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Free or Inexpensive Indoor and Outdoor Activities for Busy Young Children

Updated on December 6, 2014
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Free or Inexpensive Activities for Young Children

It is difficult finding ways to occupy busy young children. Short attention spans make it seem like projects are finished before you even started.


Here are some ideas of free/inexpensive tried and true indoor and outdoor activities and their benefits.


Inside Activities:

1. Make a blanket tent between chairs for reading time. It is sometimes hard for kids to sit still through a story, but they love to sit in a tent.

2. Have an indoor picnic. Lay out a blanket on the floor and eat a meal or snack.

3. Take a bath and draw in bath with bathtub crayons or paint. My kids love to do this on days we can't go outside. Drawing pictures works the imagination and writing numbers, letters or words works on fine motor skills as well as preparing them for school. It somehow seems more fun to do this in the bathtub rather than sitting in a chair at the table.

4. Bake. Baking is a great way to learn math skills through measuring and identifying numbers. In the end you have a tasty treat!

5. Sing and dance. It doesn't matter if you sing and dance to recorded music or sing yourself, singing encourages creativity, reduces stress, and promotes bonding.

6. Play Doh. Another activity that promotes imaginative play as well as improving fine motor skills. We have Play Doh numbers and alphabet cut outs which are well used and have had a hand in them learning their numbers and letters.

7. Jumping jacks/skipping/jogging in place. Great for kids with a lot of pent up energy, especially days you can't go outside. These activities release energy, and are good for balance, coordination, and motor skills.

Outdoor Activities

1. Sidewalk chalk/paint. Promotes imaginative play.

2. Have an outdoor picnic. Lay out a blanket or eat at a picnic table. It is enjoyable eating outside.

3. Take a walk. Explore, don't be in a rush to get anywhere. It's fun to see what gets your child's attention while out for a walk. Colorful signs, bugs on the sidewalk, experience the way children think.

4. Squirt guns. This is a perfect activity for warm summer evenings. Gets a little energy out, cools you off, plus is a fun bonding time.


This is really just a sample of activities you can do with your child(ren). Find something your child(ren) enjoy and make an activity of it.

© 2013 HeatherH104

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