Congratulations! You’ve survived the craziness of toddlerhood, the “terrible two’s” are behind you, and your three year old preschooler seems more like a kid than a baby. As children grow and develop, every year brings new changes and new milestones. Age three is no exception! Check out these educational boredom busters and activities for 3 year olds to keep them busy.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself marveling at how your once rebellious two year old is now a three year old capable of actually listening and following directions. Maybe you’ve found yourself answering a never ending stream of “why” questions.
Age three is filled with a variety of developmental milestones. At this age, a child’s imagination truly comes alive and their physical coordination improves significantly. They also begin to develop social skills and may even enjoy playing with friends more than sitting with mommy or daddy.
With all the growing, maturing, and developing that occurs from age three to four, it’s important to choose activities for your child to stimulate and encourage this development in both mind and body.
Top 6 Activities for 3 Year Olds
1. Learning With Legos
Lego bricks are for more than building towers and Star Wars aircraft! Legos can be used to develop important skills such as counting, colors, and patterns. They’re fun for everyone of all ages and make for a great activity for your three year old.
Boost your three year old’s number sense by giving them a number and asking them to count out that many Lego pieces from their pile. Give your preschooler practice with colors and patterns by helping them organize their Legos into color families or by building a pattern tower of repeating colored blocks (red, blue, red, blue etc.).
2. Pom Poms and Ice Cube Trays
Looking for a way to strengthen your three year old’s fine motor skills? Grab a package of craft pom poms from your local craft store and place individual pom poms within the squares of an ice cube tray.
Have your preschooler move and organize these pom poms into different sections of the ice cube tray by using either a clothespin or a pair of tweezers. Not only will this activity strengthen dexterity and fine motor skills, it will give them a chance to practice with colors.
Related: Looking for ways to organize your child’s playroom? Check out these playroom organization tricks.
3. Teaching With Play Dough
What three year old doesn’t love playing with play dough? Although the messiness of play dough can sometimes feel burdensome for parents, this colorful clay offers TONS of unique learning opportunities for your preschool child.
Help them practice with the alphabet by forming letters out of play dough and asking your child to identify the letter. Give them objects, such as beads or buttons, to add to their play dough.
The act of burying and digging out these small objects will give your three year old’s hand muscles a good workout and will increase fine motor skills.
Finally, simply letting your child play, build, and create with play dough gives their little brains a chance to be creative and imaginative and is the perfect thing to add to this list of activities for 3 year olds.
4. Simon Says and Follow The Leader
You probably remember playing games such as Simon Says and Follow The Leader when you were a child. Although they may seem old school, these very simple games are an excellent way to develop your child’s listening skills and they make learning to follow directions fun!
They’re the perfect interactive games to add to your list of activities for 3 year olds that are both educational and entertaining. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing your stubborn three year old would listen and follow directions, try incorporating a little more “Simon Says” into your everyday life.
5. Story Stones
Grab a bucket of stones (you can either collect them from outdoors, which can be a fun activity for your 3 year old as it is, or buy stones from a craft store) and use colored sharpies or paint to create images on the front of each stone.
Choose simple pictures, like a dog, apple, or sunshine. Using the story stones, have your child create a story using the images painted on the stones. You can either let their imaginations run wild by creating a story totally of their own choosing, or you can give them a guided theme, such as “tell me a story about someone who felt happy.”
These story stones are great boredom busters and fun, educational ways to keep your toddler busy while you get other things accomplished.
6. Paper Plate Emotion Masks
Role playing is an awesome way to get your preschooler practicing identifying and handling different emotions. Using paper paper plates create masks showcasing different emotions.
You can use these masks to have your three year old identify the happy face versus the angry face. These activities can provide an opportunity to begin discussing with your child what to do if they feel angry or sad.
Each of these activities are great for group play within a preschool classroom or play date, and are also excellent for some quality “mommy and me” play time!
Related: Have you been looking for some educational and fun books that help teach your child valuable life lessons? Check out these book recommendations!
Next time you have some down time and are looking for something to engage your curious three year old, give one of these great activities for 3 year olds a try and watch their little mind light up!
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