children 3-5 years

3-4 years

From this age, most games stimulate combinations of the necessary developing motor and visual skills. The following toys and games are examples:

  • Balancing, rolling, tumbling, hopping 
  • Riding a scooter or tricycle 
  • Using simple garden tools 
  • Seesaw, slides and swings at a park 
  • Bouncing board or trampoline 
  • Rocking Horse 
  • Wagons and wheelbarrows 
  • Blocks of all shapes and sizes 
  • Blunt scissors for cutting out 
  • Toys with large nuts and bolts 
  • Large crayons, paint for finger painting, chalk 
  • Blowing bubbles 
  • Plasticine or playdough 
  • Hand puppets 
  • Interlocking toys (eg trains) 
  • Lego blocks 
  • Puzzles 
  • Beads on a string 
  • Pouring and measuring toys 
  • Matching games 
  • Water and sand play.

Now is also the time to aid in development of visual memory. Toys and games for this purpose include:

  • Match photographs to a previous vacation or place that was visited. 
  • Hide an object; explain where it is, then have your child find it. 
  • Take an object, hide part of it and ask your child to identify it. As he/she improves, hide more and more of this object. 
  • Play games of hide and describe. At first, put two or three toys on a table, then hide them behind a screen. Ask your child to describe what he/she remembers. Then uncover the toys so they can check. As skills improve, use pictures and designs. 
  • Build a simple pattern with blocks. Hide it and then see if he can build one like it. 
  • Continue to describe all objects in your child’s environment. Talk about sizes, weights, relative positions, time sequences etc. 
  • Read to your child, having them point to the pictures to show you what you are reading about. 
  • Cultivate imagination and creativity – let your child draw, finger paint or model with clay. Have your child act out a story you have read to them – allow plenty of freedom of expression.

4-5 years

The following toys and games are recommended at this age:

  • Trapeze and swinging rings 
  • Bicycle with training wheels 
  • Roller skates 
  • Small beanbags and different sized balls 
  • Skipping rope 
  • Blocks, including parquetry blocks 
  • Construction toys eg Lego 
  • Easel and paint, or chalk and chalkboard 
  • Ring toss-quoits 
  • Musical instruments – bells, drums, castanets 
  • Hand puppets 
  • Cutting and pasting material 
  • Garden tools 
  • Puzzles 
  • Matching numbers and letters 
  • Connecting dots 
  • Colouring books 
  • Frisbee tossing 
  • Totem tennis

Other activities are as follows:

  • Foster visualisation with dress up and role-playing. The child can see and feel as if he or she was another person in another place. Provide play materials and costumes. Also allow painting, drawing and sculpting. Provide plenty of materials, such as cardboard boxes and cartons to play store or castle etc. 
  • Take trips around the community. Take instant pictures of interesting landmarks. When you get home, have your child describe the trip, then use the pictures to tell the story. Help them organise their thoughts and the sequence of events. 
  • Read fables to your child and later act out the story, or else use finger-paints to make a picture about the story. 
  • Try the “Create a Story” game. One person starts the story; the other continues or finishes the story. 
  • Single card games or board games help develop eye-hand co-ordination as well as planning and visualisation. 
  • Give your child responsibility to complete a task around the house. Give short simple instruction, the tools needed and the sequence in which to use them. 
  • A regular time to read to your child will provide benefits for years to come.

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