It has been almost a month since my kids have been home from daycare and preschool with at least another 3 weeks to go. Since we live in a high rise apartment with no yard, we have been spending a lot of time indoors.
From simple games to arts supplies that won’t destroy the house, here are my go-to toys to occupy young kids. Not only do my 18 month daughter and almost 4 year old son love these toys, they are also educational or develop their motor skills.
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Books and Workbooks
This workbook includes a ton of activities that promote early learning in a fun way. Best of all, it easily wipes clean so kids can practice over and over again.
A cut and paste activity book is a great way to sharpen scissor skills and other fine motor skills. Colorful reward stickers keep kids motivated.
The name pretty much sums this book up. This book covers a wide range of activities in a pace that won’t overwhelm or bore the kiddos.
These 5-minute stories are perfect for not losing track of time while reading. With a wide variety of subjects from Disney to other character favorites, you know exactly how long “one more story will take”.
As much as I love reading to my kids, these Me Readers are great for little ones to feel independent.
This tabletop easel is compact but mighty. It includes a chalkboard, white board, roll paper, magnetic letters and numbers in an easy to tuck away size.
Ultra-washable? Yes, yes they are. From walls to carpet to faces, parents can leave washable markers these out for when their little Picasso is inspired.
These dot markers were a more recent find and so far they’ve proven to be a hit.
One of our favorite activities to pack on a plane, these mess free markers only work on the special paper.
Open-Ended Building Toys
Timeless building blocks that are perfect for imaginative play. Bonus: they easily store in a crate so they don’t take over your house.
My kids love this STEAM toy. They build everything from hockey sticks to monsters to helicopters.
Magnetic tiles are a favorite at preschools and definitely a favorite in our home. I tested the waters with a smaller package and quickly upgraded to a larger set. If you’re willing to splurge, I recommend anything with the wheel add-ons.
I bought these building toys for my son’s first birthday and they are still in heavy rotation almost 3 years later. Best of all, even though both kids have different skill levels they can play at the same time.
Gross Motor Toys
Sometimes my kids just need to jump up and down like crazy. This foldable trampoline saves my couch and sanity.
Cheap, fun and great exercise. I bought a hopper ball for each kid and they like to race each other down the hallway.
These balance buckets look silly but they keep my kids active, help them with coordination and stack easily for clean up.
Toys That Improve Fine Motor Skills
I almost didn’t include this as I think play-doh is a no-brainer in every household. With rare exceptions, I stay away from the theme products and stock up on small containers. My kids like to mix colors.
Each putty color is a different strength so you can use this putty a variety of ways. Roll it into shapes or hide beads inside and challenge kids find all of them.
This wikki stix is a great “quiet-time” activity I pull out from time to time. Since it takes up so little space, it was originally my go to carry on toy when traveling.
I tried another brand of kinetic sand initially and hated it. A friend convinced my to try this one and we are all hooked. Who knew sand could be easy to clean up?
This sticker pad really is reusable. Best of all, it is an independent activity so mom and dad can get some work done while the kids are occupied.
This Jigsaw Puzzles in a Box is smaller than it looks but my kids love all four puzzles.
This question and answer game is a great way to learn new concepts. If your child skews on the older side of the recommended age, I suggest the next age up.
This game claims to develop critical analytical thinking skills. I just know my son was so proud when he first got through all the cards. Although I was on the fence about this initially he keeps going back to it and tries to teach his little sister.
This Roll and Play Game is a fun game all ages can play together. It keeps kids entertained while reinforcing colors, taking turns, counting and moving.
When all else fails, let your kids play in the water.
My kids have sensitive skin and after using this for years, it has not irritated their skin. It also comes with a wand so they can blow bubbles with their bubble bath.
The only thing better than bubble bath is colorful bubble bath. I also use these to teach them about color mixing.
These bath crayons are a cute way to practice their fine motor skills and easy clean up for me.
Used on their own or in a chain, these bath pipes are always requested during bath time.