Rain-Proof Learning

It may be pouring outside, but that doesn't mean you should pause your child’s learning. At 37 months old, your little one is more active and curious than ever. Make learning fun indoors with these different types of activities:


Play sorting games. Sorting different types of toys or blocks of various shapes and colors encourages your child to notice similarities and differences while teaching basic logic. If she seems ready for an additional challenge, have her sort the items by color first and then by shape. To raise the bar even higher, ask her to sort all the square yellow blocks, the red circles, and so on. But keep it fun and don't expect your child to do it perfectly.

Puzzle it out.

Provide your child with jigsaw puzzles of up to five large pieces and encourage her as she tries to place them.

Tell her why.

Your child may seem endlessly curious at this age as she tries to understand how things work and why they are the way they are. Your answers to her questions can be simple: "Why do I have to go to bed?" "Because your body needs sleep in order to grow and stay healthy." But when her questions are more difficult—"How do fish breathe?" "Why do people die?"—don't worry about having the right answer. It's okay to say that you don't know or that you'll have to think about it and get back to her. You can even suggest doing some research together

Limit electronics.

That includes TV, computers, and other devices. You may be stuck indoors, but the majority of your child's play should be far more active, involving face-to-face interactions with real people and tactile experiences with toys and her surroundings.


Hop to it! Balance is a budding skill at this age. See who can stand on one foot longer or hop farther.

Play simple ball games. Provide your child with a variety of kid-friendly balls. She'll enjoy practicing her throwing, kicking, and catching skills at this age. Just make sure to avoid fragile ornaments and furniture!

Provide blocks and building toys.

At this stage, your child's improved hand-eye coordination allows her to place objects with impressive precision. Practice will fine-tune her skills even more.

Work on art projects.

Especially fun for your child are projects that involve craft tools, like paper collages using child-safe scissors, clay sculpture using molds (and her hands!), and painting with fat-handled brushes.


Use words. Encourage your child to “use her words” to express her feelings. This phrase is a simple way to remind her not to lash out by yelling or hitting.

Play a role. Take part in any fantasy play your child loves, whether it involves princesses, pirates, or superheroes. Through role-playing, 37-month-olds work out surprisingly sophisticated social issues and relationships.

Indulge imaginary playmates.

At this age, imaginary playmates indicate creativity and emotional health. It’s not a sign that your child lacks real friends or strong social skills, so don’t worry about it.

Address aggression.

If your child hits or throws things in anger, hold her firmly yet calmly, so she can regain control of her emotions. Let her know that what she's doing isn't acceptable. When she's calm, you can talk about other ways she might vent anger and frustration, such as pounding a pillow, running around the yard, and expressing feelings with words.

Show affection.

Give lots of hugs to your child to help foster her sense of security.


Use descriptors when you talk.

Say, for example, "That woman is a cashier. Grown-ups have lots of different jobs." Your child learns that "woman," "cashier," and "grown-up" are all different words that describe the same person.

Ask questions that don't require a simple yes or no.

For instance, ask, "What do you want to wear today?" rather than, "Do you want to wear this shirt?"

Tell stories.

Make up your own stories featuring your child as the main character in a great adventure, with nightly installments at bedtime. You can even try "Story-Chop-Chop," as suggested by blogger Louise of Mommy Practicality, "It's where I start the story's first few sentences, then let my son continue where I chopped it. We take turns telling how the story goes until it ends."

• American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. American Academy of Pediatrics. 5th ed.

• American Academy of Pediatrics. Oct. 2006. The Wonder Years: Helping Your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate the Major Developmental Milestones.

• Louise. "7 Rainy Day Activities for Kids." Mommy Practicality. July 22, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.mommypracticality.com/2012/07/7-rainy-day-activities-for-kids...

• Spencer, P. 2000. Parenting Guide to Your Toddler. Ballantine Books.