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Who would have thought that finding the right activities for 3-year-olds would be complicated? With so much time for play, it’s easy to get bored playing doctor with your child 10 times a day, every day.
The truth is, most of us end up repeating the same activities over and over again, sometimes because we don’t know there are other simple and easy-to-set-up activities out there, and sometimes because it’s easy to fall into similar patterns.
The good news is that there are many simple activities for 3-year-olds that can be spread throughout the day.
Remember that 3-year-old activities are essential to your child’s development because they help him develop or strengthen important skills such as fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, color and number recognition, and so on.
So let’s take a look at what your 3-year-old can do (or is just starting to do), and then I’ll give you a list of 40 simple activities, many of which you can do with objects you already have around the house.
What can a 3-year-old do?
When choosing activities for your 3-year-old, it is important to remember that this age group is naturally active, mobile, and learning in new ways every day. It is also an age of curiosity, the “why” age, when your child wants to know everything about everything.
A three-year-old can:
– Communicate effectively. They are saying more words, using simple sentences, and are more easily understood by others.
– Name colors.
– Sing along with simple rhymes.
– Dress and undress themselves (but they can still do buttons and zippers).
– Draw lines and copy a circle.
– Understand differences in size.
– Understand simple directions.
– Understand prepositions (on, under, in) and pronouns (you, me, they).
– Understand simple rules of play such as waiting your turn and sharing toys.
– Run and jump.
– Ride a tricycle.
– Feed themselves.
– Build simple objects by stacking.
– Wash and dry hands.
– Concentrate on tasks for a little longer than five minutes.
At three years of age, your child is also learning new things very quickly, and the activities they engage in are great for their development. It is generally recommended that toddlers not be inactive for more than an hour at a time during their waking hours.
Here is a great list of kid-friendly activities for your 3-year-old!
40 Activities Your 3-Year-Old Will Love
It’s always nice to have ideas for simple but different fun activities to do with your 3-year-old. The list below has many activities, all of which are designed to develop specific skills.
Go through the list and choose about 10 activities that you can propose throughout the day to make sure your child is practicing different skills each day.
1. Give your child a piece of cardboard and ask him or her to finger paint with water. They’ll love it, and the best part? No mess guarantee!
2. Turn on the music and have a dance party to your favorite dance songs.
3. Let your child help you cut soft fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. These Montessori designed knives are great for encouraging your child to participate in everyday household tasks.
4. Go on a nature walk, give your child a bag and ask him to collect at least five different objects.
5. Give them lots of age-appropriate puzzles.
6. Ask your child to build a tower out of toilet paper and tissue boxes.
7. Give your child a box or coloring book and ask him or her to color with child-friendly colors.
8. Give your child magnetic blocks and let him or her express creativity.
9. Take a walk and ask your child to name all the colors he or she sees.
10. Give them a giant search and find toy whose collection is adapted to 3-year-olds.
11. Play the memory game. Turn over memory cards and take turns trying to find two similar cards. Start with a few cards and gradually increase the number of cards as your child gets better at the game. Here are printable memory cards your child will love.
12. Let your child play doctor or dentist with their dolls or stuffed animals.
13. Look at family photos together.
14. Ask your child to water plants. They’ll love feeling all grown up. Encouraging your child to participate in age-appropriate chores is an easy way to keep them busy and help them develop important skills. This article has everything you need to know about choosing the right chores.
15. Get them a balance bike to help them practice their coordination.
16. Open a page in their favorite book and ask them to find certain objects.
17. Give your child stickers to play with.
18. Do a giant floor puzzle together.
19. Play dough activities are great for 3 year olds.
20. Let your child help you in the garden. They will love planting their own seeds and pulling out weeds.
21. Look at pictures in books and talk about the different feelings.
22. Read books together. Listening to audio books is also a great activity for a 3-year-old.
23. Go to the library.
24. Take your child to age-appropriate events in your neighborhood.
25. Take your child swimming.
26. Play hide-and-seek.
27. Listen to music.
28. Grab a giant box, turn it into a tunnel, and let your child decorate and play with it. Endless fun guaranteed!
29. Ask your three year old to paint on the outside of the house with water and a paintbrush.
30. Play Simon says. Laughs guaranteed!
31. Put duct tape on the floor and ask your child to walk or drive a car on it.
32. Give your child different empty containers and grains and have him or her move the grains from one container to another.
33. Give your child large beads to thread.
34. Put various objects that your child is familiar with into a bag and ask them to take out a particular object without looking in the bag.
35. Ask your child to dress up dolls.
36. Take your child to the park.
37. Get empty boxes of different sizes and tape them together. Ask your child to stack them and knock them over. You can also ask them to sort the boxes from smallest to largest, shortest to tallest, etc.
38. Mix plastic spoons, knives and forks and ask your child to separate them.
39. Mix objects of different colors (or shapes), then ask your child to sort them by color (or shape).
40. Put some heavy objects in your laundry basket and have your 3-year-old push them around.
What are some of your favorite activities for 3-year-olds? These simple activities aren’t just for 3 year olds, they’re great activities that can teach important skills to older and younger kids alike!
Let us know in the comments what activities your 3-year-old absolutely loves!