DS who's 3 likes cars, trains, trucks, basically things with wheels. He doesn't really want to play anything else. He does not want anything to do with art or crafts either. If I try to get him to do some, he'll literally do it for 5 seconds and say he's done. He likes to read, but only books about cars and trucks and trains. Should I be trying harder to get him interested in different things? Should I keep pushing the arts and crafts? I've left stuff out for him like markers, crayons, paints, but he never does it on his own. Any ideas how to encourage other interests? Or should I just leave him to play cars and Thomas the train all day?
Hi! I have a 3 year old boy too. He loves all the things you mentioned. He loves books about those things too! I think it is completely normal. I do have thoughts of "I wish he would like more "story books." and that sort of thing. BUT in the end I think its good to encourage what they love and build around that. This is my oldest, so I'm no expert, just offering that we are kind of in the same boat :) I did just get a book about a pig that draws and after we read it, he suddenly said "I want to draw!" Out came the paper and crayons. But, honestly this doesn't happen much. I just got a map rug ($15 from IKEA) and he LOVES it. It is providing so much opportunity for imaginative play, he is coming up with all sorts of new ideas. I personally am trying to focus on that...lets hope its a good plan :)
Sounds similar to ds, also 3. I involve him in everything I/we do around here so he helps with cleaning, the baby, fixing things, taking care of animals, etc. He has really started to like to do "projects" & this is where I get in the arts & crafts. So one day the project might be fixing the toilet, the next freezing coloured water in muffin trays to hang in the sun, the next playdough, the next cleaning the basement. Basically if I call it a project he's game.
We also continue to give him access to things/toys other than his primary interest of vehicles. The bin of stuffed animals generally sits untouched but one day he wanted them all diapered like dd & then they were back to the neglected bin. I guess basically I don't particularly encourage or discourage any set of toys/interests but present him varied opportunities & follow his lead. He loooved the trains for awhile but now ignores them - I wonder if we had highly encouraged them if he would still be really into them?
Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).
I would continue offering and making other activities available, but I wouldn't push. FWIW, at that age, DD had little interest in arts and crafts. At 7, she will do arts and crafts for as long as ideas and supplies remain. When she was 3-4, pushing just made her less interested. Enjoying sketching, painting, sculpting, et cetera on my own, however, got her very interested, especially when I drew people we knew. Same thing seems to work the same way with my roommate's almost 3 year old. He's all trains and hotwheels, but if I wordlessly sit down in the middle of the floor with a sketchpad and pencils, he's nearly guaranteed to wander over to watch and eventually ask for his own paper.
My ds pretty much hates crafts too, although at times he has been known to do things like make a robot from recycling items -- things that are sort of mechanical and totally freeform (and not designed with beauty in mind). One thing you might try is to use the cars to do art -- like drive them through paint and paint with them, use their tire treads to make shapes in playdough, etc.
Jen 47 DS C 2/03 04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.
mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mama
When my son was little, he had absolutely no interest in arts or crafts - and he didn't even have an interest in cars or other wheeled things - but I can't see how that ever handicapped him in any way. I used to read to him, and he loved some books, but didn't get interested in really sitting and absorbing them till much later - and he eventually became a voracious reader in his teens. He loved to learn about all sorts of other things over the years, and became quite knowledgeable in history and science - and he even majored in art one semester of college just to explore that side of himself and see if it was something he should pursue more seriously. He had no problem jumping right into the full spectrum of college classes, and he transitioned into a four year college quite comfortably and successfully.
He had a little buddy when he was 3 who was obsessed with cars, by the way - always had little cars in his hands wherever he went - and he had no interest in arts or crafts. He went on to school and lots of varied interests, and he excelled, graduating from a prestigious college and being able to choose from widely sought after jobs.
I guess I could go on and on describing the paths of many homeschoolers and school-going kids I've known over the years, but the bottom line is that I think the very best thing in those early years is to just let them be - expose them to everything you hold dear and beautiful and important, but don't "encourage" them to pursue any of it if what that means is nudging them or pushing them into it, because it really doesn't matter and it serves no useful longterm purpose.
As a matter of fact, if there were only one thing I could do over as a parent and as a homeschool parent, I would not take all those little things so seriously - my focus would be more on keeping things in longterm perspective and encouraging him to follow his own unique heart. The more he's free at his age to just use his imagination and play, play, play about the things that capture his interest, the greater his foundation for later, more focused, learning.
And one last thought - if arts and crafts are part of your own loves and activities, they'll eventually come a lot more naturally to his.
My first son didn't show any interest in anything in particular at that age and didn't like arts and crafts, so I am actually excited that my second son is so in love with all things with wheels because at least he has SOMETHING he likes. We have been finding things now that my older son likes (even arts/crafts things - he still won't color, but he likes to draw or water paint), but they just were not at all obvious at 3.
Yeah, I had the same kid and I still have the same kid. I have a hard time playing those games all the time too, lol! That is me though.
My son got into other things as I, only me, began to do things like others said, for me, what I wanted to do. He even has begun taking on a form of drawing in styles I have used. He mimics me in his own way in all kinds of ways. For his birthday, the fairies came and brought him a string of yarn out to the trees and had fairy gifts for him (handmade) and this sparked some fairy interests and has been a transition into so many other things. The toys I bring home from goodwill without him also helped. Sometimes I must keep these in labeled boxes and bring down on a bored rainy day. I dance like a interested curious playmate some days and he comes to play in my kind of world for a while.
Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.