10 Brain-Boosting Activities for Three-Year-Olds
Support Your Preschooler’s Development with These At-Home Activities
These ideas expand upon what your preschooler is learning in their classroom. Activities are adapted from the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Learning Activities by Elizabeth Twombly and Ginger Fink.
1. Muffin Tin Geoboard
Using rubber bands, encourage your child to make shapes like squares and rectangles on the backside of muffin tins. Or they can create letters and numbers on the geoboard.
2. Coin Exploration
Gather loose change and count them together. Sort the coins by size and color, and talk about which one is bigger or smaller. Create a coin toss game with cups. Have fun and be creative in exploring coins.
3. Interactive Reading
As you read with your child, invite them to look at, point to and talk about what they see on the page. Interactive reading helps your child stay interested in a book and learn. Give your child time to ask questions about the book.
4. Create a Face
Talk about the parts of a face as your child creates one using different shapes cut out from paper or foam pieces. Your child’s self-image will strengthen as they learn how to create a likeness of themselves.
5. Move Like an Animal
Talk about what is happening as you and your child run fast like a cheetah or gallop like a horse. Your child will learn words at the same time they learn to coordinate their body and control their actions.
6. Two-Step Directions
Give your child directions that ask for two or more actions. Two-step directions give your child practice in understanding and completing all the parts of a task.
7. Searching For Sounds
Find various objects around the house and describe the sound your child can make with each object. Your child becomes more familiar with their environment when they have the chance to hear and classify sound.
8. Matching Pictures
Let your child look for one matching pair among several pictures of the same kind of thing, for example, among several pictures of cars. Your child will notice which pictures are nearly alike and which are exactly alike.
9. Pack My Own Picnic
Invite your child to pack a picnic lunch and decide what to include. Packing a picnic allows your child to act independently and learn from their choices. Talk about where they will be eating and what foods might be easy to eat there.
10. Props for Pretending
Stock a box or basket with supplies that encourage your child to imagine themselves in different roles. Your child’s thinking may expand as they dress up to play various parts.