It can be hard to always come up with new ideas to keep your child(ren) busy and happy at the best of times. Here are a few activities for simple games for pre-school children you can try together at home because childhood can’t wait.

Remember to share your activities on social media using #AtHomeWithHomeStart

Sorting and matching game

Incorporate sorting and matching into everyday activities. For example, matching socks from the washing basket or sorting which clothes, shoes, or bags belong to which family member. This can help with chores, tidying up, or even lead to a dressing-up activity.

Hide and seek objects

Where’s the object? While playing with toy cars, dolls or soft toys, place one object under a chair, table or another piece of furniture and another object on top.

Ask your child which object is ‘under’ and which is ‘on top’. Do the same with a box or bag to develop the concept of ‘in’ and ‘out’. Or use a shelf unit for ‘high’ and ‘low’. Progress the game by asking your child to place an object under or on top of something.

‘Where’s your name?’

Hide something with your child’s name written on it (use a capital for the first letter of their name and then lower case letters).

See if they can find it before you count to 20. If you have more than one child to entertain, perhaps an older sibling could help with counting to 20.

Act out book adventures

Use the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ to talk about and act out the story together.

You could make some of the obstacles in the story; for example, use a blue duvet cover or blanket for the river.

If you don’t have this book, could you try the idea with a book you do have? Perhaps you could act out being a very hungry caterpillar and trying lots of new foods.

Indoor skittles/bowling

Make skittles using plastic bottles. They can be left empty or weighted down with sand, rice or water.

Find a softball or make one using a pair of socks or scrunched up paper to roll or throw at the bottles.

Stand the bottles up and roll or throw the ball to knock the skittles down.

There are lots of ways to vary this activity. Try writing each letter of your child’s name on to a separate piece of paper and stick one on to each bottle. See if they can knock them down in the right order to spell their name.

Simon Says

Play ‘Simon says’. First, ask your child to follow what you say to do an action.

For example

  • “Jump up and down”,
  • “Turn around”,
  • “Stand on one leg”,
  • “Fold your arms”,
  • “Whisper your name”.

When they are familiar with following instructions, explain that they can only do it when ‘Simon says’. So, if you say, “Simon says touch your nose” then they do that action.

If you just say, “Touch your nose” they mustn’t do that action.

This game can be used to get the child to do activities from a routine – or not to do activities that may be interrupting the routine. For example: “Simon say brush your teeth”… “Play with your bath toys”.

You could change the name of Simon. Perhaps if your child is always good for nanna, ‘Nanna says’ might work in your house! If they are old enough your child can have a go at thinking of actions for you both to do – or not.

You could even get family members to be ‘Simon’ via a telephone or video call.