Need Fun Activites for My 3 Year Old

Updated on December 08, 2008
S.G. asks from East Wenatchee, WA
10 answers

I am having a hard time going back to work full-time. I had been working very part-time for about 6 months and becuase of finances I had to go back to work ful-time. Luckily I work for the school districts so I am off work by 3:30, but I am having a hard time getting back to the gym, I used to go atleast 3 days a week, I have a hard time being active (especially now that it is dark by 4:00) I do a lot of arts and crafts with my daughter, I work as an interpreter in a kindergarten class so I get to pick up a ton of fun craft ideas. But I am looking for suggestions on how to stay active indoors, when it is cold and yucky outside, or fun activites outdoors that keep us moving and warm. any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the great responses. I am planning on getting back to the gym Monday, and have some great activities to keep us moving indoors and warm outdoors. Thank you to everyone.

More Answers



answers from Portland on

A couple of things we enjoy doing outside:

bringing along sidewalk chalk and marking a "trail"--take a certain number of steps and then make an 'x' or other simple mark, and then, when you are at a good turnaround spot, follow the way back. Kids love to discover their 'trail' works.

making a list of things to look for and marking them off. Using simple pictures for things like squirrel, cat, bike, dog, red car, santa (or other seasonal features) etc... have your daughter help you make the list before you go.

is there a coffee shop, library, park or other attraction nearby? having a destination makes a cold walk more pleasant, esp. if there's cup of cocoa, cider or another warm treat at the other end.

bring the camera and pick a place to go for a walk to, and take pictures. You can build a whole little scrapbook of photos of places that you've walked to that your child finds interesting.

For indoors:

Dance party! Put on music that both of you enjoy and dance. Make up dances: crazy dance, cat dance, monkey dance, squirrel dance...etc.

Lay on your backs and bicycle your legs. Talk about all the things you see on your trip, and make up a story to go along.

Physical stories: pretend your daughter is something you are "making". A piece of pizza (roll her out, because she's the dough, then use your arms to smear sauce all over her, etc.) There's a great kid's book called "Pete's a Pizza" that can show you how to "make" a child into just about anything. It can be quite a workout for an adult!

Hope these ideas help and add some fun time to your day!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I live in a very wet and dark area of Alaska for our winters, not to mention we have no access to a YMCA or rec. center in town.

I found purchasing a couple kid friendly workout videos (dancing and even yoga) were great ways to get the kids and myself up off the couch and play around. Move and Groove Kids, was a great video. Of course of the kids stuff gets a little old for adults sometimes, but we adapted out own for music for the radio after a while. We try to do crazy legs, snake arms and boucing bodies to add to radio songs too. It seems silly, but honestly once I got into making a complete fool out of myself with my kids, I found it so much fun to just let go and roll on the floor and hop around like a kid again. AND it takes more energy than it looks.

We have a kids game called Hullabalu where you hop, jump and spin around while learning shapes and fun. We also like to tumble in the living room. I push all the furniture out of the way and tumble on the floor with the kids and we ended up learning to do head stands and jumping jacks together, (jumping jacks are harder to teach kids then I EVER expected). Farm animals is another game we play, we pick an animal and act it out. Of course it starts out like the animal, but soon becomes something of a silly cartoon character with snake arms and crazy legs.

These are basic things, but I found doing it with the kids 3 or 4 times a week gave us all a fun time together (even my husband had a great time) and by the end we were all ready for dinner or bedtime because we spent the time exercising. Sometime I really did not want to do it, but once I started I got into it and when we were done, I felt great (the same way I feel about going to the gym or exercising on my own.) Good luck and have fun.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Medford on

Hi S.,

I don't know if your daughter is into Dora the Explorer, but one fun thing I do with my two year old is, after we read or watch a Dora story, act out the story either inside or outside. We make up a pretend troll and answer a riddle to go over a troll bridge (inside, a towel on the floor works great, outside it can be stairs or a bench or just imagination), get through the icky-sticky sand or mud or jungle or whatever, on and on. If she's really involved in the story, she doesn't notice the cold and we end up doing a lot of climbing and running.

Also, treasure hunts can be really fun. Hide a few items with a theme around the house or outside, then give her some simple clues and search for them together.

Plain old chase and tag works too!

have fun :) K.



answers from Portland on

It seems to me that part of your request is how to get yourself to do the things, such as crafts, that you already know how to do. This sounds like wanting motivation. I'm retired and have not children but I'm having a similar difficulty now that it's winter.

I've learned over the years that I feel more sluggish and unmotivated to the point that my counselors over the years have said that it's a mild form of depression. So I treat the depression. I've had ongoing difficulties with depression and anxiety so I take an anti-depressant. This doesn't motivate me. It just makes me feel better so that I can find ways to motivate myself. I haven't read all the posts for your question but in skimming them I've seen several good ideas. They would most likely only work for me if I'd directily responded to my depressed feelings. To do this I schedule time to walk or in your case go to the gym and then force myself to do it even if I don't really want to do it. I start with some form of exercise. Then add other things that I need/want to accomplish. I have to tell myself I'm going to do it no matter what and then follow up and do it. I'm not consistently successful but I am feeling better now with out increasing my meds. I have a feeling of accomplishment when I do what I've scheduled and this gives me a bit more energy to keep at it. The exercise is the most important aspect for me. Exercise increases "feel good" chemicals in your brain as well as increasing one's energy level.

This may not work for you. It may not even be close to how you're feeling. But I'd still recommend getting back into going to the gym routine.



answers from Seattle on

My family and I are very active and get out alot but some days it's just dark and yucky and I don't even feel like getting dressed. But, my mom bought me the Wii Fit video game. It is SOOOOOO fun! And it is very active. There is yoga and strength training and even running. There are also games - our favorite is Hula Hoop. I usually don't like video games and this is the first video console we've owned (besides my ancient Atari! haha) but it is great family fun and it really does keep you active.


answers from Seattle on


Do you have a YMCA close by? They should have a "Kid's Corner" where you can drop off your daughter for 1 1/2 hours and get a workout in. Y'all could even go swimming during the Rec or Family swims. There are also family nights and a bunch of other fun things y'all can do.




answers from Seattle on

Try finding one of those mommy and me exercise classes.

Go to the local swimming pool with her and take swimming lessons that include you or give her swimming lessons, or just go swimming lessons as a family.

Give her gymnastics lessons, pre ballet lessons.

Get one of those big--big balls and play with her.

Go to your P.E. teacher and ask for suggestions.

Play follow the leader.

Play Simmon Says.

Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Wow, S., what a lucky little girl you have!. I retired as a special ed, preschool teacher from Northshore last spring ( sigh) - and miss the messes and the fun.
Here are some ideas- play ball inside with ''balls '' of crumbled newspaper or even balloons ( not safe for some children- you know your lamb best) - do ''on the ground'' exersizes with your little girl as your ''weight ball''' ( she'll LOOOOVVVVEEE that)If you look at her needs and yours- you can almost certainly have a helper who is happily involved in ''washing'' carrots for dinner - or sweeping the floor - or using play dough to '''fix meat loaf'' so that you can cook with your little helper --- Is there anything in life better than a 3 year old??? ( yes, 4,5,6 - etc - lolol)

aka Old Mom



answers from Seattle on

The YMCA is a great place to work out and for kids. I toured the Northsore YMCA a few weeks back and talked to the teachers in the Kids Corner, and they're all really great. The Y has a lot of different workout options as well, including swimming, yoga, pilates, martial arts, and wide variety of new workout equipment. We're on a super tight budget, so I'm trying to figure out how to make it work, but I definitely want to sign up with them.

There's also some stroller strides groups, but with a 3 year old, she might be too old for that.

Good luck!

(For daily activities, otherwise, check out:



answers from Portland on

I echo the other moms, the Y is great. Childcare is usually provided while you work out, and then there are also children's classes/activites for decent prices.

Some of our favorite winter activities are still the Children's Museum, and the local indoor play places. I also sometimes move the furniture around inside so that we can do fun physical stuff. Like bowling, dancing, box forts, and movie days. (We'll get all the blankets and pillows throw them on the floor in front of the TV and have a little party.)

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