|Choosing the Right Toy for Preschool Kids
Preschool toys improve the use of visual skills, auditory, tactile gross motor and fine motor skills. At this
stage, children enjoy testing their physical skills jumping, climbing, throwing and enjoy toys for active play.
During the preschool years children have good hand and finger coordination and enjoy putting these skills to
work with basic arts and crafts, puppets, blocks and simple puzzles.
Imaginative play also begins during this developmental level. Preschool toys can entertain and inspire young
minds and promote an interest in a particular area, such as photography, math, arts and crafts, and language.
Playing, in general, helps develop a child's social, emotional, language, intellectual, and problem-solving skills.
Preschool children learn through meaningful activities in developmental phases. During the preschool stage
of development, children gain and grasp information swiftly, and express curiosity and amazement at each
new discovery. Preschool children have longer attention spans than toddlers. In general they talk a lot and
ask many questions. These features prepare them for a lifetime of education.
Preschool Developmental Areas
In the preschool years, brain and body development are significantly associated. Children should be
encouraged to play regularly with block building, or other manipulative activities, as well as in music, art,
dramatic play, and language activities, in order to stimulate both sides of the brain.
At the preschool stage, parents should be focused on both gross and fine motor developmental activities.
Developing the large muscles will give support to the small muscles in the hands and fingers.
Socially, preschool children interact with peers and adults other than family members and need guidance to
develop the ability to share, take turns, lead, follow, and becoming a friend.
Emotionally, the young child’s increasing independence involves taking steady steps away from the security
of the parent’s presence and protection and achieving self-assurance and individuality. Children need to feel
safe in order to feel free to explore, and they need meaningful responses from significant adults who take
pleasure in their successes and comfort them in their failures. As children begin to practice independence, it
is important to allow them enough time to work on tasks until they are pleased with the outcome.
Learning through Play
Preschool children learn ideas through play that incorporate all of their senses. While they are having fun and
learning necessary social patterns (being respectful of each other, taking turns, etc.) they are unaware that
they’re acquiring educational knowledge. Physical activities, such as ball play, promotes hand-eye
coordination and gross motor skills, writing games advance fine motor skills, card games help to encourage
memory, and games involving books inspire an interest in reading and language.
Preschool children take pleasure in playing actively with each other. They are masters of make-believe. They
like to act out grown-up roles and create imaginary situations. Costumes and equipment that help them in
their pretend worlds are important at this stage. Some of the many possibilities include pretend money, play
food, a toy cash register or telephone, a make-believe village, fort, circus, farm, gas station or restaurant, a
puppet theater and play with dolls and doll furniture. Trucks, cars, planes, trains, boats and tractors are all
fun preschool toys. It is common for preschool children to develop strong attachments to favorite toys,
expressing feelings to a special doll or teddy bear.
Throughout the preschool years children will:
• Gain confidence and self-esteem
• Develop listening skills
• Take turns and follow directions
• Develop social skills
• Learn academics through play
Goals for Preschool Children
• Interact and get along socially with peers
• Develop strong, pleasant self-image which will hold well into school years
• Being happy with school ideas and new friends
• Develop self-control, problem solving and decision-making skills
• Become aware of other’s feelings
• Cope with stressful situations
• Develop physical skills, fine motor and gross motor skills
• Have a sense of fulfillment with our individuality and feelings of self-respect
• Develop intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically
• Develop appropriate language, pre-reading, pre-math and simple science skills
• Motivate curiosity in learning through discovery, exploration and play
Physical play: Physical play helps to develop an awareness of their bodies (balance, strength, coordination)
and builds confidence.
Story time: Sitting quietly listening to stories develops the skills of concentration and attention, and is an
introduction to the wonderful world of books and reading.
Block building: Building is a bridge between the world of pretend and reality. It provides experience in
spatial concepts, opportunities for sharing, and develops large and small muscle control. Blocks also provide
a pre-math experience (size and shape sorting, balance).
Painting: Painting provides an opportunity for self-expression and pleasure. Preschool children find an
adventure in every masterpiece.
Sensory Table Play: Play in these areas encourages experimentation in texture and measurement in an
entertaining approach. It also introduces early scientific and math conceptions.
Play dough and clay: Modeling provides a release for aggressive feelings and offers satisfaction.
Music and rhythm: These offer a way of self-expression through playing with sounds, songs, instruments,
finger plays, games, and dancing.
Dramatic play: This style of play is used to recreate experiences and stories, fears and feelings. It allows
children to try out different roles and encourages cooperation.
Language communication: Communication and speech improve greatly during preschool. Words are
increased through all forms of play.
Desktop toys: Puzzles, beads, games, etc. These help a child to develop his/her hand-eye coordination,
sequencing skills, ability to follow direction, and concentration.
Cutting and pasting: These provide an experience in hand and finger manipulation as well as self-
expression. When given an array of supplies, shapes, textures, and objects to glue the enjoyment of creating
is more significant than the end results.