Would your preschooler rather be outside then at a table with paint?
My daughter too.
I’ve seen so many adorable toddler and preschool crafts on Pinterest that my daughter just has zero interest in.
Egg carton caterpillars – nope.
Spelling her name in Pom Pom’s – double nope.
She will color and occasionally glue things, but definitely enjoys more “freestyle” crafts than any structured art piece.
So instead we do a lot of sensory and gross motor activities. Which is awesome! I find them less messy and easier to do on the fly.
Below is a list of our favorite 15 activities for the non-crafty toddler or preschooler.
Related: 5 No-Prep Toddler Activity Ideas
10 Non-Craft Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
1. Wash cars.
Big or small. We washed my car together and then took her toy car and she washed it.
If you don’t have toy cars you can let them wash any of their outdoor toys (ex. toy house, slide, etc).
2. Duplo and LEGO.
I will admit it took our preschooler until just before she turned 3 to play by herself with Duplo and build her own things. But now she won’t stop creating!
You can encourage them to build something from their favorite show or movie. Ex. Lets build a Castle or Car/Airplane.
We like this basic set that comes with lots of blocks for future builds.
3. Water beads.
I put a bunch of water beads in a large clear container or bowl and give her some kitchen tools to scoop.
We have made non-bake cookies from Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook and lots of different muffin recipes. Toddlers/Preschoolers loves measuring, pouring and stirring.
Knife skills. We have been practicing cutting with bananas using a butter knife that we use for smoothies or baking later
5. Afternoon bath – together!
For some reason my preschooler loves for me to jump in the tub with her. It’s a nice treat for me too in the middle of the day when the baby is napping.
You can both throw on swimsuits and go to the “pool” together. Add in eating Popsicles in the tub and you will be the best parent ever that day!
6. Play With Flashlights
In darker months or the basement we will play with flashlights. 5 ideas of games to play can be found here.
If we aren’t pretending someone is chasing us then we are fighting “bad guys”.
I’ve also given her a magnifying glass to explore as we walk.
And my old digital camera that I don’t use anymore.
8. Oobleck- aka “slime”
Recipe – 2 cups of cornstarch plus 1 cup of water (plus food coloring if you want).
Mix until you get a slime like texture.
This stuff is awesome! It’s not a liquid, it’s not a solid, but will amuse your preschooler for 30 minutes easily.
The Easter Bunny brought a bubble gun this year and it’s been entertaining her for weeks.
My toddler “washes my car with it” refer back to Idea 1 for cleanup!
10. Dance party
In the afternoon when we need to get “our sillies out” we will blast the My Little Pony soundtrack or I like to Move it by crazy frog.
A quick silly dance helps to get some energy out and is no prep.