What to Teach A 3 Year Old at Home?

We relied on daycare for most of his lessons. We weren’t sure what developmental milestones he should be meeting. So we needed to figure out what to teach him while he was at home with us for a few months.

Our son started daycare when he was 4 months old. He spent the weekends with us, but during the week we got him ready for daycare, fed him dinner and put him to bed. There was not much time for activities.

So I turned to Pinterest, watched some YouTube videos, and read some articles to determine what type of things I can work on with my 3-year-old at home.

You can teach a 3-year-old both social and educational skills at home. You can teach a 3-year-old letter recognition, number recognition and  basic geometry with shapes.  You can teach your 3-year-old manners at home, you can teach them how to clean up after themselves, and about diversity.

Both my Husband and I had different expectations for what my son should learn at home.  My husband was focused on educational benchmarks  and I was concerned with social and life skills.

Educational Skills to Teach a Three Year Old at Home

All kids learn at different rates. So we are trying to build upon the skills my son already had. Here is an example of some of the educational skills we are trying to teach our son at home.

Teacher 3-year-old Colors at Home

Teach a 3-year-old colors using sorting activities and arts and crafts. Paints can really bring colors to life for young learners. If they already know the basic colors. You can try mixing colors to teach them a new concept.

Teaching your child how to mix colors is a great experiment. It is a little bit of a STEAM experiment.

Teaching a 3-year-old Spelling and Phonics at home

My son was already able to recognize his letters. So now we working on phonics. We teach him what sound each of the letters make. I’m also teaching my son to recognize his name. I use different activities to help him recognize his name. Sometimes I put his name on an easel using magnetic letters. Other times I outline of his name with a marker and let him fill his name in with paint.

A really cool idea that is inspired by Pinterest was a matching game. I used the colored sticker dots to label his car with letters. And then have him drive the car around letter race tracks. I found the little race tracks on a website for free.

My husband purchased a reading program that he plans to use to teach my son how to read.

Teach your Three-year-Old how to Write at home

Right now my son can’t do much beyond scribbles. But I still want to give him a jumbo marker crayon or pencil everyday so that he can practice. My hope is by the end of the third year he’ll be able to trace leathers and numbers.

In the meantime I allow him to trace large scale outlines of letters and numbers with paint. This allows him to learn how to make letters while he works on refining his fine motor skills. I hope this combination of activities will get him to be able to trace letters by the time he is 4 years old.

Teach your Three-Year-Old basic Geometry at home

Teach a 3-year-old shapes at home using puzzles, apps and arts and crafts. Don’t limit shapes to the obvious such as circles rectangles and squares. Fun shapes such as hearts, diamonds, presents, spheres, and pentagons and hexagons can be learned by a 3-year-old.

You can really bring shapes to life by having your three year old blue two or more different shapes together to create a common object. For example a rectangle with some wheels glued to the bottom, resemble a train.

You can also have your 3-year-old cut shapes to make other shapes. For example you can have your 3-year-old cut a square into 2 triangles.

Social skills to teach a 3-year-old at home

We are still working on potty training my 3-year-old at home. From my research it takes consistency and positive reinforcement.  it is little difficult right now with an infant at home. I really wish I had taken the time to do this before the new baby came. We are trying to put him on the potty when he wakes up in the morning, after meals and snacks,  before and after  naps

Teach your  3-year-old manners at home. We are teaching our three-year-old how to say please when they’re asking for something. We are also teaching our 3-year-old how to say thank you when someone helps them out. It feels so good to hear my son say thank you very much when I do something for him.

Manners at Meal Time is something that we are trying to teach at home as well. We tried to teach our toddler no screens or toys at the table. We also teach our toddler to put his dishes in the sink when he has done eating.

Teacher 3-year-old how to get dressed and undressed.

You can teach your three-year-old how to get dressed and undressed at home. You can teach them how to unsnap their pants. Unzip their jackets. If they have velcro on your shoes they may be able to help take those off.  Teaching a 3-year-old how to dress and undress themselves as an important skill.

Teacher 2-year-old how to pick up after themselves at home

I started to show my son how to put his clothes in the hamper. I taught my son  to put his dishes and the sink. I told my son how to throw away his trash after email or snack.  I encourage my son to pick up his toys when he is done playing with them.

This teaches him how to stay neat and organized. Something I’m working on as an adult. I hope establishing these habits while he is young helps him as he gets older.

Teach 3-year-old communication skills at home

Sometimes my 3-year-old will come in the kitchen and start asking for random snacks. When he starts doing that I know he is hungry. So I prompt him to say Mommy I’m hungry so that he recognizes what hunger is. I do the same thing when he asked me for something to drink. I say honey are you thirsty so that he starts to understand how the communicate his feelings. when my son gets tired he’ll come to me and say Mommy I want to cuddle. I know that’s his cue for it’s time to take a nap or go to bed. And so when he asked to cuddle I normally joyfully oblige and say honey you’re tired.

My hope is that by teaching our 3-year-old how to express himself. We can reduce number of tantrums because he is better able to express himself.

Teach 3-year-old Diversity at Home

One thing I liked about my son’s daycare is they celebrated diversity. They they learned about Diwali, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Doing Black history month they learned about black heroes. During women’s history month you learned about women pioneers. During Hispanic heritage month they learned about Hispanic culture. I plan to do lessons about these topics while I have my son home as well.

Teach your 3yr old Religion and Spirituality at Home

No matter what.faith you practice. You can teach your child your religious and spiritual traditions at home. Whether it’s reading religious texts or watching religious based videos. It can even be reciting affirmations. When you teach your 3-year-old at home you have the opportunity to lay the foundation for their future spiritual and religious practices.

These are some of the ideas that I’ve come up with so far to teach my 3-year-old son at home. What are some of the things you have taught your preschooler at home or plan to teach them at home?

Mimi D.

Mimi D is the creator of Dream Plan Smile. An NYC native, she is a wife and mom with a passion for crafting. She holds a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Project Management. In her current role as a working wife and mom, she is getting a crash course in budgeting, planning, & organization.

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