3-year-olds are learning and developing new skills daily and they love to try new things. Choosing age appropriate activities can help them gain confidence in their new found talents. These preschoolers want activities that are new but are not too difficult, frustrating or long. One toy preschoolers love is a set of wooden blocks. Building toys are the perfect toy to enhance their newly budding skills. Here are 3 suggestions to encourage your preschooler to play with these great educational toys.
1-Build Things Familiar To Your Child
A 3-year-old child likes to reproduce things they know. For example, they might build a house or barn, but not a castle. Your preschooler may make a simple car but not a space ship. They might want to build a dog but do not know how to recreate a dragon. A 3-year-old child’s imagination is developing but he prefers to draw, pretend and build things that are real to him.
2-Build Small Projects
A child of this age still has a fairly short attention span. Don’t overwhelm them with a large number of blocks at one time. A proper amount of blocks for this age would be 60-80 pieces. Investing in a larger set that they can use as they grow is a good idea, but at this age you may want to only get out a limited number of blocks.
Encourage projects they could complete in maybe 5 or 10 minutes. Projects that are too complex or large will make them lose interest. If they lose interest, they may end up just throwing the blocks and that will frustrate you too.
Children of this age use mostly square and rectangular blocks. They don’t use a lot of varied shapes at this age. They will only use a few blocks such as triangles and arches. They will mostly use the basic shapes that are easy to stack.
Keep their projects simple, such as making a small, simple four walled house not a huge mansion with a 5 car garage. If they are having to stack multiple blocks to complete a project, they may lose interest or become frustrated. Let your child build something that he or she can successfully finish. This helps build their confidence. Praise them for their accomplishments. Helping them have successes encourages them to build bigger and more complex things when they are ready. Make sure you are helping them build at their level so they will want to create again another day.
3-Build Low Structures Or Table Top Designs
A 3-year-old still has limited balancing skills. So remember that you don’t always have to build up! Instead of stacking blocks, have them build something that is only one or two blocks high. For example, a row of blocks lined up across the room will make a wonderful train. As they grow and play with blocks more they’ll start adding wheels to their train, a smokestack or cargo in the cars. They could make a row or two of blocks in squares that could be the cages for a zoo, and add their favorite plastic or stuffed animals.
Another fun activity is to let them line blocks up on the table.They can form them into shapes or copy simple outlines of objects with the blocks by placing the pieces flat on the table. You can give them a very simple picture, such as a page from a coloring book. They could line blocks right on top of the outline on the page or have them copy the shape on the table forming the shape of the picture. These table-top designs are really creative. They can make creatures, vehicles, people or their favorite super hero characters. Make funny faces using the different shaped blocks for eyes, ears, and an arch for either a smile or a frown. There is no limit to these creative table top designs.
Many toys today are electronic, “high-tech” and have specific ways to play with them. In our business over the past 5 years, we have noticed children of all ages who do not know what to do with a set of wooden blocks. They will ask ” What do you do with these?” when at a table filled with blocks. They don’t know how to stack them, and become quickly frustrated or uninterested. But educators and researchers and parents know the tremendous value of playing with simple toys that utilize a child’s imagination.These types of toys help them to develop important cognitive and motor skills and help them learn complex science and math concepts. It is important for children of a young age to engage in play with these types of educational toys. Make sure your little one grows up loving to play with wooden building blocks.