Indoor activities to keep cool with preschoolers | Quality Start

Indoor activities to keep cool with preschoolers

Southern California summers mean blistering heatwaves and the need to limit time spent outdoors, especially for vulnerable populations. But what do you do on hot days with small children who love to explore and play outside? Don’t worry, we have low-maintenance ideas featuring items you most likely have at home right now to help fill the time inside.

keep cool craft

This cool craft will inspire artistic imagination. Salt painting requires minimal materials and delivers a sensory and exploratory opportunity in five quick steps. Make sure to choose your location thoughtfully before you begin. Things may get a bit messy!

  1. Gather your supplies
    • thick paper
    • squeeze glue
    • salt
    • small bowls of water
    • food coloring
    • paint brush.
  2. Add food coloring of choice to the bowls of water.
  3. Create any design or markings on the paper using the squeeze glue.
  4. Sprinkle salt across the glue.
  5. Dip the paint brush in one of the bowls of color water and paint on top of the salt and glue. Watch the magic happen.

Find more ideas like fairy houses and DIY bird feeders here.

Keep cool snack

Let’s make fruit juice pops using your child’s culinary creativity!


  • 3 cups juice of your choice
  • ½ cup yogurt or cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

Items :

  • Container
    • Popsicle mold
    • Muffin tin
    • Ice cube trays
    • Plastic or paper cup
  • Popsicle sticks or plastic spoons
  • Aluminum foil – optional


Blend the juice, yogurt or cream, and cornstarch together. We picked orange juice as our juice of choice for an orange creamsicle effect. Pour the blended liquid into your selected container. If using a container other than a popsicle mold, you can use aluminum foil to help stabilize the popsicle sticks. Place the aluminum foil down first, make a small cut for the popsicle stick, and then push the stick through. Freeze your treat for four to six hours and enjoy!

Ready for another recipe? Check out fruit kebabs here.

Keep cool podcasts

Explore a new podcast! These are great for drive times, quiet hours, and as a screen alternative.

  • Circle Round – This parent created podcast has15-25 minute episodes that center on stories with values like kindness and persistence. There is an activity and prompts for conversation after each story.
  • Eat Your Spanish – “The number one Spanish Language learning podcast for children and families” features games, sing-alongs, and stories to introduce Spanish to your little ones.
  • African Folktales with Miss Jojo – Each episode is a generations old, traditional folktale with a lesson.
  • Goodnight, World – a “sleepcast” from Sesame Street engineered to encourage resting bodies and minds and help prepare little ones for sleep using mindfulness and breathing exercises.

Keep cool indoors, but out of the house

If you’re looking for something nearby, the San Bernardino County libraries may have just what you need. Head over to the county website for location-specific story times and other opportunities.

If you’re ready to take a drive, consider one of the many museums in the surrounding areas.

These SoCal museums feature free days during certain hours and/or for specific age groups.

Low cost options:

Outdoor keep cool ideas

For those hours you can be outside and you’re headed to a water activity,  check out these very important tips for Safe Swimming:

  1. Start swim lessons. Search for locations near you that offer low-cost options or scholarship options like this one. This is a life-saving skill to have and an important opportunity for children of all ages.
  2. Never leave children unattended. It is a good idea to designate a “water-watcher” or someone whose only task is watching the pool with no distractions.
  3. Always check to make sure there is a safety-compliant drain cover in spas and shallow pools. Even if there is a properly covered drain, do not play or swim near it as they may catch clothing items, jewelry and hair.
  4. Install the proper barriers and alarms if you have a pool or spa at your home. The water should be accessible by one self-closing and self-latching gate. You may also install an alarm to notify you anytime the gate is open.
  5. Get CPR certified. Classes may be offered by local community centers, hospitals, and the American Red Cross.

Encouragement to parents trying to keep their cool

And one last reminder: Do not fear the bored child; boredom is a vital tool. An unscheduled child will delve into their own worlds, ideas, and creativity using minimal props like toy cars and block roads, empty boxes, crayons, and so on. These moments free from planned entertainment and activity help build their resilience, independence, and self-esteem.

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