25 Fun activities for early years at home. Harry started school in September. So to spend six weeks or longer in a homeschooling environment when he’s just got into learning is tough. Especially as he is loving it! As a parent, it is a little daunting. Not only are we are trying to juggle work at the same time. But I also don’t want him to fall out of love with learning. As he does love it. Much of his learning at school is play-based. So I have pulled together 25 fun activities for early years at home. All of these have been thoroughly tested by both boys and provide some fun learning opportunities. For when you just want to spend part of the home school day just having fun!
25 Fun activities for early years at home
1. Playing Postman Roleplay
An ideal activity to encourage mark making and a general understanding of the world. Not only that but it encourages some art and craft too in the making of the post box and some reusable felt letters. With a trip to your local post box to understand the process and learn all about posting letters. Read more here – Playing Postman Preschool Roleplay
2. Sensory Pat Bags
Although initially intended for little ones, these were a big hit with Charlie when Harry was small. So still a great activity with reception children. Especially as they can choose the materials included and help to make them. Made from items in the craft cupboard they take no time as all and are only limited by your imagination. For slightly older children they make great hunt and seek bags. Read more – DIY Sensory Pat Bags
3. Have fun with a torch
Both the boys have always found torches fascinating. There are plenty of activities which you can do simply and cheaply with the use of a torch and things you have lying around the house. Read more here – 7 kid-friendly activities using a torch.
4. DIY Dinosaur Fossils
A very simple idea but one that opens ups a lot of possibilities. Making a simple salt dough and using some dinosaur models you can create your own fossils. Not only is it super easy but they also love to paint them afterwards!
5. Playing Shop with DIY Play Food
A big hit in our household! Playing shop or anything food-related has always ben popular. We made our own shopping lists but to extend play further we also made our own DIY now sew play food to add an extra dimension. Read More – No Sew DIY Play Food.
6. Sensory Smelling Game
The most difficult things about this activity is deciding which items to use to create your smell’s. With so many options it is hard to narrow it down. Received really well by Charlie when he was small its a great way to teach little ones about the senses. A great fun game to play. Read more – DIY Sensory Smelling Game.
7. Make Your Own Egg Shakers
I’ve not met a child yet that doesn’t like plastic eggs. An ideal activity for Easter you can make your own egg shakers and give an extra dimension by making a sound match toy. These are still popular with mine today despite being created several years ago! Read more Make Your Own Egg Shakers.
8. Growing Mustard & Cress Sequencing Cards
Not only is it fun to grow these super quick growing seeds. But it also gives the opportunity for little ones to start to understand the natural order of things by making your own sequencing cards. Plus both cress and mustard are great for a lunchtime treat! Read more – Growing Mustard & Cress Sequencing Cards.
9. Make Cork Boats
I love this idea, its so simple and made with things that you have lying around the house. I have used it a couple of times both inside and out. Mainly inside when Charlie was much younger and would sit at the kitchen table with a bowl of water … and actually keep it in the bowl! I’ve also used it as a great distractor when you want to get some things done outside which aren’t quite up to ‘added help’. Read More – Quick & Easy Cork Boats
10. Ladybird Number Match Game
The game is to match the number of ladybird spots with the numbers on the leaves. Ideal to help little ones to recognise them. It can be easily recreated with coloured card if sewing is not your thing. Plus you can add dice to the game to create more opportunities to play. Read more – Ladybird Number Match Game.
11. Gruffalo Story Bag
Make your own Gruffalo Story Bag or Story Sack. The Gruffalo is by far one of the boy’s favourite stories. Story bags are a great way to engage little ones for longer. It becomes a lot more interesting acting out the story with props, puppets and soft toys. Find out about the contents of our story bag and read more here – Gruffalo Story Bag
12. Bubble Painting
Sometimes the most simple things are the most fun. A great letter B activity and so very simple to set up bubble painting is a great way to enjoy some creative flair. Read more – Bubble Painting
13. Play Board Games
Even young children can have a lot of fun playing board games. Two which are specifically good for young children include Junior Cluedo and Monopoly Ulitmate Banking. Because both are classic games which have been made for younger children. And especially in the case of the Monopoly which only takes about 45 minutes instead of several hours like the traditional game!
14. Rainbow Discovery Bottles
These have been a favourite of the boys since they were tiny and now they are older they enjoy making them as well. It can turn into a bit of a science lesson if you get the chance. Read More – DIY Rainbow Sensory Bottles
15. Treasure Baskets
Treasure baskets are great for free play. Aimed at babies from nine months they can equally keep preschoolers and early years children entertained. We’ve shared a wide range here including a popular sea-themed version. Read more Under the Sea Themed Treasure Basket.
16. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a great book to help teach little ones letters in a fun way. Written by Bill Martin Jr & John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert the story is all about the letters of the alphabet racing one another up the coconut tree. Read More – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
17. Giant Water Beads for Dexterity
We love water beads, but these giant ones are great to play with and provide a lot of fun. Little do they realise they are also practising dexterity and fine motor skills at the same time. Read more Giant Water Beads for Dexterity
18. Make an Emotional Clock
A great activity to help children understand their emotions and identify how they are feeling. If you can not find stickers then you can use pictures from the internet. Or draw the expressions. Read more – Emotional Clocks – Helping to teach my 4-year-old emotions.
19. Alphabet Boxes
Pulling together little boxes with items that relate to the specific letter is a great way to have resources on hand for literacy activities. Such as practising writing or matching letters with items. Read More – Alphabet Boxes
20. Room on the Broom Story Bag
Make your own Room on the Broom Story Bag. Room on the Broom is one of the boy’s favourite stories. Story bags are a great way to engage little ones for longer. It becomes a lot more interesting acting out the story with props, puppets and soft toys. Find out about the contents of our story bag and Read More – Room on the Broom Story Bag.
21. Giant Rainbow Bath Cubes
A huge hit with both boys even now Charlie loves these (at 8). A very simple idea which does not need a lot of prep and makes bath time even more fun. Not only that but they can also be used for painting if you add a few lolly sticks. Read More – Giant Rainbow Bath Cubes
22. Spray Painting
This is spray painting in the loses sense of the word, but a great outdoors activity and one that the boys ask for regularly. It is easy to set up and can be left and picked up again later on in the day, ideal if you have a little one with a short attention span like mine! Read More – Spray Painting
23. Going on a Bear Hunt Small World Play
Small world play ideas are great for an invitation to play even if it is just sand a couple of diggers. However, if you do have a little bit more time on your hands then this one is a treat. Read more – Going on a Bear Hunt Small World Play
24. Story Stones
Story stones are a great way to act out your favourite stories. Or use your imagination and make up new ones of your own. You can either draw on them or used coloured photocopies with modge podge or PVA glue over the top. Read More – Story Stones
25. Dinosaur Tuff Spot
This was the first-ever activity I wrote about here on Mudpie Fridays. Using things in the cupboard including shreddies and jelly we had a lot of fun setting this small world play up. Read More – Dinosaur Small World Sensory Play.
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Fun activities for early years at home