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Developmentally Appropriate Materials for Preschool and Kindergarten Children (Ages 3-6)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Materials for preschoolers and kindergarteners should support their developing social skills and interest in adult roles, growing imaginations, increasing motor skills, and rapidly expanding vocabularies. Refer to the table below for examples of developmentally appropriate materials for preschool and kindergarten children.

Type of Material Appropriate Materials Examples
Skill/concept Books/records Picture books, simple and repetitive stories and rhymes, animal stories, pop-up books, simple information books, wide variety of musical recordings
  Games Socially interactive games with adults, such as What If; matching and lotto games based on colors and pictures, such as picture bingo or dominoes; games of chance with a few pieces that require no reading, such as Chutes and Ladders; flannel board with pictures, letters, and storybook characters
Gross motor Active play Push and pull toys; ride-on toys; balls of all kinds; indoor slide and climber; rocking boat
  Outdoor Climbers, rope ladders, balls of all sizes; old tires, sand and water materials
Manipulative Fine motor Dressing frames; toys to put together and take apart; cookie cutters, stamp and printing materials, finger paint, modeling dough, small objects to sort and classify; bead stringing with long, thin string; pegs and small pegs; colored cubes, table blocks, magnetic board/letters/numbers and shapes; perception boards and mosaics
  Puzzles and form boards Fit-in or framed puzzles (for 3-year-olds: from 4-20 pieces, for 4-year-olds: from 15-30 pieces, for 5-year-olds: from 15-50 pieces); large, simple jigsaws; number/letter/clock puzzles
  Investigative Toys, globe flashlight, magnets, lock boxes, weather forecasting equipment, scales, balances, stethoscopes
Construction Building sets Small and large unit blocks; large hollow blocks; from age 4, interlocking plastic blocks with pieces of all sizes
  Carpentry Workbench, hammer, preschool nails, saw, sandpaper, pounding benches, safety goggles
Self-expressive Dolls and soft toys Realistic dolls and accessories; play settings and play people (e.g., farm, hospital)
  Dramatic play Dress-up clothes, realistic tools, toy camera, telephone, household furniture
  Sensory Tactile boxes; auditory and musical materials such as smelling and sound boxes; cooking experiences
  Art/music All rhythm instruments, music boxes; large crayons, paint, paste, glue, chalkboard and chalk, sewing kits, collage materials, markers, modeling dough, blunt scissors
Natural and everyday Sand and water Sandbox tools, bubbles, water toys
    Old clocks, radios, cameras, telephones; telephone books; mirrors; doctor kits; typewriter; magazines; fabric scraps; computer; cash register and receipts; measuring cups and muffin tins
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