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We have done a lot of screen free activities with our toddler.
Last year we realized that my son’s screen time was affecting his attitude. He became miserable and really difficult to deal with. I did some research and decided for us the tablet and TV could be to blame for our troubles.
We do our best to cut off screen time and do other activities.
Some kids learn from their screen time and don’t have an attitude change. I don’t doubt that. My son wasn’t that kid. He was a zombie. He’d zone out watching educational TV and wasn’t our sweet kid after screen time.
With the birth of our daughter, his screen time increased so we could survive the day. You’d be amazed what you’re able to accomplish before an episode of Daniel Tiger is over. Now that we’re through the rough period of a newborn and a toddler, we’re back to our old ways of limiting the TV to avoid the attitude.
Here are my favorite screen free activities for my three year old. Some are more hands on with the parent, some things require the great outdoors and some are just set up and clean up so you can get some things done or finish your coffee.
17 Screen Free Activities For Three Year Olds
We love coloring in our coloring books or drawing in the art pad I got at the craft store. You can join in on the activity to help and encourage your child too.
Painting, for us, definitely requires adult supervision. My son loves to paint. We’ll use that same art pad mentioned above and I just let him be creative.
If you have a color printer, do a quick search on Google for “matching game for preschoolers” and you’ll come up with a ton of free options to print out and work on. My son has so many interests so I’ve printed out quite a few. It really gets him talking about the different things we’re matching and the colors of each item.
I recently featured this on my Instagram account!
My son is really into construction vehicles. We have a few sand construction vehicles like these ones and we use a plastic tub, fill it with orchid potting chips and let him dig in the dirt with the trucks. We do this inside so I put a towel down to scoop up any dirt that makes its way outside the tub.
He loves it. It’s one of our favorite activities. I can also walk away and get the dishes done or get some work accomplished.
On a search for fun things to do with my son at home, I came across this fun and FREE Alphabet Train printable from The Stay At Home Educator! Print out on cardstock like she suggests to make it last longer.
With nice weather ahead, we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors. Sure, I can lug the coloring books and crayons outside…
Or I could get sidewalk chalk.
For an extra fun activity, help your toddler trace things found in nature, like leaves or flowers. They’ll get better and better each time!
A color hunt is a fun indoor or outdoor activity!
Pick a color and search for ten items with that color in your house, yard, playground, wherever!
I love setting up a water station for my son. He loves it too!
You can use household items and have your child scoop the water with spoons, ladles, measuring cups, or water or sand toys.
This one can keep my son entertained for awhile. This is a fun activity on a hot day if getting into a pool is not an option.
Going For A Walk
I’ve been taking both kids on walks every day. Even if it’s for fifteen minutes! We point out different types of vehicles, animals and colors that we see. We love to do our walk after dinner to help us wind down before the bedtime scramble.
We love having dance parties, especially when getting outdoors just isn’t feasible. Play your favorite music, or go ahead and play Blippi for the millionth time, and dance!
Library Story Time
Story time at the library is free and a great way to meet other moms with their kids! Our story time does a free little craft or coloring activity at the end and it’s a great way to foster a love of reading early on.
Check out your local libraries because there are a lot of fun free activities!
We have a library card and every week we grab a few new books to read. We love our library books and read them nightly. I pick up about five new books each time we go.
Pom Pom Activity
This is one of our favorite quick activities to do at home.
You can find pom-poms here using my affiliate link or go to a local craft store to pick some up. I use colors that match our measuring cups and give my son a spoon, tongs, shovel and spatula and let him have at it. We sort by colors, throw the pom poms in the air and scoop ’em all back up again.
Spaghetti Strainer with Pipe Cleaners
Another fun and quick set up activity to do at home.
Grab your spaghetti strainer and colored pipe cleaners and have your child guide the pipe cleaners through the holes of the spaghetti strainer. This is a great fine motor activity for your toddlers to do!
Nature Walk and Sun Catcher Craft
I love taking my kids on nature walks. You can choose to find things by color or by scavenger hunt. We take a small bucket with us and fill it with the things we find. Once the bucket is full we check out what we found and sort by color/shape!
Sun Catcher Craft
This adorable activity requires a paper plate, contact paper and some paint to decorate.
First, cut a big circle in the plate then let your child paint or color the plate. Once dry the plate is dry – if it needs drying time, take the contact paper and stick to the back of the plate. You might have to tape it down so have some tape on hand. Use your findings and stick to the contact paper. If you have something heavier, like a stick, you’ll need to either glue or tape it down but grass, petals and lightweight items will stick nicely.
We always have Cheerios and yarn so this is a fun activity to work on those fine motor skills. You can paint the Cheerios if you choose but my son would still try to eat it so we didn’t!
Baking is a great way to get your child interested in cooking and baking.
I have my son help me sort all of our ingredients ahead of time and put them into the mix. He learns how to follow directions and once we’re done we have a delicious baked good at the end of it to enjoy together.
Additional Screen Free Resources:
- How to Balance Technology with Outdoor Time in Your Family – Happy Science Mom
- How to be Present with Your Family in a Digital World – Parenting in Real Life
- 5 Screen Free Activities for Toddlers – Toot’s Mom is Tired
- 5 Practical Ways to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time – Fab Working Mom Life
- Distracted by Your Device? This Parenting Research Will Change Your Perspective – Thoughtful Parent
- How to Avoid a Gaming Addiction in Kids – Social Kids
What are some of your favorite screen free activities for your three year old or toddler? Leave a comment!
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