Favorite Indoor Activities with 4 Year Olds

A while ago, before my summer sabbatical,  I started writing a series about my favorite activities to do with 4-year-olds. You can find the first post here all about our favorite outdoor activities. Today, I am excited to pick up where we left off and jump into a post about some favorite indoor activities. These are the things we turn to during a rainy day, the wintertime, or in the afternoon heat. Thanks to quarantine, I have gotten a front-row seat to the behaviors and habits of my children during our 24-7 time together. I hope that recording some of this here today can be a resource for someone else going forward. Enjoy!

indoor activities

Art

  • Self-portraits – Start by having your child lay down on a large roll of paper. Trace the outline of their body so you end up with a life-size version of your child. The final step is to decorate and you can get as creative as you want with it – paints, stickers, markers, crayons. This was a favorite!
  • Kiwi & Co Boxes – A monthly subscription box that delivers activities for kids of every stage to your doorstep. This was a birthday gift to the twins from generous family members and they are a hit.
  • Painting & washing plastic animals – My kids love anything that involves water so this is a two-step activity. First, take some washable finger paint and their favorite plastic animals. Let them paint and enjoy getting them dirty. Second step: give a “bath” to the animals with soap and bubbles to wash & dry the figures they just painted.
  • Prime Box challenge – If you ever wondered what to do with all of those extra Amazon boxes, this activity was a fun one. Paint and decorate any leftover cardboard. My kids created houses for their stuffed animals! I got this idea from one of my favorite local resources, The West End Mom. If you ever need additional ideas, check her out on Instagram too.
  • Name art – One of our big goals during quarantine was to have Matthew & Molly learn how to write and recognize their names. Hint: a former school teacher told me to make sure you teach them with lower case letters too! This activity involves a large roll of paper and writing their name in large block letters for them to decorate. It’s simple but fun!

indoor activities

Fine Motor Skills

  • Scissor Practice – We did a ton of scissor practice. Based on our preschool teacher’s recommendation we gave them old magazines and newspapers to let them cut out pictures. Mostly this activity was perfect during mealtime, I let them sit at the kitchen bar while I prepped dinner. We also cut sensory items – like cooked pasta, grass, and flowers from the yard. Lots of fun ideas online!
  • Sticker activity – My kids love stickers & the internet has tons of ways to use stickers in play. I bought a few packs of these dot stickers and recommend checking out The Busy Toddler for additional ideas.
  • Lite Brite – oldie but goodie. Great for fine motor skills!
  • Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles

indoor activities

Science

  • Pouring Station – I pulled together a bunch of cups, measuring spoons, and old containers into a large under-the-bed storage bin. Next, fill the larger containers up with water and add food coloring for flair. The twins got to refill each container 2x. This activity easily lasted 45 mins.
  • Science table – Setup on this one is similar to the above. With the addition of a little shaving cream! The twins got to play around making magic potion creations. This activity easily lasted 45 mins. Warning: this one can be messy and smelly
  • DIY playdough – A great recipe here.
  • DIY slime – A great recipe here.
  • Animal rescue – In the morning, take any small animal figures and freeze them in muffin tins or larger containers. They will freeze by the afternoon. Once frozen, put the ice cubes into the water table or a large container. Let the kids “rescue” the figures from the ice with warm water in droppers or squirt bottles.

indoor activities

Play

  • Any of the amazing game ideas from Days with Grey or Busy Toddler (name matching, writing letters in flour)
  • Hunt for items around the house (leprechaun coins, Easter eggs, stuffed animals)
  • Bounce house – still a favorite that gets pulled out once a week
  • Baking together – any and everything.
  • Family Movie Night – When you need a fun change of pace, consider creating your own movie theater experience with a projector. We did this one outside as well!
  • Dress-up – Always a hit!
  • Manicure station – This is a cute idea from The Mama Note.
  • Bath time – A solid one in our house. I throw them in the tub with water beads, glow sticks, popsicles, legos, you name it. They love splashing around and I love sipping hot coffee while they soak.

I’d love to hear: please tell me what your favorite indoor activities with your littles are! Comment below or send me an email here.

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