Children in the three-year-old age group want to create hands-on projects as they are in a preoperational learning stage. At this age, a child will ask many questions and is capable of logical thought. Crafts and activities can keep a three-year-old occupied for several hours as he expresses his creativity and then uses the created project for play.
Creating a mobile is an activity that will express creativity in a child. A summer-themed mobile can be made out of a tree stick that is approximately 18 inches long, yarn, and pictures of butterflies, bugs and flowers. Tape several pictures to a piece of yarn and tie the yarn to the stick. One stick will hold 4-5 yarn pieces with pictures. To hang the mobile, cut a length of yarn and tie to each end of the stick to make a hanging loop. Other mobile ideas are snowman parts for winter, animals such as dinosaurs or farm animals, or favorite cartoon characters.
Paper-bag puppets are a craft made out of a lunch-sized paper bag, construction paper, markers and glue. When the bag is folded flat, the square bottom is the face of the puppet with the fold being the mouth. Use construction paper to create clothes and hair for the puppet. Markers can be used to decorate the bag and draw on a face. Lift up the bottom of the bag to open the mouth and add teeth and a tongue for a hidden surprise.
Creating Costume Headbands
Young children enjoy dress-up time and making their own costumes. Create an animal ear headband out of a plain headband, felt, fiberfill, and glue. Use the felt to cut out animal ears of the child's choice. For sheep, use white felt and cut four ears, approximately 3-4 inches long, with a straight bottom and oval top. Cut two smaller ovals out of pink for the inner ear. Glue each pink piece to two of the white pieces, centering them in the middle. Place a small amount of fiber fill on the inside of the two remaining white pieces. Spread glue around the edges of the white ears with fiberfill and glue the two pieces with pink on top. Let the ears dry before gluing them to the headband. An adult can assist with the gluing the ears to the headband by using hot glue to secure them. Smaller ears are easier to attach to the headband. Good animal choices are cat, dog, sheep, cow, and pig.
Children enjoy painting and making pictures out of different items. Instead of paint brushes, use other items such as feathers, sponges, crumbled tissue paper, or stamping with apples or potatoes. Discuss with the child what type of texture or image is created with each item used. If large pieces of paper are used, the finished picture can be used as wrapping paper or cut to create another project.