Home Daycare Activities (That You Can Prep in 5 Minutes or Less)
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With just a few supplies that you probably already have, you can put together home daycare activities in 5 minutes or even less. You don’t have to have a bunch of fancy lesson plans or every supply known to man to do a great job of running a home daycare.
No prep preschool activities
I work a lot better when I plan ahead with lesson plans like these and get my supplies together for my daycare activities before I need them. But not everyone succeeds that way. I like to plan out the school year and make shopping lists for each month. Then plan out the summer the same way, taking a few weeks’ break between each session for planning.
But many people would be totally overwhelmed by that and like to plan on the fly. For me, I would end up doing nothing if I didn’t have a plan. But each person needs to do what works for them.
If you like to pull it out in minutes flat, these daycare activities are a great pool to collect from. And if you’re a planner, it’s great to plan super quick ideas. You’ll be thanking yourself all year.
For a great printable to use with your stone soup friendship soup, check this out.
Check out these 5 minute games for daycare to add to your lesson plans!
Yarn painting, marble painting, and shaving cream painting are great ideas to have art on the fly. You probably have everything you need lying around as well. I love doing process art with kids! They learn so much and build so much confidence and creativity. If you hate messy paint, try these cool paint markers. We love them too!
Fireworks in a jar is another fun one as well.
Q tip painting is an excellent activity to develop the fine motor skills of Toddlers. Here are 4 free Q tip painting templates for you to easily set the activity.
If you have some markers and old take-out containers around, you can even make homemade shrinky dinks on the fly. Check out the patterns for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and gardening.
A cute, super-easy Giraffe drawing printable. Four different practice sheets for different skills levels: step-by-step, image tracing, grid drawing, and coloring pages. Just print out and have fun!
Check out these fire safety lessons you can order and print out for teaching fire safety!
Music and movement preschool activities
I keep a basket of instruments in my bedroom. When we want to do music and movement, I turn on the tv, pick a music station, turn it up loud, and let the kids jam out. It’s one of our favorite daycare activities at Little Sprouts.
In the basket, there are a bunch of dancing scarves. We can grab those out and do tons of different movement activities with them. We can dance with them of course, but we can also jump over them, walk on them in a line, follow a beat with them, or exercise with them. There are a ton of ways you can use them with no preparation.
This children’s book and craft is inspired by the song ‘Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun!’ To make the character hand puppets, you’ll need brown lunch bags and whatever you can find in your craft closet.
Language activities for toddlers
These ASL alphabet coloring pages are perfect daycare activities for preschoolers. They are a fun and easy language activity to do with kids.
This children’s book and goo recipe is a great way to integrate language arts and STEM. To make the goo, you’ll need dish soap and salt. Two items from the kitchen.
All you need is a sheet of paper and scissors for this adorable read-aloud. Cut pieces from the paper as you tell the story to create a special surprise ending that children will love.
No prep stem activities
Do you have some old candy canes lying around from the holidays? These science and math activities with candy canes are fun, but take no preparation. Kids can learn a ton from them.
Making craft stick catapults can be thrown together in minutes.
This lava lamp science project is fun for kids of any age.
This homemade kinetic sand is also a great science activity for kids.
The materials for this Mermaid Math activity can be found in any daycare or preschool craft closet. The only thing you’d need would be felt and pompoms. And you can make mermaid bookmarks from coffee filters too.
Paper towel tube number matching game! Perfect for number sense with preschool and PreK and it comes together in minutes.
Soap, pepper, and a dish of water are all you need for a fast and fun STEM activity that shows why washing hands is so important!
How high can you build? Grab some cups and popsicle sticks to create a tower with this STEM challenge for kids.
Gather a few craft feathers and some pony beads for this fine motor feather beading activity for daycare.
Color activities for preschool
You can learn colors and shapes with these bean bags you can get and have at the ready. They are great for gross motor skill building and social-skill building as well. And you can teach shapes and colors with this dollar store craft stick building set that you can whip up in 5 minutes with only two items. (You might already have them on hand)
This nature color wheel free printable is such a simple and easy activity that you can do with your kids year-round! Such a fun and easy way to learn colors and incorporate nature into learning. Just and start exploring!
Make color matching “toys” from bottle tops in just a few minutes, they roll too! Perfect daycare activities you can use over and over again.
Simply print this rainbow playdough mat, provide the playdough and a die and you are ready to play!
For printable pom pom learning mats for Christmas and winter, check these out.
Dramatic play activities for preschool
Grab some teddy bears and go on a bear hunt or have a teddy bear picnic for lunch. The teddys can sit with the kids as they eat. You can even plan ahead and let them bring teddies from home, but you sure don’t have to. I’m sure you have plenty of stuffed animals at daycare to make daycare activities with.
Plant beans and do these Jack and the Beanstalk finger puppets (Or just do the puppets if you don’t have any cups and dirt)
For more dramatic play ideas, check these out.
Outdoor activities for preschoolers
Do you have any chalk paint? You have a ready-made rock painting activity. Just grab some rocks from outside and get to painting. You can also use acrylics but they won’t last outside in the weather as long. Speaking of grabbing stuff outside. What about a nature walk where you collect leaves in the fall and crunch them up into homemade glitter to sprinkle on some art paper?
You could also use them whole and glue them on a collage. If you want to keep them for a while, you can iron them between sheets of waxed paper with layers of newspaper on the outsides. The wax will coat the leaves and preserve them.
You can do nature walks in the spring, summer, and winter as well. Kids can collect items in a sack to take home, or make collages with them at daycare, or build something out of them. Nature has endless ideas for art.
Body parts activities for toddlers
Teaching treasure has a bunch of great suggestions for body parts activities that you can whip up with little prep or no prep.
Toddlers gross motor activities
You can throw together a quick scavenger hunt or obstacle course with whatever you have around and the kids will have tons of fun. They are great for rainy days!
Don’t forget about sidewalk chalk, climbing, swinging, running, jumping, and more. We use paper plates or jumping stones to jump from thing to thing without a lot of prep work. You can make a balance beam out of a log, some tape, or whatever you have inside or outside.
Anything that builds balance and works the large muscles of the body is great for gross motor development for toddlers and preschoolers.
Sensory activities for infants
Looking for a great way to help your baby develop new skills? Baby sensory bags are a great tool and so easy to make. Learn how to make your own, plus get some FREE printable play sheets to make your sensory bags even more fun!
We grew a sensory garden for the kids to explore. It’s not as hard as you think, and you can even make it in a pot or 5-gallon bucket. Just grab a few plants and fill something with dirt. If you have good soil, you can dig right in the ground. Then you have it at the ready all the time for months out of the year. No prep at all, just take them outside.
Did you know you can make an infant activity in a few minutes with a ziplock bag and some instant pudding? You can even use the already made pudding. Put it in a gallon bag and zip, you’re done. You can use paint in the bags as well. Check out all these sensory activity ideas for daycare too.
There are so many ways you can stimulate kids’ interests, minds, and bodies with little or no prep at all. So give some of these ideas a try. You can even ask the kids which ones they want to do and let them plan the lessons. I can’t wait to hear all about it!
These home daycare crafts and activities for special holidays can help make your celebrations fun!
And if you’re looking for more low maintenance ideas, check these mess free activities out. And don’t forget to check out these printable activities.
For more ideas for home daycare activities, check these out. And for help starting a home daycare, check this out.