Bored 3-Year Old

Updated on February 01, 2011
K.M. asks from San Mateo, CA
13 answers

I'm looking for things to do with my 3-year old at home. I have 5-month old twins and I am feeding them every 3-4 hours and it demands a lot of my time. My poor 3-year old is bored and is constantly asking me to play with her, but I just can't be everything to everyone. I'm looking for ideas on things to give her to do by herself while I'm busy (instead of watching TV to keep her occupied) and I'm also looking for organized activities we can to together that will engage me as well (I can only play make-believe so many times before my creative juices stop flowing). Anybody have any brilliant ideas? I've learned that the things that keep her interested are often the easiest things that are sitting right in front of my nose; I just don't think of them.

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So What Happened?

I appreciate everyone's input and feedback. It means a lot to me that so many others out there are willing to help. What I didn't mention is that I have my daughter in a Mom's Day Out program 2x/week, on Tues/Thurs and I am involved in a local Mom's club. However, I can't get out to activities much anymore now that the twins are here. I'm mainly looking for simple ideas of things that she can do by herself when I'm busy feeding the babies and can't attend to her at the moment. Any additional suggestions would be wonderful. Thank you again and have a blessed day.

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

My husband built a sandbox for our daughter that has provided her endless hours of entertainment. It was relatively inexpensive and easy to make. Sand is very cheap so we replace it often.

If you aren't bothered by a mess I would also suggest finger paints. We have an inexpensive plastic table outside that I allow our daughter to paint on. I literally strip her down to her panties and she will paint for hours.

You may already be doing this but I found that engaging my daughter into everyday chores is fun for her. She loves to help sort the laundry, wash the dishes, dust, etc. Even though her "help" is not necessarily accretive she finds these chores very pleasurable. When I cook I allow her to pour the ingrediants in after I have measured them.

My last suggestion is to try hiding letters. We have those foam bath time letters. It will be fun for her to find them and a great learning experience since you can talk about the letters.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on has some great ideas cooking for kids and crafts.
Also Joanns has little craft ideas that come in boxes.
Michaels has a class they offer one day a week I think for toddlers. thats only an hour.
They have little crafts there too.
You can always start planning for Christmas and find little stuff for her to make
Oriental trading company has packets too that are like 12 units of a craft great for gifting! And not expensive!
Hope that helps

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Keep it simple and fun at the same time:) My kiddos love to be allowed to have scissors and just cut up whatever I give them. And, if they are really lucky they get to have glue:) Also, they really enjoy the paint brush pens that elmers makes (I think it is elmers). Does she have any stamps with washable ink pads? Another thing that is funny is that my kids to use is the bingo dot markers. Or does she have a leapster or fun computer games. Given that she is your first child, you may be surprised to discover how many things she can do on her own once you show her how. My kids will even enjoy taking a clorox wipe, or a magic eraser and cleaning their toys. Good luck with this crazy time, I am sure you are exhausted! ~A.~



answers from Dallas on

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! I am also in a similar, but obviously much less demanding situation as I have one baby not two! I am mom to a 3 1/2 year old and a 9 month that I am nursing. It is very difficult and I have found that even if I plan activities for him, it is ONLY my attention that he really wants/needs. I would recommend two things that you may already be doing, but just food for thought. 1. Find a good Mother's Day Out program that not only gives her structure and fun, but also a mini break for you! 2. Join a Mother's of Multiples Group - my sister has twins and lives in Keller and belongs to the Lake Cities Mother's of Multiples chapter. I think it helps for her to have play dates and time that is fun for her - they do so many fun activities for toddlers. I can't even begin to imagine the challenges that you face on a daily basis, but I would definitely get some help/activities geared just for her OUT of the house. It really helps them burn some energy and makes for a much more peaceful and happy child! Good luck and congratulations!



answers from Dallas on

When you are feeding the babies have your daughter "read" her favorite stories to them. Also does she have a baby doll she could feed and change the diaper on. Make it a really big deal about her taking care of her baby. That might make it fun for her. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

cooking is something you probably do regularly, and kids love to help with that :) they usually make a mess and meals may take a little longer to put together but its lots of fun for both of you and sort of a way to multi-task ;)



answers from Chicago on

waterplay keeps my 3 year old entertained for at least an hour. Bucket, different pouring things from kitchen = happy boy.



answers from Dallas on

I have been a part of the Allen Early Childhood PTA since my oldest was 3months old. There is always something fun to do, as well as a group of mom's that are always there for me when I need help. Check them out!




answers from Dallas on

There are some great Mom's groups in the area at they do lots of group activities during the week.most of them are free. i have met a lot of sahms and some terrific kiddos through these groups.



answers from Dallas on

I have recommended this book before, I really think it would be good in your situation it is Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready. It is real practical, educational activities that you can do with her that use common household things. Also there is a book that I use to keep my 3 year old occupied while I homeschool my oldest and it is Activity Bags and you can get it on There are many things that you can get her started on and she can work on her own while you are feeding or doing other things. They are also educational activities. I hope this helps.



answers from Dallas on

Have you considered putting your daughter in a Mother's Day Out program for 1 or 2 days a week. My daughter is in one and loves the social time with other kids plus she is learning things to get ready for kindergarten.

Books are also something we like pull out and look at/read together. Stuffed animals are another--she will line them up, read to them, dress them in clothes, feed them bottles, etc.



answers from Dallas on

If a trip to the park seems too daunting then this might work--play doh occupies kids for a long time even though it is messy. My boys love the play doh scissors and the "electric saw" that cuts the doh. If you give her a project like--make 3 different animals or a house and a family it might jump start her imagination. The scissor thing is always a hit along with dry erase markers and board or those markers that write on the windows the boys love--just be cautious where that activity is! My boys also like board games (but that requires more mommy intervention) like Cariboo and Jenga. Outside activities are your friend if you have a fenced backyard send her outside with a bucket of water and some toys to "wash" or fill up a baby pool with just a few inches of water to see what in the backyard floats--sticks, rocks, leaves, etc. My kids seem to be able to occupy themselves outside easier then inside. Have her go on a treasure hunt for acorns, leaves, special rocks, grass blades and you can even hide a toy or two outside for a surprise. I think you are in one of the hardest stages because it is hard to do something all the kids can participate in--your life should get easier once the babies are walking and can take part in games and activities--good luck! The local multiple club is great and can give you a lot of support.



answers from Dallas on

I have to agree with giving her scissors! My 3 1/2 year old daughter will sit so happily at the table with scissors, construction paper, and a glue stick. Just be careful to make sure she's not having too much fun. One night when I took my daughter's ponytail down, pieces of hair were falling out...she cut it! That was a few months ago and she knows better now. Luckily, you couldn't tell where it was cut unless you knew!

You could also try magnetic letters and a magnetic dry erase board. My daughter loves playing with the letters or other magnets on a dry erase board or on the refrigerator.

If the weather is nice and you want to go outside for a bit, maybe she could "wash the car", water the grass, or even plant some flowers. The water hose is another big hit around here.

If you want to make a big purchase ($200) for a little bounce house, then you can get one at Toys R Us. It's quick and easy to set up; and my daughter (and the neighbors) love it! It's been a great investment. My 10 month old son loves it, too...but I only let him in there when it's just my daughter and him, for safety. Anyway, for us, it was a bargain. We've used it so much!

You might also want to "cook" or "bake" with her. Maybe some easy cookies from a mix...or she could put the frosting and sprinkles on some cupcakes. You could make milkshakes or slushes in the blender. Or make ice cream sundaes together with the whipped cream, sprinkes, and all...

You could also do a photo shoot and maybe let her take some pictures of the babies...they may not turn out like your pictures, but with a little help, she could take some cute ones and have some fun. She'd probably be really proud of herself, too.

If you dare, you could give her a hairbrush and some hair things and let her do YOUR hair!

Good luck and have fun!

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