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Some of the Best Online Learning Games for Kids

Courtney Schley

By Courtney Schley

To find our favorite learning apps and games for kids, we spent more than 40 hours researching and testing 50-plus apps recommended by educators, experts, and parents. If your family has a tablet and you want it to be more than a game-playing and video-watching device, or if you’re trying to find apps for your smartphone that will do more than keep your kids occupied in a pinch, we have some great suggestions.

As with our guides to STEM and learning toys, we didn’t test scores of apps to try to find the “best” ones. Rather, most of the apps here have been chosen by teachers for their students in classrooms, used by Wirecutter parents and their kids, or recommended by the experts and educators we spoke with. (For details, read more about how we selected the apps in this guide.) The apps we cover in this guide are great learning apps not because they’re designed to make kids smarter, to drill facts, or to replace in-school learning, but because they each offer something fun, unique, and interesting for kids and adults.

The research

Our favorite math apps, our favorite coding apps, our favorite science and exploration apps, our favorite social and emotional learning apps, our favorite ebook app, how we picked and tested.

These math games don’t simply drill facts or make kids memorize but rather use visuals, narratives, and storylines to help kids discover math concepts and build their skills. We like these apps because they offer games and exercises tailored to different ages and skill levels and because they encourage adults and kids to play together.

A family math app: Bedtime Math

A screenshot of Bedtime Math from our review of the best educational apps for kids, showing the "Math Problem of the Day" screen within the app

Bedtime Math (iOS and Android)

Bringing math home.

This free app makes math a part of daily family life, like a bedtime story. A peer-reviewed study showed that it not only helps improve kids’ math performance but also makes parents feel more comfortable with math.

Buying Options

How it works: Bedtime Math ( iOS and Android ) seeks to do for math what the bedtime story does for literacy, by turning math into an enjoyable bonding routine between child and caregiver.

The free app offers a daily word problem for children to solve together with an adult during bedtime or anytime. Each exercise centers on a short narrative or interesting fact and poses questions at four difficulty levels, from pre-K through elementary school.

Why it’s great: Bedtime Math is one of the few children’s educational apps that have been evaluated in a peer-reviewed study . This particular study demonstrated that students who used the app significantly boosted their math scores; it also showed that Bedtime Math can help parents mitigate their own math anxiety , a phenomenon that can negatively affect their children’s attitudes toward math and their ability in the subject. Teacher Jennifer Auten told us she liked that the questions were written at a middle-school reading level, meaning an adult must facilitate the discussion but you have a choice of four levels of difficulty based on the child’s age and math level.

Apps for visual math: DragonBox Numbers and DragonBox Big Numbers

A screenshot of DragonBox Big Numbers from our review of the best educational apps and learning games for kids, showing a screen of addition and subtraction equation practice

DragonBox Numbers (iOS, Android, and Amazon)

Visual numeracy.

Cute Nooms help kids visualize and conceptualize numbers and arithmetic operations.

online education for 3 year olds

DragonBox Big Numbers (iOS, Android, and Amazon)

More-complex arithmetic.

Kids follow characters called Nooms on adventures, solving long addition and subtraction equations in the process.

Ages: 4 to 8 and 6 to 9

How it works: DragonBox Numbers ( iOS , Android , and Amazon ), aimed at kids 4 through 8, introduces number sense, addition, and subtraction through cute characters called Nooms. (The characters are designed to resemble Cuisenaire rods , math learning aids that introduce kids to arithmetic operations in a hands-on way.) Kids feed, slice, and sort the Nooms, developing familiarity with addition, subtraction, fractions, and ranges. In DragonBox Big Numbers ( iOS , Android , and Amazon ), for kids 5 through 9, players follow the Nooms on more complex adventures, solving long addition and subtraction equations in order to gather and trade resources.

Why it’s great: The Nooms function as digital versions of what classroom teachers call math manipulatives , physical learning aids that help young children understand theoretical math concepts in a concrete way. For older kids, the DragonBox series continues on with algebra and Euclidean geometry.

Many great apps teach coding to kids as young as preschool and progressing through upper elementary grades. We’ve highlighted four of these apps because they’re particularly easy to get started with and don’t require reading or, for the child or the parent, a coding background. Regardless of what app they use, parents should think of coding apps as a family activity, said Pat Yongpradit of . “You will rarely have such a rich media experience as you can when coding with your kid,” he said.

Coding puzzles for beginners: Lightbot and Lightbot Jr

A screenshot of the educational app Lightbot, showing a screen that explains to the user how a particular command within the app works, from our review of the best educational apps and learning games for kids

Lightbot (iOS and Android)

Coding puzzles.

The app’s simple puzzle challenges are easy to jump into for kids and adults with no previous coding experience.

online education for 3 year olds

Lightbot Jr (iOS and Android)

Coding puzzles for younger kids.

A slower-paced, easier set of puzzles for kids as young as preschool.

Ages: 9 and up (Lightbot); 4 to 8 (Lightbot Jr)

How it works: In Lightbot ( iOS and Android ), kids solve a series of simple puzzles by lining up commands that make a robot advance over obstacles and light up squares. As they master basic concepts, they add more-complex commands, such as conditionals, loops, and nested statements. Lightbot Jr ( iOS and Android ) follows a similar structure but at a slower pace and with simpler challenges that focus on reinforcing the basics. A minimal amount of reading is required, so pre-readers may need adult help at the beginning.

Why it’s great: Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a nonprofit educational organization that promotes and develops STEM curricula and resources, told us, “The best apps for young students without previous experience are those that teach and help build logic and reasoning skills [and] critical thinking skills, and provide brain teasers.” PLTW’s curriculum writers like the Lightbot and Lightbot Jr apps as ways to get kids as young as 4 started with the basic concepts and logical structures of coding.

A creative coding app: ScratchJr

A screenshot from ScratchJr, showing the creation environment, from our review of the best educational apps for kids

ScratchJr (iOS, Android, and Amazon)

Visual programming.

Using graphical coding blocks, ScratchJr lets kids animate characters and create storylines.

Ages: 5 and up

How it works: In ScratchJr ( iOS , Android , Amazon ), kids select characters and backdrop scenes and drag graphical programming blocks, which snap together like puzzle pieces, to make animation sequences and storylines. Although the app has some written cues, the programming blocks largely use symbols (such as arrows and stop signs) to indicate what they do (such as move the character forward or make them stop). As kids become familiar with how to structure the code, they can create multi-scene stories.

Why it’s great: ScratchJr isn’t lesson-based (though you can consult a variety of curricula and tutorials for the app) but rather designed to give kids a sandbox in which to experiment, learn, and create through trial and error (the app offers sample animations as well). Pat Yongpradit of , which recommends ScratchJr among other coding apps and games, noted one particular benefit: “It’s very free-form; you’re not basically being directed down a particular path.” Younger kids will need an adult or older child to guide them as they get familiar with ScratchJr .

An app for hands-on coding: Osmo Coding Awbie

A child using the Osmo app on an iPad, complete with the base and colorful game tiles, from our review of the best educational apps and learning games for kids

Osmo Coding (iOS)

Tangible coding.

The Osmo system uses physical game pieces in conjunction with the device’s screen, making scripting and coding tangible and accessible for pre-readers.

Ages: 5 to 12

How it works: Osmo Coding Awbie requires a base system—a stand and a mirror that attach to the device’s camera and that are compatible with other Osmo games —for the iPad , iPhone , and Amazon Fire . The system allows players to use physical pieces to interact with the screen-based game. Kids use bricks marked with commands, arrows, numbers, and loops to create scripts that direct a silly character through mazes and challenges, picking up prizes such as strawberries.

Why it’s great: Teacher Jennifer Auten, who uses Osmo Coding Awbie and other Osmo games in her classroom, said the fact that it combined an app with physical pieces made kids more patient and thoughtful as they worked through the challenges: “When something is purely on the screen, kids will sometimes end up just tapping as fast as they can, randomly guessing. With the manipulatives, it slows their thinking down.” Auten also noted that the physical pieces made it easier to play the game with multiple people, fostering discussion, collaboration, and group problem-solving. She also likes that Osmo Coding Awbie is open-ended: “Kids can explore and create their own paths.”

In this category we chose these three apps—focused on anatomy, the natural world, and space—because they offer kids unique, open-ended ways to explore science topics. Each app encourages kids to meander, linger, and dive deeper at their own pace.

An app to see what’s inside: The Human Body

A screenshot from The Human Body, one of our picks for best education app and learning games for kids, showing screens for both the digestive system and the heart

The Human Body (iOS and Android)

Seeing what’s inside.

The Human Body offers a visually and aurally interesting way to wander through the body’s organs, systems, and functions.

How it works: In The Human Body ( iOS and Android ), kids explore anatomy by jumping around to different organs and systems—for example, watching a mouth chew food and swallow drink, sliding into a stomach breaking down food, and following flashing nerve signals as they race up to the brain.

Why it’s great: The Human Body focuses less on teaching kids specific anatomical lessons and more on sparking wonder and fascination toward the body and what it can do. The app’s engaging visuals are neither cartoonish nor graphic, and the thoughtful sound effects are as compelling and instructive as the animations: Gurgles, wooshes, creaks, and spurts give kids a visceral sense of what’s happening inside them. You can toggle on or off the text labels that identify the systems and organs, but no reading is required to get deep into the app, making it equally accessible to pre-readers.

An app for discovering nature: Toca Nature

A screenshot from Toca Nature, showing one of the screens of a landscape that users can alter using the app's tools, from our review of the best educational apps and learning games

Toca Nature (iOS, Android, and Amazon)

Natural-world building.

Toca Nature is an open-ended building app—similar to Minecraft—where kids can explore and shape the terrain, collect resources, and observe wildlife.

Ages: 4 and up

How it works: In Toca Nature ( iOS , Android , Amazon ), kids start with a simple plot of land where they can raise or lower mountains, create lakes, clear or plant forests, and make deserts. They can zoom in to different areas of their terrain to collect and distribute resources (like mushrooms, fish, or berries). As they change and shape the environment, different kinds of animals, plants, and fish will appear, multiply, migrate, or disappear.

Why it’s great: Similar to popular narrative-less building games like Minecraft , Toca Nature harnesses the enjoyment kids get from open-ended creating, wandering, and exploring games, with a unique focus on the natural world. Common Sense Media senior editor Christine Elgersma said that an app like Toca Nature doesn’t have explicit learning goals—it’s not trying to teach kids the names of animals or types of terrain, for example—but rather is “an exploratory app with experiences that a kid really couldn’t have off screen.” By creating and manipulating the environment, and then observing how the plant and wildlife change as a result, kids can see how animals, resources, and the environment interact.

An app for exploring space: Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

A screenshot from Professor Astro Cat's Solar System showing a true-false trivia question about the formation of the moon, from our review of the best educational apps and learning games for kids

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System (iOS, Android, and Amazon)

Cats in space.

Explore the solar system with a jet-propelled cat.

Ages: 8 to 12, or 6 and up with an adult

How it works: Kids explore the app much as they would read a book, delving into facts, illustrations, and animations about planets, moons, stars, and space exploration. At various points, quizzes and other challenges let you earn sardine treats for Professor Astro Cat.

Why it’s great: Jana Grcevich , an astronomer, science educator, and author , told us she enjoyed the Professor Astro Cat app ( iOS , Android , and Amazon ), along with the popular book series it’s based on, with her then 6-year-old niece. The app requires reading, but the entertaining storyline and fascinating facts make it fun for adults along with younger children.

Social and emotional learning , which includes self-awareness, empathy, communication skills, and building relationships, among other capacities, has increasingly been recognized as a critical component of children’s education. These three apps let young kids explore different aspects of self-expression, emotions, and social play.

An app for self-expression: Me: A Kid’s Diary

A screenshot from Me: A Kid's Diary, from our review of the best educational apps and learning games for kids

Me: A Kid's Diary (iOS)

A digital diary.

This app lets kids explore self-expression through drawing, writing, photos, and audio and video.

Ages: 7 and up

How it works: Kids create a digital diary of their lives by answering questions about themselves; making avatars for family members, friends, and other loved ones; and designing their own media. Kids navigate all these entries on their Me Map, a sort of multimedia landscape of their lives.

Why it’s great: Me: A Kid’s Diary helps kids creatively document their feelings, experiences, and loved ones through different media and modes of expression. In some ways, the app offers an experience akin to social media—uploading photos, making videos, writing reflections, and mapping personal connections—but in an entirely closed environment (there’s no actual communication or sharing within the app). This can create a space for kids to start to explore (and for parents to discuss) digital self-expression and sharing.

An app for emotions: Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings

A screenshot from Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings a social emotional learning app reviewed in our review of the best educational apps and learning games for kids

Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings (iOS, Android, and Amazon)

Exploring emotions.

The beloved PBS character helps young kids identify, act out, and explore their feelings through games, songs and creative activities.

Ages: 2 to 5

How it works: Kids explore the familiar world of the PBS Kids series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood ( iOS , Android , Amazon ) through simple games, songs, and art activities that focus on identifying and exploring feelings and emotions. It offers different ways for kids to practice, talk about, and experience emotions, such as by drawing a picture, taking a photo of themselves feeling angry or happy, or practicing a calming exercise with Daniel Tiger.

Why it’s great: The app is simple and accessible for very young kids, with frequent verbal cues and reminders to help them through the easily navigable interface. “Even without the Daniel tie-in, it could actually still be a pretty successful app for teaching a lot of social, emotional, and self-care skills,” said Harry Sawyers, Wirecutter senior editor and father of three. “But having the familiar characters and songs really helps jump-start their interest if, for example, they ‘have to go potty—stop, and go right awaaaaay!’”

An app for social play: Toca Tea Party

A screenshot from Toca Tea Party, showing a screen in which the user has set a table with tea party refreshments, from our guide of the best educational apps and learning games for kids

Toca Tea Party (iOS)

Tea for two (or more).

Toca Tea Party presents the elements of a tea party—drinks, desserts, and dishes—for unstructured imaginative play.

Ages: 2 and up

How it works: Toca Tea Party couldn’t be simpler: You set a tea table with plates, cups, drinks, and treats for three guests, and the rest is up to your imagination. There’s no objective beyond pouring drinks, munching treats, and wiping up spills, and the app has a built-in end point: Once you’ve finished the snacks and beverages, the table clears itself and the dishes drop into a sink, ending the party.

Why it’s great: Toca Tea Party isn’t so much a game as a scene for unstructured imaginative and social play for young children. Kids can play alone (perhaps by inviting dolls or stuffed animals as guests) or with one or two others—a unique feature for a tablet game to pull off well. My two daughters, now 4 and 5, haven’t tired of Toca Tea Party after two years, and their play centers on chatting, pretending, and sharing.

An app for reading: Epic! ebook subscription

Two children side by side watching a tablet with the Epic! e-book subscription open.

Epic! e-book subscription

Endless ebooks.

This app allows young readers to choose from up to 35,000 different books for a low monthly cost.

How it works: For $8 a month, kids gain access to some 35,000 children’s books in an intuitively designed app. Epic’s library is updated regularly with new titles, including classics and the site’s original content. Many of the picture books have a “Read to me” function, where a narrator reads the text aloud and the pages turn automatically. The app also suggests books by age and based on what a child has previously read, allowing kids to easily discover new titles at their reading level. Epic! works on iOS, Android and Microsoft tablets and smartphones.

Why it’s great: While some subscription kids’ e-book apps tend to be populated with the kinds of uninteresting titles you’d find in a bookstore bargain bin, Epic! offers an impressive library of children’s books, including many of the beloved classics and award-winning authors you’d find in a well-curated children’s library. (The Wizard of Oz, with the original 1900 illustrations, was one memorable find that gave us many nights of rapt bedtime reading.) The app is simple enough to use that both of my daughters can independently browse books by the cover art and find what interests them—even though they are both pre-readers. Fairy tales abound, but I’ve also found them paging through books about geology, Ramadan, and coding.

Since we began researching learning apps in 2016, we’ve spoken with a range of experts, including a classroom teacher, a child developmental psychologist, a pediatrician, an astronomer, education researchers, app developers, and others.

These have included Kathy Hirsh-Pasek , a professor of psychology at Temple University who has written about and conducted research studies on educational apps for young children; Jennifer Auten , an award-winning teacher in Cupertino, California, who has been using tablet and smartphone apps in her first- and second-grade curricula since the iPad was released in 2010; Christine Elgersma , senior editor, parent education, for Common Sense Media, an organization focused on children’s media; and Pat Yongpradit , chief academic officer at, a nonprofit that advocates for computer science education. Last, we’ve spoken with parents on our staff for recommendations of apps they and their kids love in categories such as science, music, and coding.

Three children gathered around an iPad, playing one of our picks for best educational apps and learning games for kids

We read articles and reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and child developmental psychologists and educational researchers to learn about kids’ media use and about principles for designing learning apps. Finally, we read through reviews and ratings from well-regarded children’s media sites such as Common Sense Media .

Similar to what we found when researching learning toys , we discovered that developers and app stores often label apps as “educational” with little research or evidence, and few experts, to support those claims. In 2016, the AAP released a broad report on children’s use of digital media, calling for more-rigorous evaluation of apps that claim to be educational: “Unfortunately, very few of the commercially available apps found in the educational section of app stores have evidence-based design input with demonstrated learning effectiveness.” Similarly, in a 2015 article , Hirsh-Pasek writes that educational apps “present a significant opportunity for out-of-school, informal learning when designed in educationally appropriate ways” but notes later on that “[o]nly a handful of apps are designed with an eye toward how children actually learn.”

Experts are still studying what makes learning apps successful pedagogical tools, as well as fun and interesting activities for kids. But after speaking with experts, reading research, and trying out apps ourselves, we identified a few features that seem to be common among great learning apps.

  • Offer unique experiences: Several of the experts we spoke to noted that a good educational app should offer children something they couldn’t simply do, learn, or explore in a classroom or the real world. If the app is “basically a worksheet on screen, [or] an experience that could be replicated off screen, then that’s not a good use of the screen,” Elgersma said. “You want it to be an experience that kids could really only have in that screen world.”
  • Be open-ended, with limits: Most of the apps in this guide are open-ended in the sense that they encourage kids to independently explore, create, and navigate within the app. But researchers say it’s important to have built-in limits, as well. The AAP has pointed out that digital games have traditionally been designed with rewards and reinforcement designed to keep kids playing as long as possible. The organization recommends that learning apps instead have “automatic ‘stops’ as the default design to encourage children and caregivers to pause the game use and turn to the 3-dimensional world.”
  • Be engaging but not distracting: Apps have great potential to engage children through interactive features, but some research has shown that too many bells and whistles can distract children or reduce their comprehension. A good learning app uses interactive, animated, and responsive features to engage kids or enhance their comprehension, not simply to entertain. Hirsh-Pasek has written that parents should evaluate an app’s interactive features and ask: “Do the enhancements actually add value and increase engagement, or do they cause distraction?”
  • Encourage interaction: The AAP and other organizations say that learning apps that encourage real-life interaction among multiple people—adult and child, or child and peers—can be especially strong at facilitating learning. The apps in this guide are fun and interesting for kids and adults, and many foster conversation and play outside of the app itself.

As with our guide to learning toys , we focused primarily on apps aimed at kids 3 to 9 years old, though older kids can enjoy many of our recommendations, as well. We chose this age range because, as Hirsh-Pasek has written , “there are so many apps targeted toward [children in this range] that parents and educators do not know how to navigate the marketplace of possibilities.”

All the apps we recommend in this guide adhere to the FTC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act . Among other things, COPPA requires that websites and apps directed at children under age 13 obtain permission from parents before collecting or sharing personal information from children, or targeting them with behavioral advertising. None of the apps in this guide require children to enter personal information in order to use the app’s functions, and none offer social media sharing or connectivity.

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, et al., Putting Education in “Educational” Apps: Lessons From the Science of Learning , Psychological Science in the Public Interest , April 20, 2015

Yolanda (Linda) Reid Chassiakos, et al., Children and Adolescents and Digital Media , Pediatrics , October 1, 2016

Jana Grcevich, PhD, astronomer, science educator, author , phone interview , December 1, 2016

Jennifer Auten, first- and second-grade teacher, Cupertino, California , phone interview , November 8, 2016

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, professor of psychology, Temple University , phone interview , January 8, 2019

Christine Elgersma, senior editor, parent education, Common Sense Media , phone interview , March 12, 2019

Pat Yongpradit, chief academic officer, , phone interview , April 18, 2019

Meet your guide

online education for 3 year olds

Courtney Schley

Courtney Schley, a senior editor covering sleep and appliances, has been at Wirecutter since 2014. She has held several roles at Wirecutter, including research editor, as well as supervising editor of baby and kid coverage.

Further reading

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Kids Exercise Videos to Help Keep Your Family Moving (and Sane)

by Ingrid Skjong

Free online exercise videos can help everyone from toddlers to teenagers stay active and calm during a coronavirus self-quarantine. These are our favorites.

A child's desk with toys, a monitor, keyboard, webcam, mouse, and headphones

How to Set Up a Remote Learning Space for Your Kids

by Melanie Pinola

With many schools closed this fall, it’s time to set up a remote schoolwork area for kids that’ll make learning a little easier.

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These Four Video Games Are Fun for the Whole Family

by Haley Perry

If you’re looking for a video game for your next family game night, these are the games we recommend for all ages and skill levels.

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8 Time-Tested Sidewalk Games We Love

by Dan Koeppel

Old-school games from the sidewalks of New York are still surprisingly fun—and require not much more than chalk.

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It’s never too soon to start building a strong academic foundation. Discover the K12-powered online preschool program that prepares early learners for kindergarten. Introducing online preschool learning can make learning fun and interactive for your three- to six-year-old. Learn more about the engaging online preschool programs powered by K12 and designed to capture attention and spark a love of learning.

How can my child participate in a K12-powered online preschool program?

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K12’s online preschool curriculum, called Embark, is great for parents who want to play a larger role in their child’s early education. It can be used as the primary curriculum or to augment traditional preschool models, giving your child’s education a jump start.   Embark features more than 1,200 interactive online preschool activities across 18 thematic units in language arts, science, math, social studies, music, and art. These age-appropriate activities engage children using interactive multimedia and hands-on materials.

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Game-Based Learning

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Game-based learning can compel young learners to work hard, rewarding their desire to learn. Stride™ is an adaptive learning solution for children, with more than 950 age-appropriate activities. Understand your young learner’s progress with user-friendly dashboards that highlight their growth in each thematic unit. 

What is K12’s online preschool curriculum like?

K12-powered online preschool programs are designed to ignite a love of learning in young children as they prepare for kindergarten. Enriching curriculum and hands-on activities are suited for ages 3–6 and cover six subjects.

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Online preschool learners develop readiness skills related to comprehension, phonics, language skills, and literature.

Learners are introduced to numbers and further learn how to order and group them. Math curriculum also focuses on shape recognition and patterns.

Learners begin to develop observation skills and a recognition of the five senses. Example activities include discussions about the weather, the human heart, and animals.

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Learners are introduced to facts about the world around them, including people and the way they live and interact.

Learners exercise their creativity as they practice their imagination and experimentation with shapes, lines, and colors.

Learners combine creativity with movement as they clap, jump, and dance, exploring different ways they can create music.

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We empower students to learn in the ways that are best for them—in their own place and at their own pace. Students enter kindergarten at different stages of readiness. Learn more about the domains of kindergarten readiness and how to prepare your child for success. Watch the Webinar Tune in to learn about the importance of kindergarten readiness, checklists to walk through, and more.

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Teachers from K12-powered schools discuss the kindergarten experience with K12 and what you can expect for your student. Learn about customized instruction and coursework designed to help your student reach their full potential. Watch the Webinar Tune in to learn about the importance of kindergarten readiness, checklists to walk through, and more.

Succeed with Online Learning

It’s never too early to focus on learning and preparing your child for kindergarten. K12 online preschool curriculum offers age-appropriate, interactive activities. We’re committed to your family’s success with online learning. The Right Tools Curious about K12-powered learning? Explore these resources to help you get off on the right foot and greet your student’s learning journey with confidence.

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16 Fun and Free Learning Websites for Kids

Your children can learn something new today in a safe online environment. These free educational websites for kids are fun while offering online learning games , printables, videos, and more. Pull them up the next time your child asks to use a cell phone or tablet!

Sesame Street

Younger children will love everything about Sesame Street's online home . They can watch hundreds of the show's video clips and play games that help them learn letters, animal sounds, rhymes, colors, and more.

Scholastic is one of the more unique educational websites for kids. This site, from the publishers of the educational magazines you find in schools, contains activities organized by grade level. Kids from pre-K all the way up to high school can find learning activities geared toward them.

Each of the educational shows your children watch on PBS has its own section on . Find sing-a-long songs, sorting and counting games, bonus videos, and more. calls itself "an amusement park of math and more." Children can play online math games that help them with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, money and more. CoolMath is geared toward ages 13 and up, but sister site is appropriate for ages 3 through 12. CoolMath Games offers "brain training" games for all ages.

TIME for Kids

From the publishers of TIME magazine, is loaded with fascinating articles, photos, and videos, covering politics, the environment, entertainment, sports, health, and more. TIME for Kids isn't as interactive as most of the other sites on this list, but it tackles subjects that are in the news in a kid-friendly way.

National Geographic Kids

Watch animal web cams, learn interesting animal facts, see and share photos of nature, learn about different countries, try science experiments, and much more on . There's also a "Little Kids" section for the younger explorers in your home.

How Stuff Works

When your child wants to know why the sky is blue, how a tornado forms, or who invented the Chia Pet, head on over to How Stuff Works . The articles answer questions about cars, culture, entertainment, science, money, technology, and more. Games, quizzes, and videos round out the learning experience. has been online since 2002. It's ad-free and offers learning games and activities for kids in pre-K through grade 3, covering math, reading, writing, and music, plus seasonal options.

The KIDZ Page has more than 5,000 pages of learning games and activities. Online coloring pages, jigsaw puzzles and word games are just a few categories on this massive site. Each holiday has its own section of activities and games to enjoy with your children.

One visit to Fun Brain and you'll want to bookmark it for your kids. Math, reading, online books, and learning games are just some of the site's many treats. Fun Brain caters to preschoolers through 8th graders.

If you don't mind TV characters, you'll find printables, games and other activities your young kids will enjoy at . The games allow your children to explore their creativity, play dress-up, learn new music, put together puzzles, and work on numbers and shape recognition.


It's hard to narrow the list of science websites because there are so many helpful resources out there. But San Francisco's Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts website teaches kids about science and art in new ways. The activities let kids tinker with gadgets, go below the sea, rocket into the galaxy, as well as learn about the science of gardening, animals, and cells, to name a few.

Highlights for Kids

The magazine for kids that's been around for more than 60 years also offers online ways to play, read, and craft with your children. The site includes matching games, art activities, animated stories and science experiments to help kids learn while having fun on the Highlights for Kids website .

Learning Games for Kids

The name of the site says it all. Learning Games for Kids is all about games that teach kids almost every subject you can think of. Word, spelling, social studies , brain, science , art, vocabulary, literature, and keyboarding games will take your kids on a learning adventure.

Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids

It's learning with a twist. The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids features riddles, puzzles, a question of the day, a timeline of interesting history facts, sky events, and weather conditions to track at home with your children.

Fans of Mickey and friends will love visiting Disney Jr . Games, coloring pages, and videos are a few of the highlights. The games focus on memory, hand-eye coordination, color matching, and other important skills for developing minds.

By Apryl Duncan Apryl Duncan is a stay-at-home mom and internationally-published writer with years of experience providing advice to others like her.

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15 Best Learning Activities for Your 3 Year Old Preschooler

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5 Fun Developmental Activities for 3-Year-Olds

5 indoor activities for 3-year-olds, 5 engaging art activities for 3-year-olds, how educational activities transform kids’ lives.

Toddlers are very active and always on the go! As a parent, it can be tough to keep up with their energy levels. However, it’s important to find ways to keep your toddler occupied and engaged and learning!

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Here are 15 activities for 3-year-olds that are both fun and educational:

A screenshot of the online phonics game

1. Recognizing Letters and Sounds

Learning activities for 3-year-olds are most fun when they are dressed up as family games, pretend plays, or become parts of our daily activities and observations. Recognizing letters and their sounds is one such activity that can be done in several ways.

Things you need:

A whiteboard or chalkboard, some colored markers or chalk. You can also use letter cards, board games, or online games for kids .

How to play:

You can play games where you write a letter on the board and teach your child to read it. Preschoolers can start learning both uppercase and lowercase letters . If they get it right, give them a point. If not, give them a clue and let them try again.

You can also play the “sound it out” game. Write a letter on the board and ask your child to make the sound it makes. Again, if they get it right, give them a point. If not, give them a clue and let them try again.

Pointing to letters written somewhere as you go about your day—a cereal box, a signboard, a magazine, etc.—is also an easy activity to help your child learn to read them. Children can also trace letters with their fingers on the sand, match uppercase and lowercase letters, erase letters on a chalkboard, etc. 

If you are busy, play some alphabet songs for your toddler to dance or let them play some online English games .

Skills your preschooler will learn:

Letter recognition, phonemic awareness, letter sounds

2. Reading with Your Child

Reading books with your child is one of the best things you can do for their development. Not only does it improve language skills, but it also helps them learn sight words, develop their imagination, and understand the world around them.

Books that are appropriate for your child’s age and interests, such as picture books, easy readers, etc.

Sit down with your child and read a book together. You can take turns reading the pages or have your child read the whole book to you.

Books for toddlers should be short and have many pictures supporting the story. This will help keep their attention span, and they will be more likely to understand the concepts in the book.

Read word by word, pointing to each word with your finger, and ask inferential questions based on how, why, what, when, and where to encourage the thinking skills in kids .

Language skills, sight words , attention span, comprehension, memory, imagination

3. Making Up Stories

Children love to listen to and tell stories, and this is an activity that can be done anywhere, anytime. It’s the perfect thing to do in a car while traveling, at bedtime, or even while waiting in line at the grocery store.

None! Just your child’s imagination

Have your child make up a story, either on their own or with your help. Encourage them to use their imagination and be as creative as they want. If they get stuck, you can prompt them with questions or ideas. You may also correct their grammar along the way, but it’s important to let them be creative and have fun with this activity.

If your child is stumped, set an example by asking them for three or four words and make a story that uses all of them. For instance, if they give you the words “cat,” “green,” “ball,” and “tree,” you could make up a story about a green cat that climbs a tree to fetch a ball.

Eventually, you can give words to your child and have them make up a story using those words.

Creativity, imagination, storytelling, communication

4. Playing a Number Game

Offline and online, math can be fun for kids if it’s taught interactively and creatively. Playing the number sense games is one such activity that will help your child learn numbers, counting, and basic arithmetic operations in a fun and engaging way.

A whiteboard or a chalkboard, some colored markers or chalk. You can also use games focusing on numbers and counting, such as board games, card games, etc. Online math games are also available.

There are many games that you can play with your child to help him learn numbers and math concepts. One such game is the “guess the number” game. Write down a number between 1 and 10 on the board, and ask your child to guess it. If he gets it right, give him a point. If not, give him a clue and let him have another try.

You can also play the “greater than or less than” game. Write down two numbers on the board, such as 3 and 5, and ask your child which number is greater. If he gets it right, give him a point. If not, give him a clue and let him try again.

Numbers , counting , and basic arithmetic operations include addition , subtraction , multiplication , and division .

5. Sorting Activities

Sorting is a fun activity that helps children learn about different attributes such as size, shape, color, etc. It also helps them develop problem-solving skills.

Various objects can be sorted according to size, shape, color, etc. You can use blocks, balls, toy cars, berries, buttons, etc.

Let your child choose a few objects and ask him to sort them according to size, shape, color, etc. For example, they can sort blocks by size or toy cars by color. As they sort the objects, help them identify the attribute they use for sorting.

Sorting, categorizing, and problem-solving.

Check out the best sensory activities for 3-year-olds you can try!

A little girl drawing something

One of the favorite preschool activities for 3-year-olds is drawing. At this point, the artistic skills of a child are not really important. Drawing is a fun activity for toddlers to express themselves, work on their fine motor skills, and have fun!

Paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils

Sit with your child and encourage them to draw whatever comes to mind. You can also give some drawing ideas to kids , such as “Draw a picture of your family,” “Draw a picture of your favorite animal,” etc. You may make a drawing and ask your child to trace it or copy it.

Creativity, fine motor skills, imagination, attention span

7. Building with Blocks

One of the easy, no-mess activities for 3-year-olds at home is to let them build with blocks. It is amazing how much fun and creative they can be with this simple activity.

Blocks are also a great way for children to learn about shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns.

Blocks of various shapes and sizes

Let your child play with the blocks freely or give him or her some challenges, such as “build a tower as tall as you can,” “make a house for your favorite stuffed toy,” etc.

Creativity, imagination, problem-solving, eye-hand coordination, shapes, colors, patterns

8. Paper Cutting with Safety Scissors

Children feel empowered with a tool in their hands. And they are so proud of themselves when they can cut the paper!

Paper, safety scissors, craft supplies like pom poms, googly eyes (optional)

Give your child a piece of paper and let him or her cut it any way they want. If you like, you can also give some challenges, such as “cut out a circle,” “make a snowflake,” etc. You can help your child decorate the cutouts with craft supplies if desired.

Fine motor skills, creativity, imagination, attention span

*Please note that only safety scissors should be used for this activity. Regular scissors are too sharp for little ones.*

9. Doing Daily Chores

You’ll be surprised at all the things your toddlers can do if only you let them try. Giving them some simple chores to do not only helps them learn some valuable life skills but also makes kids feel proud and accomplished.

Chores that are appropriate for your child’s age and abilities, such as making their bed, dusting furniture, setting the table, etc.

Choose a chore that you would like your child to help with. Then, show them how to do it and let them try it themselves. Some of the chores that a 3-year-old can do may require some assistance or supervision, but it’s important to let them explore their capabilities and try new things.

A toddler can easily be overwhelmed with too many chores, so it’s important to start small. Choose one or two simple tasks that you know your child can handle. As they get older and more capable, you can give them more chores to do. Remember to praise them for a job well done!

Daily living skills, responsibility, independence, pride, satisfaction

10. Role-playing

What’s funnier than seeing a tiny toddler acting like a fat aunt or an old grandpa? Role-plays are one of the best activities for 3-year-olds as they help them learn about different emotions, people, and situations.

None! Just your child’s imagination. A few props like a walking stick, a hat, a lady’s purse, or a wig could come in handy to help set the scene.

Have your child choose a character that he or she would like to play. It could be anyone—a family member, a friend, a cartoon character, an animal, etc. Then, encourage them to act out the part. They can speak differently, use props, and do whatever they want to bring the character to life. Children learn to observe people around them and understand their emotions in this way.

Creativity, imagination, emotional intelligence, communication, problem-solving

Check out the best outdoor activities for 3-year-olds here!

A little girl wearing an astronaut costume

11. Playing Dress Up

Dress-up games are not gender-specific. Most children love them! This activity helps 3-year-olds use their imagination, learn about social norms and roles, and have lots of fun!

Old clothes, hats, scarves, jewelry, etc., can be used as dress-up items. You can also use old sheets or towels to make capes or skirts. You can also use actual costumes if you have them.

Let your child choose what they want to be, and then help them get dressed in the appropriate clothing. If you like, you can also act out a play or story together with your child in their new costume.

Creativity, imagination, role-playing, problem-solving

12. Making Music with Household Items

This is one of the fun activities for 3-year-olds that can be done with items that you already have around the house. It’s a great way to introduce your child to music and help them develop a sense of rhythm.

Household items that can be used as musical instruments, such as pots and pans, plastic containers, wooden spoons, etc. You can also use actual musical instruments if you have them.

Let your child choose what he or she wants to use as an instrument. Then, encourage them to make music with it however they want. You can also sing along or dance to the music!

Music skills, sense of rhythm, gross motor skills, creativity, imagination

13. Making Art with Thumb , Hand, or Foot Impressions

Most toddlers do not know how to go about making an art piece. But they love to play a role in helping make one! This activity allows them to do just that, resulting in a beautiful piece of art that you can hang on your fridge or wall.

Non-toxic paint, paper, and something to use as a stamp (such as potato, carrot, or eraser)

Let your child choose what paint color he or she wants to use. Then, help them make a thumbprint, handprint, or footprint on the paper. You can also make patterns with stamps by carving a shape into a potato, carrot, or eraser. Once the paint is dry, you can hang up the artwork!

Creativity, imagination, fine motor skills, color recognition

14. Creating a Collage

A collage is a great way for toddlers to express their creativity. They can make amazing birthday cards with photo collages, make wall-hanging art, or have fun tearing up paper and gluing it back together!

Paper, safety scissors, glue, and any other materials you want to use for the collage (such as tissue paper, construction paper, feathers, buttons, ribbons, etc.)

Let your child choose what they want to use for their collage. Then, help them cut out the paper or other materials into small pieces. Once they have a good pile of pieces, they can glue them down onto another piece of paper. You can help them with this if needed.

Creativity, imagination, fine motor skills, color recognition, pattern-making

15. Drawing with Chalk on the Sidewalk

If you live in a safe neighborhood, your children can display their artistic skills outside the home by drawing with chalk on the sidewalk or driveway. This activity is great for gross motor skills and allows you to teach your child about shapes, colors, and patterns.

Chalk in various colors

Let your child choose what color of chalk he or she wants to use. Then, help them draw a picture or make patterns on the sidewalk. You can also join in and create your own chalk masterpiece!

Educate children about different cultures where making art to decorate entrance gates and doorways is a tradition. Indians make rangoli, Chinese make a dragon or zodiac animal drawings, while in the Philippines, it is common to see people painting on bamboo mats called banig . In this way, you can introduce your toddlers to other cultures.

Creativity, imagination, gross motor skills, shapes, colors, pattern-making

Happy girl on a trampoline in the park

A study on Chinese children found that organized extracurricular activities (EAs) are strongly associated with early reading, math, and social skills. Another study indicated that the involvement of parents in preschool children’s learning activities at home during the COVID-19 pandemic was beneficial to kids’ learning behavior and emotional health. 

These studies seem to suggest that any activity that encourages learning, socialization, and creativity would benefit our little ones and shape them into more confident, woke, and aware individuals. 

Some benefits of educational activities for 3-year-olds are:

  • They help develop cognitive skills, including problem-solving, memory, and attention span.
  • EAs also nurture social skills such as cooperation, empathy, and communication.
  • These activities can also boost self-esteem and confidence in children.
  • Fun and educational activities are also great for developing gross and fine motor skills.

So go ahead and try out some educational activities with your 3-year-old today! You might just be surprised at how much they enjoy it—and how much they learn from it too.

Explore more online educational resources for kids to aid their learning experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to choose a good educational activity for my 3 year old.

When choosing an activity for your 3-year-old, it is important to consider their interests, abilities, and attention span. You also want to ensure the activity is developmentally appropriate and safe. If you are unsure whether an activity is appropriate for your child, you can always consult their pediatrician or a child development expert.

How can I get my toddler to sit still and focus on an activity?

This can be a challenge for many parents! One tip is to try to find activities that your child is interested in and that they enjoy doing. Also, make sure you provide plenty of breaks during the activity so that your child doesn’t become overwhelmed or frustrated. Finally, praise your child when they display good behavior so that they know that you are pleased with their efforts.

How to help my toddler express their creativity?

There are many ways in which you can help your toddler express their creativity. One way is to provide plenty of opportunities for them to explore different materials and mediums, such as crayons, paint, clay, etc. You can also encourage them to sing, dance, or act out stories. And finally, make sure to praise their efforts and creativity, no matter what the outcome may be.

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Parent Resources for Learning > Core Skills > 7 Play-Based Learning Activities for 3-Year-Olds

7 Play-Based Learning Activities for 3-Year-Olds

by Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos | Aug 10, 2023 | Core Skills

Three kids playing a room

Pop quiz: What’s a better way to get a 3-year-old to learn, pop quizzes or playtime? 

If you guessed playtime, you’re right! Play-based learning activities for 3-year-olds help them develop the skills they need for school and life by tapping into their natural love of play . It’s a lot easier to get a toddler to play a learning game than to sit down and study—plus, they’ll actually learn more!

The Short Cut

  • Learning activities for 3-year-olds can help them develop Core Skills , Creativity , Critical Thinking , and the other 5 C’s that help them thrive
  • Play-based learning activities work well because kids learn more when they’re doing something they’re interested in
  • Many of the best activities are simple and use everyday items from around the house

We’ve put together instructions for seven of our favorite play-based learning activities for 3-year-olds, plus some general tips, to get you started.

Why Learning Activities for 3-Year-Olds Work

dad playing with 3 year old

Three-year-olds have a lot of energy, and they’re often eager to have new experiences. You can take advantage of their natural Curiosity (one of the 5 C’s) to help them learn valuable skills and see where they are in reaching their developmental milestones .

When kids do an activity they’re interested in, their brains literally light up on researchers’ scans. They learn more and retain more of what they learn, including important abilities.

For instance, hands-on activities —in which your child molds, cuts, sticks, sorts, or manipulates objects—help them develop motor skills. They also help them learn to follow directions for precision and accuracy, improving their Critical Thinking. Similarly, activities like putting puzzles together and playing with building blocks help develop reasoning skills and Creativity (another of the 5 C’s).

All of these abilities will help them as they get older and start working on more complex skills like writing and tying shoelaces.

The first six years of a child’s life are a critical time for brain development. The things they learn in this period help them perform well in school, excel in work, build healthy relationships, and live happy, fulfilling lives.

How Should I Teach My 3-Year-Old?

Mom searching for activities for 3-year-olds while her daughter draws

Keep It Simple

Parents sometimes think early learners need an elaborate game or flashy toy to hold their attention. But three-year-olds are fascinated by lots of simple things—different colors and shapes , how these colors change when you mix them (e.g., red and blue make purple), kicking a ball, storybooks about dinosaurs, baking cookies, and so on.

You don’t need anything complicated to create engaging learning activities for 3-year-olds. In fact, you’ll often be more successful if you keep it simple and use everyday items you already have.

Allow for Creativity

Life is full of right answers for 3-year-olds (and a lot of them, like “Can I hit someone when I’m mad?” are important!). But focusing on process over the finished product when you’re playing helps kids maintain their natural Creativity. If they decide to paint a blue dog, that’s OK! And if they choose to create a 10-legged cat, that’s great too. 

Give them time to play with no “right answers” to strengthen this important skill.

Be Flexible and Patient

Not every activity you try is going to be a hit with your kids. That’s OK!

At this age, your child is learning who they are and what they’re comfortable with. Exploring their likes and dislikes (which can change quickly!) is part of their development.

7 Top Learning Activities for 3-Year-Olds

1. number hunt.

Two kids laying on the ground smiling

What You’ll Need

  • A set of fun items—from teddy bears to building blocks to balls, anything goes!
  • Hide the items around a room
  • Ask your three-year-old to find a set number of an item or a group of items (for example, ask them to find one teddy, two socks, and three balls)
  • If this is too easy and they lose interest, try turning it into a race against the clock (can they find the items in just one minute?)
  • If they find the game a little tricky, ask your child to search for one item at a time (e.g., one teddy, and then one sock, and then one ball) and progress from there

We love this activity because it helps develop working memory and numeracy, important areas of both Critical Thinking and Core Skills.

2. Pasta Necklaces

  • Dry, uncooked cylindrical pasta
  • Sealable plastic bags
  • Food coloring
  • A cotton thread or string (you can also use an old shoelace)
  • Paper towel
  • Beads (optional)
  • Place the pasta into the plastic bags, then add a few drops of food coloring to each bag
  • After adding the coloring, seal each bag and let your kids give it a good shake
  • Line the trays with paper towels, pour the colored pasta on top, and allow it to dry
  • While the pasta dries, cut the string so it’s the right length to make a necklace for your child and tie a knot on one end
  • Once the pasta is dry, your child can slide the pasta (and beads if you use them) onto the string to make a necklace. When they reach the end of the string, tie the two sides together and you’re done!

This is a fun way to help your child practice counting (“How many pieces of pasta are you adding?”), develop fine motor skills, and explore Creativity.

3. Trace Yourself

Mom coloring with daughter

  • Have your child place part of their body (like their hand) on a sheet of paper
  • Show them how to trace around it using a crayon
  • Let them take over tracing and finish
  • Encourage them to decorate their tracing however they’d like—maybe their hand needs eyes and a mouth!
  • The simplest body part to start with is your child’s hands. Once your child has mastered tracing out their hands, they can progress to their feet.
  • For even more fun, use a very large piece of paper and trace your child’s whole body. They can then add features and clothes.

This activity requires little prep and can be great for an easy afternoon when you’re in the mood for low mess levels. And it’s an excellent way to help your child practice their fine motor skills!

4. Make an Ocean

  • HOMER Sail the Sea printable coloring page
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pens
  • Help your child color in the printable and discover the interesting creatures that live in our seas
  • As your child colors, point out the letters and say their names, the sounds they make, and creature names that start with them (“S” makes a “sssss” sound, for “seahorse”)
  • Try to get your child to make the letter sounds too
  • Lean into process over perfection. The goal is to introduce your child to letters, sounds, names, and the links between them—if all they want to do is say “sssssss” and color, they’re still learning!
  • To make things even more fun, give the creatures silly names and make up stories about them

This is a great activity for developing Core Skills like letter-sound recognition and fine motor skills!

5. Build a City

Playing builder is a great activity for 3-year-olds

  • Building blocks
  • Get out the blocks and start making things, giving each building a name (“This is a candy store. This is an apartment building. This is a playground.”)
  • Invite your child to name their own creations as they build alongside you
  • If they’re enjoying the game, ask them to copy buildings you’ve made (“This is a candy store. Can you make one too?”)

This quick, simple activity helps develop Critical Thinking (copying your buildings), Core Skills (fine motor skills), and Creativity, all at once!

6. Watch It Grow

  • HOMER printable seed growth tracker
  • Crayons or pencils
  • Large jar (glass or clear plastic)
  • Fast-growing seeds (e.g. peas or beans)
  • Paper towels
  • An old milk or juice carton
  • A ruler or measuring tape
  • Ask your child to fill the jar with paper towels, then pour water onto the paper towels until they’re slightly damp
  • “Plant” the seeds in the damp towels, positioning them close to the jar’s edge so you can watch them grow
  • Use the printable to decorate the “watering can” (the milk or juice carton) and add a tag with the plant’s name
  • Each day, make a fun moment of checking the jar and asking your child to note any changes you can track in the field notes (“Oh! We finished breakfast! Time to check the jar!”)
  • If the paper towels dry out, add water

This activity introduces kids to how plants grow, stoking their Curiosity (another of the 5 C’s) as they explore the way the seed changes day by day!

7. Create Your Own Color Hunt

Young kid playing with wood numbers on a numbered playing mat

  • Five objects that match each color of crayon, located in or around the house
  • Optional: HOMER Make a Color Hunt printable
  • Draw a square in the center of a piece of paper (or use the optional Make a Color Hunt printable)
  • After drawing the square, use just one color to color it in
  • Hand your child the paper and ask them to find five items in or around the house that have the same color
  • For kids who aren’t counting yet , you can place items in a bucket or box and ask them to find all the items inside that match the color on the paper

This is a great activity to help with sorting, learning colors, and counting!

Continue the Adventures with Begin!

Dad having fun with kid while playing activities for 3-year-olds

There are lots of ways to help your child stay entertained, engaged, and learning at home! These activities should help your 3-year-old develop a wide range of important skills.

And if you need more, don’t worry—we’re here to help. Sign up for our emails or check out our award-winning products, from kid-safe learning apps to hands-on activity kits , or try our Early Learner Bundle to see how it all comes together to give your child their best start to achieving their fullest potential.

Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos

Jody has a Ph.D. in Developmental Science and more than a decade of experience in the children’s media and early learning space.

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Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos

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Kids' Coding Corner | Create & Learn

Best Free Online Classes for Kids

Create & Learn Team

There are more free online classes for kids now than ever before, which can make it confusing to choose the right class. Is the curriculum well-designed? Will your kid be engaged? What skills will they build, and how will they apply them? Is the price worth it?

Getting your child the best education should be simple, so we rounded up a list of some of the best free online classes for kids in all sorts of subjects—from science and technology to music, arts, life skills, and more. Discover one-time activities and semester-long classes, as well as clubs for kids to meet friends and develop lifelong skills. Explore award-winning free coding classes here .

Discover The Best Free Online Classes for Kids

Explore classes in computer science, math, baking, arts, and so much more. All classes are kid-friendly and free!

1. Create & Learn Computer Science Events

Help your child boost their skills in computer science, coding, and more through virtual events taught by live instructors. Create & Learn's award-winning classes and events have been recognized by Minecraft Education, Meta, HulaFrog, and ActivityHero. There are even regular free events with speakers from NASA, Google, and other top companies. Join along to find the magic in technology and have fun!

Subjects: Computer science, coding, science, engineering, art

Popular class: Fun with Snap Circuits

2. Time Travel: Minecraft Education Edition

Does your child love Minecraft? This awesome one-hour free event helps your student setup Minecraft Education, and then get started on a self-guided tutorial that teaches basics of block coding on Minecraft. Guided live by an expert instructor, your child will be introduced to Minecraft coding by completing a series of challenges with code to save the future by solving mysterious mishaps in time!

Subjects: Computer science, coding

3. Khan Academy

A non-profit organization on a mission to prove free, world-class education to learners around the world, Khan Academy helps students grow their skills and meet grade-level standards. The classes are designed by a team of experts, including software engineers, program managers, and content creators, and offer a variety of subjects across grade levels. The platform also provides free resources to teachers so they can ensure students are on track and have the content they need to accelerate learning.

Subjects: Math, science, arts, humanities, reading, computing, economics, life skills, test prep

Popular class: Middle school Earth and Space science

4. ActivityHero

It's easy to find free online classes and workshops on ActivityHero, a platform that hosts e-courses from teachers from around the nation. You can browse by activity, like arts & crafts, cooking, coding, social skills, and more, to find the class that's right for your student. Filter by time of day, date, length, and age groups, and read through descriptions before signing up for a class.

Subjects: Art, math, science, baking, coding, music, yoga, writing, languages

Popular class : Chess Practice Tournament

Udemy offers an extensive range of online courses, including a variety of free options that are perfect for parents seeking educational enrichment for their kids. From coding and art to basic science and mathematics, Udemy’s courses cater to a wide array of interests and age groups, making learning both accessible and engaging for young minds. These courses are designed by experts and often include interactive video lectures, hands-on projects, and quizzes, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. Whether your child is exploring a new hobby or strengthening academic skills, Udemy’s user-friendly platform provides a flexible and convenient way for kids to learn at their own pace, right from the comfort of home.

Ages: 10-21

Subjects: Art, math, science, programming

Popular class: How to draw basics for kids and beginners

6. National Geographic Kids

Discover free games, videos, experiments, and articles that teach kids about science, animals, history, and more. National Geographic Kids is a great resource for short, engaging lessons that kids can read through and try on their own or with the help of a parent or teacher. While the platform isn't designed like a typical classroom experience, it offers hands-on learning opportunities for kids of all grade levels. For teenagers, National Geographic Education offers more advanced lessons and learning opportunities.

Subjects: Science, history, geography

Popular class: Amazing Animals

7. iRobot Education

Future programmers rejoice! iRobot Education is the place for learning about robotics, computer science, coding, and more. The online classes are designed for the platform's robots and use storytelling to teach students how to program. From creating flower shapes to space adventures, the classes revolve around short 5-15 minute video explanations and offer resources for helping students solve the problems at hand. For little learners, the platform offers activities and stories to build a foundation in robotics.

Subjects: Robotics, coding, programming, science, art, English language arts

Popular class: Simulator Code Break

8. GoNoodle

GoNoodle's mindfulness and meditation videos are used in schools across the US, but the platform also offers free online videos, activities, and blog posts in STEM, cooking, music, nature, and adventure. Students watch short 1-5 minute videos to learn about topics like composting, creating healthy routines, and coordination. Then, they can do an activity to test their knowledge of what they learned.

Subjects: Health, music, science, social studies, English language arts, reading, Spanish

Popular class: Melting

If your student has shown interest in mathematics or simply needs to work on fundamental skills, the National Museum of Mathematics offers a number of free online classes for kids of all ages. You can see the class schedule for the current and upcoming week and read through descriptions of each session to see if it's right for your student. Classes marked as "free" are free to all, while the other classes charge a fee to attend—but free spots have been set aside in every paid class for families in need.

Subjects: Geometry, arithmetic, discrete mathematics

Popular class: Math Gym

10. Outschool

Outschool offers families a wide range of live online classes for education and enrichment, catering to various budgets. Teachers from around the world list their own classes on the platform. Outschool’s Learner Community offers anywhere from 2-5 FREE special classes and workshops for kids of all ages every month?  The Learner Community  is a welcoming space where kids can make friends, explore their next passion, and find their new favorite educator.

Subjects: English, social studies, art, games, health and wellness

Popular class: See some upcoming free classes

Sawyer makes it simple to browse and book hundreds of free online classes for kids. Students of all ages can explore their interest in topics, like coding, performing arts, or music, with free beginner classes. Once they know what subjects they want to learn, schedule time for focused learning with classes, clubs, and workshops. The class schedule is organized by date, so you can see what classes are available today, this coming week, or several months out.

Ages:  3-21

Subjects:  Arts, music, computer science, reading, languages, technology, science

Popular class:   3D Design Studio

Explore Free Zoom Classes for Kids

There are so many free online classes to choose from, so we rounded up a few recommendations that are sure to engage kids and help them build lifelong skills.

12. Circuit Fun with Snap Circuits

They are in your phone, and they are in your car. They light up your house, and they run roller coasters. What are they? They're electronic circuits and they're everywhere! In this fun free online event, your child will learn the basics of electronic circuits using Snap Circuits. They will build several fun projects, while they learn what a circuit is, how circuits work, how to create one, and how to add more parts in a circuit to make sounds, light, and more! They will also learn different components of circuits, and how they can be put together to create a fun system.

Ages: 7-14 years old

13. AI Explorers

From R2-D2 in Star Wars to Transformers, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots have fascinated children for generations. Now AI is more pervasive than ever and is closer than ever to impacting many parts of our lives. In this free online event, students learn some fun cutting-edge AI applications, and work on a hands-on project.

Ages: 9-18 years old

14. 2D Animation by Museum of Design

Animations play an important role in how we tell and share stories. From movies like Wall-E to those like Spirited Away, animated films have a way of connecting us and helping us build community! Bring your imagination to life in this Afterschool Studio by learning how to create 2D animations! In this class students will design their own stories, animate them, and learn how to share them with their friends and families.

Ages: 12-17

Online classes are great for learning new skills and creating structure, but activity classes are a great way for kids to apply what they learned in school.

Discover Online Activity Classes for Kids

The following activity classes allow kids to express their creativity, practice life skills, make friends, and so much more.

15. How to Draw Dynamic Poses

Students can let their inner cartoonist loose in this free online video class about drawing dynamic poses . An intro to the Winged Canvas Cartooning & Anime class, this video explains how to create natural-looking poses by creating a classic manga character. For in-depth steps, you can register for the paid cartooning for kids class.

Grades: 4-12+

16. From Mindless to Mindful

Teach kids to calm down from the chaos of school and life with this GoNoodle guided meditation activity . The short video helps kids practice mindfulness so they learn to focus their attention in the present moment.

Grades: 1-5

17. NASA's Space Jam

Create a solar system that really rocks! Learn about music, astronomy, and coding in this self-guided activity (no coding experience required). Program planets to make music, creating your own musical solar system, complete with spacey melodies.

18. Long Live Wakanda by Microsoft

Shuri, Okoye, and Riri must band together to help Wakanda. Code your own action-packed activity inspired by Marvel Studios' 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'.

19. Hoffman Academy's Free Piano Lessons

This academy's free online piano lessons guide you step-by-step from absolute beginner to confident musician. You’ll learn to read, understand, and create music. Learn from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, at your own pace.

20. Ms. Rachel's YouTube

Enjoy baby and toddler learning videos with a real teacher, Ms. Rachel who has a masters in music education from NYU. Ms. Rachel uses techniques recommended by speech therapists and early childhood experts to help children learn important milestones and preschool skills. Kids will get moving through fun nursery rhymes and kids songs videos.

21. Cosmic Kids Yoga YouTube

Movement is the best way to bring stories to life for kids. Watch fun yoga and mindfulness videos for kids aged 3 to 9, presented by Jaime. Go on 50+ yoga adventures including the Trolls, Frozen, Star Wars, Minecraft and Moana specials, and more.

22. Museum of Modern Art's Free Online Classes

Immerse your student in ideas and help them see their world in new ways through art. In MoMA’s free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Coursera, you will hear directly from artists and designers, look closely at works in our collection and exhibitions, and join a global community of learners unlike any other. Enroll any time and complete the course at your own pace.

23. Disney Parks Drawing Lessons

Disney Parks Blog's drawing lessons offer a delightful and creative outlet for kids, blending the magic of Disney with the joy of learning to draw. These free online YouTube videos, led by Disney artists, guide children through easy-to-follow steps to bring beloved Disney characters to life on paper. Parents looking for engaging, no-cost activities will find these lessons particularly appealing as they provide a unique opportunity for kids to develop their artistic skills while connecting with the enchanting world of Disney, whether it's sketching Mickey Mouse, Elsa, or any other favorite character.

24. Duolingo Language Lessons

Duolingo is a fun, free app for learning 40+ languages through quick, bite-sized lessons. Kids can practice speaking, reading, listening, and writing to build your vocabulary and grammar skills. Designed by language experts and loved by hundreds of millions of learners worldwide, Duolingo helps students prepare for real conversations in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, German, English, and more.

Have a future programmer on your hands? You can discover the best STEM classes for kids here .

Join The Best Free Online Classes for Kids

Bookmark the classes, fun activities, homeschool classes, and Zoom meet-ups that are just right for your students, and share the curriculums to get them excited to learn something new.

Up next, begin fun online learning with simple beginner coding exercises for kids .

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The Best Online Classes for Kids

Portrait of Liza Corsillo

With the end of the school year approaching and many summer camps closing due to lingering coronavirus challenges, many parents are at a loss for what to do with their kids . They’re also exhausted (rightly so) and not too jazzed about the idea of trading the role of untrained homeschool teacher for counselor at camp quarantine. But there is hope. As with everything these days, from haircuts to bat mitzvahs , you can find a ton of virtual options to stand in for almost any kids’ summer activity . They may not be able to take an in-person gymnastics class with ten other children, but they can practice their beam routine via live livestream with a certified instructor. And if you’re looking to help your kids brush up on their math or reading skills, there are a ton of academic-enrichment programs offering one-on-one tutoring and online classes for kids of all ages — including a bunch that are free. We talked to education experts about the best online classes and the kinds of learning kids need most right now.

Academic enrichment

Dr. Laura Phillips, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute’ s Learning and Development Center, points out that due to school closures and the transition to remote learning , kids are at even greater risk of backsliding academically over the summer. To help support them, she suggests incorporating some academic work every day. “Younger, elementary school parents can think about incorporating 15 to 20 minutes of reading, writing, and math into the day,” says Phillips, noting that closer to 30 minutes of each of those core subjects is good for middle and high school kids.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization that offers free online courses for preschool kids all the way through high school. Your 4-year-old can get help learning letters, or your junior high student can catch up in AP chem. For those younger kids, the Khan Academy Kids app guides uses a friendly cartoon bear named Kodi to guide them through core early-learning subjects with a focus on creativity and social emotional skills. Meghan Fitzgerald, a former school principal, experienced educator, and co-founder of Tinkergarten, an educational resource focusing on learning in nature, uses Khan Academy Kids with her own children, saying that when they are engaging in screen time, she wants it to be really high-quality.

Khan Academy Kids App

ABC Mouse is an easy-to-navigate online-learning universe for kids ages 2 through 13. For $60, you and up to three children get a year’s access to hundreds of early-learning activities for a year. There are games, e-books, sing-alongs, printouts, and even a progress tracker. The whole thing is designed to be fun and easy for children to follow, with step-by-step, age-appropriate learning paths curated by teachers and educational experts.

ABC Mouse One Year Membership

Imagine your 10-year-old son wants to take beginner Spanish and your 14-year-old daughter wants to try her hand at playwriting but you only have a certain amount of free time to get them to their classes a week. Outschool lets you fit both of those classes into your schedule with no commute time. Since they already had an online video class model in place before school closures and social distancing, Outschool has the system down pat. Classes for kids from 3 to 18 years old start at just $5 and can be done as a drop-in or as weeklong courses. And right now, they are offering a host of popular classes free of charge due to COVID-19.

Spring Spanish

Mystery Science

Fitzgerald and her kids are also fans of Mystery Science mini-lessons. Mystery Science is a membership-based online library of science and nature lessons primarily designed for K–fifth-grade teachers to use in their classrooms. However, due to school closures, they now offer a curated list of their most popular lessons, including explorations into biodiversity and meteorology free for anyone to use.

How Can You Find Animals in the Woods?

Scholastic Learn at Home

Scholastic’s Learn at Home program offers free, four-week lesson plans for children from pre-K through middle school. Each week has daily lessons catered to grade level and curated from Scholastic’s vast library of books , videos, and games. Lessons start with movement challenges to help kids get ready to learn through read-alongs , writing prompts, drawing, and critical-thinking practice.

Pre-K Four Week Course

The National Museum of Mathematics is hosting a ton of spring and summer programming, from virtual field trips and free family Fridays to online student sessions. In many cases, classes are pay-what-you-can. Whether you’ve got a burgeoning fifth-grade statistician or a kindergartener who enjoys puzzles , there is most certainly something for you.

Math Play for Preschoolers

The Greer Meister Group

Caitlin Meister, founder of The Greer Meister Group , a private tutoring and educational consulting practice in Brooklyn, started offering small-group enrichment sessions after noticing how much of the community aspect of school was missing from remote learning. She says that “academic success for children often relies on a child feeling that they belong and that their voice is heard and respected in the academic environment.” According to her, groups of three or four children interacting with a teacher over Zoom allows for that sense of community much more than larger groups. These small groups are often made up of kids who are friends or classmates, which helps them reconnect with their peers. Meister is also offering classes free of charge to children of frontline health-care workers and says that doesn’t just apply to doctors and nurses. “We are liberal with how we define frontline health-care workers. If somebody is a janitor in a hospital or providing food service in a hospital, I consider that just as important of a role,” she says.

Small Group 45 minute Classes

Another way for parents to give their children an academic boost this summer is Smarten Up. In addition to private tutoring and test prep, Smarten Up offers small-group workshops in a variety of subjects, from foundational writing and word problems to yoga and origami. Or you can sign your child up for their weeklong summer sessions for elementary, middle, or high school kids.

Smarter Summers Elementary Program

Mel Science

Mel Science is an educational subscription box service much like KiwiCo , MontiKids , and Nido Box, which we’ve written about before, for kids who are into science experiments. With each subscription, you also get access to a library of online science webinars (which they have made free due to the coronavirus) led by real-life scientists who guide your kids through hands-on chemistry, physics, or life-science lessons. Kids get a chance to interact and ask questions in a group setting. Some of the webinars require supplies found in one of the Mel Science kits; others you can do with household products.

Kid's Science Kit Monthly Subscription

Art, music, theater, and cooking

“One of the really unfortunate consequences of moving to distance learning is that it’s removed a lot of the fun from the learning process,” says Meister. According to her, kids learn best when they are exploring something they are passionate about, even if that thing is ice cream. She says that summer break is a great opportunity for children to pursue an interest they didn’t have the time or opportunity to address during the traditional school year. Both Phillips and Meister encourage project-based learning and point out the ways in which studying things like cooking or the history of skateboards can teach kids about science and math.

The Dynamite Shop

Started by a James Beard Award–winning food writer and the former executive editor of Saveur as a culinary social club for teens and tweens in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the Dynamite Shop has pivoted their in-person cooking classes online. Young cooks aged 7 to 15 can join one of two daily afternoon classes (depending on their time zone), where they will learn to cook a hearty family meal. The spring semester is already underway, but drop-in classes are available, and a new schedule will be announced soon.

Dynamite Dinner Club

The Blue Balloon School

In these online classes, children learn to play an instrument through writing their own songs. Classes are available for kids ages 3 through 18, in small groups or as private, one-on-one lessons and include lyric writing, song structure, rhythm, and instruction on their chosen instrument.

Blue Balloon Long Distance Lessons


If they love making mud pies or observing bugs in the wild, Tinkergarten’s online offering is a great way to keep them busy. Fitzgerald and her husband started Tinkergarten as a free resource to help families get outside and take advantage of the early-learning opportunities nature has to offer. Now, with social distancing, they are offering weekly online live sessions where kids and families can follow along with DIY nature activities like building a bird feeder, planting seeds, or making paper from scratch. There are even ideas for how to bring nature indoors for families with limited access to outdoor space.

Tinkergarten at Home DIY Activities

Sloomoo Institute

If your kid is crazy about slime , you can encourage their passion by signing them up for one of the Sloomoo Institute’s online slime-making classes. For $20, they’ll get an ingredient list, a one-hour lesson taught by an expert over Zoom, and a follow-up video so they can make their slime over and over again.

How to Make Slay Slime

If you’d rather browse a ton of different classes to see what sparks your kids’ imagination, Sawyer is your one-stop shop. They host a ton of drop-in, semester- or summer-long classes, from hip-hop and toddler yoga to coding and foreign languages, taught by instructors from all over the country.

Fun with Mandarin 1

Sports and movement

Phillips tells us that a lot of the physical aspects of school have been lost with remote learning. Things like moving from circle time to their seats and moving from the classroom to the cafeteria to recess are an integral part of their daily education. “That movement is really, really helpful for mental health, for helping kids recharge their focus and attention and for helping with executive skills,” says Phillips. So adding some sort of regular physical education to their summer schedule will help them manage stress and prepare for learning.

Chances are, your kids have already moved to a GoNoodle dance or yoga video in school. The movement and mindfulness videos are used by millions of educators nationwide. But they also offer free weekly roundups of kid-friendly activities on their site, including some that feature special guests like the Harlem Globetrotters, who will teach them about balance and coordination.

GoNoodle Good Energy at Home

Industry Gymnastics

Meister recommends Industry Gymnastics, which has made the most of their kids’ classes available as free videos for kids from infants up to 8 years old. On top of getting your kids moving and helping them practice their somersaults and backbends, Meister likes that they are one of the rare gyms that offer gender-nonconforming classes. “ Gymnastics can be challenging for kids who are gender-nonconforming, ’cause it’s such a gendered sport. But this gym has done really amazing work in remedying that by making all children feel included,” she says.

Advanced Class with Coach Lou (7 yrs+)

Activity Hero

Like Sawyer or Outschool, Activity Hero is a one-stop shop for online classes from hundreds of different teachers and schools across the country. In addition to art and academic classes, they also offer a huge swath of sports and movement classes from beginner Tae Kwon Do and soccer to virtual ballet and aerial-circus lessons.

Virtual Taekwondo Beginner Classes

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online education for 3 year olds

Does My 3 Year Old Need Preschool?

I found preschool to be so beneficial for my daughter at this age. The socialization is one of the biggest benefits of a preschool program.

They’ll be exposed to so many new opportunities that may not be available at home like different toys and learning materials, daily structure and routines, learning to respect their teachers, various educational activities, much more.

I don’t believe that preschool at 3 years old is absolutely necessary and your child will be fine without it. However, I would enroll a 4 year old in some sort of program to get them prepared for Kindergarten.

Some schools or daycares offer full day or half day preschool and you can choose whether your child goes every day or a few times a week.

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What You Can Teach Your Three Year Old

If you’re not in the education field, you may be unsure of simple ways to teach your three year old or ways to incorporate new learning into everyday activities.

Below are a bunch of things that you can help your 3-year-old learn and understand. Practice and exposure is the best way to develop new skills with your child so try and make every opportunity a learning opportunity you can.

This list is for children in the 3 year old range up to 4. Not exclusively once they turn three.

Also, always remember that every child develops at their own pace so don’t worry too much if your child doesn’t have all of these skills yet. This isn’t a list of what they should know at this point, but rather a guide to help you understand what they are capable of learning at this age.

online education for 3 year olds

1. New Vocabulary

Your 3-year-old will probably be speaking in full sentences or at least long 4-5 word phrases by now. Three year olds should have at least 250-500 words in their vocabulary as well.

Although there are way too many words to give you a full list, here are some of the common words, phrases, and concepts that your three year old should be able to say and understand:

  • Body parts , Animal sounds and names , Friends/Family Names (and their own first, middle, last), Vehicles , Household objects (food, utensils, furniture, clothing, etc)
  • Colors and Shapes
  • Direction words (below, above, next to, on top, underneath, etc.)
  • Days of the week, Months of the year, Seasons, Weather (sunny, rainy, cloudy, windy, snowy, hot, cold, etc.)

If your 3-year-old isn’t talking much at this point or is not trying to speak in full sentences, mention it to your pediatrician. Here are more  tips to get your child to talk  here.

2. Conversational Speech

Your 3 year old should be able to ask and answer simple questions and tell simple stories or anecdotes. They’ll probably be asking a lot of WHY questions as they are curious to learn all about the world around them.

Be sure to answer them with the correct responses and not just ignore their requests for information. Every question is an opportunity to teach your child and you don’t want them to miss out on those experiences.

It’s also important to make corrections in their grammar. When they were 2, some of the things that they said wrong sounded pretty cute. However, now that they’re 3, you don’t want them to get into bad habits of the way they speak.

Whether they’re pronouncing a world wrong, using the wrong tense, pronoun, or grammar, the only way they will learn the right way is if you correct them. So let them know the right way to say the word or sentence and have them repeat it back to make sure that they understand.

In order to get your child to initiate conversation or answer your questions , you can:

  • Ask them about their favorite characters/shows/books/toys. What easier way to get a kid to talk than to get them talking about their favorite tv show or super hero?
  • Ask them about their day , ie. what did you eat for lunch? What did you play with in the bath tub?
  • Ask them for their opinions
  • Tell them to ask you about the above mentioned things

If they still tend to give you one-word answers, ask them more questions to get them to elaborate. The more you ask. the more responses you will get. In turn this will help them to realize that they need to add more detail in their responses.

3. Reading books

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

At 3, your child should understand the concept of “reading” a book. They won’t actually be reading the words , but they should know how to grab a book, hold it the right way, and flip through the page independently.

They should be able to get a good understanding about what is happening in the book by looking at the pictures . They should even recognize that there are letters and words on the page that mean something, but won’t know exactly what they say or mean.

Read to your child everyday to instill their interest in reading. When you are reading to them:

  • Use your finger to follow the words on the page so they start to associate the letters with what you’re saying
  • Read word-for-word what the text says on the page instead of making up words or describing what the pictures look like
  • Ask them questions about what they see on the pages

Your 3 year old may even be able to answer some inferential (why) questions (although this is a tougher skill), but it can’t hurt to try and ask them some of the questions. These are questions that the book doesn’t actually give the answer to, but the child has to think about their own answer or reason. For example, Why is the girl sad in this story? Why shouldn’t the boy have crossed the street? Why did the dog jump over the bone?

Reading doesn’t have to begin and end with books; labels on cereal boxes, words on toys, printed words on street signs, text on the television, or signs at stores are some examples where you can point out words and letters.

Related Post:  The Outstanding Benefits of Reading to Babies and Toddlers

4. Promote Independence

Your three-year-old should be doing many things on their own now so be sure to give them these opportunities to learn, understand, and make mistakes (within limits, of course).

Of course they may not have perfected every skill yet, but the only way a child will learn is by doing it themselves. You can give them a hand completing the task once they’ve finished.

They should be increasing their independence in areas like:

  • Dressing : choosing their own clothes, dressing for the weather (warm items or cool items), taking on/off a shirt, pants, underpants/pull-up, shoes, and socks, and learning the right way to put on items (backwards, forwards), and that shoes are on the right feet.
  • Self-feeding:  using utensils without spills, choosing their own meals and snacks (check out these  veggie puffs ), opening containers, drinking from an open cup with some supervision, and why it’s important to eat healthy. I love these utensils as my 3 year old graduated from her “baby utensils” to wanting to be just like mom and dad- these look like our silverware but are a perfect size for preschoolers.
  • Brushing teeth and hair:  Teach them how to brush correctly on their own (back and forth, top and bottom), putting toothpaste on (with help), and why it’s important to keep our teeth clean. My 3 year old LOVES using an electric toothbrush like this one , especially the ones with their favorite characters.
  • Cleaning up:  wiping up messes, putting toys away, bringing dishes, cups, & utensils to the sink when done, throwing away their garbage, using handheld vacuum to clean, and putting away toys when completing activity
  • Hygeine : Blowing their nose, washing their hands, using a washcloth to wash themselves in the tub. Make washing hands and standing at the sink much easier by using stools and sink faucet extenders .
  • Transitions:  Getting in and out of the car on their own, going up and down the stairs, ending one activity and moving to the next without complaining, turning on/off lights when entering/leaving the room

Be sure to model and show your childhood to do these skills the right way so that they don’t keep practicing something the wrong way.

5. Pretend Play

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

Using their imagination opens up a world of fun and play for your 3 year old. This skill typically comes naturally as they copy and imitate what they see in the real world, in books, or on tv.

They will use a combination of imagination and reality to copy the things they see daily , like these:

  • Cooking in a play kitchen with pots and pans
  • Hosting a tea party for their dolls and stuffed animals
  • Feeding, burping, and changing a baby doll with play spoons, bottles, and diapers
  • Talking on the phone with a play cell phone
  • Playing doctor with a doctor or nurses kit
  • Going shopping with a shopping cart and fake food
  • Driving a car
  • Sweeping, mopping , and vacuuming the floor
  • Dressing up as their favorite princess , super hero, or character

online education for 3 year olds

At 3 years old, your child should have moved passed scribbling and be able to make intentional marks on the paper. They should be able to draw a:

  • straight line down
  • straight line across
  • cross ( + )
  • other shapes such as a square or triangle come later, but they can still attempt these, but may need help or the angles won’t be perfect

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

You can also guide them into making drawings using those elements (lines and circles), for example to draw a sun, a person (stick figure), or a flower . Of course, these drawings won’t be perfect, but they’re gaining insight as to how to make their marks on the paper look like something real.

Imitation is the best way to have your child learn to draw at this age, meaning that you draw one line and have them watch and repeat the same thing . This as opposed to copying (where you just show them the picture and expect them to figure out how to draw it).

7. Coloring and Painting

At age 3, your child can start learning how to color a picture correctly. You can guide them by showing them how to:

  • Stay within the lines of a shape, border, or object
  • Finish coloring each section without leaving a ton of white spots
  • Use correct colors for certain objects, ie. coloring a strawberry red and a horse brown, instead of just picking any color that they choose
  • Use different colors for different sections of a picture, ie. Coloring a beach scene with blue for the water, yellow for the sun, green for the palm tree, etc. instead of jut coloring the whole thing one color

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

Be sure that they are holding their crayon with the correct grasp at all times. I highly suggest  these finger crayons  for the young ones.  They are perfect for little hands and promote a good grasp when holding the crayons.

If your child likes markers, but you don’t trust them being alone in a room with them, these Crayola Mess-Free Coloring Sheets are my absolute favorites!

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

The markers come out clear if they are used on any other surface besides the paper. On these special sheets, they’ll turn a color so your toddler sees the masterpiece that they are creating. They have so many characters available so I’m sure you can find a pack that your child will love.

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

Tracing is a great visual motor skill (hand-eye coordination). You can teach your 3 year old to trace lines and letters by:

  • Having them use their finger first to trace the line on the paper
  • Tracing straight lines first and then working toward shapes, zig zags, and curved lines
  • Making sure that they know to stay on the line the best that they can
  • Tracing letters in preparation for writing

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

Cutting is a skill that 3 year olds can begin practicing. They may still have a difficult time, but here are some tips to get your preschooler cutting:

  • Be sure to use child safety scissors so they can’t hurt themselves.
  • Teach them how to hold the scissor correctly with their thumb toward the ceiling on both the cutting hand and helper hand
  • Position the paper in front of them  while they are cutting instead of holding it off to the side or way up high.
  • Make sure that their  arms, shoulders, and elbows are down and relaxed  as they cut right in front of them. As they’re concentrating, children tend to hike up their elbows and cut up high.
  • Once they are able to make small snips on the paper by just opening and closing the scissors, teach them how to cut on a straight line
  • Use sturdier paper like construction paper to make holding and stabilizing the paper easier on them.

10. Numbers and Counting

Your 3 year old may be able to count up to 20 (with some errors at times) from memory and maybe even up to 30 with more practice. They can also work on recognizing and identifying numbers and counting objects.

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

You can practice counting with so many different, everyday objects :

  • count each step while you’re walking up the stairs
  • count the number of blueberries on their dinner plate
  • count the number of toys in their toy bin

Numbers are everywhere so be sure that they are counting whenever they can.

The concept of one-to-one correspondence (one object is one number) should be emerging now. Just show them how to point to each object as they count it and correct them if they start saying 2 numbers as they count one object or skip over objects when counting.

11. Letters and Sounds for Beginning to Read

Your child may already know many of the letters of the alphabet. At this age, they should probably be able to recite the ABC’s from memory (with some errors and help as needed).

Now you can work on recognizing letters, as well as the sounds they make. To make letter learning easier, try these tips to teach your 3 year old:

  • Look at both uppercase and lowercase letters when learning . The lowers case letters are the ones that they will see more often when they read or see words.
  • Point out letters to them everywhere : on cereal boxes, on street signs, on banners, and on snack bags
  • When talking about a letter, always tell them the sound that it makes and a word that has this letter as its starter. For example M: say M says mmm for mom. Always have them repeat you to etch it into their memory.
  • Use different sensory modalities to trace, write, or copy their letters . For example, writing them in sand, placing stickers inside the written letter, tracing the letter written in puffy paint with your finger, erasing the letters from a dry erase board , matching upper and lower case letters , etc. Here are some more fun sensory activities for letter learning .
  • Sing songs that help them to remember the letters
  • Use puzzles with letters for letter matching

online education for 3 year olds

These name puzzles from Bloom Owl are a great way to get your child learning the letters of their name. They’ll love playing with the puzzle as they start to recognize the letters they see all the time.

By far my favorite resource for having your child learning letters and letter sounds is the Leap Frog shows on Netflix . They include Letter Factory, Phonics Farm, and more. If you have Netflix you can access these shows! My 20 month old was reciting all of the letter sounds because he loves this show so much!

Once your child has a good memory of most letters and their sounds, you can teach them how to put them together to form short words. At 3 years old, a child may be able to start reading 2 or 3 letter words. Teach them how to use those sounds to read short words from the -at, -et, -it families, such as mat, rat, bat, get, set, let, sit, fit, kit, etc.

Related Post: Sticker Activity for Learning Letters

12. Building

online education for 3 year olds

Building helps to improve your child’s hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. They’ll be able to use their imagination and creativity to create masterpieces and then knock them all down when they’re done.

This Melissa & Doug Alphabet block set  is great to stack and Bristle Blocks are also perfect for stacking, putting together, and taking apart at this age. My 3 year old is also obsessed with Magnetic Tiles – it’s the one toy that just never gets old!

Have them use blocks to encourage imaginative play and see what they can come up with. Building blocks let them problem solve and investigate the world around them. 

13. P uzzles

online education for 3 year olds

Puzzles are a great activity for fine and visual motor skills (hand-eye coordination). Having to fit a piece into it’s correct spot by turning and manipulating it is great for visual-spatial awareness.

Your 3 year old should have moved past inset puzzles and can do more complicated interlocking puzzles . Start them out with small interlocking puzzles like these or these , which only have 6-9 pieces per puzzle.

14. Physical Activity, Sports, and Getting Outside

Three-year-olds are known to be pretty wild so you probably won’t need much coaxing to get them active. However, make sure they’re getting plenty of physical activity to learn new gross motor skills . These include:

  • Jumping and running
  • Climb up and down playground equipment or a jungle gym
  • Start learning how to ride a balance bike or a bike with training wheels
  • Throwing/catching/kicking a ball
  • Hop or stand on one foot for a short time
  • Walk backwards

The best way to get them active is to give them lots of outdoor time . Take them to playgrounds to climb on the equipment as they offer so many opportunities for enriching gross motor skills. Take them for a walk and point out all the sights you see.

Your child can also start playing cooperative sports with peers and follow directions by watching someone do a movement. Activities like gymnastics, dance, soccer, swimming lessons, and tee ball are all great organized activities to practice all of the above skills.

15. Music, Dance, and Rhythm

Children love rhythm and music so get them singing, dancing, and exploring their bodies with music. Put on music for them to dance to, sing along to their favorite songs with a microphone , or make their own music with  toy instruments like maracas, xylophone, tamborine, etc .

You can also make musical ‘instruments’ with so many household objects , like shaking pill bottles, banging wooden spoons, or filling plastic Easter eggs or water bottles with uncooked beans or rice.

Do the Hokey Pokey to get them moving and learning body parts. Imitating movements that they see you doing is a great way to develop body and spatial awareness , as well.

Singing songs and doing dances are also a great way for your preschooler to learn and memorize new words and concepts like the days of the week song, months of the year song, head shoulders knees and toes, finger family song, etc. They’ll know their days of the week s quickly if you just put a tune to it!

16. Potty Training

Around 3, many children will be fully capable of using the toilet. If you haven’t started yet, give it a try! Your child may do better than you think.

If they’re already potty trained, make sure that they are fully independent with pulling their pants and underwear up and down, wiping themselves both back and front, and washing their hands afterward.

Be sure to wait until they’re ready and don’t force it on them. Here are some great tips on potty training your child here.

17. Sense of Time

Of course your three year old will not be able to tell time, however you can still teach them a basic sense of time, including:

  • Understanding morning, afternoon, and night. They should understand the concept of when they wake up it’s morning, lunch time is the afternoon, and before bedtime is night. They can also understand this better by seeing outside when it’s light or dark.
  • Recognizing the numbers on a digital clock . If they can identify numbers, they should be able to see the first number and say it’s 7 o clock. With my daughter, we tell her that 7 o clock is bedtime so when she sees 7 on the digital clock, she knows it’s time to go to bed.
  • Knowing when they have 1, 5, or 10 more minutes left. They still won’t have a true sense of how long these increments of time are, but you can try to make them aware that 1 minute is quick, compared to 10 minutes or 20 minutes.
  • Days of the week. They may be able to get a sense of what day it is today, what it will be tomorrow, and what it was yesterday

Before they fully have a sense of time, try setting an audio or visual timer when you need to show them when time is up. For example, when you say clean up in 5 more minutes, set a timer for 5 minutes to ring when it’s time.

online education for 3 year olds

We love the Time to Wake clocks for my little ones. They let them know when it’s time to call for mom or get out of bed by simply turning a different color when it’s almost time to get up or when they should leave their room.

This is a great visual way for them to “see” and understand time.

Of course, safety is a crucial lesson to teach your child. This is the age where they will probably have no fear or understanding of dangerous situations. The following practices need to be taught to your 3 year old as they may not just come naturally:

  • not running away in public
  • not running out into a parking lot
  • stranger danger
  • staying close to mom or dad
  • being cautious when crossing streets
  • holding hands when in public or outside
  • sun safety: applying sunscreen, wearing hats
  • being careful of hot items: kitchen appliances, flames, etc.

Speaking of safety for your little ones, the Whystle App is a great resource for all parents to have that tracks all safety information that’s important to your family. This includes product recalls for toys, food, and more that could promote dangers into your home. Download this app free on your phone and then there’s a free trial for the subscription so you never miss an important safety warning.

19. Manners and Respect for Others

Understanding how to properly treat others is a valuable trait to instill in your child. This goes for respecting both adults and other children. It’s important to teach your children how to use polite words and actions to show manners.

At this age, they are still testing their boundaries and exploring new ways of getting what they want. Instill rules for respecting others even through times of frustration.

  • Saying  excuse me  when needing someone to move or get their attention
  • Patiently waiting  for a parent to finish talking to another parent before chiming in
  • Saying  please and thank you  shows consideration and appreciation
  • Making  eye contact  when speaking to others
  • Apologizing  when you do something wrong
  • Ask questions  to others about how their day is or how they are feeling
  • Compliment  others on their clothes, hair, or something they did
  • Share  their toys or items that belong to them
  • No pushing, hitting, biting, or pulling hair to hurt others in any way

20. Staying Healthy: Good Hygiene and Eating Well

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

Teaching your 3 year old to practice good hygiene and healthy eating is great to start young . Build-in their hygiene routine throughout the day and they will become accustomed to this regimen. Eating healthy foods early on to set them off for a healthy diet for the rest of their life. These include:

  • eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Avoid: processed foods, unhealthy snacks, and sweets
  • washing hands after meals and potty
  • brushing teeth morning and night
  • bathing daily or every other day
  • keeping their clothes and body clean while they eat or play
  • covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough
  • blowing their nose into a tissue
  • wiping their own privates after going potty

Complying with:

  • brushing and combing hair
  • cutting fingernails and toenails
  • cleaning inside ears with a  child safety q-tip

Related Post:  How to Get Your Picky Toddler to Try New Foods

21. Acting Appropriately in Public and Understanding “No”

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

Preschoolers are very ego-centric (only care about themselves). It’s totally normal for them to only think about how things will affect them. This almost always leads to inappropriate behaviors as they learn what behaviors get them what they want.

Don’t always give in to every cry  and teach them that sometimes they can’t get everything that they want. Don’t always give them the cookie that they’re begging for or the new toy at the store. If they must get the object that they desire, make them earn it.

Teach your 3-year-old how to act appropriately to avoid tantrums in public. Try  putting rules in place  when you are out so they know what is expected of them. Always have a way to redirect or distract them when you see a tantrum starting (using something else they are interested in). Lastly, just avoid situations that could set them off.

This is a great article about  Tips for Cry-Free Shopping with Your Toddler

22. Empathy and Compassion

From a young age, you want to fill your child with compassion and empathy for others . Teach them about emotions and to be conscious of other people’s feelings.

  • If they see someone crying, ask what’s wrong.
  • If they see someone alone, go over and play with them.
  • If they see someone that looks different than them, treat them equally.
  • If they hurt someone, apologize and make it better

It’s never too early to talk to your children about race , ethnicity, disabilities, and recognizing differences between others.

23. Structure and a Routine

online education for 3 year olds

Your 3 year old probably already has some routine in place throughout their day . However, you want to ensure that they are consistently doing what is asked of them so that they could even do it on their own if needed.

The more structure that your child has in their day, the more they will start to understand time and a daily schedule.

I love using a  routine or responsibility chart (like the blue/green one on the right) so my toddler can have a visual cue of everything that is expected of her. Use  one with pictures  instead of just words, ( like this Mickey Mouse chart ), so your toddler actually understands what it’s for.

Here are some examples of day-to-day routines that you can create a specific pattern for:

  • Bedtime: Brush teeth, go potty, wash hands, put pajamas on, read a story, go to sleep
  • Morning: Go potty, wash hands, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast
  • Before naptime
  • Pre-dinner wind-down time
  • Cleaning time
  • Getting ready for school/daycare : Packing their backpack, putting their jackets and shoes on, getting themselves into the car

Related Post:  Why Your Child Needs a Daily Routine and How to Make One

24. Staying on Task

A 3 year old’s attention span is still quite short, although it should have increased a lot since toddlerhood. It’s only reasonable to ask them to focus on a task for around 6-10 minutes at this age.

However, it is important for them to be aware that once they start a task they should finish it to completion. My daughter loves to grab a puzzle and put in 3 pieces and walk away or sit down and read 2 pages and then walk away.

The goal of teaching your child to stay on task is to complete what they start.  Here are some tips:

  • While playing with your child, make sure that they complete the entire activity, ie. puzzle or read through the whole book, before they get up and run around.
  • If they’re coloring or building a tower, keep them engaged in that one activity for as long as possible before you let them move on to the next.
  • During mealtimes make sure they remain seated and finish their meal before getting up and playing.
  • Make sure they clean up one activity before moving on to the next

25. Be a Helper and Doing “Chores”

Little kids LOVE to help grown-ups. They want to do everything that you’re doing because they’re starting to gain this growing confidence and independence. Invite them to perform tasks that they may not be able to do independently, but that they can help you with.

  • Get the mail
  • Take the trash out
  • Refill the toilet paper roll dispenser
  • Help with cooking: mixing, adding ingredients
  • Carrying in bags or groceries
  • Fill the dog bowl
  • Entertain a younger sibling
  • Cleaning up their toys
  • Cleaning up after themselves: throwing their dishes in the sink garbage in the trash can
  • Wiping down the table or floor when they make messes

26. Technology

Technology or screen time should be  limited  for preschoolers to no more than 2 hours a day, but it is still important for your child to learn how to use these devices. The fine motor skill of swiping, clicking, and sliding to nagivate through tablets and smart phones are something that your 3 year old can easily learn.

Ipad  educational games like  ABC Mouse are great to sharpen a lot of the educational skills listen above, as well as practice using a tablet or smart phone. There’s a great curriculum based on age and developmental level that teaches them so many new skills.

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My 3 year old loves  ABC Mouse because of the wide variety of games and fun. She’s learning how to trace letters, numbers, make new sounds and words, etc.

Leapfrog Laptop  is also a fun interactive computer that little words can learn letters and typing on.

online education for 3 year olds

27. Sorting and Comparing

Sorting and comparing is a skill that you can teach your 3 year old. Make them aware of how objects are the same and different. Some of the criteria that they can use to sort is by:

  • size (big, medium, small)
  • categories (fruits vs. vegetables, farm animals vs. ocean animals)
  • pattern (stripes, polka dots, solids)

Not sure if you're ready to send your 3 year old off to preschool just yet? Here are some learning skills that you can easily teach your 3 year old at home to help them develop language, vocabulary, fine/gross motor skills & social skills, and cognition in preschoolers

This sorting pie from Learning Resources is a great way to practice sorting and categorizing objects by the features mentioned above.

28. Follow Multi-Step Directions

Your 3 year old should now have progressed from only understanding and following 1-step directions (i.e. put your shoes on) to following 2-3 step directions (i.e. get your shoes from the closet, put them on, and go wait by the car).

Practice with 2 steps at first to make sure they can focus on the direction given, process it, and carry it out. Then you can try adding in another step to see if they can still follow.

At times, your little one may be distracted to get all the distractions, and that’s ok since their attention span is still short, but as they approach 4, they should really be listening to you intently and follow your commands.

29. Rhyming Words and Opposites

You can teach your 3 year old some rhyming and opposite words at this age, as well. Short words that sound alike (ie. rat, bat and sky, tie) should be easy for them to catch on to.

Opposite words, for example in-out, up-down, should also be learned at this age as they use these words all the time. They should already know the words, but now understanding the meaning and how they are opposites of each other will really get their mind stimulated and understanding these concepts.

30. Sight Words

The first sight word that your preschooler may be able to spell and recognize is their name. Teach them how to spell their name and how to recognize it when it’s written. Those name puzzles shown above are great for practicing this!

Although your child isn’t expected to know sight words until later on, it can’t hurt to expose them to it now. Sight words are words that may not sound the wya they are spelled so they will have to just memorize the way the word looks.

These are typically commonly used words, for example, like, the, and my. As you read to your child, you will probably come across these words several times.

Point out the words to them and tell them what they say. If you tend to read the same books over and over, they should quickly pick up on what a word looks like and say it as you read. Not only soul you point these words out in their favorite book, but wherever you see it whether it’s a cereal box or sign.

Flash cards are also great for learning sight words, however they are a bit young for this.

31. Days of the week/Months of the Year/Seasons

By going over the calendar daily or singing songs, your 3 year old can learn the days of the week and months of the year pretty quickly. They still may not get a true sense of how these time periods work, but they can memorize a list of these items.

Most of these skills listed above can be accomplished at some point while a child is between three and four, but every child develops at their own pace.

This article is not intended to skew your mind into thinking that your child MUST know these concepts. However, if you are looking for activities to do with your child, ways to engage their mind, or knowledge to teach them, these are some great tips. Your child is NOT behind if they can’t adequately do all of these things, but if you are concerned, please speak to your pediatrician.

Have fun teaching your three-year-old and enjoy watching them blossom this year. They’ll be growing and developing before your eyes so don’t blink! Here are some more great activity ideas to do with your little one.

online education for 3 year olds

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Watch Our Videos! Fun Videos for Babies and Toddlers 1 year, 2 year, 3 year old.

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✅  Educational games for 3 year olds online. Free online learning activities for teaching and learning. These free games for kids are computer games, interactive in nature and online to play, no download needed! PC Games are ideal to be used with children as a complement in learning, to reinforce the dynamics of teaching, by parents and teachers in the classroom or at home.

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Free online educational activities for 3 year old boys and girls in preschool education, also called kindergarten. Young children stop being babies and begin to think creatively to solve problems at this age of three years. Although one of the most important senses at this age is touch, we can take advantage of these interactive activities to stimulate this creativity, in kindergarten or at home. Enjoy these virtual children’s games for 3 year olds, or include, as a teacher, these games in your classroom dynamics, online, without the need to download materials to your students’ computers or tablets. And they are free.

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What do children learn at age 3?

  • Language: By age 3, children can speak in complete sentences and understand the meaning of basic words. They can follow simple directions, ask questions and participate in simple conversations. They can also learn new words and build their vocabulary. In the classroom, they can learn letters, starting with vowels.
  • Math: At this age, children can begin to understand simple math concepts, such as counting to 10, identifying colors and shapes, and understanding the idea of “more” and “less”. They can also begin to learn about sequence and pattern.
  • Visual discrimination: 3-year-olds can begin to distinguish between different shapes, sizes and colors. They can also begin to understand the idea of one-to-one correspondence, which means that an object has a partner or equal.
  • Attention: 3-year-olds can focus on a task for a short period of time and can follow a sequence of activities. However, they can still be easily distracted and need guidance to maintain focus on an activity.
  • Society: 3-year-olds can begin to understand the idea of social rules and expectations, such as appropriate behavior in public and the importance of sharing. They can also begin to grasp the idea of social relationships and how to interact with other children and adults.
  • Science: 3-year-olds can begin to explore the natural world and learn about nature and animals. They can also begin to understand simple science concepts, such as gravity and cause and effect.

Watch CBS News

Project 2025 would overhaul the U.S. tax system. Here's how it could impact you.

By Aimee Picchi

Edited By Anne Marie Lee

Updated on: July 12, 2024 / 1:42 PM EDT / CBS News

Project 2025, a 900-page blueprint for the next Republican president, is gaining attention for its proposals to overhaul the federal government. Among those changes: a major restructuring of the U.S. tax code. 

President Biden and Democrats have been citing Project 2025 in recent weeks as they seek to highlight what could be in store if former President Donald Trump wins at the polls in November and retakes the White House in January.  Many of the blueprint's proposals touch on economic matters that could impact millions of Americans, as well as social issues such as abortion and diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, topics. 

Project 2025 , overseen by the conservative Heritage Foundation, is spearheaded by two ex-Trump administration officials: project director Paul Dans, who was chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management, and Spencer Chretien, former special assistant to Trump who is now the project's associate director.

Trump: "I know nothing about Project 2025"

For his part, Trump has distanced himself from the blueprint, writing on Truth Social early Thursday that he isn't familiar with the plan. His campaign has proposed its own goals through " Agenda 47 ," which tends to focus on social and political issues such as homelessness and immigration rather than taxes.

"I know nothing about Project 2025. I have not seen it, have no idea who is in charge of it, and, unlike our very well received Republican Platform, had nothing to do with it," Trump wrote  Thursday.

His pushback comes after Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts opined in a podcast interview that the U.S. is "in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be." 

According to Project 2025's website, its goal is to have "a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on day one of the next conservative administration."

A shift to two brackets

The tax proposals of Project 2025, if enacted, would likely affect every adult in the U.S. by tossing out the nation's long-standing system of multiple tax brackets, which is designed to help lower-income Americans pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes compared with middle- or high-income workers. 

Currently, there are seven tax brackets — 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% — with each based on income thresholds. For instance, a married couple pays 10% in federal income tax on their first $23,200 of income, and then 12% on earnings from $23,201 to $94,300, and so on. Married couples need to earn over $487,450 this year to hit the top tax rate of 37%.

Project 2025 argues that the current tax system is too complicated and expensive for taxpayers to navigate. To remedy those problems, it proposes just two tax rates: a 15% flat tax for people earning up to about $168,000, and a 30% income tax for people earning above that, according to the document . It also proposes eliminating "most deductions, credits and exclusions," although the blueprint doesn't specify which ones would go and which would stay.

"The federal income tax system is progressive, and people who make more money pay a higher marginal tax rate than people who make less money," Brendan Duke, senior director for economic policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, told CBS MoneyWatch. "Conservatives look at that, and they feel that that's unfair to the wealthy to ask them to pay a greater share of their income in taxes than lower income families."

The Project 2025 proposal "is a dramatic reform of how we fund our government, where we ask the wealthy to pitch in more than lower income families," he said. "This shifts taxes from the wealthy to the middle class, full stop."

Project 2025 didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In a statement, the Heritage Foundation said it will ultimately be up to the next conservative president do decide which recommendations to implement, adding "As we've been saying for more than two years now, Project 2025 does not speak for any candidate or campaign." 

Project 2025's tax rates 

Millions of low- and middle-class households would likely face significantly higher taxes under the Project 2025's proposals.

He estimated that a middle-class family with two children and an annual income of $100,000 would pay $2,600 in additional federal income tax if they faced a 15% flat tax on their income due to the loss of the 10% and 12% tax brackets. If the Child Tax Credit were also eliminated, they would pay an additional $6,600 compared with today's tax system, Duke said. 

By comparison, a married couple with two children and earnings of $5 million a year would enjoy a $325,000 tax cut, he estimated. 

"That 15% bracket is a very big deal in terms of raising taxes on middle-class families," Duke said. 

Millions of U.S. households earning less than $168,000 would likely face higher taxes with a 15% rate. Currently, the bottom half of American taxpayers, who earn less than $46,000 a year, pay an effective tax rate of 3.3%  — which reflects their income taxes after deductions, tax credits and other benefits. 

Among other tax and economic changes proposed by Project 2025: 

  • Cutting the corporate tax rate to 18% from its current 21%, which was enacted in 2017's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Prior to the TCJA, the corporate tax rate stood at 35%.
  • Reducing the capital gains tax to 15%. Currently, high-income earners pay a tax of 20% on their capital gains.
  • Eliminating credits for green energy projects created by the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Considering the introduction of a U.S. consumption tax, such as a national sales tax. 
  • Eliminating the Federal Reserve's mandate to maintain full employment in the labor market.

To be sure, overhauling the tax system would require lawmakers to approve changes to the tax code, which could be difficult if either the House or Senate is controlled by the opposing party. For instance, Trump was able to get his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by a Republican-led Congress, even though no Democrats voted in support of the measure. 

What does Trump say about taxes?

Trump hasn't yet proposed any concrete tax plans, but analysts expect that he would seek to extend the tax cuts enacted through the TCJA if he is reelected. Currently, many of the provisions of the TCJA, including lower tax brackets, are set to expire at the end of 2025. 

One likely scenario if Trump is reelected is that Republican lawmakers would extend the TJCA's tax cuts, while seeking to fund the reduction in tax revenue by repealing some of the clean energy and climate-related provisions in the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act, according to an April report from Oxford Economics. Lawmakers could also seek to cut spending on social benefits to offset the tax cuts, the research firm added.

Trump has suggested a proposal to create a 10% tariff for all imports and a 60% tariff for Chinese imports that could raise enough money to eliminate the federal income tax. 

Tax experts also say the math doesn't work out because money raised from new tariffs would fall far short of replacing the more than $2 trillion in individual income taxes collected by the IRS each year. Consumers are also likely to pay more in higher costs for imported consumer goods and services with tariffs tacked onto them, experts note.

"A tariff is a consumption tax, and there is a throughline between [Project 2025's] tax reform and what Trump has talked about, getting rid of taxes in favor of a consumption tax," Duke noted. 

  • Donald Trump

Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.

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Who is Kai Trump? Donald Trump's eldest granddaughter gives heartfelt RNC speech on Day 3 of convention

Donald Trump's children are among the former president's biggest advocates and supporters.

On Wednesday night at the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee it was the next generation's turn.

Donald Trump's granddaughter, Kai Madison Trump, had the honors of vouching for him in a huge moment for the teenager during Day 3 of the RNC in Milwaukee .

Her message to the American public? To share "the side of my grandpa that people don't often see."

It was Kai's first time in a major political setting and her speech left Donald Trump smiling throughout it.

Donald Trump Jr. introduced his daughter to the audience after telling the crowd inside Fiserv Forum that Kai approached him earlier in the week saying that she wanted to speak at the convention.

Who is Kai Trump? Here's more on Donald Trump's granddaughter.

Who is Kai Trump?

Kai Madison Trump is the oldest daughter of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Trump (formerly Pergolizzi) and the eldest of 10 grandchildren to Donald Trump.

Kai has four siblings, Donald John III, Tristan Milos, Spencer Frederick and Chloe Sophia. Kai is named after her great-grandfather on her mom's side.

Kai Trump mostly stays away from politics on her social media. Instead, golf is her focus online.

But that may change after Wednesday night.

And in June she showed her support for her grandfather politically when she attended and posted about her appearance at a Turning Point USA event in Detroit with Donald Trump and her dad.

Who is Kai Trump's mom?

Kai Trump's mom is Vanessa Kay Trump.

Vanessa, 46, is a former model. She beaming with pride inside Fiserv Forum as she sat with her other children she shares with Donald Trump Jr.

Vanessa and Trump Jr. divorced in 2018 after 13 years of marriage.

How old is Kai Trump?

Kai Trump is 17 years old.

Kai Trump's speech at the 2024 RNC

Kai took the stage around 9:10 p.m. Central time and discussed her relationship with her "normal grandpa."

This is amazing ‼️ Trump’s Granddaughter Kai Trump gives her first ever speech at the RNC What a special moment 🇺🇸🙏🏼🥺 — TONY™ (@TONYxTWO) July 18, 2024

Kai noted how she views Trump, 78, like any other grandpa.

"To me he’s just a normal grandpa," she said. "He gives us candy and soda when our parents aren’t looking. He always wants to know how we’re doing in school. When I made the high honor roll he printed it out to show his friends how proud he was of me."

Later in the speech, she told him, "Grandpa you are such an inspiration and I love you."

She ended with Trump's go-to slogan.

"He truly wants the best for this country and he will fight every single day to make America great again," Kai said to cheers.

After her 3-minute, 30-second speech, Kai gave her father a hug as he took the stage for his turn. Kai then took a seat with her family in the stands.

Kai Trump and Donald Trump share love of golf

Like her grandfather, Kai is an avid golfer. Her Instagram account is filled with videos and photos of her golfing. Donald Trump is in several of the photos.

Earlier this year , two-time U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and three-time reigning World Long Drive Champion Kyle Berkshire joined her and Donald Trump for a round.

DeChambeau complimented her swing, calling it "pure."

In March she won the ladies club championship at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

"Very proud of my game and where it’s heading but there is always room for improvement. I would like to thank my parents, family and the amazing team at Trump Golf," she wrote on Instagram, while posing with Donald Trump and a trophy.

Kai brought up their shared passion for golf during her speech Wednesday night.

"He calls me during the middle of the school day to ask how my golf game is going and tells me all about his," Kai said. "But then I have to remind him I’m in school and I have to call him back later."

They often play together.

She joked that if they aren't on the same team Donald Trump "tries to get in my head."

"He’s always surprised that I don’t let him get to me," Kai said. "But I have to remind him I’m a Trump, too."

That comment got a smile out of Trump, who was in attendance for a third straight night at the RNC.

Donald Trump was known for hitting the links often at his private clubs during his first presidency from 2016-20.

Kai Trump addresses Donald Trump's court cases

Donald Trump has spent a lot of time in courtrooms over the last year after being charged in four cases. Kai referenced that in her speech.

"Even when he's going through all these court cases he always asks me how I'm doing," she said. "He always encourages me to push myself to be the most successful person I can be. Obviously, he sets the bar pretty high, but who knows maybe one day I'll catch him."

Donald Trump was convicted by a Manhattan, New York, jury of 34 felony counts in May for falsifying business records tied to a hush money payment before the 2016 presidential election. He is the first former president to beconvicted of felony crimes. Trump is also facing charges in Georgia related to election interference and federal election interference related to trying to overturn the 2020 election .

Trump's classified documents case , meanwhile, was dismissed on Monday, a victory for the former president.

Kai Trump speech: Donald Trump's granddaughter says she was heartbroken about the attempted assassination

Kai posted on her Instagram account the iconic image of Donald Trump raising his fists after he was wounded in an attempted assassination last week in Butler, Pennsylvania .

She wrote in her caption: "We love you Grandpa. Never stop fighting!"

"A lot of people put my grandpa through hell and he's still standing." Kai Trump, granddaughter of Donald Trump, speaks about Saturday's assassination attempt. — ABC News (@ABC) July 18, 2024

At the RNC, Kai addressed the assassination attempt.

"On Saturday I was shocked when I heard he was shot," Kai said. "It was heartbreaking that someone would do that to another person."

Kai added: "A lot of people put my grandpa through hell and he's still standing."

Kai Trump at the RNC

Kai posed with her mom and dad at the RNC inside Fiserv Forum on Wednesday ahead of the speeches. She posted a photo on her Instagram story with Donald Trump Jr. on the stage practicing ahead of her big night.

RNC speakers tonight

Kai Trump's father, Donald Trump Jr., took the stage after Kai for one of the final speeches of the night .

Donald Trump Jr.'s fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle spoke earlier Wednesday.

Kai's uncle, Eric, will speak on Thursday.

SPEAKERS TONIGHT: When is JD Vance speaking at the RNC?

When will Trump speak at the RNC?

The Republican nominee will close the convention when he gives his acceptance speech on Thursday night .

Suspect came within inches of killing Trump, but left few clues as to why

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Investigation begins after gunfire during a campaign rally by Trump in Butler, Pennsylvania

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Reporting by Nathan Layne and Gabriella Borter in Bethel Park, Jasper Ward and Kanishka Singh in Washington; Additional reporting by Aaron Josefczyk in Bethel Park, Brendan O'Brien in Chicago, Tyler Clifford in New York, and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Lisa Shumaker and Lincoln Feast.

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online education for 3 year olds

Thomson Reuters

Gabriella Borter is a reporter on the U.S. National Affairs team, covering cultural and political issues as well as breaking news. She has won two Front Page Awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York - in 2020 for her beat reporting on healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2019 for her spot story on the firing of the police officer who killed Eric Garner. The latter was also a Deadline Club Awards finalist. She holds a B.A. in English from Yale University and joined Reuters in 2017.

Day 4 of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

World Court says Israel's settlement policies are in breach of international law

The World Court said on Friday that Israel's settlement policies and exploitation of natural resources in the Palestinian territories were in breach of international law.

Violence erupts across Bangladesh after anti-quota protest by students

North Korea accused of executing dozens of teens for watching South Korean dramas

  • A South Korean outlet said that North Korea executed dozens of teens for watching South Korean dramas.
  • It said the shows were reportedly stored on USBs that were floated over the border by defectors.
  • North Korea has been accused of using harsh penalties for those caught watching South Korean media.

Insider Today

In North Korea, watching your favorite Korean dramas could end in tragedy.

According to a report by South Korean broadcaster Chosun TV, around 30 middle schoolers were publicly shot last week for watching South Korean dramas.

The shows were reportedly stored on USBs that were floated over the border by North Korean defectors, it said.

Business Insider was unable to independently verify the report.

South Korean officials did not comment directly on the report, but according to Korea JoongAng Daily , one unnamed South Korean Unification Ministry official told reporters that "it is widely known that North Korean authorities strictly control and harshly punish residents based on the three so-called 'evil' laws."

One of these is North Korea's Reactionary Ideology and Culture Rejection Act , which forbids individuals from disseminating media that originates in South Korea, the US, or Japan.

It is unclear whether those restrictions apply to foreigners visiting the country, like the Russian schoolchildren preparing to attend summer camps in the country.

Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, told BI that "under the circumstances created by the intensified crackdown on information from the outside world, initially conducted under the pretext of COVID, these reports are definitely plausible."

This is not the first instance of North Koreans reportedly being killed for their association with content from their southern neighbor.

According to a 2022 UN Secretary-General report, a man in Kangwon Province was killed by a public firing squad after his neighborhood watch unit saw him selling digital content from South Korea.

Related stories

A 2024 report on North Korean Human Rights, released by South Korea's Ministry of Unification, claimed that phones in North Korea are regularly checked for "South Korean-style language" and that wearing white wedding dresses is punished for being "reactionary".

A video was released earlier this year showing two teenagers being sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for watching a K-pop video.

Despite eyewitness accounts compiled by Amnesty International , the North Korean government has denied that public executions take place in the country.

According to North Korean authorities, the last execution took place in 1992.

North Korea is still technically at war with its southern counterpart, with their conflict in the 1950s ending in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

A defector told the Korea Herald that in 2020, North Korean parents were forced to sign a pledge stating they would ensure their children do not watch "impure video content" at home.

Recently, experts have speculated that North Korean military personnel could be sent to aid Russian efforts in Ukraine, following closer ties between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Representatives from North Korea didn't immediately reply to requests for comment.

Correction: July 16, 2024 — An earlier version of this story stated that more than one news outlet had reported the initial claim, rather than a single broadcaster.

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online education for 3 year olds

Trump rally shooter Thomas Crooks: Neighbors, classmates, employer speak

A 20-year-old man from Pennsylvania fired multiple shots at former President Donald Trump at a rally on Saturday evening.

A bullet grazed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's upper right ear , leaving him bloodied but not seriously injured. One rally attendee was killed in the gunfire and two others were "critically injured," authorities later said.

Here's what we know:

Who is the shooter at the rally?

The FBI identified Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the person behind the assassination attempt. Agency officials released little additional information, saying its investigation remains active and ongoing. They did not indicate what Crooks' motive might have been.

Crooks worked at a nearby nursing home. An administrator there told USA TODAY that the company was shocked to learn of the shooting and that Crooks had passed a background check for his job.

What did Thomas Crooks do at the crime scene?

During the shooting Saturday, Trump's right ear was injured, seconds before he was whisked off stage by Secret Service personnel.  One man attending the rally was killed  and two others were injured; Crooks was then killed by Secret Service agents , authorities said.

FBI special agent Kevin Rojek said on a call with media Sunday afternoon that authorities found "a suspicious device" when they searched the shooter's vehicle. Bomb technicians inspected the device and rendered it safe. 

"I'm not in a position to provide any expertise on the specific components of any potential bombs or suspicious packages," Rojek added. 

Rojek said law enforcement is sending the rifle and Crooks' cell phone, along with other evidence, to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia "for processing and exploitation."

"We're in the process of searching his phone," Rojek said.

Maps and graphics: What happened in the Trump assassination attempt

What is Crooks' background?

Crooks is registered to vote as a Republican in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, according to county voter records. His voter registration status has been active since 2021.

Federal Election Commission records show that in January 2021, Crooks made a $15 donation to the Progressive Turnout Project, a group working to increase voter turnout for Democrats.

Born Sept. 20, 2003, Crooks does not have a criminal record in Pennsylvania, nor has he been sued there, according to state court records. There is no record of him in federal court databases, either.

Where did Thomas Crooks work?

Crooks worked as a dietary aid, a job that generally involves food preparation, at Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, less than a mile from his home. In a statement provided to USA TODAY on Sunday, Marcie Grimm, the facility's administrator, said she was "shocked and saddened to learn of his involvement."

"Thomas Matthew Crooks performed his job without concern and his background check was clean," Grimm said. "We are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials at this time. Due to the ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further on any specifics. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Former President Trump and the victims impacted by this terrible tragedy. We condemn all acts of violence."

The facility is owned by Kennett Square, Pennsylvania-based Genesis Healthcare. A job posting from the company for a dietary aid in the Pittsburgh area puts the pay at $16 an hour.

Thomas Crooks from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

Crooks' home address is listed in Bethel Park, a suburb in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, voter records show. That three-bedroom brick house has been owned since 1998 by Matthew and Mary Crooks, who appear to be his parents. Telephone calls to the couple were not returned overnight.

Near the Crooks home, Dean Sierka, 52, said he had known Crooks and his parents for years, as neighbors separated by only a few houses. Sierka’s daughter attended school with Crooks from elementary school through Bethel Park High School, and said she remembers him as quiet and shy.

Dean and his daughter said they would see Crooks at least once a week, often when Crooks was walking to work.

“You wouldn’t have expected this,” Dean Sierka said. “The parents and the family are all really nice people.”

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At Bethel Park High School

Thomas Crooks graduated two years ago from Bethel Park High School, the Bethel Park School District confirmed. He was included in a 2022 local news article about recipients of a National Math & Science Initiative Star Award at the public high school, which enrolls about 1,300 students.

Jason Kohler attended Bethel Park High School with Crooks and said he remembers the 20-year-old sat alone at lunch and was “bullied almost every day.” Kids picked on Crooks for wearing camouflage to class and his quiet demeanor, Kohler, 21, said.

Since hearing Crooks has been named as the shooter, Kohler has been speaking with classmates who knew him, most of whom are stunned by the news.“It’s really hard to comprehend,” he said.

Sean Eckert said he went to school with Crooks from 5th through 12th grade. He said Crooks always went by “Tom.“

They shared classes together in elementary and middle school. Eckert said Crooks, though "fairly smart," was quiet and rarely spoke up.

Eckert said Crooks did not seem to have many friends. He didn't recall Crooks being playing any sports, being involved in any clubs or student groups or going to popular campus events. He often wore hunting clothes, so Eckert assumed he hunted.

No one in Eckert's group text from high school seemed to know Crooks very well, he said. They were shocked that someone from their town had done this. They were even more surprised that it was Tom Crooks.

Nursing aide turned sniper: Thomas Crooks' mysterious plot to kill Trump

The gaming-oriented online site Discord said Sunday that it had found an account that appeared to be linked to the shooting suspect. The site removed the account, which “was rarely utilized, has not been used in months, and we have found no evidence that it was used to plan this incident, promote violence, or discuss his political views,“ according to a statement from a Discord spokesperson, adding that the company will coordinate closely with law enforcement.

Crooks was a member of the Clairton Sportsmen’s Club, a shooting club about 8 miles from his home. It is a sprawling complex of 180 acres with rifle, pistol and archery ranges, an area for dog training and a clubhouse, according to the club website.An attorney for the club, Robert Bootay III, confirmed Crooks' membership in an email to USA TODAY, but would not offer additional details.

Where is Bethel Park, Pennsylvania?

Bethel Park is a suburb of Pittsburgh and home to more than 32,000 people – about one thousand fewer than four years ago, according to the latest Census estimates. 

The majority-white, mostly college-educated community has a median household income of $102,177. 

Described as a charming retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city to its north, Bethel Park boasts tree-line streets, friendly neighborhoods and a low crime rate.

Bethel Park is about 42 miles south of Butler, where the Trump rally was held. The leafy suburban street was alive with law enforcement overnight amid a multi-agency response to the shooting. A member of the Allegheny County bomb squad told reporters his team was headed into the house around midnight, but did not say why.

For hours afterward, the scene remained quiet, with deer passing under the police tape and an occasional neighbor stepping out of their house to see what was happening.

John Wolf, a local construction superintendent who lives down the road, said he’d talked with several worried neighbors.

“People are scared,” Wolf said.

How did Crooks shoot at Trump?

Crooks had been positioned on a rooftop more than 100 yards from the rally site, Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said. Law enforcement recovered an AR-style rifle from the scene.

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Joseph Price, special agent in charge of the ATF in Pittsburgh, said the weapon used by the shooter was a rifle.“It was nothing special,” he said in an interview in the parking lot of the Butler Township Municipal Building.

Law enforcement is following up on a “number of suspicious occurrences,” said Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police, including accounts from witnesses who said they tried to flag police about the activity of a person outside the rally moments before the shooting.

The FBI said in a news release that the situation “remains an active and ongoing investigation, and anyone with information that may assist with the investigation is encouraged to submit photos or videos online at  or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.”

Contributing: Stephanie Warsmith, Tim Evans, Aysha Bagchi, Jessica Guynn, Bryce Buyakie

  • Donald Trump

What We Know—and Don’t Know—So Far About the Trump Rally Gunman

Follow to Donald Trump Rally Shooting- Bethel Park, PA

T wenty-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks was identified by the FBI on Sunday as the shooter behind the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa., on Saturday evening that left one bystander dead and two others injured.

What We Know So Far About the Trump Rally Shooting

  • Eyewitness Accounts
  • What We Know So Far About the Gunman
  • Politicians Condemn Shooting
  • What to Know About the Victims
  • The Recent History of Political Violence in America
  • Column: The Danger of Treating Politics Like War

Crooks was killed at the scene by a Secret Service sniper, and investigations continue into his motives, which remain unclear.

Here’s what we know so far.

‘No indication of any mental health issues’

The FBI says that Crooks was not known to the agency prior to the incident.

In a call with reporters Sunday night, the FBI special agent in charge, Kevin Rojek, said there was “no indication of any mental health issues” regarding the shooter.

During a private congressional briefing on Wednesday, the New York Times reported, the FBI revealed that the gunman’s online search history included a query on “major depressive disorder.”

Limited social media presence

Rojek also said authorities “have not yet identified an ideology” associated with Crooks. The agency has interviewed more than 100 people , including Crooks’ family and friends, and cracked into his two phones using the Israeli technology Cellebrite, according to the Washington Post , but has yet to find evidence of his motivations.

President Joe Biden on Sunday urged people to refrain from making assumptions. “Let the FBI do their job, and their partner agencies do their job,” he said.

Read More: What to Know About Women in Secret Service as Critics Blame ‘DEI’ for Trump’s Shooting

Crooks reportedly had a limited social media presence, though a spokesperson for the platform Discord said in a statement shared with TIME that the company “identified” a “rarely utilized” account that appears to be linked to Crooks. The spokesperson said that the company is cooperating with law enforcement but that it “found no evidence” the account was used “to plan this incident, promote violence, or discuss his political views.”

Fox News reported that the FBI told Senators on Wednesday that Crooks had written on gaming platform Steam: “July 13 will be my premiere, watch as it unfolds.”

Registered Republican, donor to progressives

State public voting records show that Crooks was a registered Republican, while Federal Election Commision documents show that a donor with the same name and address gave $15 to ActBlue, the Democratic fundraising apparatus, on Jan. 20, 2021—the date of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The donation was earmarked for the Progressive Turnout Project.

A spokesperson for the Progressive Turnout Project told CNN that “the email address associated with the contribution only made the one contribution and was unsubscribed from our lists 2 years ago.” They added: “We unequivocally condemn political violence in all of its forms, and we denounce anyone who chooses violence over peaceful political action.”

During the Wednesday congressional briefing, the FBI said it found no indication Crooks had any strong partisan political views and that he had searched images of public figures including Trump and Biden as well as FBI director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, according to the New York Times . Crooks reportedly also looked up dates of Trump’s public appearances and the upcoming Democratic National Convention .

From an affluent Pittsburgh suburb

The FBI identified Crooks’ hometown as Bethel Park, a suburb of Pittsburgh about an hour south of where the Trump rally was held. Dan Gryzbek, a county council member representing the area, described the neighborhood where Crooks’ family lived as “pretty firmly middle class, maybe upper-middle class” to the New York Times . According to the Census Bureau , Bethel Park’s population is 93% white with a 1.3 times higher per capita income than the rest of Pennsylvania.

The address of Crooks’ family home was in a district that President Biden won in 2020 with 52% of the vote to Trump’s 46%. Crooks’ father is a registered Libertarian and his mother is a registered Democrat, according to voter records, CNN and the Times reported. Both parents are licensed professional counselors, according to state records.

Sources told the Washington Post that both Crooks’ parents have health issues and appeared to investigators as loving parents who may not have been closely attuned to their son’s activities.

Seems to have acted alone

“While the investigation to date indicates the shooter acted alone,” the FBI said Sunday, “the FBI continues to conduct logical investigative activity to determine if there were any co-conspirators associated with this attack. At this time, there are no current public safety concerns.”

The FBI repeated that Crooks appeared to act alone during the agency’s briefing to Congress on Wednesday. Director Wray also said there’s no known foreign nexus, in response to a question from Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in reference to recent reporting about an unrelated Iranian assassination plot targeting Trump, PunchBowl News reported.

Used an AR-15-style rifle purchased legally by his father

Multiple law enforcement officials have said that the firearm used by Crooks in the shooting was an AR-style rifle that was legally purchased by Crooks’ father. Crooks’ family is cooperating with investigators, Rojek has said.

Read More: How the AR-15 Rifle Became America’s Most Dangerous Weapon

NBC News reported Monday that more than a dozen other guns were found in a search of the Crooks’ family home.

A law enforcement official told CNN Monday that on the morning of the Trump campaign rally, Crooks purchased a five-foot ladder and 50 rounds of ammunition before driving to Butler. It’s unclear if Crooks used these in the assassination attempt.

A rifle enthusiast since he was a teen

According to photos and videos of the scene of the shooting, Crooks was wearing a shirt associated with Demolition Ranch, a popular gun channel on YouTube. (Matt Carriker, the host of the channel, said in a video statement on Monday that he was “shocked and confused” and offered condolences to the victims of the shooting . “This channel was never meant to incite violence or hate—it never has, it isn’t, and it never will be a channel that does that,” he said.)

Crooks had tried out for his high school’s junior varsity rifle team when he was a freshman, CBS reported, but classmate Jameson Myers said Crooks didn’t make the team and never tried out again.

Jameson Murphy, another former classmate, told the New York Post that Crooks “was such a comically bad shot he was unable to make the team and left after the first day.” Another classmate also told the Post that the rifle team coach had concerns about Crooks based on “some crass jokes” Crooks made and how he interacted with others. “Our old coach was a stickler, he trained Navy marksmen, so he knew people. He knew when someone’s not the greatest person,” the classmate said.

Crooks did, however, belong to a local gun club, the Clairton Sportsmen’s Club , which has a 200-yard rifle range among its facilities. The club confirmed Crooks’ membership in a statement provided to multiple media outlets that admonished the violence and offered condolences to the victims but said it couldn’t offer any more details as investigations remain ongoing.

The day before the shooting, Crooks visited a shooting range to practice firing, according to a law enforcement official speaking to CNN.

Amid speculation that Crooks may have had a military background, the Pentagon told the Associated Press that “there is no military service affiliation for the suspect with that name or date of birth” in their databases across military branches.

Left behind explosive materials

The FBI said that, when it searched Crooks’ home and vehicle to collect additional evidence, suspicious devices were found and have since been “rendered safe” by bomb technicians.

According to CNN, investigators found a bulletproof vest, three fully loaded magazines, and two remote-controlled explosives in his car, which was parked near the rally. An unnamed law enforcement official told CNN Crooks was found with a detonator on his body, and his car’s trunk contained a metal box of explosives connected with wires to a receiver.

Sources told Fox News that law enforcement also found bomb-making materials in Crooks’ home, while CNN reported that investigators found an additional remote-controlled explosive device, another bulletproof vest, and a 3D printer in his home—and that Crooks had received deliveries of multiple packages, including some marked as potentially hazardous, in recent months.

A nursing home aid with an engineering science degree

Crooks graduated from the Community College of Allegheny County with an associate degree in engineering science just over two months ago, a school official confirmed to the New York Times .

Crooks worked as a dietary aid at the Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “We are shocked and saddened to learn of his involvement,” Marcie Grimm, the facility administrator, said in a statement to multiple media outlets, adding that Crooks “performed his job without concern and his background check was clean.”

A colleague at the nursing home described Crooks as caring and apolitical at work to CNN . “It’s hard seeing everything that’s going on online,” the colleague said, “because he was a really, really good person that did a really bad thing, and I just wish I knew why.”

Officials told CNN that Crooks normally worked on Saturdays but had requested time off on the day of Trump’s rally, telling his boss that he had “something to do.”

A quiet, lonely nerd in high school

Bethel Park School District confirmed in a statement that Crooks graduated from Bethel Park High in 2022. It offered its condolences to victims of the shooting and said it is cooperating with law enforcement investigations.

Former peers, speaking to media outlets, painted a portrait of a social outcast who kept a low profile.

“He didn’t really fit in with everybody else,” classmate Sarah D’Angelo told the Wall Street Journal . “He was there but I can’t think of anyone who knew him well,” another classmate told BBC .

Crooks was “a loner” who “would sit alone at lunch,” classmate Jason Kohler told ABC News . He would regularly wear camouflage outfits and was “bullied” for the way he dressed, Kohler told NBC News .

“There was definitely chatter about him just looking a little different,” another classmate, who asked not to be named, told CNN . “Almost a retro nerd vibe.”

Summer Barkley, another classmate, told BBC that Crooks was “always getting good grades on tests” and was “very passionate about history.”

Zach Bradford, another classmate, described Crooks to the New York Times as “incredibly intelligent” and said his views in high school seemed “slightly right leaning.”

Most—but not all—who knew Crooks expressed disbelief at his involvement in the shooting at the Trump rally.

Jim Knapp, Crooks’ since-retired guidance counselor at the school, described Crooks to the Times as “a very good student” and said “not once did he ever get in trouble.”

“He never outwardly spoke about his political views or how much he hated Trump or anything,” D’Angelo added to the Wall Street Journal .

“I was just, like, shocked—I just couldn’t believe he did something that bold, considering he was such a quiet and kept-to-himself kind of person,” the anonymous classmate told CNN.

“I will say he was definitely nerdy, for sure, but he never gave off that he was creepy,” classmate Mark Sigafoos told CBS. “He seemed like he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

But Julianna Grooms, who graduated a year after Crooks, told the Wall Street Journal that Crooks stood out for his awkwardness. “If someone would say something to his face, he would just kind of stare at them,” she said. “People would say he was the student who would shoot up high school.”

—Koh Ewe contributed reporting.

More Must-Reads from TIME

  • Eyewitness Accounts From the Trump Rally Shooting
  • From 2022: How the Threat of Political Violence Is Transforming America
  • ‘We’re Living in a Nightmare:’ Inside the Health Crisis of a Texas Bitcoin Town
  • Remembering Shannen Doherty , the Quintessential Gen X Girl
  • How Often Do You Really Need to Wash Your Sheets?
  • Why Mail Theft Is on the Rise
  • Welcome to the Noah Lyles Olympics
  • Get Our Paris Olympics Newsletter in Your Inbox

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    YouTube videos with interactive stories and lessons. Inspire a lifetime of learning with our educational app for kids ages 2-8. Kids can learn reading, writing, math, counting, ABCs, addition, subtraction, social-emotional skills, & more. 100% free on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Amazon.

  2. Preschool Learning Games, Ages 3

    Preschool SKILL GAMES. ABCya Paint. Grades PRE-K - 6+. Adventure Man Dungeon Dash - Shapes & Colors. Grades PRE-K - 3. Blue Ribbon Blitz - Comparing Sizes. Grades PRE-K - 1. Dress for the Weather. Grades PRE-K - 1.

  3. The 15 Best Online Learning Services for Kids for 2024

    Ages 12+ years, with some content for younger learners. Free; paid accounts starting at $19.99 per month with other plans available for semester, year, and lifetime. Brainscape is an adaptive ...

  4. Learning Resources for Age 3

    Follow Us. facebook (opens in new window) instagram (opens in new window) twitter (opens in new window) pinterest (opens in new window) Newsletter Sign-Up

  5. Some of the Best Online Learning Games for Kids

    Gifts for 3‑year‑olds; Gifts for 4‑year‑olds; Gifts for 5‑year‑olds; Gifts for 6‑year‑olds; Ages 7 & Up. ... Some of the Best Online Learning Games for Kids. Updated March 13, 2020 ...

  6. Online Preschool

    Discover the K12-powered online preschool program that prepares early learners for kindergarten. Introducing online preschool learning can make learning fun and interactive for your three- to six-year-old. Learn more about the engaging online preschool programs powered by K12 and designed to capture attention and spark a love of learning.

  7. Growing Brilliant: At Home Learning, Hands-On Classes

    Growing Brilliant offers an at-home learning program led by live teachers for children ages 2-6. Our activity-based classes cover STEAM & 60+subjects. Designed to give children a head start in education. ... Plus, the live interaction is perfect for a 3-year-old who likes to sing along and talk to the teacher. - Jennifer R. Awesome, Awesome ...

  8. Sesame Street

    Play fun and educational games with your favorite Sesame Street characters. Explore topics like letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. Discover new adventures and challenges with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and other furry friends.

  9. Games

    Donkey Hodie Go Fetch With Bob Dog. Bob Dog is on a mission to become a top fetcher with his coach, Penguin Referee! Go Fetch! With Bob Dog is a fun, claw machine-style game from Donkey Hodie where players use classification, flexible thinking, and visual discrimination to help Bob Dog sort the toys he wants and toss the ones he doesn't as fast as they can.

  10. 25 Best Educational Games for 3 Year Olds to Uplift Learning

    So, it is a completely safe and educational game for young children. The dartboard contains different colors, fish images, and patterns to improve toddlers' color, shape, and print recognition skills. It is a perfect classroom and party learning game for 3-year-olds. 10. Cootie Bug Building.

  11. 16 Fun and Free Learning Websites for Kids

    Scholastic. Scholastic is one of the more unique educational websites for kids. This site, from the publishers of the educational magazines you find in schools, contains activities organized by grade level. Kids from pre-K all the way up to high school can find learning activities geared toward them. 3.

  12. Online Classes for 3-Year-Olds: Engaging & Educational

    Discover fun, interactive online classes for 3-year-olds, curated to spark creativity and promote early learning skills. Let your little one explore new interests! Consent; Details [#IABV2SETTINGS#] ... Early Learning Skills. $10 per class. Lucie. 5.0 (26) Group Class. 1/wk, 30 min. 3-5. View More Classes. Reviews for top Skill Level For 3 Year ...

  13. Online Preschool Learning Program

    ABCmouse Preschool Education Program is designed to help support the critical early development of 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. With a wide range of interactive and educational activities, our online platform is the perfect tool for fostering a love of learning and unlocking your child's potential. Our evidence-based curriculum is easy to use ...

  14. 15 Best Learning Activities for Your 3 Year Old Preschooler

    5 Fun Developmental Activities for 3-Year-Olds. 1. Recognizing Letters and Sounds. Learning activities for 3-year-olds are most fun when they are dressed up as family games, pretend plays, or become parts of our daily activities and observations. Recognizing letters and their sounds is one such activity that can be done in several ways.

  15. Online Classes for 3-Year-Olds: Fun and Educational

    Piano & Keyboard for 3 Year Olds. Alphabet for 3 Year Olds. Screenwriting for 3 Year Olds. Natural Science for 3 Year Olds. Trigonometry for 3 Year Olds. Cryptocurrency for 3 Year Olds. Reading for 3 Year Olds. Fashion for 3 Year Olds. C# Coding for 3 Year Olds.

  16. 7 Play-Based Learning Activities for 3-Year-Olds

    Play-based learning activities for 3-year-olds help them develop the skills they need for school and life by tapping into their natural love of play. It's a lot easier to get a toddler to play a learning game than to sit down and study—plus, they'll actually learn more! The Short Cut. We've put together instructions for seven of our ...

  17. 24 Best Free Online Classes for Kids

    Ages: 5-14. Subjects: Math, science, arts, humanities, reading, computing, economics, life skills, test prep. Popular class: Middle school Earth and Space science. 4. ActivityHero. It's easy to find free online classes and workshops on ActivityHero, a platform that hosts e-courses from teachers from around the nation.

  18. Learning Videos for Toddlers, 3 year old and 4 year olds, Preschool

    Non-hyper stimulating, calm & interactive toddler learning videos for 2, 3 and 4 year olds to learn at home. A collection of our week 2 preschool circle time...

  19. 17 Best Online Classes for Kids

    ABC Mouse. ABC Mouse is an easy-to-navigate online-learning universe for kids ages 2 through 13. For $60, you and up to three children get a year's access to hundreds of early-learning ...

  20. 31 Things That You Can Teach Your 3 Year Old

    8. Tracing. Tracing is a great visual motor skill (hand-eye coordination). You can teach your 3 year old to trace lines and letters by: Having them use their finger first to trace the line on the paper. Tracing straight lines first and then working toward shapes, zig zags, and curved lines.


    My account. OWLIE BOO, a website with educational computer games for toddlers and young children. Our fun, stimulating games help the youngest kids learn how to use a computer while they play: how to press keys, how to move the mouse, how to click and drag objects.

  22. Online Toddler Games and Online Games for Kids

    Free Toddler Games: dragging and dropping. From online puzzles for kids and colorful memory games to paint drawing activities for 1-2-3-4-5-years old and educational activities for children, our online collection offers a wide variety of options to keep young minds stimulated and entertained.

  23. 3 Year Old Games on COKOGAMES

    NUMBERS. Educational games for 3 year olds online. Free online learning activities for teaching and learning. These free games for kids are computer games, interactive in nature and online to play, no download needed! PC Games are ideal to be used with children as a complement in learning, to reinforce the dynamics of teaching, by parents and ...

  24. Project 2025 would overhaul the U.S. tax system. Here's how it could

    Married couples need to earn over $487,450 this year to hit the top tax rate of 37%. Project 2025 argues that the current tax system is too complicated and expensive for taxpayers to navigate.

  25. Who is Kai Trump, the granddaughter of Donald Trump speaking at RNC?

    Kai Trump is 17 years old. Kai Trump's speech at the 2024 RNC Kai took the stage around 9:10 p.m. Central time and discussed her relationship with her "normal grandpa."

  26. Suspect came within inches of killing Trump, but left few clues as to

    The portrait pieced together so far of the 20-year-old nursing home aide who allegedly tried to assassinate Donald Trump at an election rally reveals frustratingly little about why he would make ...

  27. North Korea accused of executing dozens of teens for watching South

    A South Korean outlet said that North Korea executed dozens of teens for watching South Korean dramas. It said the shows were reportedly stored on USBs that were floated over the border by ...

  28. Thomas Matthew Crooks, Trump rally shooter: What we know about him

    A 20-year-old man from Pennsylvania fired multiple shots at former President Donald Trump at a rally on Saturday evening. A bullet grazed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's upper ...

  29. Thomas Matthew Crooks: What We Know About the Trump Rally Shooter

    T wenty-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks was identified by the FBI on Sunday as the shooter behind the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Butler, Pa ...

  30. Autodesk Maya

    The price of a three-year Maya subscription is . If you have infrequent users and are interested in a pay-as-you-go option, ... and teachers at qualified academic institutions worldwide are eligible for free access to Autodesk software for one-year through the Autodesk Education Community. See more