How to Play With Your 3 Year Old
Your toddler is 3! While you mastered entertaining your 2 year old, you might wonder if you should be trying new way to play with your 3 year old. The answer is, ‘Yes!’. We’re sharing a list of play ideas that will help develop their cognitive and physical development skills.
The CDC has created a developmental guide of what most children can do by a certain age. Many of the items listed are the questions your pediatrician asks at your child’s well-visit appointments. If you have concerns about your child’s development, always reach out to your child’s doctor.
Here are some fun ways you can play with your 3 year old toddler. Remember, you are your toddler’s best (and favorite) teacher💕
1. Take the stairs
Can they go up and down stairs without arm support? Start small – find a group of 3-4 steps. Once your 3 year old is comfortable, see if you can find stairs made of cement, carpet, hardwood, tile, rock, or other materials. Do they find certain materials easier to navigate than others?
2. Stand on one leg
Have a competition and see if they can can stand on one leg for 3 seconds! If they can, increase the time to 5 seconds; then 10 seconds. Set a timer on your phone with an alarm to enhance the experience. If they really want a challenge, ask them to stand on one leg for 5 seconds with their eyes closed. Try it for yourself! They’ll get a kick out of seeing you wobble a bit.
3. Take 3 steps forward on a line
Another way to play with your 3 year old is to imagine that you are on a balance beam or on a tight rope. Hold your arms out like the wings of an airplane. Take 3 steps forward and see if they can do it, too! Gradually start increasing the amount of steps as they gain more confidence.
4. Make 2-step requests
Modifying the game, Simon Says, is a great way to play with your 3 year old. See if they can follow your request. For example, ‘Simon says, get the book and give it to me.’
5. Use 3+ word phrases to talk and ask for things
See if they’ll reciprocate with questions like, ‘Where’s the ball, Mommy?’
6. Get some paper and chunky crayons
Drawing is a great way to play with your 3 year old. Draw a circle. See if they can draw a circle after following your example. Next, try experimenting with vertical and horizontal lines. For more toddler-friendly art ideas featuring play dough, painting with trucks, sensory bowls and more, check out our toddler reels on Instagram.
7. Build a tower together
See how many blocks they can stack! They might surprise you and stack 8! Then you build a tower with the same number of blocks, but let them knock it down!
8. Let them get dressed or undressed without help
Resist the urge to rush in. You think, ‘I can do it faster’ might make them think, ‘Mommy can do it better.’ Let them shine🌟
This content was provided by the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children