Written By: Psychologist Natasha Tanic
At three years of age, kids are ready for more independence and new learning challenges.
Your child is transitioning from a toddler into a preschooler now, and she’s able to establish and maintain positive relationships with others, both children and adults.
At this age, toddlers enjoy playing with a variety of toys.
Buying your 3 year old toys that are safe and age-appropriate is an excellent way to boost her development and help her reach milestones.
It’s also a wonderful time for you to enjoy watching them while they play and learn.
Social and Emotional Development Milestones
Your three year old can now recognize and understand her own and other people’s feelings and facial expressions.
She is getting better each day at managing strong emotions and expressing them constructively.
Temper tantrums and meltdowns are becoming more sporadic now.
To boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem, provide a lot of encouragement, support, and affection.
Kids at this age experience a wide range of emotions and express affection openly.
Also, your 3 year old toddler is becoming interested in toilet training and usually stays dry when she is awake.
Three-year-old kids typically start to show empathy and begin to develop a strong sense of fairness and justice.
So don’t be surprised if you see your child fighting for her own or her peers’ rights.
However, at other times, your child may appear insensitive (for example, when one of her friends gets hurt).
Don’t be concerned by this behavior, as egocentrism is a normal part of your child’s development.
In the theory of child development, Jean Piaget proposes that egocentrism is one of the main qualities of early childhood and pre-operational stage of development.
What is Egocentric Thinking?
Egocentrism or egocentric thinking involves a child’s inability to discriminate between their perspective and that of other people.
At 3 years of age, kids have difficulty understanding a viewpoint other than their own because they believe it’s all about them.
Toys That Promote Social And Emotional Development
Your child now understands the concept of “yours” and “mine”.
However, she may have difficulties sharing toys with friends or have conflicts while she is playing with other kids.
Foster cooperation and turn-taking skills by arranging playdates with other kids and encourage a lot of free, unstructured play.
Purchase pretend play and role play props such as play kitchens, doctor’s kits, pretend food, and construction kits
These types of toys encourage kids to learn about the world, express their feelings, and use their senses.
They also help toddlers develop language and literacy, and practice cooperation and turn-taking.
Buy your child dolls or action figures.
These toys are a great way for your three year old to explore her emotions and safely learn social skills.
Language Development Milestones
At three years of age, children are talking a lot.
Your toddler now has a vocabulary of around 300 words and can make three word sentences.
They can understand a lot, so keep talking to your child while you are spending time together.
Describe the meals you are preparing, explain things you see while going for a walk, and help your child verbalize her thoughts.
Your 3 year old can now say her full name, ask questions, and read simple words.
She can also recall what happened yesterday, repeat her favorite rhymes, and name familiar people.
Learning a language is one of the most significant achievements of early childhood.
Language acquisition and literacy development are strongly linked to your child’s later personal, academic, and professional success as language is a foundation of future learning.
On the other hand, delays in language and speech development may lead to poor school performance and affect a child’s academic success.
Toys That Encourage Language And Speech Development
Read to your child every day. Books promote language understanding and literacy and encourage speech.
Read books together and ask your child to re-tell you the story.
Also, provide toys like pretend playsets, pretend food, shopping charts, animal sets, puzzles, blocks, dolls, dress-up clothes, and role playing props.
Provide opportunities to play with Play Doh and other sensory materials, and allow your toddler to use a variety of arts and crafts items.
You may also want to provide flash cards and different board games that promote language and literacy.
Cognitive Development Milestones
Your child can now follow two to three step instructions.
She knows her name, age, and gender, and understands the concept of “two”.
For example, she understands when she has two toys rather than one.
At this age, kids can sort objects by color and shape, have started to draw a basic person, and love engaging in pretend play.
Three year old toddlers memorize a string of numbers rather than actually count, but some of them show great interest in numbers, counting, and the alphabet.
Your three year old toddler also has a rich imagination and fantasy life.
Toys That Encourage Cognitive Development
Your three year old most likely enjoys working with puzzles that have 3-4 pieces and sorting objects by color and shape.
Such toys challenge your child’s problem-solving skills, so provide her with a variety of puzzles, shape sorters, and similar toys.
Buy toys that promote counting and numeracy such as stacking rings, animal counting matching games, an abacus, and puzzle boards.
Washable paints, crayons, and markers are also wonderful toys for kids at this age.
Motor Development Milestones
Gross and fine motor skills are essential for your child’s sense of independence and their ability to explore the world around them.
Gross motor skills include movements related to the large muscles of her arms and legs.
Your child can now run, jump, skip, ride a balance bike or a pedal bike with training wheels, do a somersault, and catch a bounced ball.
Their fine motor skills have also improved and your child can now draw a circle, use a spoon and fork,
and eat independently.
Toys That Promote Physical Development
Make sure to provide toys and outdoor equipment that encourage running, jumping, and climbing.
Anything that promotes movement and muscle strength is an excellent toy for a 3 year old toddler.
To help your toddler develop small muscle coordination, provide wooden blocks, nesting cups, toys that have buttons, zippers, and snaps, crayons, chalks, and toys with lids that your child can screw and unscrew.
Three year old toddlers are getting more independent and love playing with all kinds of toys.
Make sure to encourage independence and self-care, and organize playdates with other kids to boost your child’s social skills.
Teach your child her home address and phone number.
Spend time together outdoors and encourage hands-on nature walks.
Buying your 3 year old toddler age-appropriate and safe toys is a wonderful way to promote her growing development.
It’s also a fun way for you to spend some quality time playing with her or watching her while she plays and learns.