Play Guide for Kids Aged 3-6 Years Old

Play Guide for Kids Aged 3-6 Years Old

Play is a really important part of your child’s life and builds the foundation for not only their physical development but also emotional and social development.  Independent play time is really valuable and important to build into your child’s day.  And its not just your child that will benefit – it’s also great for mum or dad as it gives you a moment to recharge (or clean; but I prefer recharge).  

Here are just some examples of what kids learn through play:

  • Balance & Coordination
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Emotional development
  • Social skills
  • Strength
  • Gross motor skills
  • Fine motor skills
  • Language
  • Counting
  • Problem solving
  • Reflexes
  • Body awareness
  • Spatial awareness
  • Cause & effect
  • Visual development

 

PLAY helps to build their confidence and gives them a way to feel safe and at ease and a way to be calm.

There are so many books and online resources, not to mention information available from your maternal health nurse.  After the birth of my first child, this was one of the subjects that I became really interested in.   Montessori approach to learning was incredible to learn about.  Fascinating actually.  And you know, on the other hand, this is not something so revolutionary - it is the way we have all developed and learnt since time began.  The major differences now versus ‘the old world’ is more technology, and for a lot of households there is less ‘free play’ time for various reasons. I also think we feel under pressure to give our kids everything and for them not to miss out on anything. I think we forget (or feel guilty about) that keeping is simple is often the best way.  Unstructured play is gold for kids.

So, in the spirit of simplicity, we have created a simple play guide for different age groups. There are so many things that can go into this, we all live different lives, so build on it. Make it your own. But the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple, safe and joyful!  Let them go at their own pace and parents - enjoy the ride!

Play Guide for Kids Aged 3 Years Old

What to expect at this age

Lots of changes at this age as they may start 3-yo-kinder programs. They are counting, singing their ABCs, learning so many new things.  They are better at communicating but still get frustrated when they are not listened to.  They are still very physically active and love the outside pursuits of climbing, running, swinging, sliding.  The sandpit is still going strong as are bubbles.  But they can now sit and play a game which involves a bit more of a storyline and build a story-based game with their older siblings or parents.  And they love books, especially reading along to their favourite bits. They are also ‘big’ now and can help especially with delicate things that can get broken easily.

What will they be doing at this age

Creating, drawing and pretend play all ramp up at this age.  Puzzles and games as well as the other creative pursuits are great. They are much more confident on their big kid toys like scooters. Their little fingers are starting to get the concept of holding a pencil properly.

Key areas of development using PLAY

Social & Emotional, Creative & Imaginative Play, Cognitive

  • Bike
  • Books
  • Building toys eg magnetic blocks
  • Cars and trucks
  • Crayons, Pencils and Paper
  • Dolls and Prams and clothes
  • Dolls with accurate body parts
  • Dress Ups
  • Listen-long-books sets ie book and cd sets
  • Musical instruments
  • Playdough
  • Pretend play sets e.g. Kitchen sets, doctors sets, pretend food
  • Puzzles
  • Sand pit and toys
  • Scooter
  • Sticker books and colouring in books
  • Swings
  • Trampoline

 

Play Guide for Kids Aged 4 Years Old

What to expect at this age

The world around them is starting to open up.  4-yo kinder and new people, new things, new teachers, new places and learning lots of new concepts are exciting. They really start constructing their own space at this age – whether it’s designing their own worlds, animals, building things or making shops and parlours out of whatever they can get their hands on.  Being a bit bigger they are also more open to new sports and just trying things.

What will they be doing at this age

Physical, coordinated sports will be of interest. Plus the usual creative pursuits of building, drawing and imaginative play.  They will start writing at this age and understand letters properly so they will start to look at books in a different way than before.

 

Key areas of development using PLAY

Social & Emotional, Creative & Imaginative Play, Cognitive, Problem Solving

  • Animal toys
  • Books
  • Building toys e.g. magnetic blocks
  • Crayons, Pencils and Paper
  • Doll houses and accessories
  • Listen-long-books sets i.e. book and cd sets
  • Musical instruments
  • Playdough
  • Posters and Art
  • Pretend play sets e.g. Kitchen sets, doctors’ sets, pretend food
  • Puzzles
  • Sand pit and toys
  • Simple craft toys e.g. cardboard construction
  • Sticker books and colouring in books

 

Play Guide for Kids Aged 5 Years Old

What to expect at this age

New friends, new words, new toys, new teachers, writing, reading – so much  to do!!! School is every emotion wrapped into one day – and emotional development and being able to communicate adequately what is happening becomes really important.  It is a happy and sometimes confusing time.  Plus the rigour of school days can be really tiring.  Mid way through the first year of school, emotions can run high.  There is also a lot more independence with school and that may push back at home as well as they find their way in this new world.

What will they be doing at this age

With school will come so much development and social awareness.  Also a strange time for them in new environments, they will look to the safety they know, before moving on to new pursuits.  Their old toys will still be of interest, some may even go back to playing babies but they will also discover stationery and all the joys that writing brings. New books will start to take the place of their old favourites.

Key areas of development using PLAY

Social & Emotional, Creative & Imaginative Play, Problem Solving, Gross Motor Skills

  • Activity packs
  • Adventure toys like binoculars and periscopes
  • Art & Craft
  • Bike
  • Books
  • Camera
  • Cars and Trucks
  • Collectible toys and sets
  • Constructions Kits
  • Craft construction toys eg cardboard construction
  • Diary
  • Doll houses and accessories
  • Dress Ups & Make up
  • Gardening activities
  • I-spy
  • Jewellery
  • Listen-long-books sets ie book and cd sets
  • Pencils, Pens and Paper
  • Posters and Art
  • Puzzles
  • Skipping
  • Squishy toys
  • World map/globe

 

CLICK HERE to read the Play Guide for Babies 0-12 Months

CLICK HERE to read the Play Guide for Toddler 1-3 Years Old

 

Great Gifts and Toys For Kids 3-6 Years Old

Olli Ella Strolley

Meet Strolley, a revolutionary design in imaginative play. This hand-woven rattan basket on wheels switches from a pram to a shopping trolley, by just lowering the hood of the pram. Perfect for dolls, pretend play, fruits and veggies or for your little one to push around their favourite toys. 

 Olli Ella Strolley - Rose

 

Little People, Big Dreams Children's Books

Discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists in this book series. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream.

Little People, Big Dreams Children's Books Stephen Hawking

 

Dantoy Toys - BIOplastic Bucket Set 4 Pieces

Made of bio plastic - from sugarcane, this is a great beach or backyard toy. 

 Dantoy Toys  BIOplastic Bucket Set 4 Pieces

Make Me Iconic - Wooden Baby Doll Accessories Set

Enhance their play time with our beautiful wooden iconic doll accessories kit. It has everything a (pretend) bub could need as your little one immerses them self in creative play. They can feed, entertain and soothe baby, brush their hair and get them ready for the adventures they’ve planned for the day.

Make Me Iconic  Wooden Baby Doll Accessories Set

 

Make Me Iconic Wooden Toy Tea Set

Pop the kettle on love.  Tea anyone? This tea set  is designed to sit loud and proud on your coffee table next to your designer coffee table books. It's stylish just like your little Barista in the making.

Make Me Iconic Wooden Toy Tea Set

 

Huckleberry Creative Toys - Water Marbles 

These Huckleberry Water Marbles are one of the best sensory play products around! Just add water and the Water Marbles will grow in size and provide hours and hours of play! Now revamped with the addition of glitter water marbles.They are soft and squishy and are really interesting to touch.

 

Huckleberry Creative Toys  Water Marbles

 

Calafant Toys - Build, Colour, Play

Amazing eco friendly and award winning craft ideas for kids. Let your kids creativity be sparked with the 3D colouring - in models that can put up and taken down. Lots of different options at different levels and sizes. 

Calafant Level 2 Arts and Crafts Build and Colour  Rose Garden Palace

 

 

Mudpuppy - Jigsaw

 Puzzles are great for developing and enhancing problem solving skills and improving memory & concentration. Find lots of different options for every skill level and age.

Mudpuppy - 78 Piece Map of the World Jigsaw

 

Wonder Wheels - Retro Surf Coast Combi Van

This is so much fun. Another take on this classic van.  Features realistic operating components for fun imaginative play. Your little surfer will love this car.

Wonder Wheels - Retro Surf Coast Combi Van

Bloomingville Mini - Kids Wooden Tool Set

Your little Block renovator will love this set of tools.  Hopefully there is more putting together than taking apart (wink, wink)...

 Bloomingville Mini - Kids Wooden Tool Set

Hape Toys - Bamboo Adjustable Kids Telescope

Getting kids exploring in nature will be made all the more fun with this 8x telescope. Get them excited about basic biology concepts.

Hape Toys  Bamboo Adjustable Kids Telescope

 

Bloomingville Mini - Wood Croquet Set

So much fun with the little ones.  Croquet set for the backyard to keep them entertained and outside!!!

Bloomingville Mini - Wood Croquet Set

 

Hape Emergency Services HQ Railway Set - 36 Pieces

Keep Australia safe with this great 36 piece Emergency HQ set.  You kids will love this interactive set. Features police and fire brigade headquarters and vehicles.

Hape Emergency Services HQ Railway Set - 36 Pieces

 

Milaniwood M2 City Wooden Construction Set

This set of blocks is fantastic for inspiring creativity, spacial awareness and design skills. It is all about architecture and urban planning as you create a city complete with green spaces and trees. Add roads to your design and invite other toys to live and move about in your city.

 Milaniwood M2 City Wooden Construction Set

 

Miniland Dolls

The 38cm Miniland Dolls are anatomically correct and vanilla scented to smell like a newly born baby. The dolls have well-defined ethnic features to aid the identification of the most representative races and are an important educational resource which help small children comprehend the concepts of family, population groups, respect for racial and sexual diversity.

 Miniland Doll  Asian Baby Girl 38 cm

 

Hape Toys Pretend Play Doctor Set

Perfect for great hospital or vet pretend fun. Seven piece doctor’s kit packed and ready to make house calls.

 

Hape Toys Pretend Play Doctor Set

 

Elly Lu Organic Cotton Animal Soft Toys

Inspired by the places two sisters-in-law had lived - Hawaii, California and Alaska, Elly Lu organic soft toys have been created to inspire your little ones too.

Elly Lu Organic Cotton Animal Soft Toys - Makana the Hawaiian Monk Seal

 

 

For more ideas check out:

Gift Ideas for a 3 Year Old

Gift Ideas for a 4 Year Old

Gift Ideas for a 5 Year Old

 

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