What's a good birthday present for a smart 3-year-old?
My niece is turning three and I'd like to get her something she'll enjoy and learn from. She's very smart and actually memorized her "Baby Einstein" and similar types of learning videos. In fact, she seems to love memory games -- her dad tells me that at bedtime, she says goodnight to everyone in our family, naming each person in an exact order (even aunts she rarely sees, like me!). Any ideas for a fun, enriching gift?
There are already a lot of great suggestions for "indoor" gifts. I would like you to also consider something for outside play, not necessarily tied to a child's intelligence. We are very concerned about the increase in childhood obesity that seems to be linked in part to an increase in sedentary activities. With spring finally here, why not consider child-sized gardening toys--if that works for her living situation. Or a fun and age appropriate riding toy? These would get the adults in her life outside too!
Dr. Jeanne Funk, education.com clinical child psychology expert
There are many great gifts to enrich 3 year olds. I think the best gift to enrich a child is a jigsaw puzzle but only if they come with adult interaction. Puzzles can help young children develop visual perception, fine motor, visual memory, problem solving and emotional intelligence skills such as persistance and confidence. However, if you want something a bit more groovy and technological - you could always try any of the leapfrog and/or leapster products, Of course there are some great computer programs that will introduce academic type learning activities in a fun way. Good luck, there are plenty of things out there, as enrichment activites for young children have a huge market.
I have a three year old niece and I sent her WEDGITS, a 3-D manipulative building block set. She loved it. I am a preschool teacher and the children in my class loved these blocks so much last year. They can be so creative with them. Another fun manipulative is called magnetic tiles.<br />
Also, a new book just was released called Mouse Shapes, by the author of Mouse Paint. Both are very fun books to read.<br />
My 3 yr old recently received the board game "Sequence for Kids". He loves playing with it. He doesn't exactly play by the rules, but it's a great way to stimulate memory building and letter recognition.<br />
Another great gift give is an experience, rather than a toy or game. I have a four year old, and when he was about 3, I took him to his first kid concert. When he was 4, I took him to his first theater performance (Alice in Wonderland). He talked about Alice for weeks, and incorporated a lot of the show into his pretend play for a long time to come.<br />
Why not consider a special event you can attend together, or helping pay for a music class or experience that your niece's parents can take her to, if you live too far away.<br />
Check out LeapFrogs Word Whammer! My 2 year old loves her Fridge Phonics from the same company and is ready to start working toward sounds by summer. It allows the child to place 3 letters in the "box" and it will sound them out, say letter name, and give the word (if real I think). I have several friends who's children have loved it and received it in an age range from 2.5-3years! Enjoy this time with her...it will be over before you know it!
Hello! My three year old recently received a butterfly garden from Insect Lore. He LOVED it! What you buy in the store (or on the many websites that carry it) is the actual butterfly house. It includes a postcard that you send in when you're ready to get your caterpillars. The caterpillars arrive in the mail a few days later. You don't have to do anything to take care of the caterpillars. Once they make their cocoon you move them into the butterfly house and wait for them to become beautiful butterflies. All you have to do to care for the butterflies is provide food (an orange slice) and sugar water.
My son had a really great time watching this process. We chose to free our butterflies (my idea because I didn't think he was quite ready to deal with the deaths of his five new friends...they only live for a week or two).