Indoor Play


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources.

Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

child playing with toys


21 Fun Indoor Games for Kids
Camelia Gherib
Camelia Gherib, 2017
This book contains an array of games for every kid that will keep them entertained for hours. Most games are designed to play alone, with a parent, or with a group.
Only available as an eBook

2,4,6,8 This Is How We Regulate! 75 Play Therapy Activities to Increase Mindfulness in Children
Tracy Turner-Bumberry
PESI, 2019
This book presents 75 simple, playful and on-point interventions that combines mindfulness, expressive arts and play to help kids achieve greater self-regulation, focus more and stress less.
Call#: BF 723 .M37 T851 2019

30 Fun Ways to Learn With Blocks and Boxes
Clare Beswick
Gryphon House, 2011
30 Fun Ways to Learn with Blocks and Boxes is full of small group and individual activities that explore construction, collaborative play, and basic math concepts.
Call#: GV 1218 .B6A27 2011

Art Lab for Little Kids: 52 Playful Projects for Preschoolers
Susan Schwake
Quarry Books, 2013
Art Lab for Little Kids is geared toward preschoolers, but the lessons can be enjoyed by all ages. Activities range from drawing to painting and printmaking using materials such as balloons and lace.
Call#: N 7440 .S393 2013

The Budding Artist
Laura Laxton, Ed.
Gryphon House, 2012
This fun-filled introduction to arts and crafts features easy-to-follow instructions and easy-to-find materials that will help you and your child have as much fun creating art as viewing the finished product. Series includes The Budding Chef, The Budding Builder, etc.
Call#: N 7440 .B83 2012

Embracing Rough-and-Tumble Play
Mike Huber
Redleaf Press, 2016
This practical, hands-on resource encourages you to incorporate boisterous physical play into every day and offers concrete advice on how to create spaces for safe play, how to effectively work big body movement into children’s daily schedule, and how to use physical play to make teaching practice more dynamic and effective.
Call#: GV 452 .H83 2016
Also available as an eBook

The Encyclopedia of Infant and Toddler Activities: for children birth to 3
Donna Wittmer
Gryphon House, 2017
This book provides activities that will help you support curiosity, play, exploration, persistence, emerging foundations in literacy and math, problem solving, and so much more!
Call#: LB 1139.35 .A37 E53 2017 

Let’s Play and Learn Together: Fill Your Baby’s Day With Creative Activities That Are Fun and Enhance Development
Roni Leiderman
Fair Winds Press, 2012
This book provides 100 games, activities, and exercises that parents can do with their baby to foster cognitive, motor, and language skills and shows parents how they can use daily caregiving routines such as feeding, diapering, dressing, bathing, and bedtime as opportunities for play, positive emotional attachment, and learning.
Call#: HQ 774 .L3945 2012
Also available in eBook

Let’s Play and Learn Together! 30 At-Home Activities for Infants and Toddlers
Nancy Vogel and Christine M Snyder
HighScope, 2017
Parents and children will have a blast with the fun, varied games and projects in this book — activities that align with key areas of child development and include step-by-step instructions, strategies, and suggestions for parents of children with special needs.
Call#: LB 1139.35 .A37 V63 2017

The New Language of Toys: Teaching Communication Skills to Children with Special Needs
Sue Schwartz
Woodbine House, 2004
Schwartz has children with special needs in mind as she suggests ways parents can use suggested toys to encourage communication skills. The book includes chapters specific to the child’s age.
Call#: WS 105.5 .C8 S399 2004 

Parenting With Theraplay: Understanding Attachment and How to Nurture a Closer Relationship With Your Child
Vivien Norris and Helen Rodwell
Jessica Kingsley, 2017
Based on a sequence of play activities that are rooted in neuroscience, Theraplay offers a fun and easy way for parents and children to connect.
Call#: BF 723 .P25 N67 2017

Recipes for Messy Play: 40 Fun Sensory Experiences for Young Learners
Cathy Sheppard
New Shoots, 2018
Messy play is one of the great joys of early childhood. Recipes for Messy Play uses 40 fun, open-ended, and creative recipes for children that can be used both in the early childhood education setting and at home.
Call#: LB 1139.35 .P55R2438 2018

Recipes for Play : Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations
Rachel Sumner & Ruth Mitchener
The Experiment, 2014
This book contains easy and inexpensive ideas for engaging a child’s senses. It’s a book for parents and teachers – or anyone with a child in their life – who want to encourage tactile learning but don’t want their lives to be controlled by chaos.
Only available as an eBook 

Screen-Free Fun: 400 Activities for the Whole Family
Shannon Philpott-Sanders
Adams Media, 2018
Screen-Free Fun offers over 400 ideas to disconnect from tech devices and reconnect with our families in a healthier way.
Call#: GV 182.8 .P55 2018

Treasure Basket Explorations: Heuristic Learning for Infants and Toddlers
Laura Wilhelm
Gryphon House, 2017
This book explains heuristic learning–discovery by trial and error–and how to encourage this type of learning to boost development. Teachers will learn how to set up treasure baskets that encourage heuristic play: containers filled with easy-to-find items that support explorations in emergent language, math, and science skills.
Call#: LB 1139.35 .P55 W55 2017

Toddler activities made easy : 100+ fun and creative learning activities for busy parents
Krissy Bonning-Gould
Rockridge Press, 2019
A book for parents that gives you plenty of quick, easy, and fun-filled activities to engage your child’s curiosity.
Call#: HQ 774.5 .B6439 2019


Power of Play: Building Skills and Having Fun
5 min; online
Zero to Three, 2016
This online video from Zero to Three’s series the Magic of Everyday Moments shows how babies develop through play. Play is how children test their ideas and learn new skills.

Being with infants
215 min; DVD
MVD Visual, 2018
This one-of-a-kind series gives childhood providers and parents direct access to a comprehensive care approach from renowned child specialist Beverly Kovach, certified Montessori trainer Emmi Pikler, and Resources for Infant Educators (RIE). Series includes expert advice on play with infants.
Call#: HQ 755.8 .B3968 2018   

Age-appropriate play.
Volume 1, The first 12 months | Volume 2, 12-24 months | Volume 3, 2 -3 years
15 min each; DVD
InJoy Productions, 2004
In these videos, parents and caregivers will learn what social, language and motor milestones young children will be reaching and how to play in a way that supports these achievements. Viewers will discover how to stimulate skills development through age-appropriate games, toys and activities that are easy to understand and fun to implement.
Call#: HQ 782 .A44 2004

Baby Tata
41 min; DVD
Baby Tata, 2004
Teaches parents techniques for interactive play, exercise, and massage to do with babies based on massage therapy, karaoke singalongs, games, and exercise routines.
Call#: WB 537 .B115s 2004

Fingerplays! Hands That Tell a Story
44 min; DVD
Merriweather Records Ltd., 2011
Presented by Kathy Reid-Naiman. Fingerplays are a way of telling a story using your hands and fingers to illustrate the words.
Call#: GV 1218 .F5 F56 2011


Teaching Young Children, 11(5)
Talking with Parents about Play and Learning
Laurel Bongiorno. (2018)
This article is available for free on NAEYC’s website and offers an evidence-based approach to sharing information with parents and families about the importance of play in learning and development.

Web Resources

Just-Right Sensory Play (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Parenting Can Be Child’s Play (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Games for All Young Children
Games help make movement fun. Play and laughter can help develop friendship while encouraging physical fitness. Consider each child’s abilities, and encourage all children to play by adapting games for children with special needs. Also in Spanish and Polish.

Keeping Healthy and Safe: Play Time
Young children are learning that sometimes, sharing toys and supplies is not helpful. Adults can support them with simple explanations, visual supports, and practice. Also in Spanish, Polish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and French.

Young Children Need to Play!
It has been said that play is children’s work. Children work hard at their play because they can make it up themselves. The best part about children’s play is that they learn a great deal while having fun. Here are some things to keep in mind about play. Also in SpanishPolish, and Korean.

How Does a Blind Child Play?
Parents can provide interesting situations and objects to encourage a blind baby’s exploration and play.

Child’s Play: Top ten Tips for Parents and Families
Through play, children are learning about the world around them, practicing talking and listening as well as finding out how to make friends and get along with others. Here are some tips from Play Scotland to help you and your child play.

Indoor Play Ideas
Play is vital for children’s physical health as well as their mental health and cognitive development. This booklet from Play Scotland provides ideas for many ways for families to play indoors.

Play & Learn Center
This site, provided by, provides information on toys, games, reading readiness, music, and activities for young children.

10 Fun Indoor Activities that Boost Young Children’s Development
This post offers 10 indoor activities that help boost key areas of development while having fun with young children.

Math All Day: 14 Ways to Teach Young Children Math Skills During Daily Routines
For young children, developing a strong foundation of basic math concepts is easier when their families join in too, finding fun and creative ways to slip little math-related lessons and challenges into everyday activities.

Related Resource(s)