We can all use some great ideas when it comes to activities for 3 year olds, and these ones require minimal setup using items you likely already have in your house. So set some stuff up, keep your toddler busy, and get done what you need to get done while your little one has some fun while working on their fine motor skills and sensory experiences. It’s really win win for everyone 🙂
Looking for more ideas? These activities for 3 year olds are part of a series I’m doing with Carly from Mindful Education to share kids activities for toddlers and preschool aged kids. Carly loves being able to support each unique child to be fully themselves. Using your child’s interests, she creates “learning plans” which consist of 10 activities and songs to help build your little one’s knowledge, creativity, and skill level. She’s created this list of 3 fun activities based off favourites of the children she has worked with. You can check out her website to learn more about Carly and all of her services.
Carly’s Activities for 3 Year Olds
Painting and Cleaning
1. Gather two bins
2. Fill one with soapy water and sponges, and one with baby dolls (or something else your kiddo loves!)
3. Put some paint in cups next to the baby dolls, with some paintbrushes
4. Let them at it!
Of course, they aren’t typically “allowed” to paint their toys, which is why most children love this activity! It’s also fun to be able to transform your dolls, see the colours mix together, wash them off afterwards… And such a rich sensory experience! Painting with a paintbrush also enhances their fine motor skills.
This is a great activity if you have pieces of chalk that are too small to color with! I discovered how fun it is, by accident one day. I was at work (preschool) and we were outside. The chalk had been left out in the rain, and then spilled into the ground when a kiddo tried to put it away. They accidentally stepped on a piece, and I noticed how bright and beautiful it looked on the ground! I stepped on another piece, and commented on how neat it looked. This quickly generated interest, and soon, all of the children were stomping on the chalk together! The best time to do this, is in the rain (the water makes the colors so bright!) Of course, it can be done in any weather, and you can always spray it with some water! Just put the chalk on the ground and stomp away!
A simple activity for this age group is beading. It’s best to start off with large wooden beads and thick string (typically around 2years of age). Depending on skill level, you can move to smaller string and beads. Pipe cleaners are fairly easy to put beads onto, so that is a great way to practice. Fishing line is great for making bracelets and necklaces. Most of the children I know love making jewelry for their parents or friends! Another alternative to string and beads, is dry spaghetti with cheerios. Any of these options are excellent for fine motor development and hand eye coordination. Also for learning about patterns, if that’s where they’re at developmentally!
A big thank you to Carly for putting together these activites for 3 year olds for us. Not only does she love creating these learning plans, but she also supports parents with behavioural management and meal planning which you can learn about here.
These activities for 3 year olds all sound like so much fun! We did our own version of painting and cleaning after our car painting session from the 2 year old activities post a couple of weeks ago, and the kids loved it! I think we spent over an hour doing everything which was a much needed distraction from staying cooped up inside because of terrible weather. Make sure to follow along on stories on social media @JannineMacKinnon for more kids activities and family recipe ideas!