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What toys does your 3yo play with? Need ideas!

(8 Posts)
Fishandjam Wed 24-Apr-13 11:08:35

Hoping someone can inspire me. DS is 3y 4m and, like most kids these days, has a ton of toys. But he doesn't really play with any of them! I think a lot of them are perhaps a bit young for him now, but I'm struggling to think of something he'd like.

Just a few examples of toys he doesn't play with: wooden railway set; Lego; cars/trucks/tractors; model dinosaurs; saucepan/cooking set; jigsaws; dressing up stuff. He has a toddler laptop with loads of games etc on it, but he won't let me show him how to work it (so he just ends up stabbing buttons randomly and then gets bored).

What he does like to do is get everything out of his toybox and strew it all over the floor, and then leave it confused He also likes fossicking in the garden, poking things with sticks, finding toadstools, feeding the fish in our pond, planting seeds, painting/sticking, Playdough and making gingerbread etc. But he usually wants me to play with him at those activities, and I can't do that all the time! I have a 10mo DD and can't always just leave her to her own devices while I play with DS. All too often I end up with him in front of a Shaun The Sheep DVD just so that I can spend some time on DD.

He goes to nursery three days a week and I've asked them what he likes to do there, and they say he likes the sandpit, peg boards, being outside, and just generally bimbling around.

He doesn't do much imaginary/pretend play, which worries me a little. Otherwise he's pretty bright, and can have very good concentration for things he likes (<not-so-stealth boast alert> for example, he'll sit quietly and attentively through me reading the whole of our illustrated copy of Kipling's The Cat Who Walked By Himself).

What do your 3yo like to do? Any recommendations for play/activities that DS can do on his own for longer than about 30 seconds? (Mess is not a particular concern!)

Misfit13 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:21:16

My friend sent an easel down for my son's 3rd birthday, and it's the best thing ever. He draws/writes/wipes (he loves washing/wiping it) then starts again for hours every day. I do draw with him sometimes, but can get away with the odd comment from the kitchen etc.

frazzledbutcalm Wed 24-Apr-13 11:26:46

I was going to say whiteboard easel also. My 3 LOVED this. The youngest are now 8 and 9 and still love their whiteboards. My youngest loves garden related things, I bought him gardening mama for his ds, and he enjoys this. Magnetic darts. Sometimes there's just too much choice. If you can, put all his toys away in garage/shed/loft or similar. Then just bring out 2 or 3 items a day. Rotate every few days with new toys. That way everything's not staring him in the face all the time, things go completely out of his mind so when it appears there's more enthusiasm for it.

BlueChampagne Wed 24-Apr-13 12:18:30

Sounds like a naturalist in the making! But I can understand the need to have some things that he can, and will, play with on his own for a bit. Do you have sand and water play at home?

frazzledbutcalm Wed 24-Apr-13 12:20:55

Idea from nursery - pot of water and a paintbrush in the garden. He can 'paint' the walls etc with the water. They love it!

PeterParkerSays Wed 24-Apr-13 12:26:58

Could he do more make believe stuff in the house? We have a cardboard box which has been doing fine service for DS (3.9) as a pirate ship / car for the past 6 months (kid you not) and he likes setting up dens / nests hmm and putting his toys in.

DS also likes building duplo towers as tall as he can then watching them fall over - not houses or cars etc. just tall wobbly towers. I also made him a hobby horse which he loved until he managed to lose the stick from the middle of it so we can currently only find a head and a bum but a lot of what he loves is very random. My DS loves cars, but also running round the garden with sticks (we tend to bring a few home every time we go to a park) and chucking stuff in the pond hmm.

DS also has a postman pat play tent (like this but I'm sure it didn't cost this much shock), that comes out regularly, and he doesn't seem to need people to deliver stuff to, he just randomly thrusts stuff at you occasionally.

Tournesol Wed 24-Apr-13 16:52:31

My 3yo is also a roamer and likes nothing more than pottering about. If I try and direct play he gets cross but if I just leave him to it he normally finds something to entertain himself.

Favourite toys are his collection of plastic animals and dinosaurs, play doh, sticker books, Lego and his older brother's transformers.

One thing that I occasionally roll out when I want some peace is a big bowl of dried pasta with lots of different size pots and spoons and he spends ages transferring them from one pot to another.

Fishandjam Thu 25-Apr-13 14:57:09

Thanks for all your suggestions ladies! I like the idea of an easel. And bowls of pasta (maybe rice and lentils too?) I'm also in the process of getting a cover made that will turn our dining table into a den (we don't really use our dining room so I'm going to make it into a playroom), so hopefully he will like that too.

I think we also need a sandpit for outside! "Painting" with water also sounds good.

Thanks again!

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