50 Summer Activities For 3 Year olds

3 year old activities Three is that magical age between being a baby and being a big kid and is the perfect time to mix some planned activities in with free play. I get asked often about my schedule and I hesitate to share it because our schedule changes so much. What I won’t hesitate to share is that three year olds shouldn’t be sitting down doing mom or other adult directed activities a lot. This is the icing not the cake. The cake should be free play including having sensory materials available, outside time,  tons and tons of books within reach,  and lots of quiet cuddle time too!

Here are 50 summer activities for 3 year olds some are as simple as setting something up and letting them explore and others are more structured.

summer activities for 3 year olds

Sticky Window Pom Pom Play

4th of july sensory activity for kids
Shaving Cream Fireworks

Shell Sorting
Shell Sorting

toddler activites
Color and Clean Car Wash

dinosaur themed activitiy
Backyard Dinosaur Bone Dig

star fish craft
Bubble Wrap & Dish Scrubber Starfish

paper plate octopus craft
Paper Plate Octopus

Alphabet Sensory Tub
Alphabet Sensory Tub

paint like jackson pollock
Paint Like Jackson Pollock

color mixing edit
Liquid Color Mixing

truck painting for toddlers
Truck Painting

five senses activity sound
Sound Safari

potato prints
Potato Masher Painting

ocean sensory tub
Ocean In A Box – water play

feather painting
Feather Painting

hose it down
Hosing Down Shapes and Letters In The Yard

kids crafts
Paper Plate Crab

spray painting
Spray Painting

jewel butterfly craft
Paper Plate Butterfly

Preschool Pretend Play Scientist
Mad Scientist Lab

find & count bug hunt nature activity
Find & Count Bug Hunt

rainbow sensory tub
Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Tub

cutting into nature outdoor scissor skills
Nature Cutting

bug
Bug Painting

mud pie play
Mud Soup

weather activity for preschool
Make Your Own Weather Station

ocean themed crafts
Paper Bag Jellyfish

Mining Activity
Mining For Magnets

driveway graffiti
Driveway Graffiti

uncle sam puppet for 4th of july craft
Uncle Sam Puppet

paper plate sun
Paper Plate Sun

bulldozer party
Construction Site Sensory Tub

playdough kabobs for kids
Playdough Kabobs

sensory activities for kids
Touch Box

letter of the week
4th of July Letter F craft

fly swatter painting
Fly Swatter Painting

Nature Color Hunt
Nature Color Hunt

worm painting for toddlers
Worm Painting

patriotic activity for kids
Flag Hunt

camping for kids
Pretend Play Camping

obstacle course fun
Build Your Own Obstacle Course

4th of july crafts
Cupcake Liner Fireworks

watermelon letter craft for kids
Letter Watermelons

Pretend Play Vet Clinic title
Pretend Play Vet Clinic

rp_ocean-play-for-kids-sensory-tub-430x800.jpg
Gelatin Gooey Ocean Play

sensory tub prints
Sensory Table Painting

car wash for toddlers
Backyard Car Wash

alphabet hunt outdoors with duplo
Outdoor Alphabet Hunt

handprint fireworks 4th of july
Handprint Fireworks for 4th of July

simple super crafts painting with nature
Painting with Nature

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg – what activities do you like to do with your 3 year old? Tell us on our Facebook page!

Easy Easter Activities For Toddlers

easter crafts for toddlers Toddlers are a special blend of curiosity ,new found independence, kindness, and chaos. That is why I adore this age group and am amazed at how many wonderful things they can create and learn if given the chance. These easy Easter activities give toddlers that chance to explore their curiosity and creativity as well as work on important skills like hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, pre-literacy and pre-math skills too. Activities with this age group ( 1-3 years old) tend to be quick. That is age appropriate so don’t force kids to keep going when they are done. One trick I loved using while teaching was to offer more materials as the activity goes on … ” Do you want glitter? I just found pink paint do you want some? ” I would never require it but offering options in smaller doses lets them process it all carefully and sometimes it stretches out the activity, sometimes it doesn’t. Have a basket of Easter themed books ready to extend the activity further. You can check out some of our favorite Easter books here.

Bubble Wrap Easter Egg Painting
Simple Cotton Ball Bunny
Sandpaper and Felt Carrot Shape Matching

Alphabet For Starters
Easter Egg Letter Discovery
Bunny Ears Hat
Torn Paper Collage Carrot

q-tip easter egg fine motor
Q-Tip painted Easter Eggs
Easter Egg Color Match
Easter Egg Letter Match

painted easter eggs
Rock Easter Eggs
Easy Easter Egg Collages
Bunny & Egg Color Match
Easter Egg Letter E Craft

kids crafts for easter
Marshmallow Painted Easter Bunny
Opposite Texture Easter Egg

Snow Window – Winter Activity For Kids

winter activity for preschool Snow has clobbered many of you along with freezing temps but here in the Pacific North West we are still green and wet and needed to make our own snow . Whether you are in sunny Florida or too cold to go outside Minnesota you can play with snow and stay warm while you do with this fun indoor winter activity for kids . This is a fun exploration that is opened ended and really encourages creativity. My daughter ran with it and I love what she made. She has always wanted to make a snowman and even though we’ve never had enough snow ( that she can remember) to make one she managed to make one with this winter activity .

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape ( you could use real tape but it might muck up your windows), cotton balls, q-tips ( some cu in half) , cotton pads and a window! snow themed preschool activity

Start by taping the contact paper to your window sticky side out. I find it’s easiest if you tape the top edge on first then peel and tape the sides and bottom last. snow window sticky window activity

Get the snow bits ready by the window and invite your child to explore.  As she created she told me all about how this was her yard and it snowed and she was playing…Snowflakes came first…snow activity for kids

Then she discovered that dabbing the cotton ball created little puffs of cotton on the window.snow mural for preschool Very similar to when we made a pompom window last year. cotton ball snow window art activity

Snowman time!snow window activity for 3 year olds

She didn’t forget arms. snow window toddler activity

I loved watching her and really didn’t get involved at all. This was all her. snow windowShe explored textures, shapes, and cause and effect with serious intent while also working on fine motor skills and storytelling as she went.

Books About Snow

All our book lists include affiliate links to Amazon.com

un-brella

Un-Brella by Scott Franson is such a cool book. There is not a single line of text in the book , and it’s not missing a thing! The illustrations are so vivid, so layered and tell the story perfectly. A little girl has a magical umbrella that brings sun on a snowy day and snow when her yard is green and sunny. My 2 year old was beside himself laughing and saying “No no” to the little girl wearing her swim suit in the snow. Grab this book and enjoy!

snow snow snow

Snow! Snow! Snow!by Lee Harper captures the excitement of a snow day spent sledding and defying gravity for those precious few moments as you zoom down the hill. My son gave the book a thumbs up but my daughter wasn’t as into it although when the 3 dogs in the book landed with a thump both kids were giggling. Edited to add :  The next morning my daughter ran to this book and smiled the whole way through loving it! Funny how 8am reading gets a different response than 5pm after a long day.

the snowy day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic. Some classics are the type of books that lose their relevance and leave readers wondering what the hype is about. This book is timeless. A little boy goes exploring in the snow and discovers his world in a new way. The illustrations are magical and the way that  they convey the emotions this little boy experiences throughout the day are nothing short of perfect.

Easy Thanksgiving Crafts For Toddlers {and tips for parents too}

easy thanksgiving crafts for toddlersThanksgiving is on Thursday but it’s not too late to plan some fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for your toddler. These activities were all done with my kids when they were toddlers ( 18 months – 3 years old)  but have been repeated when they were older so rest assured that older siblings will love to join in on these easy Thanksgiving activities too. Check out our tips below to make these crafts even easier and more successful with your children.

toddler turkey

Toddler Turkey Craft

This post is filled with advice for crafting with toddlers from accepting mess aversion to choosing good tools like plastic plates but this is my favorite –>

Tip: If your child uses a booster for meals pop them in it when you are doing messy art too. This will relax you so you can both enjoy creating without worrying about Jr. running for the living room covered in red paint.

bubble wrap corn craft for thanksgiving

Bubble Wrap Corn.

Explore the texture of the bubble wrap and have fun with this easy activity. Be prepared for aversion too. My son hated it the first time so we rolled with it . Later we followed this favorite tip for success.

Tip: wrap the bubble wrap around a rolling pin for easy printing.

toddler craft for thanksgiving

Turkey Sun Catcher

Use glitter glue for a lower mess glitter craft.

Tip : Use baby wipes for messy hands if a sink isn’t right there. They have saved use from many big messes.

pumpkin-painting-for-toddlers

Mini Pumpkin Prints

We use mini pumpkins as decorations throughout the fall. A few days before Thanksgiving cut one open and paint with it.

Tip: For kids that aren’t keen on wearing smocks find a few tee shirts at a garage sale that you don’t care if it’s stained forever and wear those on painting days.

3d turkey craft

3D Handprint Turkey

This has never been our most popular Thanksgiving craft but my kids loved making it so I love sharing it.

Tip: When doing handprint crafts with toddlers that call for multiple hand cut outs layer multiple papers under tracing and cut instead of tracing their hands multiple times.

acorn craft for toddlers

Torn Acorn Craft

If you aren’t ready to hand your child scissors yet this activity is great. Tearing paper still builds hand muscles that are required for later scissor and handwriting skills.

Tip : Pre-cut strips of paper that are manageable for little hands.

thanksgiving sensory tub

Thanksgiving Sensory Tub

Mess is hard for a lot of parents. I get it because I try to keep my house in order too and kids have a way of following behind us and messing up what was just cleaned. Sensory play is so valuable for kids as they explore cause and effect, measurement, imaginative play, and more.

Tip : If your child is prone to dumping sensory materials have them sit on a carpeted floor. The materials won’t scatter as far ( or be as much fun to dump) and will be easy to vacuum up.

messy art for toddlers

Turkey Baster Painting

Painting with turkey basters is fun and squeezing the bulb is actually great for hand strength too. Yes it’s messy but the post is filled with tips to minimize it including –>

Tip : When painting with tools like a turkey baster after painting pop the kid and the tool into the bath and let them get clean together. After the bulk of the paint it off in the bath you can put the tool into the dishwasher for a final clean.

thanksgiving thankful activity for toddlers

Thankful Box

Toddlers may not be able to read and write yet but they can express likes and dislikes. Use a thankful box to teach them to show appreciation for those things they like by modeling.

Tip : When teaching abstract concepts like being thankful to toddlers including a concrete activity like making the box or decorating a jar for the tokens of appreciation to be kept in can create a connection that simple talking about being thankful may not.

corn craft

Confetti Corn Craft

This post is a perfect example about being flexible with toddlers. My son who was 3 at the time wanted to include his construction vehicles in the play. With a a few simple additions I was able to include them in and the craft took on an element of imaginative play too.

Tip : Be flexible and let your toddler have some control over their creation.

 

What is your best tip for crafting with toddlers?

 

Beading Made Easy For Little Hands

beading with toddlers Beading is such an awesome fine motor activity because it combines so many skills that young kids are working to master. It works on pincer grasp and hand eye coordination while placing the beads on the string or ribbon but you can work in patterning, color recognition, and counting too.  The problem with beading though is that it can frustrate children easily. You must strike a balance of challenge and success to avoid melt downs, or kids just deciding that the activity is no fun.  Below you will see how I set up beading with my daughter who will bead for ages provided she can do it with little help. Over the years doing beading projects with preschoolers have taught me a few tricks to make it a smooth process and I am sharing them with you.

Gather your materials. You will need some ribbon, painter’s tape, clear tape, ribbon ( ours was about an inch thick) , milk shake straws, and scissors. beading activity for preschool

Start by cutting your straws into smaller pieces. Adjust the length according to the age and ability of your child. beading

Cut your ribbon to the size you want and tape one end to the table using painters tape. This prevents the beads from falling off the end . Also using a thicker ribbon makes it so that if your child does drop the end the beads won’t come flying off. beading made easy for preschool

Before you invite your little one to come bead use the regular tape to cinch the ribbon into a needle. This gives your child a stiffer piece to thread with. beading tips for preschool

Time to bead. With the steps we took to avoid frustration the activity was smooth and pretty quick too. beading necklace

Best of all was how proud she was of her accomplishment and since she made the necklace all by herself withe the exception of tying the ends together it really felt like an independent accomplishment.  Then she was off to play with her garlic press and bulldozer. Bet you never thought you’d hear those two words in the same sentence. Kids are rad. beading and threading activities for kids

Do you have any tips for beading with kids ? I would love to hear them !