Ice and Water Play
You don’t need any special supplies or materials for this indoor activity for toddlers and preschoolers! Pull out a couple of bowls and containers, fill them with ice and water, and let your kids play with scoopers, plastic animals, and other toys.
Tunnels are so fun to toddlers and preschoolers, but a lighted one? They’ll love it and play with it for hours! Create a light tunnel with a big cardboard box (or several) and Christmas lights!
If you have a lot of snow outside, bring it inside and fill up a plastic bin with it! Let your kids spray colored water on it, scoop it up and make mini-snowmen, paint it, and more while staying warm.
Cooking is always a fun and educational indoor activity that you can do with toddlers and preschoolers. Here is a great idea: make soft pretzels together! They’ll enjoy kneading the bread, rolling them into long snakes, and making shapes with them.
Stacking plastic cups is a simple activity that toddlers and preschoolers enjoy, but you can up the fun by playing indoor bowling with them! Have them stack plastic cups in various configurations and use a small ball to knock it down. Then build again. Then knock down.
Playing with dough is always a good indoor activity, but you could add drinking straws for even more fun. Show your kids how to include cut-up drinking straws in their clay creations: as feathers, hair, legs, arms, and more. Practice prewriting with them — trace out letters on flattened clay and have them stick the straws along the lines.
Put paint in a plastic bag and tape it on a table. Have your kids “write” and “draw” on it with their fingers or a cotton swab for lots of paint fun without the mess!
Save popsicle sticks or buy craft sticks, paint them different colors, and cut out various shapes in different colors. Have your kids build the different shapes or focus on categorizing the sticks into different colors or any other activity you can think of. You could also add velcro at the ends for them to attach the sticks to each other.
If you love yoga and you’re familiar with it, this fun activity could be a great one for you and your toddler and/or preschooler. Read books about arctic animals and then try yoga poses together to act out the animals.
Create a piece of art with your kids to make the best out of staying at home! Tape off a letter or a word on a canvas, hand your kids finger paint, and let them go wild on the canvas. Peel off the tape and you’re left with a finished canvas to display!
Water beads are great to play with, but they are very small and you might be concerned about allowing your toddler to play with them, especially if he/she still puts things in his/her mouth. Use tapioca pearls and food coloring to make your own edible water beads for a fun sensory play idea!
Grab a clear vinyl shower curtain liner, tape it on the floor, and hand your toddler and/or preschooler a couple of dry eraser markers. They’ll have a blast just doodling away! You could even guide them to create roads and buildings and have them drive their little cars on it. Then just wipe it clean when you’re done!
I think I’ll work my way through this list with my kids until it gets warm enough to play outside again! What other indoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers do you love? For more kid activity ideas, check out Indoor Winter Crafts Your Kids Will Love and 6 Ice Activities For Kids At Home.