Keep Your Preschoolers Busy and Happy

Busy preschoolers can present a challenge when you are trying to teach your older children.  The little ones have a lot of energy and they can drain you of your energy quite quickly, while slowing you down as you try to teach your older ones and keep house.

But I’ve found that spending some time with the tiny tots first helps to settle them so that I can work with the older children. And I’ve got some ideas here for you or one of your older children to try with your little one:

Dancing with Ribbons and Scarves

This is a great way to start the day and allow the whole family to join in and get into gear for the day.  Pieces of cloth, ribbon, scarves, et cetera, can be used to make a fun, swirling dance. Your tiny tot can just enjoy dancing with you around the room, or you can all try weaving in and out of a circle with a few children. Choose interesting music for your dancing. Change the music from slow to fast and dance in a way that expresses the feelings conveyed in the music.  Choose children’s praise music or some much-loved classical pieces.

Make Musical Instruments

All kinds of common household objects can be made into instruments. Here are some ideas.

• Cylindrical containers with plastic lids (such as those that hold oats, cocoa, coffee, etc.) can be used as drums. Decorate them if you like.

• Cardboard tube rhythm instruments can be made by putting some dried beans inside the tube, then sealing the ends with wax paper secured with rubber bands.

• Shakers can be made by putting dried beans into empty bottles and capping them.

• Rubber bands can be stretched over and around various hollow containers and boxes to make ‘guitars’.  Tissue boxes, plastic food containers, etc., can all be used.

• Fill a series of drinking glasses with varying amounts of water and tap them to make various musical notes.  Add food colouring to the water in the glasses to make a colourful display.


Collect clean, empty, plastic bottles. Set them up at the end of a room or hallway, and roll a soft ball towards them to knock them over.

Make a House

Throw a blanket over a table or some chairs to make a playhouse.  Let your youngster furnish the house with play food, child’s furniture and teddies and he might play happily for a while so that you can work with the older ones.

Clean Out Something

This is a great activity for holiday or weekend times. Believe it or not, many pre-schoolers love to see what’s in a ‘junk drawer’ or messy area around your home. Make it a game and see if your pre-schooler can identify all the objects and sort them into shapes and colours.

Go Fish

Cut fish shapes out of card or construction paper. Slip a paper clip onto each fish’s ‘mouth’.  Then, tie a kitchen magnet onto the end of a string and attach the other end of the string to a stick or rod. See how many fish you can catch with the magnet, which will pick up the paper clips.

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Keep Your Preschoolers Busy and Happy — 1 Comment

  1. Thanks Stephanie for such good ideas – I can see the little ones getting hours of creativity and enjoyment when we do these activites. You’re a gem!