10+ Fun Indoor and Outdoor Games for Preschoolers
Preschoolers spend most of their time on TV and tablets, so once in a while, it's nice to distract them with a different activity. Active games are crucial for preschoolers as they improve their motor skills, listening skills, concentration, and problem-solving skills.
Here are some fun indoor and outdoor game ideas for preschoolers.
Indoor Games for Preschoolers
1. Freeze dance or musical chairs
Children enjoy music and can use it to keep them entertained. For the freeze dance, play the music; when it stops, they should freeze in whatever position they're in. The weird positions they end up in are what make the game fun.
Alternatively, you can play musical chairs where you arrange chairs in a circle, with one chair fewer than the total number of children. Every child should find a chair to sit on when the music stops, and the one left standing is eliminated. For each round, remove one chair. The winner is the person left sitting on the last chair.
This game helps improve multitasking and listening skills. Consider enrolling your child in programs like Grown up and Me (GUM).
2. Touch and feel the box
This is a great indoor game to teach kids how to express themselves. To play this game, collect some items with different textures and let the children observe them. Then, put the items in a box and leave a small hole (just enough for the small hands to pull an item). The idea is to touch an object without seeing it, guess what the item is, and then pull it to see if they got it right.
For a few rounds, use at most six items and add items as children guess correctly.
3. The animal kingdom
This game is not only fun, but it also helps build on the child's physical strength. There are two ways of playing the animal kingdom. The first way is to ask the kids to imitate certain animals. For example, walk like a penguin or hop like a frog.
The other way is to let the child choose the animal, imitate its movements, and let the others guess what animal they're imitating.
Watching their peers do the weird movements causes more giggles than you can imagine, and it's absolutely amazing.
4. Balloon games
You can play many games with balloons, but we will only cover our top two favorites.
The first game involves not letting the balloon touch the ground. There is only one rule: hit the balloon but don't let it touch the ground. If this is too easy, add an extra balloon for juggling and see how long the children last. You can also tie one of the child's hands behind their back so they only use one hand to keep the balloon up.
The second game is the penguin paddle. For the penguin paddle, all you have to do is place the balloon between the child's legs and tell them to walk around the room without dropping it. If this is too easy for them, add obstacles for them to walk around.
5. I spy
This game is great for socializing children. It teaches children to cooperate as they listen to each other and wait for their turn to speak.
To play the game, choose one child to be the spy. They should then select one object in the room and give the others a clue to guess what it is.
For example, "I spy with my little eye, something ..." followed by the first letter of the object or the color.
The other children should then go ahead and guess what the object is. The "spy" can only answer "Yes" or "No." The first child to get it right becomes the next spy.
6. Story goes around
This is a great way to challenge the children's creativity and listening skills. For this game, make up a story and let every child add one more line.
First player: Gia was ten years old and loved ice cream…
Second player: One day, when her mother was at the grocery store…
Third player: The cashier asked her if she has heard of the talking pineapple…
Fourth player: She said she hadn’t, but her little pig would love one…
It's amazing to see how the story evolves with each turn.
7. Simon says
This is a big hit among preschoolers; the cute giggles and confusion during the game make it worthwhile.
For this game, an adult should start as Simon. They should then give a set of commands that the children should follow.
For example, "Simon says touch your head." Simon will then touch their head.
The idea is to confuse the players and cause them to break the rules, which are:
Players can only do what Simon says, and the command has to begin with the words “Simon says.”
Simon can confuse players by doing an action without beginning with the words: "Simon says" or doing the wrong action.
After every action, eliminate the players who break the rules until only one player is left.
8. Imaginary cooking
If there is one thing toddlers love to do, it’s to imitate their parents. Playing imaginary cooking is a golden opportunity for them to prepare and serve food for others.
Provide them with a cooking set, utensils, and a few real vegetables. Order food from them and let them serve you.
This is also a good window to introduce them to nutrition.
Outdoor Games for Preschoolers
Here are fun outdoor activities that preschoolers will enjoy.
9. Scavenger hunt
This is a great outdoor activity and can be done as a group. To play this game, scribble some colors on paper or draw some objects. Instruct every group to go find the items on the list.
After the game, the players should match their objects to those on the paper and see what group got everything right. You can then see what group got all items right.
10. Sink or Float
This is very exciting for children just learning the concept of sinking and floating. Collect some items and put them in a kiddy pool or a basin of water to see what items float and which ones sink.
You can ask the children to guess what items will float and which will sink before placing them in the water.
Create two piles of the items – one for items that float and another for items that sink. Then, ask them what the items in both categories have in common.
11. Jump rope
This is a great outdoor group activity, and it can help the children learn skills like coordination, balance, and strength. For this game, you'll need a large rope with one person holding the rope at both ends and swinging it.
You can sing a song or count numbers while jumping to determine the amount of time each child should jump.
12. Mud art
This is a great activity for preschoolers as it involves doing their favorite thing: getting messy.
Provide children with a jug of water and let them create mud puddles. They can also make all kinds of shapes, from small mud cups to mud people.
You can give them a bowl to mix the mud with water or put old newspapers on the working surface to manage the mess.
13. Duck Duck Goose
The Duck Duck Goose is a great game to encourage better listening and reaction time.
To play the game, children are asked to sit in a circle. A player is chosen, and the player walks around touching the children while saying “duck.” Then, they randomly touch a player and say “goose” instead.
When this happens, the goose is supposed to chase the player and return to their position in the circle before the player gets there first. If the player gets there first, the goose becomes the new leader. If the goose gets to their position first, the player sits at the center of the circle until another goose loses and takes their position.
To ensure all children have fun, have a rule that no one can be a goose twice.
14. Follow the leader
This is an oldie, but it has so many benefits. The game teaches children how to follow instructions, develop gross motor skills, and boost their concentration and exercise.
To play this game, choose one player to be the leader. Other players should repeat everything the leader does. If they jump, laugh, or run, they should follow suit. Players who don't get the action right are out. The last player left becomes the leader for the next round.
15. Hide and seek
Is a game list even complete without hide and seek? For this game, one player closes their eyes and counts to 20 as others hide. Once they’re done counting, they have to look for all participants. The first player to be found will be the one to do the counting in the next round.
Although this is an outdoor activity, it can also be done indoors.
There is always something to do
There is never a dull moment with toddlers. They have the energy required to play and the willingness to experiment with something new.
Choose one of the 15 games and see how your preschooler responds to it. With time, they’ll have favorites that they can play often.