Trying to occupy toddlers whilst being in lockdown is no easy feat. If you’ve worked your way through all of your art supplies or just fancy a break from crafting then give these 17 boredom-busting activities a try.
1. ABC Play Dough
Practice letter recognition and phonic sounds with play dough- a hands-on sensory learning game for 3-year-olds.
You can make your own ABC playdough mats for this activity, simply write your bubble letters using a marker pen then either laminate them or place them into a plastic sleeve. Get the kids to roll, squeeze and shape the play dough to make the letters of the alphabet. As well as working on letter recognition and phonics the kids will also be improving fine motor skills and problem-solving- learning and fun all rolled into one!
2. Bath Time For Their Babies
This is a great activity for encouraging imaginary play. Grab a plastic tub, a toy baby, a flannel, sponge, soap, towel, toothbrush and baby clothes. Lay everything out and let your little one do the rest- they'll love playing the parent role.
3. Rice Bin
A great sensory play activity to keep 3-year-olds entertained whilst working on fine motor skills by pouring, mixing and scooping the rice.
Simply pour a bag of rice into a large container and add some recycled plastic bottles, wooden spoons, funnels and measuring cups. Let the kids play independently, exploring the rice and when they’re finished, pop the rice into a container to save until next time!
4. Pretend Play Kitchen
Ignite your little one's imagination with some pretend play cooking with 'real food'. Set up a little cooking station, with some pots and pans, play table wear and cutlery and add some rice and cooked pasta.
5. What's Missing
A simple game to help 3-year-olds develop problem-solving skills.
Place some familiar objects on a tray in front of your toddler, point at each item and ask them to say what it is. Get them to close their eyes whilst you remove an object from the tray. Get them to open their eyes and tell you what's missing!
6. Recycled Building
Calling all budding engineers! This is a great eco-friendly STEM activity for 3 years olds. Simply empty your recycling bins and see what you can build with what's inside.
7. Build A Den
Use items from around your home to build a den with your little one. This is a great activity for encouraging creativity and problem-solving.
8. Obstacle Course
At home or in the garden, set up a mini obstacle course, a super fun way to get little ones moving.
Be creative with items you have around the house- get them crawling under chairs, rolling, jumping, balancing on a line of masking tape, throwing balls into a bowl.. use your imagination. These activities are great for helping with coordination and balance. Once they've got the knack of it try timing them so they have to race against the clock to get their fastest time!
9. Water Play
Great for sunny days in the garden! Playing with water is a fantastic sensory play activity that the kids will love.
Use a large plastic tub and fill it almost to the top with water. Throw in some bath toys, boats, upcycle plastic bottles, add some funnels, cups and wooden spoons. To add to their sensory play, try adding some ice cubes into the mix. Ready, steady, splash!
10. Teddy Bear Picnic
Grab a blanket and find a spot in the garden or inside. Fill a picnic basket with a selection of sandwiches, snacks and drinks- and don't forget the teddies!
11. Whisking Bubbles
For lots of bubble fun pour some washing liquid into a large plastic tub, use a whisk to get the bubbles going then add in some wooden spoons, measuring cups and scoops.
12. Garden Soup
Looking for ideas to keep your 3-year-old occupied in the garden? Set up a cooking station, use bowls, a jug of water, scoops, tongs, wooden spoons and whisks. Let your little one hunt for ingredients; a selection of flowers, grass, leaves- whatever they can find! They'll be kept busy here for hours making all sorts of concoctions!
13. Pom Pom Racing
Kids will love racing pom poms, it’s super simple to set up and the perfect rainy day activity.
You'll need: an assortment of pom poms- one for each player, a straw for each player and some masking tape
Start by making a start and finish line using some masking tape on the floor. The objective is to blow through the straw to move the pom poms over the finish line, the first player to cross the line wins! If the straws are too long then try cutting them down for younger children. Ready, steady, GO!
14. Paper Aeroplanes
Ready for some flying fun?! Making paper aeroplanes is a great creative activity to do with 3-year-olds. Here are 5 different designs for you to try- have a go and see which one flies the furthest!
15. Play Simon Says
Kids will have so much fun playing this classic game of Simon says. The beauty of this game is that it can be played anywhere and you don't need anything but yourselves to play it!
The person playing Simon will give commands which the players need to follow. Keep it simple to begin with then you can make it more challenging as the game goes on! The players must listen closely and only act on the commands that begin with 'Simon Says'. A great game for improving their concentration and listening skills.
16. Masking Tape Car Track
For any car crazed little ones this is a great way to keep them engaged and entertained for hours on end! Grab some masking tape and create a racing track around your house! You can extend this activity by making toilet roll tunnels and using cardboard boxes to make petrol stations, car parks or drive-throughs.
Gardening is a great way for kids to enjoy and learn about nature. Let them tag along next time your doing some pruning and give you a helping hand! Check out our blog for some top tips on how they can get involved. Let’s get gardening!
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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