Toys for 3 and 4-year-olds
Whatever the age of your child, our education and product development philosophy applies to them: Learning Through Play. We work with leading educators who advise on trends in education and the development of innovative new products for all ages.
In this blog, we are going to look at the ideal educational toys for the stages of development and emerging abilities of 3 and 4 year olds. This age group are starting to develop longer attention spans than 1 and 2 year olds, they like to ask lots of questions and experiment with their increasing physical skills. They like to share with friends (most of the time!) and should be encouraged to take turns.
The best toys are often the simplest ones because they allow young children to be creative and spontaneous, specific toys can often be limiting.
Ideal toys for 3 years olds should include an element of both social and emotional learning. Toys for pretending and building are great; blocks for building, musical instruments, construction sets, transportation toys, child-sized kitchen with play food for pretend play, dressing-up clothes for role play, dolls, puppets and of course the sand and water play trays and toys they would have loved previously. Picture books with more words and more detailed pictures than their toddler books will capture interest, and CD and DVD players with a variety of music can be great fun.
For outside play, give them things for using both large and small muscles; different size balls for kicking, throwing and catching, push and pull toys, ride-on toys like tricycles and scooters. Fabric tunnels and playhouses, wheelbarrows, plastic bowling pins, targets and things to throw at them. Read our blog on The benefits of play in early years for more ideas.
With our Linking Cube Set, and associated Activity Cards, children are only limited by their imagination. The cubes can be used for building, and for learning basic number concepts, comparing, measurement, sequencing, patterning, and counting. Maths Linking Cubes (100) are a great way for your child to get hands on with learning maths skills such as counting and measurement.
At this age children love learning through play-based activities, so toys that engage them whilst being creative are ideal. Choose toys for problem solving; puzzles with 20+ pieces, blocks that snap together, collections of smaller objects that they can sort by length, width, height, shape, colour, quantity and other features really help their brains develop. Our Fun Play Wooden Pattern Blocks will spark your child’s interest in learning geometric shapes as well as challenge them with sorting tasks.
Look around the house or go outside and see what you can collect; plastic bottle caps, plastic bowls and lids, keys, shells, sticks and stones – these can lead on to all sorts of activities. Edx Education Fun Play Rainbow Pebbles® are safe, smooth and tactile and will fire your child’s curiosity and encourage them to use their imagination. Crayons and markers, paintbrushes (or fingers!), different types of paper and card, safe scissors, chalk, clay, dough are all great to create with.
Encourage your child to play, learn and create with our Junior Geostix and Fun Play Ranges. Junior Geostix improve fine motor skills, develop creative thinking skills and link
engineering, art and mathematics. Perfect for stimulating children’s imagination and creative thinking skills.
Fun Play Number Rods are an excellent tool to support your child to learn mathematical concepts at home through fun activities. Or try the Fun Play Geo Pegs for a fun and interactive way to help your child play sorting and stacking games.
If a child has access to a computer or other device, encourage programs that are interactive and that children can understand, meaning children can control the software’s pace and path, and children have opportunities to explore a variety of concepts on different levels.
Edx Education tip: Only have a few toys out at a time; if a child is inundated with toys, they will have a hard time focusing on any of them. Rotate toys, reintroducing them after a few weeks, so they feels fresh and new. If your child has several toys of a similar type, let them fully explore one before introducing another.
Not all education toys are… educational
Many toys that boast that they can boost brain development or create early learners offer big promises, but often these claims are unsubstantiated.
Real educational toys are not flashy gadgets with big promises, but the staples that build problem solvers and creative thinkers.
Our educational toys are created to serve six specific learning and developmental areas:
- Gross Motor Skills – Focus on large movement through active play helps develop coordination.
- Fine Motor Skills – Focus on small movement through active play strengthening small muscle group and improving hand–eye coordination.
- Social and Emotional Development – Through play children will learn to manage their emotions, work with others and resolve conflict.
- Speech and Language – Describe, discuss and explore with our range of materials, children will be developing vital oral language skills and the ability to express themselves.
- Cognitive Development – Purposeful play improves cognitive development stimulating the child’s problem solving and thinking ability.
- Curiosity – Develop children’s problem-solving ability via their natural curiosity about the world around them.
Remember that safety is important for toys in all ranges for all ages, but especially toys focused on those under 6 years old. Look for small parts and make sure the toys are suitable
and read warning labels. Some children, particularly those under three, should avoid toys with small parts to cut the risk of choking.
There are more than 40,000 toy-related injuries each year, but toy safety is only part of the problem. Many accidents involving toys occur when people trip over them and when babies play with toys intended for older children, so it pays to always be vigilant to help stop avoidable accidents.
We hope you enjoy Learning Through Play with our toys for different age groups: hands on learning experiences, award-winning toys, home learning activities, downloadable resources, educational play ideas and advice and so much more…
Edx Education – Heather Welch
To find your local Edx Education retailer head over to Where to buy – Edx Education.