Playtime Activities For Three Year Olds

Make sure your child’s time spent playing is filled with opportunities to learn.

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

Frog Puppets

Level of instruction: Detailed

When: Playtime

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Creative Arts

Learning Standards: Creates three-dimensional art, Demonstrates creativity

Materials: Small plain paper plates, green paint, stapler or tape, construction paper, scissors, glue, markers

Invite your child to create a frog puppet. Begin by painting both sides of two paper plates green. When dry, fold one plate in half. Staple or tape the round edge of one side of the folded plate to the edges of one half of the unfolded plate. Turn the unfolded plate over so that it sits on top of the folded plate and bend it slightly so that it sits up. The bent plate becomes the top of the frog’s head and the folded plate becomes the inside of the frog’s mouth. Insert four fingers into the pocket and place your thumb against the flap. Open and close the flap by making a pinching motion with your fingers and thumb. Show your child the materials that you selected and challenge him or her to think of ways to decorate the puppet to look like a frog. Your child can draw or cut and paste eyes, tongues, spots, etc.

Observe your child’s ability to follow directions and show creativity in designing his or her puppet.

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

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?

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

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?

Two Little Blackbirds

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Quiet time, Playtime, Getting ready for the day

Time recommendation: 5 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Language and Literacy

Learning Standards: Repeats rhymes, poems, fingerplays and simple songs

Materials: Books about birds

Read a book about birds to your child. Lead a discussion about birds. Teach your child the following rhyme. Say it a few times alone and then invite your child to say it with you. Show him or her the movements that go with the rhyme.

Two Little Blackbirds
Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill. (hold up index finger of each hand)
One named Jack. (hold right hand/finger forward)
One named Jill. (hold left hand/finger forward)
Fly away, Jack. (wiggle right finger and place behind your back)
Fly away, Jill. (wiggle left finger and place behind your back)
Come back, Jack. (bring right hand back)
Come back, Jill. (bring left hand back)

Tell your child that you will sing the song again using his or her name. Encourage your child to “fly away” and “come back upon hearing his or her name. Is your child able to repeat the rhyme with you?

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.
  • Outside Time: The great outdoors can be the best classroom of all.
  • 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.

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