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Hot Wheels or STEM toys? Paw Patrol or a glow-in-the-dark building set? Do they like magnetic blocks? Would they play with a kitchen set or a train set? How about monster trucks or kinetic sand? Is this the right age for Lego Duplo or floor puzzles? Are kids this age too old for soft toys and baby toys?
With an exploding toy market, it’s hard to know exactly what 3-year-old boys and girls like to play with. Plus every child is different.
Your best bet is to look for toys for kids that are more than toys—toys that are learning resources. Toys that teach them problem solving skills. Unique gifts that support imaginative play. Because kids this age learn everything through play.
Whether you’re looking for a birthday present or something special for the holidays for the 3-year old in your life, we’ve got you covered with independently selected gift and toy ideas.
Finding the right toy has never been easier with our guide to the best 3-year-old presents.
These are a wonderful addition to any child’s toy collection. For starters, ride-on toys help children develop coordination and balance as well as fine motor skills. Even better, they get their first real sense of freedom as they push and propel themselves around independently.
What 3-year-old wouldn’t love to copy their mummy and daddy by preparing a great feast in the kitchen? Kitchen toys are wonderful for encouraging open-ended pretend play, learning and curiosity. Let them figure out what to cook and how to prepare it and then dig into your delicious (imaginary) meal! Bon appetit!
While 3 might be a tad too early to plan for the future, a game of dress up with play costumes is a fantastic exercise in imagination, whether your child is pretending to be a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut or even a superhero. Although it may seem like kids are just “playing,” this kind of role play, in the right costume set, is extremely valuable as it offers them the chance to express their fears, help them make sense of the world and support emotional development. Just don’t complain when your pint-sized doctor decides you need to be vaccinated!
Let your child’s inner artist shine through with his or her very own art easel. Doing art has so many incredible benefits for children, from helping them develop gross and fine motor skills to supporting hand-eye coordination and bilateral hand use. It’s also a great way for them to boost their self confidence and experiment and practice solving problems. An easel provides the perfect place for a 3-year-old to explore.
Most 3-year-olds have no shortage of energy to burn and an enclosed trampoline is the perfect place to do it. Trampolines help kids improve their coordination and find their center of balance. It also helps them strengthen their muscles and it can even improve their behavior. More good news? Jumping can help them develop their motor skills. What’s not to like?
Let your 3-year-old get a taste of bike life with his or her very own balance bike. These ride-on toys are a million times more effective at preparing kids for the real thing than training wheels are. Like the other toys we recommend, balance bikes help kids develop strength and improve their agility, coordination and motor skills. Once your child masters the balance bike, graduating to a pedal bike will be a piece of cake.
It’s never too early to learn the rules of the road, which is precisely what your tot will be doing when they get their hands on some toy cars. There’s no shortage of scenarios and situations to imagine, and pushing, pulling, carrying and picking up little toys is great for boosting both gross and fine motor skills. Although they might seem little, there’s plenty of STEM learning associated with toy cars, which makes them a great toy for 3-year-old boys and girls.
Getting a workbench for your little tyke is an excellent educational experience. Not only will they be able to learn about all kinds of tools and how they work, workbenches also support creativity, hand-eye coordination and problem solving. Even better, when something breaks at home, your 3-year-old will be able to follow along as you fix it.
Finding ways to get your kiddo outside into the fresh air is always a good idea. If you’ve got a garden or a backyard, a tyre swing is a great outdoor toy that will bring hours of entertainment to your 3-year-old. It might not seem like it, but swinging has many hidden benefits, such as developing muscle strength and fine motor skills. What’s more, holding on tight to the chain of the swing also helps with finger coordination and grip strength.
Dolls are outstanding educational toys and offer up wonderful opportunities for pretend play for kids, who love to bathe them, feed them and put them to sleep. Kids get to practice social skills with them, and dolls can be used to effectively teach kids about everything from responsibility and empathy to compassion. Beyond this, there’s enormous growth potential for language and speech and your little one will hone those fine motor skills as they change diapers, change clothes, and brush their doll’s hair.
What kid doesn’t like to build? Building toys are one of the best 3-year-old presents and they offer many learning opportunities about a wide range of topics, from math and geometry to gravity. Kids also learn about size, weight and balance, and as they get better they will build increasingly sophisticated structures with their block set. It doesn’t matter if they’re wooden blocks or magnetic blocks, any blocks will do.
Hopefully this round-up gave you some great top toy ideas for 3-year-old boys and girls. Ultimately you need to choose something that you think they’ll enjoy playing with, whether that’s a puppet theatre, a tree house, an action figure or a remote control car. As long as you choose it with love, it will be the perfect gift.