Screen-free ideas for at home activities with a 3 year old

I haven’t written a post in a really long time because I got a new part-time job and have been really busy. We are also expecting a new baby in a few weeks and I’ve been so tired and had a complicated pregnancy. I’ve been making a list of things to keep our son occupied while I’m breastfeeding the new baby, and here are some of my ideas (I’m sure they will each occupy him for about 10 minutes and then I’ll be back to square one in half a day!)

Hape lacing vehicles toy

Screen-free ideas for at home activities with a 3 year old:

  • Make a necklace with the lacing vehicles toy (this is great for fine motor skills too, and has been a surprising hit for my son starting at age 2.5)
  • Build a house with pillows on the bed
  • Play with a sticker book (we got this train one since Jack is obsessed with trains)
  • Use a coloring book
  • Throw a birthday party for a stuffed animal (wrap presents in scrap paper, make a cake with wooden food)
  • Paint with watercolors
  • Cut scrap paper
  • Play with playdough
  • Sensory play with beans, ice cubes, nuts etc
  • Write our own “book”
  • Color with water (these water wow books have been a big hit for us)
  • Play with stamps
  • Do a montessori-inspired activity like transferring pom poms with tongs or play this cute apple game
  • Play a cooperative board game like this one about chickens which Jack doesn’t really understand but likes to play with
  • Play with a flashlight (shadow animals, or trying to catch the light)
  • Set up an easy obstacle course and count how many times he can do it

I hope I have an easy recovery from childbirth because I’m worried about how I will get through the post-partum period with 2 kids. My husband will be home for about 2 weeks, but my son almost always would rather be with me, so I think it’s going to be a challenge.

Montessori Activities for a 2 year old

2.libraryI’ve been reading about things to do with my 2 year old to start focusing on learning during the day since we aren’t doing preschool until he’s 4. I’ve gotten ideas from lots of Montessori blogs, but some of it is just normal toddler activities. Here are some things he’s been enjoying and others that I hope to try in the future:

  • Playing with stamps. We have letter stamps from Michaael’s and I draw something with the letter and he stamps near it
  • Matching activities. I took photos of lots of his toys so we do matching of animals, trains, blocks, etc. We have done item to picture and picture to picture since I printed doubles
  • Using tongs to put pom poms in a silicone ice mold
  • Doing wooden puzzles
  • Using beans to count on a few pictures I drew that have different numbers of circles
  • Using paper “number rods” and putting them in different spots and running to each number
  • Trying to “sew” with paper by threading it through a folder I cut slits into
  • Making and playing with play dough
  • Using scissors and tape

Things we plan to do include:

  • Throwing balls at a target
  • Making stamps out of potatoes
  • Making our own paint
  • Growing a carrot top in water
  • Making a teddy bear parachute
  • Playing a game where we run around and when I say “stop” we have to run somewhere specific