20 Educational & Developmental Activities for 3 Year Olds

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If I have to be honest three year olds are my favorite! They are sweet and kind and so loving, but what I love even more is watching the growth that happens when they are three. They go from barely being able to form a sentence to in-depth conversations where you might find yourself scratching your head how they learned all this! To help them in their growth I love to have plenty of educational activities for 3 year olds on hand to help them in their growth when they are ready to learn!

Whether you are looking for educational or developmental activities for your 3 year old we have an entire list that will help teach and entertain your child throughout the whole year! 

Be sure to check out our activities for 2 year olds as well! 

Educational & Developmental Activities for 3 Year Olds

Activities for 3 Year Olds

1. Animal Sounds

Animal Sounds

Kids love animals, in fact, they probably point out every animal they see to you as you drive by them or while they watch a show. Use this time to ask your child what sound the animal makes. 

By doing this it helps develop cognitive skills and increase memory. 

2. Animal Walk

If your child loves animals, then pretend to be animals! You can name out an animal and have your child act it out. This could be as simple as a dog, or you can have them use their imagination as to what a unicorn would do. 

Kids will learn coordination, hopping, balance, and galloping as you play together. 

3. Read

A toddler is Reading

There is no better way to educate a three year old than to read to them. Make it a habit of reading with your child each day or night for at least 15 minutes. Use this time to snuggle. As you read talk about what is happening in the story. Ask questions and get them to cognitively think about the outcome. 

I love to have books available and out so they can always grab a book and “read” on their own as well. 

4. Draw


The development of fine motor skills is crucial in three year olds. Sit at the table and draw with them. Give them a variety of colors. Have them draw pictures, have them practice tracing their letters if they are interested. All of these things will strengthen those fine motor skills. 

5. Cutting

Cutting is another skill that might scare any parent! If your kids are like mine, they might have given themself a haircut or even cut an important document that they thought was scrap paper. So keep the scissors up high and bring them down when it is time to cut. Have them practice cutting on lines and also cutting out objects. The more they cut the stronger their skills will be. 

6. Play Hide and Go Seek

Hide and Seek

Hide and go seek is so fun at this age because they are actually hiding and starting to understand the concept of the game! Not only will you giggle together and have fun, but this game teaches patience to your kids as they have to find you even if they might find it hard as well as patiently wait while you find them as well. 

7. Puzzles


With three year olds, you can start to introduce some harder puzzles to the mix. We love to have a bunch of 24 piece jigsaw puzzles on hand for them to work on. As they do puzzles, they will learn concentration, patience, and the satisfaction of a job well done when they complete the puzzle. 

8. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Three year olds are explorers! So take them on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Here they can explore nature, look for things big and small, and practice their observation skills. 

9. Sidewalk Chalk

summer bucket list chalk drawing image

On nice days, go outside and do various sidewalk chalk activities. Have them trace around you and you trace around them. Have them practice writing their letters and numbers and a variety of other fun activities. 

10. Talk to them!

Talk to them

One of the best ways for your kids to develop educationally and developmentally is to talk to them. Have conversations with them. Answer your kids why questions 5000 times a day. You will be surprised at how well they are listening and soaking every word in that you are saying, even the ones that make you cringe when they repeat them, so beware!

11. Stickers

Stickers are another great activity. Have them grab the sticker off the sheet (which helps with those fine motor skills) and have them place them on the designated paper. Remind them that stickers only go on certain locations or you might end up with stickers everywhere! 

12. Play Soccer

Play Soccer

If you want to help your 3 year old with coordination, go outside and kick the soccer ball with them. This will help them with hand-eye coordination, following directions, and help them stay active.

13. Dance


When in doubt, dance! Turn on some music and watch your kids dance! This helps relieve energy and helps them have fun and gain a love for music. Over time your kids will start asking for their favorite songs and asking you to turn off songs that they don’t care for. 

14. Sensory Bins

Create a fun sensory bin for your child to play with. These are relatively inexpensive and help with your child’s development. Have them look for certain things in the bin or create certain structures as they play. 

15. Count


There is no better time to start counting with your child than now. Count together as you drive in the car and while you are sitting waiting for an activity to start. If you are giving your kids a candy treat, then count each object individually. This is the very beginning of basic math development and number recognition.

16. Finger Paint

Finger Paint

Kids love to make messes. So put on some old clothes and let them finger paint. They will love using their fingers to create their very own masterpiece. 

17. Shaving Cream

Another fun activity with three year olds is to play with shaving cream. Place a big black trash bag over the table and on the floor and then add shaving cream. Let your child smash it, spread it, and squish it! 

18. Puppet Show

Puppet Show

Create a puppet show with the kids. Make your own sock puppets or buy some puppets and play. Let your child take the lead on naming the characters and what will happen in the play. This is a great activity to develop creativity and develop their imagination. 

19. Build with Blocks

Build with Blocks

If you want another creative activity that uses their imagination as well as helps with fine motor skills grab some blocks. Here they can stack them on top of each other, build houses, and a variety of other fun structures. This is a fun activity to get on the floor and do with them through parallel play. 

20. Playdough


Make a big batch of playdough and give them some basic kitchen tools and let them play playdoh. Your child will spend hours each day playing with playdough. 

What other activities for 3 year olds would you add to the list? Share in the comments!

Check out these other great posts! 

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