Moms To Gifted 3 Year Olds

Tiffany - posted on 01/01/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Just curious what you're doing with your 3 year old and what he or she is interested in at this point :) Rayne will be turning 3 on Tuesday January 5th. She has been learning how to read and and write letters and she loves to play imaginary games (for example: pretending like the couch is a boat). I've been trying to think of new activities that are fun and will keep her interested because otherwise she gets bored and becomes a handful. Anyone else have that problem?

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Cathy - posted on 01/03/2010

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Hi, I'm an Occupational Therapist and my mom is a Play Therapist and I work with a Speech and Language Therapist and I've sort of brought some of these trategies into raising my gifted nearly 4 year old. Here are some of the things we do together that don't take up too much of my time:
In the car on the way to school, we make up a story together, each of us saying one line at a time.
When we go shopping, I let him pick something (either for the house or for himself) but I tell him it has to cost less than X, so he has to look at the prices. He also pays and we talk about the money.
He loves dinosaurs, so whenever he has a question we look it up together online (I found a great website for dinosaur facts: http://www.dinosaurjungle.com/dinosaur_s...)
I buy him lots of pretend stuff, like doctors kit, shopping till, cooking things, and he loves to ask questions about those.
When I'm working I put a stack of blocks near my computer and tell him to build a really big city (it's not too big at the moment, but he's getting there) and then we talk about the people and where they'd go and how they'd get there.
Sorry, my mind's gone blank, but I really just try to involve him in whatever I'm doing and let him talk about it (boy can he talk, so I empathise with you Denise), but one thing I always do: praise him for how hard he worked, and seldom for doing a "good job". I use words such as attentive, responsible, diligent, etc, rather than smart, clever, good. Research shows that this helsp them be more hard working rather than give up as soon as things start getting tough.
Good luck, maybe we'll encounter each other again soon!

Kristin - posted on 11/24/2011

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My daughter is 34 months. I suspect that she is gifted, perhaps highly gifted. I teach preschool (4/5 years) and she knows more than any of them. She knew upper/lower case letters, 10 colors, shapes including hexagon, octogon and trapezoid by age 2. Now she is starting to read, knows all letter sounds, starting to write and draw (frustrates her because cognitive ahead of fine motor). She can rote count to 40. objects to 20. can make patterns (pretty complex patterns). she can play games on learning sites like sesame street, starfall, disney, and more. She has a mobigo and we just bought her a leap pad for Christmas. We are trying to limit screen time, however. She also LOVES blocks, play doh, memory games, and more. Her vocabulary is the most amazing. She says things like "Mommy, I was wondering why that evergreen tree is a different color than the others?" or "I have an idea. Let's imagine that we are good knights and bad knights in a castle in the forest." She has perfect pitch and can sing at least 40 or 50 songs. Maybe more. She makes up songs too. I love her a lot but she is challenging. She stopped napping about a month ago and only sleeps 8 or 9 hours at night. She is always thinking. I wonder what the future brings - school, life, etc. She knows as much as a first grader (or more) already. She gets very mad when she can't figure something else. she doesn't like to play with anyone younger than four. To her they are "babies." On the other hand, potty training, getting her off a sippy cup and out of our bed have been challenges. sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a six year old and then I remember she's two. Know what I mean?

Rebekah - posted on 01/08/2010

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When my son was at that developmental point he really liked having a big stack of construction paper, markers and stickers to make pictures. He especially liked alphabet stickers when he started spelling words because it removed the frustration of trying to write them (until his motor skills caught up). Big pieces of fabric, random containers, household items, extra clothes are also great to put into a bin for imaginary play. He also did online games such as Starfall, and enjoyed the Leapfrog Letter Factory DVDs.



One toy that got a lot of mileage was the Leapfrog Word Whammer. It's a little annoying since it talks and makes sounds, but I think it helped him a lot with letter sounds and spelling short words. I do recommend getting an extra set of letters in order to make words with repeated letters. The letters are magnetic so I also got him a magnetic dry erase board that he could put them on and make longer words.



I know that's mostly self-directed stuff and maybe you're looking for activities for both of you...

memory game, start out with maybe 8 or 10 cards and add from there;

try to find things that start with a certain letter, you can work your way through the alphabet;

have her find/bring you a certain number of something (3 books, 10 blocks, etc)

pick a word and then think of words that rhyme with it. write them all in a column so she can see that they all have the same letters at the end

when you're out shopping or wherever, have her find letters or numbers on signs and /or of a specific color (a red A -- helps if you spot it first so she doesn't have to hunt too long)

Hullabalo is a good game for when/if you're stuck inside in the winter and just turning on music and dancing is a good energy outlet as well.



The main thing is find what she's interested in and try to build on that. My son loved letters and numbers, so we did a lot of that. Educational supply stores can be good resources for things like paper cut out letters, stencils, etc. Look on homeschooling sites for activity ideas and printable sheets too. Good luck and have fun with your gifted 3 year old!

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2012

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We've been through puzzles, painting, mazes, connect the dots, etc. We got our 3 year old an ipod so that we can just keep changing out learning games as he gets bored with them. He wants to be doing everything we do. If we were gone, he could probably take care of himself completely except for his diaper...not sure when we will finally get rid of that one! But like others, he does require constant attention and interaction. The best thing to do is figure out a way to let him help with whatever we are trying to do. He loves workbooks of all kinds but will try to do an entire book in one sitting (insists to keep doing more pages) and then be done with it. Nothing seems to last! I'm always a few steps behind!

Alicia - posted on 01/11/2010

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Josh got so into letters when he turned 3 that he took it upon himself to learn the alphabets of a few other languages, like Japanese, Hebrew, Greek and Arabic. Any book that anthropomorphized letters became a big hit like Alphabet Adventure, Alphabet Mystery and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. YouTube Videos have been providing amazing materials to keep up with his ever evolving interests.

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Arianne - posted on 06/08/2013

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I am in the same boat. I am at a loss when it comes to doing more at home. My son will be 3 in August and is way beyond his classmates, especially in language and motor skills. He rides a skateboard, a bike and will be a full on swimmer by the end of summer. It's not about bragging rights and throwing out your IQ score, but how to better their education when they have these "gifts", and right now I feel like I am failing miserably. I am afraid he will have to stay in the preschool he is in for one more year until we can find a better fit. No structure, romper room feel, but he is well loved and has a blast. He craves and thrives in a structured environment, what do I do at home to fill in the gaps until he can get into a program more suitable for his development?

Nancy - posted on 10/11/2012

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Your son's name is Odin?! My 5 yo son's middle name is Odin! We were thisclose to making it his first name but we had to go with a family name instead! :)

Cheryl - posted on 02/05/2012

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I have been trying to get my daughter (whose 3 in March )into more classes/be with more kids often. Which always turns into a total flop. She loves ballet at home. So I got her into a ballet class, but she's not into it (she told me its not the right music...when i have been in there, it was Beyonce...I wouldn't do ballet to that either I guess).

What works best for us in trips the the childrens museum, dress up, library (and then reading EVERYTHING).I don't know where I would I be without the library?

I don't allow tv/computers so we do lots of painting, crafts, and outdoor activities.

Laura - posted on 12/01/2011

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We expected that our child would be gifted (as both myself and my husband have high IQs ourselves). However, we didn't know how soon it would affect us. At the age of 2, our daughter reprogrammed our TV. She has been speaking in full sentences since then.

At the age of 3, she knows how to use every single electronic device in our house, which includes getting onto her fathers password locked computer to get to youtube to watch My Little Pony. She counts up and then down in one breath. We know she can read, I'm seen and heard to read to her teddy bear. She imaginary games often involve adventures, one day she grabbed a piece of paper, rolled it up and said "I have a telescope so I can go on safari".

She can listen to a song once and then sing it back. She copies me perfectly when I dance.

She just handed me a paper airplane that she made herself. She can get herself dressed, and goes to the potty on her own.

We are also a multi-lingual family. I'm bilingual French/English, my husband is English/Japanese. I can also speak Spanish, Russian and German. I make a point to ask her questions in one language, and she responds in another.

Heather - posted on 01/18/2010

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at 3 my dsughter loved to make graphs - she saw it on Cyber space. So, we'd make ramps out of cereal boxes at different inclines and she'd make graphs about how far different weights of things slit down them, or how fast different sizes of balls or marbles would go down a slide. And she loved making dioramas of books or habitats out of modelling clay or toy figurines.



another thing she loved to do was to get 8 water glasses and a jug of water and fill each one with enough water to make them form a scale. That kept her busy for quite a long time. I'd also let her go through the fridge and put different things into glasses to see which ones were denser than others. She loved doing that (but it gets really messy, lol, I've been told many Moms don't like that)



Pretty much I just followed her lead and let her do things that she wanted to do. She liked games but hated losing so she started making her own games around 3.5 that involved working together to all win. We still play those games with her little sisters.

Jana - posted on 01/09/2010

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My 3.5 year old is reading and doing Saxon 1. He has gone through Sonlights P 3/4 and P 4/5, will be starting on core K soon. Every child is different. He can not write yet, but loves reading anything and everything, and can't get enough math. It is amazing to watch. He is very hands on, so 90% of what we do is hands on or done orally. We only do what he wishes, when he wishes with no schedule.



I am terrified, since it seems my daughter is progressing even faster than he is.

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Yeah, we tried Candyland with Odin, and he just wanted to run his toy car over the board and knock over the gingerbread men. He doesn't understand the point behind card games yet lol.

Brenda - posted on 01/07/2010

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At that age I introduced my son to some online games. He loved (and still does love) places like Starfall.com. However, he has masted games on Yahoo games that I would have to sit down and figure out how to play. However, at three, there was the frustration factor, and I'd have to help him through some of the games. These days he doesn't need any help with them. I've tried playing cards with him, but he has no patience for them. :)

Maura - posted on 01/07/2010

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Besides already mentioned puzzles, coloring, painting, playdough, crafts, and educational computer games, at three years old my daughter loved books with "what's wrong with this picture," mazes, connect the dots, and board games (chutes and ladders, candyland). We also started card games around 3/12 or so (uno, old maid). Games can be problematic w/ gifted kids because they are smart enough, but not emotionally (if it is clearly a problem, as it was for my daughter, it is recommended that you let them win until about 7). She is 8 3/4 now (as she likes to say) and we are still working on her being a poor loser. She has an inner drive to be competitive and win. Will probably think of more later, how quickly we forget. Good luck with your gifted 3 year old!

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I really don't worry about pushing Odin, because I don't push him at all lol. He straight up tells me what he wants to do, and if he gets bored or wanders off 45 seconds later, I'm like "Ok, back to my novel." He's sooo easily distracted.

Tiffany - posted on 01/06/2010

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It is so interesting to see the differences and similarities in gifted youngsters :) Rayne also gets frustrated if I try to help her with certain things. Her interests seem to change from day to day. For a while she was really into puzzles (completed her first 100 piece puzzle at 2 1/2 (32 months) but for a while now she hasn't been wanting to continue with that and has showed more curiosity towards art. I try to mix it up and include her in everything I'm doing... she loves that. In the last couple days I've introduced her to the computer and she loves the games, only problem is that it's frustrating because she doesn't know how to control the mouse very well yet. The other day I made play dough from scratch (Flour, Salt, Oil, Water, and Food Coloring), something new is always good :) I worry that I might push too hard sometimes, like when I see that she is capable of doing something or knows how to find the answer but gets bored. I'm getting better at making any activity fun and only working on a subject as long as it holds her interest.

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My son's turning 3 on the 31st. He's working on ABCs (just as a song, though recently he's connected that the song represents all the letters); is trying to figure out basic math (the symbols interest him, and he knows what they are, but hasn't figured out exactly what they mean. He's memorized a couple Seuss books, and he's started picking out random words he recognizes, but no phonetics yet.
His favorite thing EVER are video games and figuring out how things work. He started playing PS3 when he was 18 months old. My husband was playing a flight sim, and Odin wanted to play. So he gets the controller, does some barrel rolls, and shoots down the enemy with a missile, successfully completing the mission lol. His favorite games right now are Little Big Planet, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Gravity Crash. He LOVES building his own world in LBP and can actually complete the premade ones, collecting the bubbles and everything. He actually showed us how to get one that neither my mother, my husband or myself had been able to figure out. Same with Ratchet & Clank, he found secret places in that game too. He will build levels in Gravity Crash, completely filled with hostile aliens, and shoot them all down without dying lol. He also gets on PBSkids.org and plays the educational games. One of his favorites is where Oscar the Grouch says to find three things that start with a certain letter.
He likes drawing, and he knows the names of all of his shapes, but he can't copy that onto paper. I think he's going to be more like my husband in that respect--he's a complete tech genius (F-15 and F-22 mechanic, currently taking classes to get a bachelor's degree in engineering), but he can't draw anything more sophisticated than a stick figure lol. The boy has quite an imagination though. So much fun.
On the flip side, he gets so frustrated. He'll be trying to do something, and know what he's supposed to be doing, but he doesn't have the mechanical skills necessary, or can't make it click in his head or something. Like drawing letters. I was trying to help him do an A, and he couldn't move his arm/hand appropriately to make the three lines meet up into a cohesive shape. He flipped.
He's really musically inclined though, just like my husband. I can make brass instruments do whatever I want, but anything else, I'm hopeless. My husband's family has some genetic thing--everyone has musical talent. So my son, I've got a picture of him when he could BARELY sit up on his own. He was playing bongos on the floor while my husband played guitar next to him. My son can strum and knows you have to hold the strings down, but he's not strong enough, so again, frustration. He can make just about everything else work though, including out didjeridoo. It took me 10 years to be able to hold a single note on that beast, and he's not even 3 yet. lol jealous.
He loves piano and drums though. We went to a music store before Christmas and they had a little kid's drum set up. He got up there and started alternating sticks and doing rounds, working the bass and everything. I figure he'll get one for his birthday next year and let him play around with it until he has the focus to actually take lessons.
The poor little guy though... He's so sensitive, he get's so angry with himself. We try to keep him calm and help him, but he gets even more angry if we try to show him what he's doing wrong, or how to fix the problem or whatever.

Anna-Marie - posted on 01/05/2010

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I guess it depends on their interests...my boy has just turned 4, he loves music, so he has a music keyboard that he plays & also has demo songs that he sings along to & I put on kids music on the computer that he sings & dances to (old theme songs are fun like fraggle rock)...he also has a thomas the tank engine wooden set and he spends ages setting up different tracks. Train sets are great because they can invent different ways of making tracks & you can pack it away later for them to start again the next day. If you want them learning more letters and words starfall.com is a great computer resource. It teaches sounds of letters as well as words & uses songs etc & they also learn to use the computer mouse by themselves. Other good games are dress ups, I bought some red fabric a while ago & a basket & my son goes around being little red riding hood which is a fun game to extend their imagination. He also uses the basket to go 'shopping'. Boxes and cardboard are great too, my son will sit in a box for ages & it will change from a train, a car, a rollercoaster, a boat, or sometimes he'll just hide in it. Also simple board games are good for their maths, memory card games are also good. My son mostly gets bored when he's not getting attention (like when I'm on the phone) so when I do have to be busy I tell him what I'm doing & that it will just be a minute & then I can play X with him...sometimes he likes to help me do these things (which takes longer but he's entertained too) like the vacuuming or baking or doing the dishes (anything with bubbles kids love).

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My gifted 3 year old daughter likes to type on the computer. I set it up so it has her favorite color and font and let her type things like her name or she'll ask me how to spell something and she'll type that. It's especially helpful to do when I'm making dinner (we have a laptop so she just uses it at the kitchen table).

Tiffany - posted on 01/05/2010

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Thank you both very much! I never thought about how I praised her, from now on I will be more careful with what words I choose. :)

Denise - posted on 01/02/2010

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It's hard, my 4 yr old son has and continues to require constant conversation and attention. It will also depend on their interests. If you aren't against video games, a game system safe for that age like vsmile or something with educational games is nice- can help her with her reading. Or any of the book/systems like leap pad or something. Then you may not have to be as involved. Beware that the vsmile games don't always match the age listed- so read the reviews to get a sense of whether or not it will work for you child.Or just online games that are safe and educational if she can handle them (if she can use a mouse it opens up a lot more like on playhousedisney.com etc). Or some companies offer cool cards like eeboo's tell me a story cards that have pictures the child lays out and then tells you the story they 'see'. It changes each time and there are many ways to play it. Good luck with your gifted 3 year old! I know it's hard!

Maura - posted on 01/07/2010

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Besides already mentioned puzzles, coloring, painting, playdough, crafts, and educational computer games, at three years old my daughter loved books with "what's wrong with this picture," mazes, connect the dots, and board games (chutes and ladders, candyland). We also started card games around 3/12 or so (uno, old maid). Games can be problematic w/ gifted kids because they are smart enough, but not emotionally (if it is clearly a problem, as it was for my daughter, it is recommended that you let them win until about 7). She is 8 3/4 now (as she likes to say) and we are still working on her being a poor loser. She has an inner drive to be competitive and win. Will probably think of more later, how quickly we forget. Good luck with your gifted 3 year old!

[deleted account]

My gifted 3 year old daughter likes to type on the computer. I set it up so it has her favorite color and font and let her type things like her name or she'll ask me how to spell something and she'll type that. It's especially helpful to do when I'm making dinner (we have a laptop so she just uses it at the kitchen table).

Denise - posted on 01/02/2010

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It's hard, my 4 yr old son has and continues to require constant conversation and attention. It will also depend on their interests. If you aren't against video games, a game system safe for that age like vsmile or something with educational games is nice- can help her with her reading. Or any of the book/systems like leap pad or something. Then you may not have to be as involved. Beware that the vsmile games don't always match the age listed- so read the reviews to get a sense of whether or not it will work for you child.Or just online games that are safe and educational if she can handle them (if she can use a mouse it opens up a lot more like on playhousedisney.com etc). Or some companies offer cool cards like eeboo's tell me a story cards that have pictures the child lays out and then tells you the story they 'see'. It changes each time and there are many ways to play it. Good luck with your gifted 3 year old! I know it's hard!

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