It should be easy to entertain a bunch of toddlers… but it really isn’t. With their short attention span, low tolerance for frustration, and limited knowledge on a variety of topics, it can seem like a real challenge to come up with a game that a bunch of 3 year olds can truly enjoy and appreciate. This is something all preschool teachers and parents to small kids already know.

So if you’re throwing a party for a bunch of kids, how can you make sure they’re going to have fun? Well, these fun games for 3 year olds can make the ideal solution against those boredom blues.

Pass the Parcel

Pass the Parcel

The mechanics of this game are fairly simple, and it works great with younger kids. Of course, it does need quite a bit of preparation, but Pass the Parcel is a big hit because of the excitement and anticipation that it builds up as the kids unwrap the secret prize being passed around.

What You Need:

  • Colored paper or newspaper
  • A surprise gift
  • Music player

How to Play:

  • Before the game itself, you need to prepare your parcel.
  • Wrap the gift in layers upon layers of newspaper or whatever paper you have available. The more layers, the better.
  • Have the children sit around in a circle and instruct them before you start the game.
  • When the music starts, the parcel will be passed around the circle.
  • When the music stops, the kid holding the parcel will remove one of the layers covering it.
  • After that, the music resumes and the kids pass the parcel again.
  • The game proceeds like this until the parcel is completely uncovered.
  • The player holding the parcel at the end of the game gets to take home the prize.

Obstacle Course

Kids love to roll around and experiment with their little bodies, which is why obstacle courses are a common favorite among teachers and parents. Set up a nifty little course for your kids to run through and give prizes away to your winners for a fun, easy, and healthy game for your three year old and her friends.

What You Need:

  • Household items and furniture that you can use to create a safe obstacle course
  • A timer

How to Play:

  • You can have as little as two players for your obstacle course. If you have more than two players, consider splitting them up into teams so kids can take turns running the course.
  • Set-up your obstacle course. There are no rules! Just make sure everything is safe. Here’s a recommended set-up that you can try:
    Set up a table for your players to crawl under
    Place about 4 feet of packaging tape on the floor in a single straight line. Have the kids walk on the tape like a tightrope. If a kid steps off of the line, then have them start again from the beginning of that station.
    Mark out 4 X’s on the ground with tape. Have the kids hop from X to X without losing balance.
    Have them carry three large pillows without dropping any to reach the final station of the course.
    At the end, set up a small table with a simple 6-piece jigsaw puzzle.
    The first kid to complete the course wins the round.
    Let kids take turns going through the course, and make sure they all wear non-slip socks to prevent any accidents.

Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt

If you have a big space – like your backyard – and you’re thinking of fun birthday games for 3 year olds, then Treasure Hunt can be loads of great fun. While it might call for some preparation before the party itself, a Treasure Hunt can be an ideal game if you’re trying to break the ice or to get your players to move around and shake off any shyness, since toddlers tend to struggle with warming up during parties.

What You Need:

  • Small cups or containers for each kid
  • Lots of pieces of candies or small toys
  • One major prize

How to Play:

  • Before the party starts, go around the party space hiding candies, lollipops, and any other little knick-knacks you’ve prepared.
  • Get creative with how you hide them. Stick them under chairs, tables, behind decor, or in flower arrangements.
  • Make sure to consider the height of your players. Avoid hiding pieces in places where the kids might not be able to reach them.
  • As the party starts, instruct your kids that you’ve hidden candies and other small toys around the venue.
  • Their task is to find as many of the hidden items as they can with the given time.
  • Give each child a cup or container where they can keep all of the little pieces of candy or toys that they find.
  • Let the kids go off on a treasure hunt.
  • When the time is up, gather all the participating children and have them count the pieces of candy and toys they managed to find.
  • The kid with the most gets to win the major prize.

Prize Walk

Don’t like seeing any of the kids unhappy about not getting a prize? At the ripe age of three, most kids don’t really understand why some kids get prizes when they don’t and it can be a real downer. So if you want to make sure all of the players at your party have an equal chance of winning, then Prize Walk can be a wonderful game.

What You Need:

  • Big pieces of paper for kids to stand on.
  • Markers
  • A small basket or bowl
  • Smaller pieces of paper to draw like a raffle
  • Music player

How to Play:

  • Number each of the big pieces of paper so that all of the players will have one to step on. If you have 20 kids playing, make sure you have 20 pieces of paper prepared.
  • Write the same numbers of the smaller pieces of paper.
  • Place all of these small pieces into a basket or a bowl.
  • Position the bigger pieces of paper on the floor, a few feet away from each other.
  • Tape them down to make sure they don’t move around as you play.
  • Instruct your players before you start the game.
  • When the music plays, kids should dance around the play area.
  • When the music stops, kids need to stand on one of the different pieces of paper on the floor.
  • The game master then picks a random number from the bowl.
  • The kid stepping on the same number then wins a prize.
  • Keep playing until you run out of prizes to give away.
  • For bigger kids, you can mix up the game to make it a little harder. Before the kids can win a prize, ask them an age-appropriate trivia question. If they get it right, give a major prize. If not, then you can hand over one of the smaller prizes.

Marble Race

Marble Race

The Marble Race is a simple game that tests your kids’ balance, motor skills, and hand eye coordination. Relatively simple but providing just the right challenge for small kids, the Marble Race can be a great way to get toddlers to warm up to your party so they feel more willing to join other games along the way.

What You Need:

  • Small spoons, like tea spoons
  • Marbles
  • Three chairs
  • Three bowls

How to Play:

  • Set up the collection station (one chair with a bowl) at the end of the race area. For smaller kids like three year olds, consider a shorter race distance like 5 feet. Adjust the distance as your participants get older.
  • At the start of the race distance, set up one chair with a bowl full of marbles.
  • There should be two stations. Each team gets one station.
  • Kids are divided into two teams. The members of the teams are arranged into a line right before the start of the race distance. The bowl full of marbles should be between the two lines.
  • When the game master says ‘go’, the first player from each team uses a teaspoon to pick up one marble.
  • The kids then walk the distance to the collection bowl.
  • Each member will then drop their marble into the bowl and run back to their designated team.
  • Then, the next member in the line will take the teaspoon and pick up a marble to bring to the collection bowl.
  • Players who drop the marble before reaching the end of the race distance need to pick up a new marble and start again.
  • The first team to be able to complete the race with all members dropping a marble into the bowl will be called the winner.
  • If you want to make sure all the kids get gratified for their effort, consider giving consolation prizes to the other team.

Bring Me

If you’ve got a crowd at your kiddie party, then Bring Me can get everyone to join in on the fun. While the game mainly involves small kids, Bring Me can be loads of fun for adults, too, especially if you consider the kind of stuff that you ask the children to bring to the table.

How to Play:

  • Everyone in the crowd can play.
  • The game master instructs the audience before starting the game.
  • A list of items will be mentioned one by one, and the toddlers are responsible for bringing those items to the front of the party venue where the game master is standing.
  • For instance, the game master might ask for the kids to ‘Bring me the longest leather belt!’
  • Adults can help kids by giving them the items to bring to the stage.
  • The kids who bring the items fastest are given prizes.
  • To make things more fun, you can ask for quirky requirements, like ‘Bring me the biggest uncle!’ or ‘Bring me the coolest dad!’
  • Remember – entries are only accepted if a toddler brings them to the stage! So if a cool dad pops up beside you without a kid towing him in, then it’s not considered an entry!

Balloon Relay

Balloon Relay

Here’s a fun game that tests your players’ creativity and motor skills! Perfect for bigger groups, Balloon Relay can wake up your kids’ senses and get them to really give their all to win the prize. If you’ve got a few bigger kids in the mix, Balloon Relay can be an excellent way to have all of your kids playing together with a game they’ll all enjoy.

What You Need:

  • Balloons, enough for each team
  • Stools

How to Play:

  • Divide your players into teams. You can have just two teams, or more, depending on how many players and prizes you have.
  • Inflate enough balloons so that each team will have one balloon. It’s best if you can color code the balloons too – the first team will get a red balloon, the second, a blue balloon, and so on.
  • Place the stool at the end of the relay area. Each team will work around one stool, so make sure there’s enough stools for each playing team.
  • The instructions are simple – run the distance of the relay area and go around the stool to return to the team.
  • Along the way, the kids need to bring along an inflated balloon which they can’t drop.
  • The kids are not allowed to hold the balloon with their hands.
  • If a kid drops the balloon along the way, then they need to return to the start of the race area and re-do the entire relay.
  • As they reach the end of the relay area back to their team, the kids will pass the balloon to the next player on their team.
  • The first team to be able to get all their players to run around the stool and back again without dropping the balloon will be named the winners.
  • Consider giving out consolation prizes to the non-winning teams as well.