So much happens between the age of 3 and 4 that it almost seems like the little ones grow at the speed of lightning! With the right toys, you can support your child’s fast-moving development – both when it comes to their motor functions, cognitive skills, social abilities, and creative mindset. Read on to learn which toys really benefit 3- to 4-year-old children.
- In the eyes of the 3 to 4-year-old child, every little practical activity is a game in itself.
- Here are four toys and games that 3- and 4-year-old-children will love:
- Memory Games: answer some of the (many) questions your child likes to ask.
- Pen & Paper: your little one now masters a five or four finger pencil grasp.
- Balance Board: your child has a strong urge to test their motor skills.
- Cars & Car Tracks: assembling, disassembling, and building things is a big hit.
“I Can Do It - All by Myself”
Does this sound familiar? Your 3- or 4-year-old insists on choosing their own clothes, their own shoes, and twisting the doorknob all by themselves when you are headed out in the morning. Expert in children’s development, Joern Martin Steenhold, explains what happens:
“At this age, your child likes to try their strength against every little practical activity. They see it all as a game. But their rising independence can lead to frustration, especially if their attempts fail or if they’re not allowed to try. So, the best thing you can do is give your child the time they need and encourage them to keep on trying until they succeed.”
When it’s playtime, let your little one play with age-appropriate toys and games that you know will have a positive impact on their development. You can look for ones such as:
3 and 4-year-old children are curious by nature, and they demand reasonable explanations for every little thing they don’t understand. Playing a memory game not only sharpens their memory and matching skills, it also answers some of the (many) questions your child has at this age. Try telling each other stories based on the images on the playing cards or group the cards into categories – all the animals together, all the fruits together, and so on - to help your child understand how everything is related.
Pen & Paper
Now that your little one can master a five or four finger pencil grasp, it’s fun to try and make more advanced drawings. So, let them experiment with drawing objects and figures and mixing different shades of colours. Your little artist will typically take inspiration from those closest to them and so, Mom, Dad, and the family dog will take up space on the paper according to how important they are to your child.
At this stage, your child has a strong urge to go on adventures and test their motor skills. They like to run, jump, dance, twirl around, climb up and down, and just enjoy the freedom of movement. A balance board is a brilliant toy to activate and challenge your child’s motor functions. On the balance board, your little one improves their balance, overall body control, coordination of movements, and parachute reflex, which is the reflex to prevent falls. And it’s lots of fun!
Cars & Car Tracks
Constructive play – assembling, disassembling, sorting, and building things – is a big hit with the 3- and 4-year-olds. With this type of playing, your little one gets to work on their fine motor skills, technical knowhow, and creative ideas, alone or with others. “Hey, let’s make a superfast highway!”, “yeah! And it should have a loading station, and a picnic area over here.” Soon, your little one learns a whole new set of social skills and makes new friends.
Meet our Team of Experts
One expert is an experienced family advisor who has met hundreds of Danish families. Another expert has dedicated his entire life to researching children's well-being and development through play. And some of the other experts specialise in children's motor skills, sensory integration, and learning. Together, they inspire us to provide your children with better sleep, develop them through play, and support them when they study.
At FLEXA Insight, you will find all the experts’ valuable insights, tips, and ideas.