Preschoolers have a ton of energy. End Stop. Unfortunately, you’re likely reading this during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and are running out of ways to keep your smallest kids entertained. This 3-5 age group is too young for a lot of structured play, but we’ve compiled a few ideas to buy yourselves a few minutes to check an email, run the laundry, or escape for a minute and join in on the fun.

1. Snail Mail
Send a letter to your child’s friends and family! Find the extra envelopes you know you have leftover from your holiday cards, a piece of printer paper, and let your child decorate to their heart’s desire. It also allows for a teaching moment regarding addresses and proper placement of postage. Chances are you’ll get some mail back, which is sure to excite your preschooler!

2. Art Display
Children around the world have been placing their artwork in the windows of their homes for their neighbors to see. Brighten someone’s day by having your child create a special piece to have on display for a larger audience than normal!

3. Animal Rescue
Busy Toddler is an excellent resource for a ton of activities for your kids. Our personal favorite is animal rescue. Use a couple of larger storage containers and a slotted spoon to allow your child to “fish” out his favorite plastic toys. Depending on the age and rambunctiousness of your child, this one could get a little wet, but definitely well worth the smiles and fun.

4. Painter’s Tape
The possibilities are endless. Younger preschoolers will enjoy the sensory aspects of sticking his or her toys to it, while older kids can tape it down to carpet to create balance beams, obstacle courses, or refuge from the “hot lava” floor.

5. Paper Chains
A classic boredom activity. Luckily, your preschooler has probably never seen one before! Cut up strips of paper and staple or tape some loops together as long as they are willing. Children love to create large items and a long chain to pull around the house definitely fits that category.

6. Taste Tests
Do you have an adventurous preschooler? Do blind taste tests with some of their favorite (or not so favorite foods.) Of course, preschoolers can be notoriously picky, so if they are into this game, you might end up getting them to try some new foods and flavors!

7. Indoor Campsite
Forts are always a fun activity, but why not pitch a tent! Bring out any camping gear you may have and put the tent out in the family room. Your preschooler will be entertained by merely the sight of something new in the room. Encourage him or her to bring some stuffed friends into the tent and “read” some stories as they explore the new surroundings.

8. Scavenger Hunt
This can be as simple or complex as you want. Take some sticky notes and place them around the house. Send your child on a hunt to find all of them. Want to take it a step further? Draw clues on each sticky note as a hint on where to find the next one.

9. Virtual Preschool
Sometimes you just need to tap out and leave it to the professionals. Feel good about screen time and allow your child to attend “virtual preschool.” Play to Learn Preschool has both a collection of videos and a live feed to keep your kids engaged and learning.

10. Hide and Seek
You hide. They seek. That’s at least 30 seconds to yourself. Enjoy.