Last Updated on April 5, 2021 by Creative Parenting
It’s as simple as this: A calm 3-year-old is an ideal, an energetic 3-year-old is a reality. That’s why you need as many activities for 3 year olds as you can find.
Your 3 year old is a bundle of energy with a SHORT attention span.
So, you’ve gotta have a million different ways to keep him entertained.
Here’s 50 3-year-old activities you can actually use.
Use a mix each day and you’ll keep your 3-year-old busier than ever!
Let’s hop to it:
Strengthen His Grip By Tossing A Frisbee Around
You might not have thought of this when they were really little, but a 3-year-old is big enough to give frisbee a shot.
When it comes to activities for 3 year olds, this one is fantastic!
There’s so many ways for your 3 year old to play with a frisbee.
Pick one up and help ’em start on their throwing skills!
While they might not yet be able to catch a Frisbee, they can practice giving it a good throw.
Douse Each Other With Water Toys
If you wanna see your 3 year old jubilant with laughter, don’t forget about this one.
These toys are fun at the beach like in the picture above, but also a staple in the backyard.
At the time of this writing, it’s February, so if it’s freezing cold out you can have a similar experience if you play inside with a Nerf gun.
But once it’s hot out?
It’s one of our favorite activities for 3 year olds.
Play Tee Ball For Excellent Hand-Eye Coordination
If your 3 year old is even a bit daring, then this is a fun activity when it warms up…
Whether you’re into sports or not, this is an awesome way to introduce ’em to baseball.
After all, it’s America’s pastime, right?
It’s not too early to start teaching them about the basics. Plus, it’s a great way to practice hand-eye coordination.
Even if you don’t love sports, they might!
Brighten Your Garden By Having Him Pull Weeds
The bigger your kids get, the more you’ll find you want to…
Put them to work? Yes! And what’s more fun than yard work?
Make it fun and make it a game with pulling weeds. This is one of those activities for 3 year olds that you might not initially think of, but you’ll be delighted how much they’ll LOVE it.
You can even get ’em their own yard tools to make it special.
We promise you, if you get them outside pulling weeds just once, they’ll be begging you to pull weeds again.
Practice Following Instructions With Red Light, Green Light
Among activities for 3 year olds, this is a classic. It’s the old variation of Simon says.
When you say “red light” they’ve gotta stop. When you say “green light” they go…
And go anywhere: Run around. Have fun. Laugh.
Bonus points for using this to help ’em learn their colors.
Using a game to help them learn: spectacular.
Pretend To Use A Leaf Blower
This is a perfect activity for 3 year olds when the leaves fall…
After last fall when all the leaf blowers were out, our son was mesmerized by leaf blowers.
One day, he started making the noises on his own like he was running a leaf blower. “What are you doing?” I asked.
I’m a leaf blower guy, he said. And with that, a new game was born. You can pretend to do this and he’ll join right in.
If you want to power-up your piggy back rides, this is a fun twist on one of the classic activities for 3 year olds.
Instead of riding on the back, you put them over your shoulders sideways with their tummy across your shoulders.
This is a fun variation of the picky back ride that can also be gentler on your back. And it’s more fun for them because they get to ride at a different angle.
Our three year old loves this!
Dribble An Indoor Basketball
If you live somewhere that gets crazy cold in the winter, this is fantastic to add to your mix of activities for 3 year olds.
Get an indoor basketball hoop and shoot some hoops and spend some time shooting hoops. It’s particularly fun if you have a basement where they can run around.
In an age of iPads and screen time, we forget about classic kid toys.
We forget that these classics are still excellent activities for 3 year olds.
So don’t sleep on this one.
Kids are still fascinated by simple and non-digital toys.
Adding this one into the mix can be a lot of non digital fun!
Melissa and Doug have a fun YoYo kit you can check out here (non-affiliate link).
If you’ve got a basement or other large indoor space this is splendid.
Get a soccer ball and two small goals and you can familiarize your 3-year-old with this game the whole world loves.
If you’re got musical talent then your kids might too, even at a young age.
So anything to get them singing and dancing is a fantastic when it comes to activities for 3 year olds.
You can grab a toy microphone and let them sing their hearts out…
Or simply put on a show and make noise.
For extra fun, encourage them to create their own songs!
These of course are still wildly popular with kids of all ages, and so still great for activities for 3 year olds.
But if you’re looking for something more tailored to your 3-year-old?
Check out Duplo bricks. They’re bigger than regular legos and so not a chocking hazard!
Toy Kitchen Play
Imagine being able to have your kiddo make your morning coffee for you!
If you add this to your activities for 3 year olds, you can have fun pretending they make a remarkable cup of coffee. Yumm.
With a toy kitchen for them to play with, you can make this happen sooner rather than later.
Sure, it might only be pretend coffee…
But you can still slurp and enjoy it just as much as your regular brew.
And while you sit there and drink your pretend coffee, you can have them make a splendid breakfast for you too.
A Loveable Brio Train Set
Choo choo! This classic among activities for 3 year olds will brighten your day.
With one of these in your house, you’ll be playing chief engineer in no time.
What we love about the Brio train sets is similar to what we love about legos:
It’s a simple, nontechnical toy that your kiddo can both build and play with.
Spider-Man Toys To Vanquish Bad Guys
Is there a hidden gene that’s activated in three-year-olds where they discover their love for spider-man?
Kudos to whoever discovers that someday, cause it sure seems like it.
So if you’ve got a 3-year-old it’s a good time to introduce them to the world of the Marvel superhero.
The good news is there’s a deluge of fantastic toys, PJs, books, and entertainment out there to explore in spidey world.
Add these to your activities for 3 year olds and you’ll be vanquishing bad guys in no time.
Hone Their Grit With A Toy Lawn Mower
If you’ve got little ones and a yard to mow, chances are you’ve dreamed about the day they can help out.
With a toy lawnmower, you can dream about it even sooner!
Test Her Bravery With A Toy Motorcycle
With a toy motorcycle, your 3-year-old can zip around your living room or basement.
When it comes to activities for 3 year olds, this is a quick way to find out how fearless your kid is.
Plop him down and if he takes off on his own, you’ve got a brave soul.
If he asks for a supporting hand? You might have a quieter personality on your hands.
You’ll find a new kind of delight watching him make a serious face and make all sorts of motorcycle noises as he “races.”
Read From Your Home Library
In these pandemic times we’re living through this is a fun idea, because chances are you’re going to the library a lot less than you used to.
So why not create one in your 3 year old’s room?
If you’ve got space, get a small 3 or 4 cube holder and use that for your library. Stack your kid’s books in there and voila…
You’ve got a space you can call the “library.”
Make Mornings Marvelous By Making A Creamy Cup Of Coffee
If you’re a heavy coffee drinker there’s a good chance that your kiddo has picked up on your habit.
So why not add makin coffee to your mega mental list of activities for 3 year olds?
You might have noticed this when they got old enough they started to do pretend play.
You can take things to the next level of fun and give them some equipment to make coffee with!
Put On A Terrific Show
As your child gets older and becomes aware that you’re basically a captive audience, she’ll want to get your attention by putting on shows and performances.
Take this trend and run with it. Give ’em some hand toys to act out characters and play, and let them put on a show!
While some might say they’re too young for theater, we think exposure to the arts is excellent for your activities for 3 year olds.
Make Bath Time Epic
Do your little ones love bath time?
If they’re the type that get SUPER excited at simply the mention of a bath…
Why don’t you listen to that cue?
After all, they are telling you specifically something that they want to do! If you’re brainstorming activities for 3 year olds, sometimes all you’ve gotta do is listen to their ideas!
So give it a bit more time than you usually do. And if you’re in the habit of rushing through bath time so you can get the kids to bed?
Try mixing up when you do bath time. Make it sparkling by adding some bubbles. Let ’em splash around and play longer than they usually do.
While it might not be possible to do this on weekends, you can change it up on the weekend.
Baking Scrumptious Cookies
If your three-year-old has a sweet tooth you don’t want to leave this activity out.
Baking is, hands down,one of the best activities for 3 year olds. Here’s why:
It engages all their senses, keeps ’em busy, and lets ’em have a tasty treat as a result.
Why not turn your next baking project into a sensory activity?
Even if you don’t cook, you can still buy cookie dough or whatever it is you’re baking…
Because three-year-olds love using their hands and love eating food they’ve made!
Making Foamy Egg Creams
What’s an egg cream?
That was our first question when we saw it mentioned recently in a Bill Murray movie.
And we looked it up and it turns out they don’t have anything to do with eggs at all!
In fact, it’s a fun twist on chocolate milk. Purists use a specific type of chocolate syrup, but any kind will work.
What makes it chocolate milk with a twist is that as you stir and whip it up you pour club soda into it, which whips it into a lovely and tasty froth!
Have you heard of dot art?
We hadn’t either until our au pair mentioned it to us as she’d heard about it from other au pairs.
Basically it’s kinda like paint by numbers for kids.
You get special markers that only work on the dot art coloring books, and they can color in a special place with these special markers.
You can check out some dot art supplies here (non-affiliate link).
This’ll keep your three-year-old busy for hours, so keep it on your go to list of activities for 3 year olds.
If your 3-year-old has a propensity for language you can make spelling into a fun game.
Anytime you introduce a new word, make a point to talk about the letters and how to sound them out.
That way your 3-year-old will become familiar with the concept of spelling faster!
This idea is inspired by the Christmas advent calendar…
If you love doing that with them, then you might enjoy having a monthly calendar too!
You can simply hang it on the wall next to their play area and make a daily activity out of it.
You can talk about and introduce all sorts of things: days, weeks, months, seasons, numbers, and more!
Building A Snowman
Not much to say here other than this is a classic fun activity!
Tip: If you don’t live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, just make a small snowman!
Keep your snowman small, and let your kiddo lead the building.
Have An Indoor or Outdoor Snowball Fight
This is the perfect activity to do when you need a break from building your snowman or after you’re done!
You don’t have to go crazy though. With a 3-year-old your snow-balls can be small and you can throw them gently.
And if you’re stuck inside – or it’s too cold to go outside- you can have a pretend snowball fight with soft toy balls.
Have a bit of fun and mix up your snow time with this fun and classic activity!
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where things warm up fast, there’s plenty of other activities for 3 year olds in this post for warm weather.
The idea here is to get them running around and working on their hand-eye coordination.
3-year-olds are natural climbers. And so there’s a good chance you’re often telling them NOT to climb on stuff.
Instead of fighting it, see if you can channel this innate desire to be a mountain climber.
It’s becoming more common that local parks will have climbing walls on the playground equipment so you might find one there.
If it’s too cold outside, see if local climbing gyms have structures for the little kids!
Finding Cool Sticks
When was the last time you let your kddo play with a stick?
Sometimes old fashioned “toys” are still some of the most fun. But with everyone spending more time indoors these days, when did you last get outside to let your kid play with a stick he found in the ground?
If it’s been a while, then it’s time to get outside!
Sometimes the best activities for 3 year olds are the ones you did as a kid too.
Running Around In Superhero Masks
This one is super fun and will keep your 3-year-old entertained in a bunch of different ways.
Head over to Amazon and order some superhero masks. (Not an affiliate, we just have had fun with these). You can get a pack of them for about $20.
When it comes to activities for 3 year olds, you don’t need a full superhero outfit to get them energized to pretend to be spiderman.
The ones we got come with both masks and capes. Note, Marvel purist fans will note that not all of these superheroes wear capes, but whatever!
With these, your kiddo will spend hours running around pretending to be their favorite superhero.
This falls into the same category of classic games like playing chase or just letting your kid get a nice stick and run around:
With all the screens we’re staring at these days, it’s almost a novelty to remember to engage kids with these “low tech” fun activities of old.
Best part of this? You don’t even have to buy bubbles. Just make your own!
If your kid likes bubbles then they are going to LOVE this. This taking bubbles to the next level.
Did you know there are toys out there like the one in the picture above that generate both big bubbles AND tons of bubbles?
We stumbled on this idea while strolling through Walgreens last year and grabbed one of these toys on a whim. It turned out to be a BIG hit with our son.
If you haven’t noticed that your 3-year-old LOVES playing with flashlights, have you even offered him one?
There will come a moment when you grow tired of them playing with your actual flashlights (and breaking them), so now’s the time to think ahead.
Next time you’re at Lowe’s (or wherever you shop) you can grab some of these and offer them as the dedicated flashlight for your 3-year-old. (Not an affiliate).
If you were born before 2000 you probably spent a good part of your childhood building forts. But with all the screen time kids get nowadays, it’s easy to forget about simple games and pleasures like building forts.
Car Rides To The Drive-Through
While this is a post about activities for your 3-year-old, that doesn’t mean that they have to be activities that have them running around or even stuck at home.
This is your friendly reminder that an “activity” can be as simple as getting out of the house and going for a car ride.
In these unusual covid times, simply hitting up a local drive-through can be a fun activity!
Decorate Your Christmas Tree
Huh, isn’t Christmas over? Truth is, we started writing this post before Christmas and now Christmas is long past. But there’s a lesson here, and that’s for any holiday that’s coming up, get your 3-year-old involved in decorating.
So whatever is around the corner (right now that’s Valentine’s day), get your three-year-old involved in decorating. It’s a fun way to keep them busy and get them involved in your home life.
Shark Plush Toy
Ever seen one of these?
In our experience, learning about sharks has been a HUGE hit for our three year old.
And one thing that’s made it extra fun is bringing the shark love out of the book and into real life as a toy he can snuggle.
Adding a plush toy to the collection has given him a ‘Sharkie” to play with. When he’s done reading about sharks, he’ll run around playing “sharks.”
Read A Shark Book
Our three year old got a GIANT stuffed shark toy and a National Geographic book about sharks for Christmas from his uncle…
And it was a massive hit. He LOVED it. The shark, or “sharky” as he now calls him is his new best friend.
As it turns out, the shark book came recommended on Amazon’s section of gifts recommended by teachers. It’s a fun and awesome way to find gifts for your kid.
On to the next idea. While you might be exhausted from all the screen time your child getting, indulge us for a second with this one.
Because since we’re on the theme of sharks, let’s not forget to mention shark documentaries.
There are so many good ones! And while you might not be super pumped to have your kid getting even more screen time…
A little learning via a shark documentary might not hurt. In our search, Disney + has the best collection of shark documentaries for kids.
If you don’t have a special library created in your 3-year-old’s bedroom, this is an easy one to do! It’ll help you keep them organized, and you can put them in charge of picking out bedtime stories.
To Infinity – And Beyond!
We love all things Disney, and if you haven’t watched Toy Story with your child, we highly recommend it.
We did recently and it was a HUGE hit. Warning: After you watch it, your 3-year-old will be running around saying “To infinity and beyond!”
An LCD Writing Tablet
Our three year old got one of these for Christmas from his aunt, and it’s been a super fun toy for a couple of reasons.
First, he’s seen us use styluses with our iPads, so the idea of using a stylus to write on a screen isn’t foreign to him.
Second, it’s a fun upgrade from the magnetic drawing boards that are so much fun when they’re little.
Everybody seems to love the apps where you can draw or do some sort of drawing or building activity.
But don’t sleep on old fashioned art activities. You can get an easel for a reasonable price and it’s a great item to add to your activity repertoire.
Make Music With An Electric Piano
If your kids show any kind of musical activity, then letting them dance around to the built-in recordings on an electric keyboard is a fun part of the day.
While you might think those built-in jazzy songs are lame, they might LOVE them.
Chances are you’ve been singing the ABC song to your 3-year-old since she was a baby…
If that’s the case, then the next step is to quiz them on their letters. And after that?
You can start helping them to practice writing their letters! Simply grab and notebook or dot art book and get to writing!
This is a classic activity that hasn’t gone out of style yet.
Whether you play inside or outside, this is an important one not to forget!
Our son LOVES playing tag – even if it’s just for a short while.
They say that as kids get older they like to help around the house, so why not get ’em a broom and put ’em to work?
Bean Bag Fun
Get a small bean bag chair for your kiddo to lounge in, and they’ll find new and creative ways to have fun with it.
Whether pretending it’s a mountain they’re climbing, to using it to build forts, the possibilities are endless.
It’s a fun staple to have in your house.
Remote Control Cars
Zip-around your house or basement with some remote control cars. It’s a fun way to help him develop hand-eye coordination.
Thanks for reading! Whew, that’s a lot of ideas.
We hope these will give you some to help you keep your little BUSY.
Got more ideas not listed here?
Drop us a comment below and let us know: