Since the pandemic began, family routines have changed drastically. Between remote work and homeschooling, it’s been a trying time. From closed pools and play areas to canceled family vacations, the summer months have also taken on a different feel. If you’re in a state with a government order to stay home, you may be spending a lot more time indoors with your family.
How do you keep your smallest learners active and engaged despite the rigors of social distancing? Check out these captivating, hands-on activities for preschoolers.
Educational Activities for Preschoolers
Crafts and activities for preschoolers should encourage children to burn off energy while mastering gross motor skills. They should introduce kids to new concepts while fueling their curiosity about the world around them.
That said, you shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg acquiring all of the materials needed for each project. So, we’ve searched the internet for fantastic geography crafts and activities that rely on items you already have sitting around the house. With this in mind, let’s dive into the fun!
1. Continental Bowling Challenge
This indoor bowling challenge is easier to assemble then you might think, and it’ll let you reuse and recycle in the process. You’ll need one small ball and seven paper towel or toilet paper rolls. (Toilet paper rolls don’t topple over as readily as their taller counterparts.)
Have your preschooler decorate each roll with a photo or image (taken from a magazine or newspaper) representing each continent: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North American, and South America. Use tape to secure the photos around each roll. Then, set up these continental “pins” equidistant. After that, let bowling for continents begin!
Each time the ball knocks over a continent, discuss what it would be like to visit that part of the world. Topics might include the weather, the animals and plants that live there, and the cultures, languages, and countries associated with that continent.
The original version of this game was created by No Time for Flashcards using images of family members, and that’s fun, too. But we love the idea of familiarizing kids with geography while they’re staying active. You could also do this with countries you’d like to visit.
2. Ocean in a Bottle
The oil and water science experiment is one of the oldest in the book. It’s been a staple of preschool science classroom activities for many years. But that doesn’t mean it ever gets old. What’s more, when you add a twist to it with this ocean theme, your child is in for a treat.
For the activity, you’ll need water, cooking oil, blue food coloring, a two-liter clear plastic bottle, and a funnel. To avoid unwanted messes, opt for an empty mouthwash bottle if possible. That way, your mini ocean comes with a tamper-proof lid.
Once you combine all of the liquid ingredients in the bottle, your child will be amazed by the beautiful marine world inside. Get the instructions at Happy Hooligans. For precocious kids (and their older siblings), check out this article explaining the science behind why water and oil don’t mix. Armed with this information, you can describe the phenomenon as they watch it swirl before their eyes.
3. Travel the World from Home
With this activity, you turn your home into an adventure by crafting different “travel destination” stations. To do so, include pictures of iconic landmarks or landscapes as well as music, traditional foods, and more.
Then, have your preschooler grab a backpack and pack it as if they’re going on a mini-vacation. Encourage them to travel from one destination station to the next, learning about world cultures each step of the way. For example, you might have a French station with an Eiffel Tour image, some Madeleines to snack on, a few flashcards with handy words, and the soundtrack from Amelie.
To encourage them to learn about each location, and spend a little time there, set out children’s storybooks from each destination that you can read together. Check out our comprehensive list of around-the-world children’s picture books to get started. Or, explore We Need Diverse Books’ (WNDB) list of bedtime stories. Gain even more geographic inspiration like this from Atlas Mission.
4. Dutch Windmill Craft
We can’t get enough of this cute craft that reminds us of Holland’s iconic windmills. What’s more, like the other crafts in this post, you can make it with items stashed in your pantry and craft drawer. Materials include Solo cups in red or blue, green and black construction paper, and flower stickers.
This activity gives your child the chance to improve their cutting skills, and they’ll learn how to fold a pinwheel in the process. You’ll also have the opportunity to tell them more about the rich history of windmills and wind power in the Netherlands and Europe. Check out the full instructions for this whimsical project at Grandparents Plus.
5. Pool Noodle Boat Racing
Get ready to set sail with this fun activity perfect for curious preschoolers. You’ll need some pool noodles, pencils, foam board, and a hot glue gun. You can stage the final race in a large plastic bin filled with water, have your kids head to the bathtub, or set up a splash area outside using a small backyard pool.
After cutting the noodles in half and then into six-inch sections to make the bottoms of each boat, you’ll use pencils for masts, and the foam board for sails. You can cover each sail with colorful tape to add extra pizzazz to the race day fun.
Learn more about this exciting project and check out loads of inspiring photos at See Vanessa Craft. Then, get ready to host your version of America’s Cup!
Beat the Summertime Blues with These Hands-On Activities for Preschoolers
With the hands-on activities for preschoolers above, you can spark your child’s interest in travel and the world. Each project is designed to help them burn off a little energy, learn about our beautiful planet, and feel more interconnected with the global community. And don’t forget, we still have two summer camps and cooking classes for families that are interested. Find out more at the link below.