Three-year-olds have growing control over their voices and can recognize, name and sing their favorite songs. They can play simple rhythm instruments with a developing ability to control beat, tempo and pitch. Their art also begins to include recognizable subjects. Three-year-olds love dramatic play, and will sometimes get so involved in their imagined scenarios that they continue their roles even after the play stops. They also prefer to use real objects and costumes in their pretend play.
Uses music to create moods (e.g., bangs on drums to create excitement).
Plays with a variety of musical instruments, often in a unique way (e.g., may shake an instrument that is typically pounded).
Chooses songs and music that reflect personal disposition (e.g., prefers classical music for napping).
Learns words to favorite songs (e.g., will sing lyrics and repeated phrases with great enthusiasm).
Can compare and contrast sounds made by different instruments (e.g., says, "The triangle makes a tingly sound when you hit it.").
Creates unplanned art, but may assign content to the image after the fact (e.g., when finished with a drawing, announces, "This is my kitty, Fluffy.").
Chooses colors and media that match his or her mood (e.g., may paint pictures in black and brown while dealing with divorcing parents).
Builds on knowledge of basic art techniques to make mobiles and assemblages (e.g., hangs leaves collected on a nature walk from a hanger).
Can describe what is pleasing about his or her own art (e.g., asks you to hang his or her art on the wall because it is a "happy" painting).
Participates in group games and circle dances (e.g., enthusiastically joins in the "Hokey Pokey" with a group).
Selects movements that reflect his or her mood (e.g., when feeling quiet or thoughtful, sits with a baby doll in a rocking chair and moves in time to a lullaby).
Accepts explanations by adults that movement activities are healthy for children (e.g., jumps up and starts dancing when teacher says, "Dancing makes our leg muscles strong.").
Recreates the world of the home and classroom through dramatic play scenarios (e.g., pretends to make and serve dinner to "family").
Uses dramatic play to help cope with fears (e.g. uses string to tie up pretend monsters).
Wears dress-up clothes and assembles real props to make role playing realistic (e.g., uses empty cereal boxes and kitchen tools to "cook" in a child-sized kitchen).