Kids learn best when they are directly involved in the process. Set a solid educational foundations with these hands-on activities for preschoolers.
My youngest daughter just turned 6 years old, so we are officially out of the preschool phase. I still end up with preschoolers hanging out at my house for one reason or another on a pretty regular basis, and they all LOVE hands-on activities. So I figure it’s past time to write up our absolute favorite hands-on activities for preschoolers. It makes a great resource for ME when we have young kids in the house, and hopefully it helps you, too!
The Best Hands on Activities for Preschoolers
I’ve divided these activities into sections, but honestly there is crossover between all of them. Hopefully the organization makes it a little easier for preschool teachers, caregivers, and parents find what they need quickly! While this post showcases activities that come with some structure, don’t forget the importance of open-ended play! Remember, too, to spend plenty of time at the playground!
See Also: Why Children Need Play and How to Prioritize Play in a Busy World.
Art Hands-on Preschool Activities
- Animal Fashion Show. Besides encouraging kids to get creative, this activity builds fine motor skills since you have to get the clothes on the animals!
- Leaf Art for autumn, spring, and summer fun.
- Inspire Creativity with this simple DIY Makerspace.
- Open-Ended Nature Art.
- Sticker Mosaic Scenes
- Black Bean Mosaics
- Mess-Free Art
- No-Mess Color Mixing
Fine Motor Hands on Preschool Activities
- Bird Themed Pre-Writing Activity. This also teachers one-to-one correspondance (important for math).
- Help the Squirrels Find Their Acorns – a fun printable activity that develops fine motor.
- Apple Tree Tracing Page.
- How to Teach Preschoolers to Use Scissors.
Learning Language with Hands on Preschool Activities
- Five Fun Ways to Teach Kids Letters.
- Hop the Alphabet Board Game. This free printable keeps learning alphabet letter names fun.
- Sock Matching Rhyming Game. Another free printable game to practice language skills.
- Animal Stamping Farm Themed Literacy Activity.
- Read My Children’s Favorite Picture Books.
Learning Math with Hands on Preschool Activities
- Building Shapes with Bears. Bear counters aren’t just for counting!
- Make a geometric shapes train – printable included.
- Learn with Buttons.
- Quick and Easy Shape Activities for Preschool.
- Printable Duck Themed Matching Game. I love each child can make their own personalized matching game, turning this into an art activity as well.
- Learning Colors with Owls.
- Pattern Block Preschool Fun.
Engineering Hands on Preschool Activities
- Engineering Challenge: Can You Design and Build a Truck?
- Three Little Pigs Engineering Activity
- Bridge Building STEM Challenge.
- Spaghetti Tower STEM Chellenge.
Hands-on Science Activities for Preschoolers
- Easy Weather Tracking Printables for Preschool Scientists
- Track the Weather Around the World. This one doubles as an introduction to geography.
- Animal Observation Log.
- Explore the Science of Sound
- Fun Ways to Explore the Science of Flight
Social Studies Hands on Preschool Activities
- Preschool Grocery Store Activities. Learning about communities is an important part of early childhood education. This is another activity that also allows for a lot of math learning.
- How Can I Be a Community Helper? This is a community themed learning unit for preschool. Check out my unit about community helpers, too.
- Use Picture Books to Build Emotional Intelligence.
- Vibrant World Geography for Kids.
Hands on Preschool Sensory Activities
- Sea Shell Sensory Bin. This is a wonderful summer themed sensory bin that preschoolers love.
- Penguin Sensory Bin. This one is fantastic for inspiring all sorts of pretend play.
- Dress-Up Bears. Make these adorable bears out of felt – no sewing required!
- Easy Spring Sensory Play Idea
- Bring in the Snow Winter Sensory Play
Holiday Themed Hands on Activities
Preschoolers LOVE holidays! Here are our favorite holiday themed hands-on activities for preschoolers.
Preschooler Valentine’s Day Fun
Hands on Preschool Easter Activities
Preschool Halloween Activities
I have so many Halloween themed hands- on activities for preschoolers that they get their own page. My collection of Halloween activities for preschoolers, includes Halloween science, crafts, active play, book activities, and more!
Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year with preschoolers. There’s so much fun you can have with turkeys, and I love using this time to focus on gratitude. Over the years I’ve collected a wonderful range of preschool Thanksgiving activities that kids and parents – and preschool teachers – love.
Hands-on Preschool Christmas Activities
- Practice letters with this Reindeer Letter Matching Game – another free printable.
- Develop fine motor skills with these ornaments for kids to color and sew.
- Build a Christmas Train.
- Bring the Christmas Spirit Home with Kindness Elves.
- Christmas Picture Books and Activities for Kids.
What are your favorite hands on activities for preschoolers? Share your favorite hands-on learning ideas on my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram.
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
3 thoughts on “The Best Hands on Activities for Preschoolers”
You really did have the best hands on preschool stuff, it wasn’t too structured, which was what I always appreciated when reading your stuff.
Thank you! I miss having a preschooler!
Love the links you shared for pre-school activities and that they are all so hands-on!
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