Children's Health and Wellness

Preschool Play

Toddler girl playing with play blocks.

What can I do to help encourage play in my child?


Each child is different and may enjoy different toys and activities. But the following are ideas that may work for your preschooler.

What preschoolers like to do

Keep in mind that a preschooler likes:

  • Space in which to run and explore

  • Simple sports and other activities

What you can do as a parent

  • Read to your child.

  • Take trips to the park, beach, and other places.

  • Encourage play with other children.

  • Limit your child's TV access. This means TV no more than 1 to 2 hours per day (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics).

Toys for your preschooler

A preschooler will enjoy:

  • Slides

  • Seesaws

  • Toys that can be ridden

  • A small, supervised pool

  • Wagons and wheelbarrows

  • Skates or scooters, if you keep a close eye while your child uses them

  • Dolls

  • Playhouses

  • Trucks, cars, and airplanes

  • Clothes to use to play dress-up

  • Healthcare provider play equipment

  • Nails, hammer, and saw

  • Play makeup and shaving supplies

  • Books

  • Puzzles

  • Toys that play music

  • Art supplies

Print Source: Prevention of Falls in Children. UpToDate
Print Source: The Importance of Play in Promoting Health Child Development. Ginsburg K. Pediatrics. 2007;1(119):182-91.
Online Source: 10 Things Every Parent Should Know about Play, National Association for the Education of Young Children
Online Source: Why this toy? National Association for the Education of Young Children
Online Source: Summer safety tips, American Academy of Pediatrics
Online Source: Developmental Milestones: 3 to 4 Year Olds, American Academy of Pediatrics
Online Source: Tips for Choosing Toys for Toddlers, ZERO TO THREE National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
Online Editor: Geller, Arlene
Online Medical Reviewer: Adler, Liora C., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Image Reviewed by Staywell medical art team.
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2016
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