Ray-Zee

According to child psychology, children from age 2 – 5 go through growth spurts. This is the time when children start to acquire new life skills like decision making, information processing, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and several other cognitive and physical skills. Engaging your child in different activities can help them build stronger cognitive and physical aspects.

Best Activities To Keep Your Kids Engaged – 15 For Under 5

 

On the outside, it might look like dealing with kids is so easy. But parents know that a lot of effort and struggle goes behind keeping a child actually engaged in different activities.

According to child psychology, children from age 2 – 5 go through growth spurts. This is the time when children start to acquire new life skills like decision making, information processing, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and several other cognitive and physical skills. Engaging your child in different activities can help them build stronger cognitive and physical aspects.

Kids like to stay busy and occupied most time. At their age, the best they can do is play. Playing allows children to use their newly acquired skills and learn to excel at them. Playing is extremely important for physical, emotional, and cognitive health. It is through play, that children learn to engage and interact with the world around them.

Sadly, physical play has become one of the most endangered plays in our society. It has decreased more than 50 percent since the last 1960s. These days especially, the physical play has decreased so much that there are hardly any children found playing in the playgrounds. We can blame the lockdown due to coronavirus, an increase in screen-time, increased safety concerns, or the difficulties of life.

The statistics showed that almost 80 percent of the children today don’t get enough exercise. Which has caused more than 18 percent of the children to become overweight.

Here are some activities which are really good and healthy for your child’s development. You can employ these activities even at home and your kid will learn, develop, and have fun all at the same time.

 

 

1.      Treasure basket

Kids love to collect things. You might have noticed your child collecting random things in a basket. A treasure basket is a similar game where you set a theme for each basket. For example, you can keep one basket for pom poms and the other for balls. Then you can ask your children to collect the items for the respective baskets.

This game is perfect for 1.5-5-year-olds. If you don’t have a basket, then you can use any other containers. You can make a treasure basket of literally anything like balls, blocks, dolls, Legos, colored pencils, etc.

 

2. Chalk and magnetic board

Chalks and magnetic boards are one of the few things that every kid has or has had. They are inexpensive, versatile, and super engaging. You can do so much with just chalk and a magnetic board.

chalk activities

You can either use your fridge as a magnetic board and driveway as a chalkboard. Or you buy chalkboard and magnetic stickers from craft shops or online stores. You can draw, write, play, and make new things through these boards.

Kids from age 1-3 love doodling on the board and put magnetic alphabets on the refrigerator like stickers. For kids 3-5 age, you can even do sun study time with these chalk and magnetic boards.

 

3. Play pretend

Have you noticed your child mimicking you? Children especially are great at adapting. Because their brain is growing at a super speed, they can pick up your behavior, actions, language, and emotions really quickly.

This makes the pretend-play very appealing to kids. Where you ask them to be someone and they will try their best to portray their character. It’s an engaging and interactive game.

The character can be as easy as you or a character from the storybook or a cartoon. You can make the game more fun by adding props. For example, a doctor set if your kid loves to pretend as a doctor.

Play pretend the game is usually best for older kids from age 3 onwards. But younger kids can also take part in it as a sidekick.

 

4. Tidy-up the toys

I know you have uncountable toys in your house. There is a bucket full of toys that nobody even touches. Then why not tidy it up?

tidy toys activities

You can look into the toys your kid doesn’t play with anymore, and keep them for donation. It is a great way to treat a cause and also teach your children some kindness. Going through the toys can be a fun little activity where you can screen the toys together.

 

5. Straw play

Straw play is another very simple game. All you need are straws and a strainer that’s has holes in it. You can adjust the difficulty level according to the age and interest of the child. It is a fun game. It helps in several of the cognitive skills. Especially hand-eye coordination.

If your child is younger than 3 then you might have to explain to them how to put the straw through the holes. If your child is 4 or 5 years old then you can increase the difficultly level by asking them to put the straws in a certain order or color coordinate it.

 

 

6. Playdough

I don’t think there is a child who hasn’t played with playdough. There are million-dollar companies based on playdough. The reason being that you can make anything with playdough. Kids use their imaginative and creative skills to make different things. Playdough is also great at providing sensory development.

play dough activities

However, I wouldn’t suggest play dough for kids under 3 as there might be choking hazards involved. You can find very various playdough sets which include colorful doughs, rolling pins, cutters, and decorations.

 

7. Walk on the pillows

A fun way to engage your kids in an activity is to make it interesting and challenging. Pillow walk sounds like old school but it is making a comeback. Especially because of social distancing it is becoming more popular in indoor games.

You can also spice up the game by mixing the ‘floor is lava’ game. I am sure we all remember how to play floor is lava and how fun it used to be. Sometimes I think the games we played as kids were far better than today’s games. Don’t you agree?

 

8. Simon says

Simon says is a smart way to tell your kids what to do. The command is just coated in a fun layer. All you have to do is just say “Simon says” and then ask your kids to do something. These commands can be anything. As simple as jumping, hopping or picking the toys, or draw something

Don’t be too smart and use your name instead of Simon. Your kid should think it’s a game we are playing. Also, avoid using commands that are too work loaded. Remember we are playing a game.

You can find several Simon Says Worksheets on my Pinterest account and Facebook page. 

 

9. Gardening

Gardening is such a healthy playtime activity. It not only engages your kids but also teaches them several life lessons. Like being responsible, nurturing, and accomplishing.

gardening activity

Gardening is also very inexpensive if you have a garden area, terrace garden, kitchen garden, or even no garden. This activity can be done very easily even with a single pot, soil, and few seeds.

Seeds are also in your household. You can use tomato seeds, coriander seeds, or any seed you can find in your food.

 

10. Dance party

Who doesn’t love a good old dance party? I am sure we all do. My 14-month-old dances at shark-do-do like he owns the music. Every kid loves to dance. Just play on some good music and have fun. Trust me, it will be a good time for you too to let loose and dance.

But, be sure to pick your music carefully. I wouldn’t recommend playing adult music which you like, for your dance party with kids. The next you know will be your kid singing the inappropriate lyrics at the top of their lungs. Don’t ask me how I know that!

 

11. Build an obstacle course

This activity I think is best suited with dads. My husband loves to be a drill sergeant and make an obstacle course for my 5-year-old and 14-month-old.

We make this course with almost everything we have in our home. It is also really simple to do. You just have to lay things in order so that your kid has some challenge passing that particular object.

Usually, kids love obstacle courses because they can use several of their newly developed cognitive and physical strengths. It also gives them a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Although you will have a lot to clean-up after the obstacle course game ends.

 

12. Bake-time or Garage clean-up

Kids love being adults. They want to do or at least try what their elders are doing. You might also have experienced this when you are working on something, your kid may come up to you and try to help in what you were doing. That’s their way of showing that they are interested and they would like to learn about it.

parent activites

Just by asking your kid to do a little task like pick this, give that, you can engage them in that activity. Whether it’s the bake-time or garage clean-up. You will see that your child is super excited you help you, For them, it’s an accomplishment that they can provide a helping hand and be a part of the gang.

 

13. Board games, puzzles, charades

Parents think board games, puzzles, and charades are old school and their kids won’t enjoy them. However, the reality is the complete opposite. Yes, board games require sitting, patience, and focus. But trust me your kids will do all that if they get how the game is played.

Board games and puzzles are not suited for younger children who are under age 3-4 for obvious reasons. But your 4-5 year old will love learning about different board games and puzzles. You can also use the puzzles and games worksheets that I have to test if your kid is really into it.

 

14. Sticky collage

Kids love stickers. That’s no secret. So, you can take the stickers and amp it up. Sticky collages are very easy to do. And you can practically do it anywhere. On the window, door, floor, porch, or cabinets.

I like to use posted notes and craft sticker papers which I cut into different shapes to do the collages with my kids. But if you have stickers lying around you can use that too. You just have to give them stickers and ask them to stick them on the collage.

This game can go on for an hour. But it depends on how many stickers do you have!  For younger kids, it can be as simple as just sticking the stickers on the collage. While with older kids you can make something through the collage-like a cat, butterfly, car, or other color-coordinated designs.

 

15. Connect through conversation

You might have noticed that every activity involves you or your partner. Or at least it requires your presence at some level. The reason being that your child craves attention. Especially during the first 5-6 years of their life.

family

You are basically the first teacher, friend, or mentor your child will ever have.

I know talking to your own kids can become energy-consuming. And you have a million other tasks to accomplish other than talking to your kid about who Simon is in the Simon Says game.

But it’s also important to keep your child connected to you through communication. Don’t invest a lot, maybe 10 minutes of your day solely focused on your child. Talk about their day, their feelings. Their experiences. Remember that you are teaching your kid how to be a human being, If you don’t listen to them how can you expect that your kids will listen to you.

You can also find numerous activities for kids on my Pinterest account under the Kids tab.