7 Educational and Entertaining Activities for Young Kids

Inclement weather can be tough on grown ups and kids alike. Add on the desire to both educate and entertain your kids when you’re stuck indoors and it can feel downright impossible. That’s why we put together a list of activities you can do safely and easily right at home.

The following activities are perfect to entertain one or more children during inclement weather – whether it’s after school, on a weekend, over the holiday break or for a birthday party. Read on, choose your favorite and start there!

1. Building Challenge

Building with Legos is not only great fun, it’s also a great way for children to work on skills such as problem solving, spatial skills, creativity, and resilience (there are often many opportunities to remind them that it’s ok to “mess up” and start over). Allow your child to decide whether to start with ready-made structures or to create his or her own – each offers its own benefits.

ESjr tip: Choose the best set based on your child’s age and interests. We started with this basic Duplo set, as these are non-themed, the simplest to piece together, and can easily be built by your child independently.

2. Creating Patterns

There’s nothing better than bright, cheery colors and an artistic challenge to keep children entertained. Better yet, by creating challenging patterns, your children will learn problem solving, early math concepts, spatial skills, strategy, symmetry, and fine motor skills.

ESjr tip: Our favorite version is MindWare’s Pattern Play

3. Duct Tape Alphabet Magnets

Super simple, and fun, teaching tool for both younger and older children. Younger children can use the magnets to learn the letters of the alphabet, while older children can use the magnets to spell out words.

ESjr tip: You’ll need a few ingredients for this one [duct tape, scissors, magnets (3/4 in round), thin cardboard, and paint pens]. We loved these paint pens, with adult supervision and plenty of time to dry.

4. A-maze-ing Challenge

Mazes are a great way to challenge your little one’s mind. After completing several mazes, challenge your child to create her own maze on a blank piece of paper. If you’re working from a book of mazes, don’t be afraid to rip out the pages and spread out on the floor – working from an unforgiving paperback can cause undue stress for your child if she cannot see the whole page easily.

ESjr tip: We have tried several maze books, but this is our personal favorite: Kids’ Mazes Book: Twist, Squirm, and Wind Your Way Through Subways, Museums, Monster Lairs, and Tombs

5. Mess-free Glitter Artwork

You read that right: mess-free. Thanks to Melissa and Doug, your children can create glittery artwork without all the hassle. Creating the artwork itself allows your child to work on fine motor skills.

ESjr tip: There are several designs to choose from, but consider choosing one that will open up opportunity for additional learning, such as the underwater scenes (e.g. name all the objects in each scene and learn more about each one).

6. Jenga Challenge

Anyone who has ever played Jenga knows the concentration, skill and strategy involved. This game is a great way for your child to practice all three. Ask your child to help create the Jenga structure for an added lesson in patterns.

ESjr tip: There are many options out there, but this was the best price we could find.

7. Magnetic Fun

Magna-Tiles® are fun for both adults and children, and the construction possibilities are endless: start with flat patterns, then work on 3D shapes, and move on to more complex creations. Through imaginative play, your children will learn about shapes, develop fine motor skills, and improve problem solving skills.

ESjr tip: We own more sets of these than we care to admit.