12 answers

Suggestions for Fun Activities During the Day for a 3 Year Old

Hi everyone,
I'm finding that this winter month has been the hardest one for me and my 3 year old daughter. I have a good imagination, but I've been stuck with new and fun things to have planned out for the two of us to do during the day. I also have a 4 month old who takes up a lot of my time. So my 3 year old daughter has to entertain herself a lot more than she had to do before my other daughter was born. I can tell that she is getting bored a lot faster than she did a year ago.
It would be great if anyone could give me some suggestions on fun activities/games for her and I to do together at home. Or even if you have suggestions for things that she can do by herself that doesn't cost a lot of money. That would be fantastic. I'm excited to try new things out that we haven't done before.

2 moms found this helpful

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Thanks for all the great ideas. I've checked into my park district, but right now we are on a really strict budget, so even spending $25 for a class is hard to do. That is why I was asking for free or cheap ideas at home or away. I came out with some great ones, thanks again for taking the time to help out.
If anyone else has ideas please keep them coming.

Featured Answers

One thing that my two girls love is hiding those plastic Easter eggs around the house. They love the hunt for eggs and its inexpensive. Happy Hunting!

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I know how hard it can be with a baby and an older child. A fun (and quiet) craft project I do with my girls is their own ABC book. Just have your daughter cut out pictures from old magazines. Then on construction paper you write the letters of the alphabet on separate pieces of paper. Then have your daughter glue each picture on the the correct page of the alphabet. The best part is it takes more than one day, so you can pull it out when ever it rains. It makes rainy days not so bad.

Another fun thing to do is make an obstacle course in the family room. Throw the cushions on the floor, make a tunnel from a blanket draped over the table, you get the idea.

You can also make cookies or muffins with her, even if you use the premixed dry ingredients. Let her do the stirring and measuring.

If you want to venture out, go to McDonald's playland. I always go early in the morning, get breakfast first and then let the girls go play. I believe it opens up at nine and it usually empty.

hi A.. a simple idea i got from a good friend last year (when my son was also 3 yrs old) was to go on car picnics. we have a van, so i would put the back seats down, lay out a picnic blanket, and pack a lunch. for some reason kids love the idea of using the car in a way they aren't use to. we have a dvd player in the van, so we would put on a movie, find a nice place to park, or a busy parking lot where we could watch the activity, and eat our lunch.

hope this helps!! L.

Do art crafts with your child. Make an ABC book. Read books, make cut out cookies. There is a lot of info on the internet for things to do with your child.

My kids are almost the same age difference and also 2 girls, so I'm also usually pretty busy with my now 7 month old and my 3 yr old has to do a lot of self entertaining. Play-doh is good, as is water work (she goes to montessori so is very into "washing" her toys or the dishes in the sink which is fun for her). Yesterday we made paper chain animals which took up a good hour and she wanted to do it again today (just need some paper, I have a paper cutter for scrapbooking, and tape and crayons). Previous poster also mentioned pillow obstacle courses. My daughter loves the "pillow pile" and does sommersaults and bounces in just a huge pile of pillows and blankets.

As another poster also suggested - cooking is fun as well if you have the time to put the baby down. Baking cookies, making jello, making muffins/cupcakes.

Given the time of year, you can work on making valentines for friends and family. Glitter glue pens are a huge hit with my daughter.

Hope this helps!

Look in the park district. I know the wheaton one has some great classes once or twice a week for three year olds. My son is 3 and really likes it.

Have you looked into the local park district?? Ours offers a variety of classes from gymnastics to arts & crafts to music. My town also offers 3 year old preschool at various places, park district, churches, etc. I know that when my daughter was 3 she was a much happier person on her preschool days even though she only got out of the house for 2.5 hrs. That would also give you some guilt-free time alone with your 4 month old. Good luck!

Check the park district they always have things. Also for at home activites. Old boxes... color them stack them. Run at them and knock them down. Crawl and kick one off with your foot. Almost like Jenga with cardboard boxes and using you feet. ... Spaghetti makes a fun toy and you can use food coloring and extra oil so it isn't sticky. Kids love that one... and it won't hurt them if they eat it! :) Coloring, glue and glitter and card stock... lots of clean up but lots of fun!! Hope that helps!!

Where do you live? I'm a member of Parents Who Care & they have a monthly calendar of little things to do. I think it's $25 a year for the whole family & they usually have free events for non-members. It's for families with children ages newborn to 5 years & most of the events are in the morning.

Today we met at the Elk Grove Library & made Valentine projects.

Check out the website.


Hi A.,
I can relate with the long winter and looking for new and fun things to do. I have two daughters, 2 and 8 mos. My 2 y.o enjoys doing things in the kitchen when my other one naps. We start one day by making the grocery list and talking about all the things that we'll need etc. Here is a fun recipe we made last week...
Pretzels with Personality
Need: cookie sheets, pastry brush, large bowl, rolling pin, hot pads.
1 pkg dry yeast
1/2 C warm water
1 egg
1/2 C honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 C margarine
1 C milk
5 cups flour ( i used 3 cups whole wheat, 2 cups white)
course salt

1. Measure 1/2 c warm water into bowl. Sprinkle yeast on the water and stir until dissolves.
2. Separate the egg yolk and white. Keep the whites in a small dish.
3. Mix the egg yolk, honey, margarine (slightly melted) and milk into the yeast.
4.Add salt and enough flour to make stiff, easy to handle dough.
5.Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 min. Let rise for about 1 hr. Roll out the dough and cut into strips about 1 inch wide.
6. Shape the ropes into pretzels, letters, shapes and place on cookie sheet.
7. Beat 1 tbs of water with the egg white and brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake 425 until brown, 15-20 min.

Hope this helps!

Hi A.,

I suggest trying Jumps n Jiggles at the Elk Grove Park District. They have an indoor climbing structure (similar to McDonalds) and a full-size indoor carousel. I used to take my daughter there when she was 3 and she LOVED it.

Best of luck!


Hi! I have a 2-year-old and a 7-month-old, and like your older one, my daughter has ended up entertaining herself a lot more than I'd like. One thing that's been a great resource is Family Fun magazine. http://familyfun.go.com/magazine/ It's got great ideas for projects and things to do. Even if you don't subscribe to it, you can still get great ideas from their website. The other day I made a tent for my daughter using a sheet and the dining room chairs and she loved spending time playing in there, especially with a flashlight. I also do everything I can to try to involve her in some of the work of making meals, whether it's just stirring or dumping ingredients in a bowl for Bisquick biscuits or simply frozen veggies in a bowl to microwave (then she presses the buttons). It seems to make her feel more important and helps make up for the time she has to be on her own when I'm preoccupied with her sister. I also have a mommy & me group that meets on Wed. mornings at my church in Elgin for free--it's just a chance for time for kids to play together (we have story time and craft time, too) and moms to chat with other adults for a couple hours. Anyone is invited to come! Just remember that the more you stress out about it, the worse it'll get--I'm sure she knows that you love her so much and in the end, that's what she'll remember.

One thing that my two girls love is hiding those plastic Easter eggs around the house. They love the hunt for eggs and its inexpensive. Happy Hunting!

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