Outside Activities For Three Year Olds

Are you looking fun activities to do with your three-year-old at home? Our team of early childhood curriculum experts thoughtfully curated these activities from our proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum to help your family Learn On® at home. Whether it’s during mealtime, playtime, clean up time, bath time or bedtime – our at-home curriculum is built so you can easily integrate learning opportunities in seamless, easy and fun ways.

Coloring With Toes

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Quiet time, Playtime, Outside

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings, Child-led

Learning Domain: Creative Arts

Learning Standards: Uses a variety of materials and techniques to create art forms

Materials: Crayons, markers, paper

Instructions:

Invite your child to color using his or her toes! Place paper on the floor. Have your child take off his or her shoes and socks and try to grip the crayons with his or her toes. Encourage your child to try to color on the paper using only his or her feet. Encourage your child to talk about the experience.

Ask your child if it was easy or hard to draw with his or her toes? Can your child switch feet? Did he or she like the experience or was it frustrating?


Is it Biodegradable?

outdoor activity for kids
Level of instruction: Moderate
When: Outdoors

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Cognitive Development

Learning Standards: Identifies features of the environment that are natural or human-made, Tests predictions through scientific exploration and experimentation

Materials: Leftover food such as bread, vegetables, fruit (no meat); non-biodegradable trash such as plastic ware, Styrofoam, plastic bottle; shovel

Instructions:

Invite your child to participate in an experiment. Talk about how some trash items decompose, and others do not. Dig a hole with your child’s help and bury the items you have collected. Ask your child to predict which items will decompose and which will not. In about a week’s time, dig up the pile and inspect the matter to observe the changes in the materials. You may choose to bury and dig the items up again to see if there have been any further changes. Which items were natural, and which items were manmade? Discuss how some things are biodegradable and why it is important to recycle materials that are not.

Was your child’s prediction correct? What did your child learn from the experiment?


I Can Be a Bird

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Outdoor

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Physical Development

Learning Standards: Expresses concepts, ideas, or feelings through creative movement: Moves with balance, control, and coordination in a range of physical activities

Materials:
Book or pictures of a variety of birds, such as Bird by Andrew Zuckerman

Instructions:

Ask your child what he or she knows about birds. Share the book or the pictures. Ask questions and talk about their features (beaks, wings, feathers, etc.). Discuss where they live, what they eat, and how they move. Invite your child to become a bird by acting out some of the following motions: flying, pecking, landing, diving for fish, waddling, stretching his or her neck and wings, taking a bath, standing on one leg, building a nest, strutting, feeding a baby bird, burying face with wing to sleep.

Observe the different movements your child makes while pretending to be a bird.


Wet and Dry


Level of instruction: Easy

When: Quiet time, Playtime, Outdoor

Time recommendation: 10 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: STEM

Learning Standards: Identifies, describes, compares and explores the physical properties of objects

Materials: Various wet objects, such as a wet sponge, wet paintbrush, wet washcloth, mud, ice cube, or finger paint; various dry objects, such as a dry sponge, dry paintbrush, dry cloth, sand, or block

Instructions:

Invite your child to feel a variety of objects and decide which are wet and which are dry. As your child feels each object, ask him or her to describe how it feels. Ask him or her to compare and describe the difference between the wet and dry objects. Talk about what makes something wet. Ask your child to share ideas of other things that are wet.

Is your child able to distinguish between the wet and dry items? What words does your child use to describe how the items feel?


Jump For Joy

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Outdoor

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Physical Development

Learning Standards: Moves with balance, control and coordination in a range of physical activities

Materials: Sidewalk chalk

Instructions:

Invite your child to play a game. Have him or her draw faces on the sidewalk or driveway. Have your child find a face to stand on. Tell your child that he or she can pretend these are friends that they are going to visit. Ask your child to jump from face to face and visit his or her friends. Challenge your child to see if he or she can land with both feet, or with one foot. See if he or she can land on the face in one jump. Continue the game for as long as your child is interested.

Is your child able to jump from face to face with coordination and control?

Looking for more activities for you and your infant?

  • Getting Ready for the Day: Turn routine activities at the beginning of your child’s day into learning moments.
  • Playtime : Playtime is a great way to teach your child without it even feeling like learning.
  • Quiet time: Encouraging low-key activities during quiet time helps children develop independent play skills.

Or return to the Life Essentials® At Home page to find activities to explore with other age groups.