How your 3-year-old might play now

    • She likes dressing up or pretending she's someone else
    • He loves to move and does not care to be still
    • She's reassured to hear that people love her
    • He begins to compare and contrast himself with others
    • Basic ball play—like catching or kicking a ball—can improve balance and coordination
    • He can throw a ball a short distance and can catch it if it's thrown directly in his arms
    • She starts drawing faces and people
    • He can make balls, sausages and figures out of play dough
    • Her squiggles begin to look like writing
    • He shows sympathy for storybook characters
Role-play toys
  • crawlerImg

    Medical Kit

    Imagination & Creativity Sensory Sharing & Cooperation

Help your child learn more:

    • What do they do? If your child's interested in a particular occupation or theme, feed that curiosity. Visit the library or go online and research together. Attend shows or demonstrations at local grocery stores, home and garden centers, or fair grounds.
    • Two heads are better than one. When you and your child put your imaginations together, you'll be amazed at how much more realistic and fun your play will become. If your toy is a medical kit, create an area for the doctor's office or hospital. Make a sign for the door: "The doctor is in." Gather willing patients (dolls and stuffed animals are always in need of a check-up). Put magazines and a chair in your waiting room, with a play phone for the receptionist.
    • Get them started. If your child needs a few play prompts to get the idea, be the receptionist or nurse and suggest "problems" for her to solve. "Mrs. Johnson isn't feeling well. Can you see her right away?"
    • Take turns being doctor and patient with your child, and listen carefully to what he says in each role. You'll gain new insight, and he'll gain new confidence!
    • What’s for lunch? With a play kitchen, ask: "What will you make? What will you put in your soup? Do you have to go shopping first?" Help measure, mix and pour.
Toys that encourage creative expression
  • crawlerImg

    Clip-on Doodle Pro™

  • crawlerImg

    Kid-Tough™ Doodler Classic with 4 Stampers

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Self-Expression & Confidence

Help your baby learn more:

    • Show interest in your child's creations. If you can, stop what you're doing and check it out when he says, "Hey, Mom! Look what I made!" or "Watch this dance I made up!" Set aside special time when you can focus on your child. Ask her to demonstrate her work, and praise her abilities.
    • Encourage self-expression.. Can he explain why he's created a certain drawing or video? Or why she thinks her music sounds a certain way? Encourage talking about ideas and feelings.
    • Capture memories. Let your child take photos to document experiences. Help add special effects or a fun digital border.
    • Music, please. Make sure your child is exposed to music and art. Take a trip to a gallery or sculpture park, attend plays and concerts just for kids.

I Can Do It!

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Help your child become aware of all the wonderful things she can do! This is a great way to build her self-confidence and self-esteem.

Materials

  • Magazines with pictures or picture books that show kids doing things

Instructions

  • Look through magazines or picture books together that show kids doing things.
  • Ask your child if she can do the things that are shown.
  • Have her explain how she does them.
  • Let her demonstrate if she likes!
  • If she says she can’t do something, ask her why not.
  • Discuss with her all the things you can and cannot do. Make sure to explain how or why not.

Safety

Make sure to select plenty of pictures of activities your child knows how to do, so she won’t feel like a failure. Don’t pressure her to do things she’s not ready to do.

Learning Skills

  • Cognitive/thinking skills
  • Language and vocabulary development
  • Self-esteem/self-confidence
  • Social skills
Your child can learn

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