3-5 Years

Play tips 3-5 years

Your preschooler is learning all the time. Play stimulates her brain and helps her start making sense of the world. Play also helps your child build confidence, feel loved and develop communication, social and physical skills.

Here are some fun play ideas for you and your preschooler at this age:

  • Try dramatic play where your child gets to pretend he’s someone else – a superhero, an animal or a fairy. He can experiment with roles, props, language and stories, on his own or with others. Keep a box of old clothes and safe household objects for dress-ups and props.
  • Make time for outdoor play with plenty of running, tumbling and rolling. Being active outdoors is fun and lets your preschooler explore and experiment with different movements and emotions. It also connects her with the natural environment.
  • Set up creative activities like craft, painting, drawing and dancing to music. These develop your child’s senses and also let him express feelings and be creative.
  • Read, tell stories, sing songs and recite nursery rhymes together. These activities encourage your child’s talking, thinking and imagination. And they’re lots of fun!
  • Play games that involve sharing and taking turns. When you play, say things like, ‘Now it’s my turn to build the tower, then it’s your turn’. Sharing is still hard for children at this age, so give your child lots of praise when you see her trying to share.
  • Cook with your child. Give him simple things to do, like washing vegies, tossing a salad or putting together sandwiches. It’ll help him learn about counting and measuring, doing things step by step and being patient.

Things to remember

  1. This is an important period in your child’s emotional development, as she starts to recognise her own feelings – like happiness, sadness, fear or anger.
  2. Preschoolers need lots of playtime. Outdoor play, dramatic play and creative play help your preschooler explore his feelings.
  3. Preschoolers love being active. They need lots of opportunities for moving around.
  4. Your preschooler’s language develops a lot in these years. Talking with your child about everyday things and feelings helps her learn new words and concepts.