Best Activities for You and Your Three-Year-Old Baby

Ideas for activities with a three-year-old should primarily meet their current developmental needs. Each young child engages in specific activities in response to their needs. If a child needs to satisfy a movement craving, they will only be interested in physical activities. It’s worth noting that most modern three-year-olds do not have their need for movement met, which unfortunately impacts their psychomotor development.

Activities with a three-year-old should not have a very elaborate plot. Three-year-old children are just learning the valuable skill of play, and it’s the parents’ role to teach them how to play. Parents, as guides in play, should show the child new possibilities and ways of playing. By teaching the child more complex games, we also teach them to focus attention, which helps them develop mentally.

Children learn a lot during play, engaging primarily through intrinsic motivation. Three-year-olds readily engage in simple pretend games, thematic activities, and constructive play, such as assembling, building with blocks, and simple crafting.

We present ideas for various indoor and outdoor activities with a three-year-old.

Pretend Play – Use Everyday Items.

During playtime with a three-year-old, it’s worthwhile to utilize everyday items such as pots, spoons, cups, cloths, or even safe tools. These items are very interesting for young children who dream of entering the adult world.

Home activities with a three-year-old can mimic actions that parents perform every day. Allowing a child to engage in such play makes them feel important, special, and valued.

Playing with a three-year-old at home, you can:

  • cook invisible soup for dolls or teddy bears
  • knead dough for dumplings (using, for example, playdough or clay)
  • repair pretend broken cars
  • clean using a kitchen brush

During playtime with a young child, it’s worth reaching for simple solutions that also have an educational character. Sorting laundry and pairing socks can be a great game for a child, additionally practicing important skills necessary for later life.

Home Creative Workshop – Arts and Crafts with a Three-Year-Old

Activities with a three-year-old at home don’t have to be complicated. Three-year-olds love arts and crafts. To keep a child busy, you don’t need fancy and expensive art supplies. Basic color paints, crayons, glue, and possibly scissors are enough. During arts and crafts, it’s worthwhile to use available household items like grains, pasta, or various seeds. Stones, pine cones, chestnuts, and dry leaves also work well.

Examples of arts and crafts possible with a three-year-old:

  • sticking needles on a paper hedgehog
  • cutting various shapes in salt dough
  • painting using unconventional brushes (e.g., half an apple, earbuds)

Movement is Health – Physical Activities

Three-year-olds have a very high need for movement. It is assumed that preschool-aged children should be physically active for at least 3 hours a day. It’s worth organizing various physical activities that will satisfy the immense need for movement in children. Throughout the day, young children should have opportunities to jump, climb, run, or throw a ball. It’s important to spend time outdoors with the child every day, organizing time in a way that allows for various physical activities.

Ideas for physical activities with a three-year-old:

  • walking at different paces, e.g., to music
  • imitating the movements and behaviors of animals (crawling on all fours, squat walking)
  • running games (e.g., along lines in a specified direction, slalom, stopping at a signal)
  • jumping, e.g., over small obstacles (a rope, fabric), jumping into and out of a circle
  • jumps, e.g., from the edge of a sandbox into the sand, from the edge of a bed onto the floor

Playground Activities

The playground is an excellent place for playing with a three-year-old. At the playground, with parental support, a child can learn climbing skills, such as on a climbing frame or ladder. Spending time with a child at the playground teaches them to navigate around or under obstacles and to use slides for climbing and descending. Playground equipment also helps develop a child’s balance.

During time spent together at the playground, it’s most important for a parent to provide a sense of security. This encourages the child to overcome fears and limitations.

While at the playground, it’s also valuable to organize obstacle course games. Obstacle courses are a form of play very popular with younger children, allowing them to test their capabilities and develop independence.

Obstacle courses can also be organized during indoor play with a three-year-old. Creating a home obstacle course can involve using pillows, blankets, balls, stuffed animals, or boxes available at home.

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