We wake up early morning, usually 7am. I open my eyes and my daughter is smiling back at me, just awoken too. By now our biological clocks have become in sync and it’s beautiful. “Good morning mamy!” she says cheerfully. The excitement and enthusiasm of our child to start the day is always contagious no matter what. “Where are we going today?” Mayoosha asks me. We lay in bed as I talk to her about all the things we are going to do. “Yaaaay!” she tells me brightly.
We get up to brush our teeth together and Mayoosha loves picking out her outfits each time. Even though we have our little disagreements about what should be worn that day, Mayoosha insists on wearing her favourite bunny summer dress or glittery skirt she picked out at the store that day, despite me telling her it’ll be too cold out and that all her stockings are in the laundry. Style conversations stretch over the fields of why’s, how’s, and where’s for several minutes until we arrive at a fashion consensus!
At her age, Mayoosha also proudly loves to help in the kitchen and wear her chef’s apron. She cracks the eggs, makes an omelette and brews two cups of tea superbly well (a spoonful of honey is a must!).
We also have a routine where we start a new kind of learning activity daily. I always tend to keep a long list of exercises, activities and themes I would like to cover with her.
In this post, I am going to share a couple of favourites that nurture developmental skills at 3 years old.
- ROLE-PLAYING: POST OFFICE
Role-play has been our daughter’s utmost favourite activity. I love seeing her play pretend and imagine taking on a profession, character or scenario.
- One of the top reasons why role-play is essential is that it encourages creativity and imagination.
- Moreover, since role-playing almost always involves two-way play, it enhances communication skills that can also be implemented in real life later on. Mayoosha tends to take on the active role while I am the passenger, the guest, the customer, or the student for instance. Therefore, she conveys the main messages which builds confidence in interactions. It’s also a great vocabulary builder.
- Related to point two, role-play also strengthens social skills.
Some great role-play themes have been:
Airplane (pilot, flight attendant and passenger)
School (Teacher and student)
Supermarket shop (selling and buying)
Restaurant (cooking food and serving)
We have even switched roles for laughs where Mayoosha was me (mama), and I pretended to be Mayoosha.
When playing post office, Mayoosha enjoyed wrapping some of the items while I kept the other objects as surprises to have fun unwrapping. She enjoyed writing letters as we waited in the other room for her to deliver them. It was really cute opening the letters and seeing her little messages or drawings. We took turns working at the post office and Mayoosha loved opening our letters for her too.
Then there’s the element of surprise when unraveling the package.
Post office pretend play:
Kraft paper and envelopes
Stamps or washi tape stamps
Pen and letter paper
A variety of surprise items to wrap
2) CUTTING FLOWERS
Ever since Mayoosha started practicing with scissors, she’s been enjoying cutting a variety of things, whether it’s hair, opening a chocolate wrapper, threads, paper and so on.
If you have a dried bouquet, save it! I was going to cut the flower (rose) heads and use them for arts and crafts later on, so I told Mayoosha to help me out and use her scissor-cutting skills to snip them. Since the flowers are drier and more brittle than fresh stems, it makes for easier cutting.
3) SENSORY: ‘COOKING’ with SLIME
My daughter was always interested in slime. Each time we enter a toy shop, slime was the first thing she wanted to look for. I avoided slime activities in general because of how messy they get and only allowed it occasionally. There are different kinds of slime, meaning each type differed in consistency. Therefore, some slime tended to be stickier and harder to clean up than others.
However, I spotted this one nice slime box set in Fantasy World and decided to purchase it for Mayoosha. I totally understand the fascination now. The texture is hard to resist haha! Lots of pulling, stretching squishing, rolling, and twisting! There are so many benefits including getting creative like adding in ‘ingredients’ such as beads, foam balls, pompoms, and glitter into the slime.
One of the ways that Mayoosha loves playing with slime is pretending to cook with it and making a recipe. She gets a toy pot from her kitchen and starts adding in batches of slime and combining ‘ingredients’ into it. She mixes the concoction with her hands and spends endless time feeling the textures and ‘kneading’ in elements. At this age, kids continue to enjoy the tactile and feel of different textures.
When playing with slime, it is best to use an empty activity table and lay out a washable mat that you can wipe clean quickly.
4) STEM ACTIVITY: PLAY DOUGH AND TOOTHPICK STRUCTURES.
This activity occupied Mayoosha for a while since she loves play dough in general.
There are printables of various structures to build from that are more suitable for older kids. In Mayoosha’s case, we just focused on open-ended play and assembled something simple like a little house, cube or pyramid in 3D although they can also be 2D shapes
I first rolled a couple of play dough balls in preparation, and Mayoosha practiced rolling the balls with her palms too.
We then had fun connecting the play dough balls together using the toothpicks, which you need to becareful with too.
5) BICYCLE RIDES
This is more of an outdoor sports activity. I highly suggest starting to get a bicycle with training wheels from 3 years old. Prior to that, Mayoosha used a tricycle.
The bicycle we got is by B-TWINS from the Decathlon store (in Kuwait). I loved how the bicycle was equipped with everything and you can choose to include “add-ons” like a basket, bell, water bottle holder, and a doll seat at the back. The bike also comes with front and back lights for nighttime rides.
The small training wheels at the back serve as balancing wheels. Whenever Mayoosha accelerates her speed the training wheels become suspended above the ground allowing her to get a feel for balance. It is a super safe, quality bike and sturdy. I also see the bicycle as one of the stepping stones to independence and offers the freedom and confidence to get around (with mom and dad of course!) as it is essentially a vehicle.
I believe this is one of the best active activities that a preschooler can participate in.