Development through Play: Preschoolers
What to expect in your Preschooler's Development
By this age your child will have much more control over their physical movements, and will play with more purpose. One of the biggest developments during the preschooler stage will be your child's ability to play with others, welcoming each other into their own imaginary worlds.
2 to 3 Years
Social play will be starting to emerge, although learning to share will take a while. Toys that encourage your child to play with others can help develop these important social skills; pretend play is starting to become popular too, so play-sets that can be used by more than one child at a time (e.g. a toy kitchen) can be good for this age group.
With their new-found motor skills, your child will love to try out new physical activities, such as jumping or kicking a ball around. It is important for them to keep active, as this helps strengthen the large arm and leg muscles and keeps them healthy – ride-ons are great fun for racing around on!
Your child will now be able to use a tablet or mobile device and will love playing games, although it is important to limit screen time from an early age. There are many apps that can support your child’s learning and development and make the most of this screen time – numbers, letters, imaginative play and self-care are just a few topics covered by preschool apps.
3 -4 Years
Your child will be curious about everything around them; although the frequent “Why?” questions may be frustrating, it is vital for them to learn about the world. They will use play to experiment with ideas, improve their understanding of the world and develop their thinking skills. Puzzles can be popular at this age and these help develop their logical thinking and pattern recognition skills.
Messy play is really popular with pre-schoolers and has lots of benefits. Sand and water play can help your child learn about measurements (for example, pouring a large cup of water into a smaller cup shows them that the small cup can’t hold as much), as well as allowing them to experiment with materials (such as seeing what happens when sand is mixed with water). During creative play, they will enjoy trying to create different effects with all sorts of materials and tools.
As your child gets older, they will still be very imaginative in their play, but will also like using small world play sets to re-enact and discuss things they have come across in their lives - for example, if playing with a farm set they might talk about the noises a cow makes, and their last trip to the farm. These toys are brilliant for encouraging communication; you can support your child’s learning by asking them about what they are playing.
Reading together remains a valuable and enjoyable experience that can nurture a love of books and encourage discussion around different topics, giving them the chance to ask lots of questions and learn about a variety of subjects. Books with tabs to pull and flaps to lift will get them interacting with the book and keep their attention for longer.
This post was written by Anna Taylor