Toys like cars, trucks and trains are extremely popular with the preschool set. Fire trucks, dump trucks, airplanes and construction vehicles will get snatched up immediately for some serious play. Train sets and tracks help kids build their fine motor skills and expand their creative thinking.
Building sets come in numerous shapes, sizes and materials. Choose from basic wood building blocks, interlocking plastic sets, or shapes and tiles that connect magnetically. Developmentally, building blocks are excellent tools that help kids with hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and social skills. Plus, they're a ton of fun.
Kids love doing what their parents do. Driving a car is no exception. On the beginner's end of the spectrum, put your guy in the driver's seat with a small wheeled toy that he can scoot around the house on. You might also consider a pedal vehicle like a tricycle that he can zoom around the patio with. If you have more space, motorized vehicles made specifically for preschoolers are toys the kids won't tire of any time soon. You just might be surprised when your child learns to parallel park better than you!
Pretend play and role playing are amazing ways for kids to solve problems, learn life skills and understand another person's perspective. Toys like tool sets, dress-up costumes and play kitchens with play food are all excellent choices to encourage brain-building make-believe play. Provide a range of props that include real-life occupations, such as firefighter, doctor and pilot costumes, and fantasy items, such as magician's wands and dragon costumes.
Toy sets like houses, barns or pirate ships are ideal for encouraging imaginative play. Make sure you stock your play sets with people and animal toy figures so the kids can act out different scenarios. Get down to kid level and grab a figure yourself. Take a cue from your kids when choosing which play sets and figures to give them. If they are always asking you to read a favorite dinosaur book, get them a set of plastic dinosaur figures. Do they freak out with joy when you drive through construction zones? Get them a construction set with workers, road signs and bulldozers.
Puzzles are major brain builders, giving kids practice with color and shape recognition as well as spatial relationships. Choose puzzles that suit your child's age and ability level. Boards with latches and knobs are ideally suited for some preschool-age children, while others are ready to work with jigsaw puzzles ranging from 25 to 100 pieces. Just make sure the puzzle is fun and not frustrating!
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