There are a number of preschooler activities that parents have used successfully to keep children occupied. They will not hold their attention for a long period of time, and you have to be able to switch activities at a moment's notice. However, they will buy you a small amount of time to get some work done.
1. Workbooks and Worksheets
One free or low cost way to keep your preschooler occupied is to give them worksheets to complete. You can buy a cheap workbook at the dollar store, or find free printable worksheets online. Choose worksheets that will help them learn letters, numbers, words and simple logic thinking. Provide a lot of crayons for them to color the worksheets, especially if they don't know their letters just yet.
2. Educational DVDs
You should avoid sitting your preschooler in front of the television to keep them occupied. A better choice is to buy educational DVDs that will stimulate and encourage early learning. Like workbooks and worksheets, find ones that will help them learn how to read, or speak well. The benefit of a DVD is that it will hold their interest for a longer period of time. However, you don't want to overuse this form of activity. Try to limit their watching to one or two 30 minute sessions per day. You may also want to skip days, so that they're not relying on DVDs to stimulate their learning and thinking.
As soon as your children are old enough to handle kid scissors safely, they may enjoy preschool activities that involve a lot of cutting and glueing. You can give your children old magazines, glue, construction paper, and tell them to make you several collages. You can direct them to focus on a theme, such as cutting out everything red. You could also tell them to make collages for upcoming events, such as a parent's birthday or a holiday.
Many children love to play the piano. They enjoy pressing the piano keys, and you'll find many children "composing" their own originals. One preschool activity that you shouldn't ignore is piano time. If you have an electric keyboard, or piano, set aside 15 to 20 minutes or more for your preschooler to practice playing the piano. If they're taking piano lessons, then this can be their practice time. Even if they're not taking lessons, it can be a time for free play.
5. Homemade Obstacle Course
You can make one of the best preschool games yourself: A homemade obstacle course. Buy a cheap roll of nylon rope, and make a maze in your living room or home office where you'll be working for the day. You can also use furniture to create tunnels for your child to make her way through. Use your imagination to get them crawling, walking and hoping through an obstacle course that you set up yourself. It will help them to refine their motor skills, encourage great imaginative play and give them a sense of accomplishment when they finish the course.
It doesn't take much money to have preschooler activities available for your children. The best activities will be created by you and your child. Keep this in mind as you implement these and other ideas.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.