Active play does not always mean being physically active, it also refers to being mentally active. Active play for a three- year old can range from spending time outdoors to sitting quietly in the house. The point to being active with a three-year old is to keep their mind working.
One way to encourage your three-year old’s mind is to sit and read stories with them. You should set aside a specific time each day where you and your child can sit down and relax together while reading a book or two. To get your three-year old’s mind going when reading to them, read with enthusiasm, change the pitch and tone of your voice to help develop the characters. Also show different feelings. You should also stop and talk about the pictures by asking and answering questions about the pictures and what is going on in the book. This will help your child develop comprehension skills, which will be useful later on in learning.
Your child’s fine motor skills are starting to develop, so give them crayons and washable markers to draw and color with. When it comes to crayons and markers your child will need to be taught that it is only okay to color on certain things, like paper or coloring books. Provide your child with an area to color and draw in that is in the same room that you spend most of your time in. When your child hands you something that they colored or draw make sure you praise their work; this can help build their self-confidence. You can also proudly display it on the fridge where other people can see it, so they too can praise your child’s newest skills.
Most three-year olds have a ton of energy, so they are going to need to find activities that they can do to burn off that excess energy. Spending time outside riding bikes, digging in sand boxes, swinging, or playing with balls is a great way to burn off the excess energy. These same activities will also help improve your child’s large motor skills. Riding toys, whether they push with their feet or use pedals, are a huge success for this age. When allowing your child to play with riding toys, make sure it is in a safe area, meaning away from cars and other obstacles.
Your three-year old will also need help in further developing their small motor skills. Any toys that require hand-eye coordination are a great choice for helping them to develop their small motor skills, such as lacing boards and puzzles. Blunt scissors and non-toxic glue are safe for three-year olds to use, as long as they are doing so under adult supervision.
Role-playing is another activity that three-year olds will find fun and exciting. Role-playing allows your preschooler to be anybody that they want to be and gives them the chance to act out things that they want to happen. For example, your child can pretend to be a doctor; instead of giving shots, they can give kisses. Your child through role-playing is going to feel empowered with the chance to make their own decisions, which helps build their self-confidence. Role-playing can also help your three-year old foster the social skills that they are going to need later on in life. Building castles and forts with other children teaches three-year olds about the social rules that they must follow in life, but also about sharing and conflict resolution. Role-playing can also further enhance your three-year old’s problem-solving skills because the more imaginative they are, the more resourceful they will be in trying to come up with solutions to problems.