Children's Health and Wellness

Preschool Play

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

Picture of a father teaching his daughter to ride a bike

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.  That 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

  • Doctor and nurse 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. Ginsburg, Kenneth R. Pediatrics, 2007, 1;119, pp. 182-91.
Online Source: 10 Things Every Parent Should Know about Play, National Association for the Education of Young Childrenhttp://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/10-things-every-parent-should-know-about-play
Online Source: Why this toy? National Association for the Education of Young Childrenhttp://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/why-toy
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatricshttp://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/preschool/pages/developmental-milestones-3-to-4-year-olds.aspx
Online Source: Summer safety tips, American Academy of Pediatricshttp://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Staying-Safe-Outdoors.aspx
Online Source: Tips for choosing toys for toddlers, Zero to Threehttp://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/play/tips-for-choosing-toys-for.html
Online Editor: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Editor: Wheeler, Brooke
Online Medical Reviewer: Finke, Amy, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 4/29/2014
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