15 Bedtime Activities for Preschoolers
Children THRIVE on consistency and routine. When it comes to bedtime, your preschool-aged child probably has a good concept of their bedtime routine and what to do to get ready for bed. Their bedtime routine cues their body that it’s time to settle down for a good night’s sleep. Putting your kids to sleep and the time leading up to bedtime can depend on a lot of factors, including the activities leading up to bedtime. If your child is watching a lot of television before bed or roughhousing and acting like a wild animal (like so many preschoolers like to do before bedtime) then this post is just for you! Below I have listed the top 15 calming activities you can do before bedtime to help with the transition from a busy day to a relaxing bedtime.
15 Bedtime Activities for Preschoolers
1. Read Stories
After a long day there is nothing a child likes to do more than read what feels like a million stories. Instead of saving reading books for only during their bedtime routine, start earlier so that you can read a few stories and save their favorite for during their actual bedtime routine. This can also help with the “please just one more story” that so many of us have heard.
2. Coloring or Painting
Whether you sit down with your child and color with them or you set them up at the table to paint independently, coloring or painting is the perfect way to incorporate some quiet time before bed.
3. Clay, Play Dough or Putty
This is a great hands-on activity where your child can use their imagination and come up with all kinds of creations. Making something from clay, play dough or putty is also a great sensory experience that can help relax and calm a child.
Puzzles are such a fun way to interact and play with your kiddo before bed. It allows them to use some problem solving skills as well as help them develop memory skills. They don’t require physical exertion so they’re a great quiet activity.
5. Pretend Play
Pretend play with a preschool aged kid is so fun! You can really see their imagination start to develop. It’s also a great way to avoid screen time before bed. If your child is begging to watch one more episode of Paw Patrol or Bluey, have them pretend play with their stuffed animals or figures what Chase from Paw Patrol would do if he met Bluey at the park.
6. Yoga or Stretching
Stretching or yoga can benefit anyone, regardless of age. Try some simple stretches or yoga poses pre bedtime routine to help relax and prep for bed.
7. Small Snack
There is nothing worse than a child coming out of their room 5 times after you’ve put them down because they’re hungry or thirsty. Sit down and have a small snack and drink of water together before bed. This way their tummy is full and they have plenty of time to go potty after their drink before they’re down for the night.
8. Building Blocks
Blocks are such a fun way to watch your child’s creativity shine! Try to see who can build the tallest tower or who can build the sturdiest house!
9. Warm Bath
A warm bath is relaxing for anyone, but especially for kids. Bath time is a great tool to wind and calm your child down for sleep! Try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to really help your kiddo relax and get ready for their bedtime routine.
10. Board Games
Games are a great way to incorporate the whole family into doing something together before bed. If you’ve got older kids and preschoolers, try a game like yahtzee or memory, something that everyone can play together and have fun with.
11. Listen to Music
Listening to music is a great alternative to watching tv or playing on a tablet before bed. You can start with a more fun upbeat playlist and switch to more calming music as time goes on and you get closer to bedtime.
12. Audio Books
Another great alternative to screen time! It’s almost like watching tv, but your child gets to really put their imagination to use trying to imagine what the different scenes look like in their mind!
13. Simple Crafts
You can use anything from paper plates to popsicle sticks. Give your child a few simple pieces to get started with and let them run free with their ideas. Markers, crayons, glue, pipe cleaners and plates are the perfect, simple starting points for a little evening crafting.
14. Talk About Their Day
Whether you’re laying in bed or stretching on the floor, talk about your child’s day with them. Let them know what your favorite part of the day was and ask them about theirs. You can also talk about what you’re looking forward to tomorrow and what you hope goes better tomorrow if parts of today were a struggle.
15. Prep for Tomorrow
This is huge in giving your child ownership of activities related to getting ready for the day. Whether it’s laying out their outfit for the next day or setting their shoes and backpack out by the front door, this is a great way to teach them to get a head start on the day.