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  /    /  Developmental Milestones: 3 Years

Developmental Milestones: 3 Years

At 3 years old, playing with other children is becoming increasingly easier.  Co-operation with sharing and turn taking is starting to make sense and this, along with their growing level of understanding and ability to abide by rules, are great and essential skills to have before starting school. Peer pressure is still relatively minor, and parents have the biggest influence on what the child participates in and wants to do.

Their concentration and focus is lengthening and their fine motor skills are becoming stronger. Arts and crafts are also starting to get more advanced. Dancing, role play and singing are popular with 3 year olds, especially in a group with other children.

Please keep in mind that these milestones are guidelines only, as all children are different and develop at their own pace. Do not be concerned if your child does not perfectly ‘tick all the boxes’ and avoid comparing your child to other children of a similar age. If you are worried that your child’s development is particularly delayed, visit your GP.

  • Simple activities can be mastered quickly promoting confidence and acting as reinforcers for that activity, thus increasing concentration
  • They will interested in using levers, buttons or instructions (i.e. press here) and enjoy getting a reaction from the toy
  • Working out rules and then abiding by them is challenging for this age
  • Their concentration and ability to focus will be strengthening however they can still get bored quickly
  • They are wanting to learn and explore the vast world around them. “Why” questions may be frequent and although this may be frustrating after a while, it is a vital part in their learning and understanding of the world, so stay patient and explain as much as you can to them
  • Around now, children start to be able to play cooperatively with other children
  • Turn taking, sharing and teamwork all become possible, although children develop these abilities at very different rates. Siblings playing together can help, as can simple turn taking games
  • Leaving children to play with siblings or friends, rather than always being on hand to supervise and facilitate play will promote social skills which will be beneficial when starting school or pre-school
  • They will be starting to become more independent and tantrums when left at school or in the care of a family members may subside as their confidence being away from you grows and they are aware you will come back
  • Lots of physical activity is very important for pre-school children
  • A lot of behavioural issues especially around sleep and food, that emerge around this age, can be managed and improved by increasing activity levels and free play opportunities
  • Outdoor play is brilliant at any age but toddlers will love to explore the ground, mud, stones and even insects
  • They should be able to climb, run, walk up and down stairs and participate in active play
  • Social play promotes language and communication and 3-4 year olds will love to play within their friendship groups
  • Children are able to read non-verbal cues and use body language to support the development of their communication skills
  • Social interaction is particularly key for language development, so making sure children interact with other people regularly will help them to develop socially appropriate communication skills
  • Children’s motor control is sufficiently developed enough to enjoy basic model making and artistic activities requiring large hand and arm movements
  • Hand printing and colouring on large areas will promote creativity and make it fun and accessible for children as their fine motor control develops
  • Glitter, clay and other materials are excellent at creating different effects or shapes. This also helps to promote concentration as a variety of materials will help keep the child’s focus and interest. The messier the better usually works for them!
  • Children have a growing interest in the features of objects and living things, and talk about what they see
  • They are curious about how things work, and show an understanding of cause and effect
  • When constructing they will try out different tools, techniques and materials
  • 3 year olds remember past and future events they have experienced, and describe these to family or friends, expressing feelings about significant events (such as a birthday)
  • They show an interest in the lives of familiar people, in different occupations and ways of life
  • An understanding of growth, decay and change over time is developing
  • They may talk about their environment, and the natural world
  • As they become more social, children enjoy including others in their imaginative play

Children love to play and this is a great way to support their development and learning. See below for our independently tested and approved toys and apps to support your 3 year old’s development.

More Child Development Milestones by Age