Today we dive into some of my favourite activities for 2.5 to 3 year olds. Children of this age are still sensorial learners so make them hands-on, aimed at refining and strengthening their grasp, their increased language ability, self expression (arts and crafts), challenging their gross motor movement, and practical life activities can get longer with more steps as concentration builds.
Here are 6 of my favourites!
1. A more advanced layered puzzle – this one is by Chelona (and looks more difficult to find these days). I like to scaffold this with the child. I might help by just giving them the pieces for the bottom layer to start with, then the middle layer, then the top layer.
2. Activities with smaller pieces – this board by Haba has nearly 100 pieces and the pieces are small (around 1.5 cm tall by 0.5cm). This provides an opportunity for the child to refine and control their pincer and they have increasing concentration to complete with more pieces. They can also sort by colour if they have interest.
3. Wedgits – this is not officially a Montessori material. However, my children used this over and over again and when I added it to my classroom, it has been in constant use since. They love to grade the sizes of the pieces and older children enjoy building different models. I made a book where they can copy the designs if they would like more challenging designs. I’ve made a PDF of the designs here for you to use.
4. Hammering shapes into corkboard – this is so much fun and is a great challenge for both fine motor (putting the nail in the small hole) and hammering the nail into the corkboard. The pieces go into the blue box and the nails into the small jam jar to keep everything at the ready. This set was purchased from Flying Tiger but there are many with geometric shapers too which are also great.
5. Sewing – I’ve written about my love of and the steps for sewing with toddlers here. Great again for fine motor control and two hands working together. The needle I use is blunt (a darning needle) and I have a needle case to keep things safe.
6. Prick work – a felt underlay, a sharp prick pen and some thick paper with a simple design is great for developing their pencil grip, learning to follow the line, and takes a LOT of concentration to make it the whole way around the shape. For more advanced, they can keep pricking along the line until the shape can be removed.
Bonus activity – stereognostic bags
You can see the bags hanging to the right of the shelf. They are designed with small slits in the sides so you put only your hand in but cannot peek in to see, the idea being the child is learning to feel around objects without looking in order to identify them – their stereognostic sense. We use this sense all the time to feel for our keys in our bag etc. This starts to develop around 2.5 years of age. You can put in random objects (look for things that are easy to identify without looking), paired objects, or objects around a theme. As I didn’t take photos this time of what’s inside, I’ll be sure to cover these in more detail another time.
I hope it’s fun to see my favourites for this age. And, as always, use these ages as a guideline only. Your child may be doing one or two steps or already have mastered these. Keep following your child, their timeline, and their interests.
Wanting more activities?
- 3 – 6 months
- 6 – 9 months
- 9 – 12 months
- 12-15 months
- 15 – 18 months
- 18 – 21 months
- 21-24 months
- 2 years – 2 years 3 months
- 2 years 3 months – 2 years 6 months
Check back for more activities by age coming soon. You can also download a free 42-page pdf of Montessori activities by age (0 to 4 years) from my website.