Oh, what gifts to buy a three-year-old child???
This year we’ve been enjoying the thrilling journey of a three-year-old child whose thirst for exploration knows no bounds. During this year, she’s grown in confidence around us and other people, and learned how to express herself fully – across a wide spectrum of emotions! Her physical abilities have made spectacular leaps and she’s literally leaping all over the place now – jumping from heights being her go-to-move! Ahhhhhhh!
When it comes to buying products for our child, Little Legend usually go for open-ended tools which inspire creativity, confidence and lots of engagement with language.
At this time of year, people exchange gifts with their loved ones and we would like to give our thoughts on some great gifts for a three-year-old child. We focus on gifts that inspire healthy development in the key areas like cognitive, social, emotional and physical.
Look for something meaningful and long-lasting this Christmas, which makes that little soul light up inside.
First, a quick word about development milestones. Always remember: every child is on their own journey! We believe that a child progresses and hits their milestones in their own, sweet time. Here’s some typical milestones for the age, and our gift recommendations!
The language starts to flow. Children this age really enjoy using whatever language they’ve been absorbing at home/in school. Questions like what? where? and why? start to appear frequently, and they will start to grasp these concepts. “Where’s my dinosaurs gone?” is our daughter’s favourite.
At this time of year – anything about Christmas!
Our daughter is completely absorbed in the Christmas magic this year – for the first time. It’s a joy to see. We’re not a strictly religious family, but there’s no doubt the Christmas story captures a child’s imagination. It’s an incredible source of light and inspiration for our daughter, and she has responded well to everything Christmas represents – the beautiful symbolism, the characters, the stories, the vibes. We highly recommend these stories for bedtime bonding. @poonpoonchildrenbook @milankidsbook @kidsbook.home
Role playing Costumes/kit – doctor
Role playing! It’s at the heart of every child’s healthy development. This doctor’s kit has worked really well for our girl. She plays with it regularly and tends to her daddy’s football injuries when he comes home bruised. This is just one of many role play kits you can get, or you could even go for costumes. Either way, this is a fantastic age for your child to start getting into character!
Dinosaur blocks set
Dinosaurs…rrrrraaarrrrrrgh! They’re so fascinating. The pre-historic beasts have captured the heart of our daughter, so we bought her this set and it’s proved invaluable! She plays with these wooden blocks constantly and role plays with them, creating stories of family, bonding, love and of course, survival. With the role playing naturally comes lots of language practice and social development.
- Dinosaur block set from @plywoodtoys
Little Legend focus a lot on natural, sensory tools because they’re amazing for a child’s cognitive development.
Some activities we play with our daughter. To see more, please visit @littlelegend.playset
Cognitive milestones at this age include understanding basic shapes, colours, numbers and even the alphabet. It’s important to remember that we can’t rush things or expect too much. Our little girl doesn’t particularly like maths activities so we have to be patient with that. It will come.
Art supplies – crayons, paints.
Pick different themes and enjoy your regular, open-ended painting sessions, watching your little ones express themselves with colours. This transparent easel has been a great purchase for us, and is super easy to wash.
- Transparent easel from @lalynnbaby
Wooden birdhouse from JJ Market
What a beautiful little gem we found at JJ market. This wooden bird house is not only used for artistic purposes (our daughter loves to paint on it), but your child can assemble it from scratch, which also works those cognitive skills.
Collaborative games/puzzles – dinosaur puzzle
Puzzles give us opportunities to bond with our children at home, and in the process, they learn to problem solve and co-operate – It’s a win-win!
Since she turned three, our girl has really taken to puzzles – especially the dinosaur jigsaw puzzle. This puzzle has 15 different dinosaurs to build and is a real go-to activity. Naturally, the puzzle is not so challenging after a while, yet it still brings her great joy to complete it – and us too!
Magnet/ wooden blocks/ wooden boards (for math, science, art activities)
Building, problem solving, cognitive magic happening with these learning tools! Your child needs a space to work their magic on. Wooden boards are the perfect solution, the bigger, the better! It gives them a space to focus and organise their learning tools.
- Life cycle and counting wooden board from @little.wooden.simple
- Fruit clay (Strawberry, Almond, Macadamia, Rasberry, Blueberry, Raisin, Cheery) from @littleclayhouse
- Playdough and other art activities wooden board from @littlelegend.playset
Peddling, jumping with two feet, skipping, balancing – all of these milestones can occur at this age. Children need the opportunities to explore these physical possibilities, so there are plenty of tools we can buy for them to get them moving around outside. How about these bubbles? Our daughter went crazy for them, leaping around trying to catch them all.
- Organic touchable bubbles from @motherscorn
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Oh the joys of watching our little ones use those little hands and fingers! Children at this age are gripping paint brushes, crayons and pens (mostly with the hand), and start to showcase their delicate little finger work building and balancing things. Exposure is the key with fine motor skills, so plenty of practice will have them confidently gripping, placing, building and balancing in no time.
Creative crafts / handmade/ fine motor skills tools
Life is about problem solving, finding solutions to problems and children develop this attribute from a very young age. Creative crafts are ideal for children at this age to explore their problem solving skills. Here’s a couple of our top recommendations for creative crafts which worked for us:
- Wooden Lacing Toy “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” from @mushroomandmilly
- Handmade beeswax alphabet from @petitepleasures.co
- Handmade flower pressed number from @namchoke_art
- Fine Motor DIY Reggio from @littlelegend.playset
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL
Children start to play with one another usually between the age of 3 and 4, as they leave the “parallel play” stage (playing near other children) and enter the cooperative phase, where they can play with their friends and develop meaningful relationships. Emotionally, children are still very much learning to deal with their own, complex emotions, but they begin to understand what emotions are at this stage – on a conceptual level. We can explain basic emotions to a three-year-old child and they will understand, especially with the aid of pictures/visuals.
We recommend getting your hands on some emotion flashcards, playdough and small loose parts!
For any activity about emotions, flashcards work really well in combination with play dough and loose parts, which you can use to make faces which represent emotions. The more diverse the materials, the more engaging the activity!
Little Legend Best Sellers for 3-4 years old
Finally, thank you so much for reading this article, and if you’re interested in playsets with diverse learning tools and natural, organic resources – here’s a few of our best sellers for three-year-old kids. When we design playsets, we leave no stone unturned with our attention to detail. All our products are designed to support healthy development in all the key areas.
- Plant Anatomy Playset
- Bizzy Beehive Playset
- Super Squirrel Playset
- Nature Playbox : Little Creatures