Play ideas for your 3-year-old

36+ Months Tips for Parents

Top 5 play ideas recommended by other parents

You and your toddler have been through sleepless nights, potty training, and tiny tantrums. Now is the time for some actual fun and games (yay!). Your three-year-old is ready to learn through play, and you are ready for a new and fun phase of parenting. Here are our parents’ top 5 play ideas for you and your little one to try.

"1. “Soft play is a great idea for toddlers and parents! They climb in a safe environment, you watch and drink coffee!” Maeve, Mum of 2

Soft play centres are not just a convenient and local play option, they are also great confidence and independence builders for your toddler. With each visit, watch them get braver and bolder each time. For you, it’s also a great opportunity to watch and enjoy, and even talk to other parents with children of similar ages. Active, physical play is great for children at this age, they have energy to burn and this is often what their little bodies are crying out for! Other similar options are trampoline parks and bouncy castles.

2. "Creative play with good old paints & crafts is always a winning idea. It’s messy work, but 3-year-olds love getting their hands dirty!” Nicole, Mum of 2

Giving your toddler the platform to paint and create is an excellent way to build up their self-esteem. Watch their pride when they show you their work and you pin it to the fridge in all it’s colourful and glittery glory! It’s also a great technique to grow their creativity. You’ll be amazed just how creative your three-year-old can be. They will transform their surroundings and make props out of all sorts with their growing imaginations just to make play more fun!

3. Make magic potions together!

"Me and my little one used to fill play buckets with grass, food colouring and bits from the garden – just don’t drink it!” Charlotte, Mum of 1

You can make perfectly safe magic potions from all sorts of bottles, ingredients and bits of nature you find around the house and garden. This is a really great cost-free way of playing and passing the time, whilst your little one grows in confidence and imagination.

4. “Learn what they love on TV and find the toys for it! Just be careful, there’s almost too much out there!” Ashley, Dad of 2

There are so many kids’ TV favourites in all shapes and forms of toys! And with toddlers’ obsessions lasting for either weeks or years, you can choose to spend a little or a lot to really get the play value you and they are after. Other toys they quickly learn to love are interactive games with buttons, music, the spoken voice, it can stimulate them for a lot longer than you’ve probably seen up to now.

5.“Introduce games where they can take turns. Things like queuing for the slide or racing toy games make them share without realising!” Verity, Mum of 4

Yes, playing together brings a host of benefits and a world of fun! Little ones’ learn from each other, start to compete with each other, and begin to see the value of working together. It could be stacking building blocks or assembling toy train tracks, but the accomplishment of completing tasks together shines through on their faces. And the big bonus of all this? Sharing finally begins to happen!

From learning to share to imaginative play, your 3-year-old is growing up fast.

And these skills will get them ready for pre-school. Make the most of this year and remember to have fun! Play is still the best way for your little one to learn.