Fun themes for 3 year olds
August 30, 2019 12:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some books, songs, props, and easy circle activities to share with a group of 1-3 year olds, on specific themes.

The trick is to engage the older kids enough that they don't wander off when I slow down to engage the toddlers! (Each kid will have a caregiver but it still gets chaotic). So I'm thinking it'd be great if the older kids can be "helpers" and perform tiny "solos" (like making the animal noises on Old MacDonald's Farm).

For each theme, I'd like a couple of ideas for matching activities:
Books - short, fun, charming, easy to find, and have diverse characters.
Songs - easy to sing/learn on the spot, and it'd be great if they had gestures.
Activities / Props - it's a small budget, so DIY stuff would be great.
Snack - an easy, healthy, thematic snack .

Here are the themes and some ideas I have so far:
Alphabet - Read Dr. Seuss's ABCs
Colours - Wave colourful scarves in a Simon Says kind of game (Leader says the colour, that kid waves their scarf). Sing a rainbow song.
Numbers - Sing 10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Rhythm - Sing a call-and-answer song with clapping. Make rattles by posting popsicle sticks into empty bottles.
High and Low - Tap small & large objects with a mallet (drum, jar, plate, box)
Air - Wave a fan to move wind chimes.
Animals - Sing Old McDonald's Farm with animal puppets.
Water - Sing Baby shark. Eat goldfish crackers.

Would love any more ideas! Thanks!
posted by nouvelle-personne to Education (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No suggestions off the top of my head. But you can Google preschool themes and there are tons of blogs out there with ideas for whole units.

And my preschoolers love to sing "We're Going on a Bear Hunt". It has different movements in like walking in mud, swimming etc. And they love to run away from the bear at the end.

I made shaker bottles with three year olds and they loved it. Plastic water bottle + pony beads + superglue to fasten the lid on. Good for fine motor skills, but probably won't work for the under 3 crowd.

Let me think a little more. I just went to a CE class on transitions and time fillers. I'll send you links to some of the stuff she gave us.
posted by kathrynm at 1:27 PM on August 30, 2019

Yellow Submarine really gets a room of three year olds going.
posted by effluvia at 1:29 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Other Beatles songs I think would be a hit with the kids:

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Uncle Albert
posted by effluvia at 1:31 PM on August 30, 2019

You can't go wrong with Ella Jenkins songs.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:20 PM on August 30, 2019

This is a site I often use for ideas.
I like Teaching Mama too.
Everything Preschool has good ideas too, probably not as detailed as some of the others.
I also recommend Teachers Pay Teachers. Despite its name, there are many free resources on there. The search function works well and you can limit it by age group and price, which is what I do.

I hope these will give you some ideas. If I have a book I want to do I often google its name + activity/craft/whatever. You can usually find useful ideas that way.

Good luck. Feel free to MeMail me if you have any questions or anything I might be able to help you with.
posted by kathrynm at 6:29 AM on August 31, 2019

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