This post is part of January’s series of guides on which outdoor toys are suitable for each age range.
The first post in the series looked at toddlers. Now it’s time to turn our attention to a more feisty bunch - preschoolers.
A Word About Developmental Milestones For 3 And 4 Year Olds
All children develop at different rates, but as a general rule between the ages of three and four most children reach the developmental milestones described below. Understanding what your child is currently capable of and what they will be learning next is a great start on your quest to find outdoor toys that are both engaging and challenging.
Milestone: Playing Ball Games
Around this age children learn to catch and throw a ball. Start out with a big but relatively light ball (a football will likely knock them clean over). Keep a stock of different sized balls in the garden as learning to cope with the variety will help develop their ball skills.
Milestone: Make And Recreate Shapes
All you need to facilitate this huge learning leap is chalk and a willingness to watch your back garden and patio be covered in scribble. Another fun way to incorporate mark-making into play is by providing a paintbrush and water on a sunny day and have your preschooler make shapes on the fence then watch as it dries out and disappears like magic.
Milestone: Follow Three Part Commands
Ideally a four year old would be able to remember three steps and carry them out without prompting. This will be an essential skill once they have started school as instructions from the teach may come in multiple stages and they will be expected to work independently.
You can help your child develop this skill through play. Start with two commands (go down the slide then hop on one foot, for example) then add another, and another. You could turn it into a game by timing them, or seeing how many instructions they can string together, or what commands they remember from one day to the next.
3 And 4 Year Olds Love Role Play
This is the age when the world of fantasy really comes alive for children. They want to be just like mum and dad, and they will play with anything that gives them the opportunity to act out these roles. Play kitchens, ironing boards, ride in cars, anything that replicates the adult world in preschooler size will be a big hit.
This is a great age to buy a playhouse. To your little preschooler this small addition your garden will be a perfectly proportioned portal to a whole world of imaginative play.
For added interest, we sell playhouses mounted on stilts that have a slide to play on and a challenging ladder to climb.
The rest of this series on choosing the right outdoor toys for your child's age will be published throughout January.