By the age of three, your child may be demonstrating self-care skills by putting on his own shirt, washing and drying his own hands, and brushing his own teeth.
He's learning so much, so encourage him even more with these great ideas for toys and play ideas!
Play time activities like memory games and arts and crafts offer new and exciting challenges for your toddler. He is also becoming more confident in gross motor skills – walking, running and jumping, and might even be able to balance on one foot for a couple of seconds. Sports equipment and structured games will be new and exciting for your child, and inviting a friend or two along will develop his social skills and his ability to share with others.
As your child gets older, he will be developing a strong imagination. He will start creating his own story lines, characters, plots and adventures that are separate from his physical world. Foster this wonderful imagination by providing clothes and props for make believe – something as simple as using a paper towel roll as a telescope will help encourage this area of development.
Three-year-olds are developing their logical reasoning skills as they play. Your child can put together simple puzzles, and understand that a whole object can be separated into parts. Encourage his reasoning by asking him about the pieces and describing the pieces he is working with, “The cow’s head goes with the cow.”
At this age, toddlers are developing their hand-eye co-ordination and problem solving skills. A great way for your child to encourage these skills is by using puzzles with large pieces and recognisable pictures.
Your child may be ready to graduate from puzzles that have pieces with knobs that fit into individual slots to more complicated puzzles with multiple pieces.
Shape Sorters and Beginning Board Games
Your toddler's brain development will benefit from learning how to play and practicing simple games such as Dominoes or Tic Tac Toe.
Your child is increasing his spatial awareness and should be able to identify things by size – small, medium and large.
Expose your child to a wide range of topics. If he takes an interest in a particular subject, find activities, books and movies that are about the topic.
Toys for Imagination
A play kitchen is a place where your child can whip up imaginary concoctions. Include yourself in the fun and ask your child, "What will you make? What will you put on your pizza?
If your child needs a few ideas to get his imagination started, act like the customer and give “the cook” a meal order. "Can I please have a strawberry milkshake with extra whipped cream?”
Take turns playing imaginary games with your child, and listen carefully to what he says in each role. You'll gain new insight about his personality, and he'll gain new confidence playing different roles!
Practise, Practise Practise
Your child might have mastered stacking several blocks, but that doesn't mean the game has lost its appeal. Help your child try out all the different things a toy does, and take notice of which activities he seems most comfortable with. Repeating things over again, and then adding a step further is a great way to consolidate skills he's already learned, and develop them further.
A great fine motor activity is to work on lacing and threading beads, or using skills boards where your child can practice zipping, buckling, snapping, lacing and tying.
A fun way to learn is to get down on the floor and play right alongside your child. Bring vehicles and other toys to the game and then find yourselves in a race or a parade!
Art & Craft Materials
Your child will love to experiment with arts and crafts of all kinds. Introducing crayons, Play-doh, collage supplies like magazines and old mail, glitter, and sticky coloured shapes are all sources of endless fun. Just make sure everything is washable and non-toxic.
Select a special box just for your child and fill it with a variety of interesting craft materials. You could add colourful paper scraps, fabrics, pipe cleaners, pom poms and sticky project paper. Your child now has an easy and organised way to make fun creations independently.
If you can, stop what you're doing and show interest in your child’s creations. Setting aside this special time so you can focus on your child will build a connection of caring. Your child will simply love that you notice the details by telling him what you observe, “Look at the big blue circle you made!” and “The glitter makes the ocean look so sparkly!”.
If you're looking for great, age appropriate ecobaby toys for three year olds
, check out Hello Charlie's range !
First published September 2013, updated October 2016. Copyright © Vanessa Layton
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