As a toddler, your child may have satisfied her curiosity, absorbing a great deal of new information in the process, but rarely related it to anything else in her life. What happens in the third year, however, is that your child starts to think about her experiences and to learn from them. Information is sifted, matched up to other experiences to see if they fit together or if they differ greatly, and it is then put into similar or different pigeonholes. Your child is learning to reason.
Your child starts to plan ahead, and becomes much more creative and imaginative. Gradually all the information that she has absorbed so far becomes available to apply to a given situation. This new ability to think, imagine, and create changes your child’s perception of the world considerably.
Many familiar things in the house or garden no longer contain the same interest. She needs wider horizons; she needs to explore, to push the frontiers of her experience and knowledge farther and farther. Your child becomes very interested in how things work. She is greedy for information and is constantly asking “why?”
A huge step is realizing that time is not just in the present: there is today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Planning for the future is one of the most critical aspects of our intellect, and it is during this third year that you will hear your child say for the first time, “I will eat that later” or “We can go tomorrow.”