Ah, the toddler years! When your little ones start to assert their independence and want to do things for themselves. The best gifts for 3 year olds, and toddlers in general, are ones that can hold their focus as they play and master new skills.
The gifts on this list use kids’ hands, bodies, and minds as they build their creativity, motor skills, and a love for learning new things.
Best Pretend Play And Make Belief Toys For 3-Year Olds
You don’t need much to get a toddler’s imagination going. However, there are certain toys that can take their make-belief play to a whole new level. And if you can combine this pretend play with life-long lessons (like setting up routines, or doing chores) you’re setting your little one for success for years to come.
1. Play Tent
Do you want to give the gift of… literally everything? A space ship, a house, a reading nook, or a little sanctuary?
Give them a play tent and watch their imagination soar.
Imagine getting a kit of toys that lets you to take ownership of your routines, builds emotional intelligence and independence.
That’s what your 3-year old will get with LOVEVERY’s Observer Play Kit, that has a little plan-ahead weather board, left-right shoe stickers, wooden dolls that will help them learn the names of emotions, and a modular play house with wooden accessories and a car!
Aside from these awesome Montessori toys, you’ll get 3 age-appropriate books on emotions, and a play guide with expert tips and ideas.
Then, in 3 months, your little learner will receive a completely new kit to build a new set of skills and expectations.
The Observer Play kit by LOVEVERY ($120 per kit, every 3 months as a subscription.)
This little mixer is undeniably adorable – especially if you love baking for your little one. It comes with all the accessories – a rolling pin, sugar and flour, and even an egg.
Wooden Toy Mixer ($25)
4. Star Wand
If your 3-year-old’s imagination is out of this world, this star wand will make the best gift!
Let them be a princess, a fairy, a wizard, or a magician anytime they want with this simple wooden wand that will serve as sweet room décor when they’re not making magic.
Star Wand ($14)
Little kids love to be little helpers, and this toy workbench will set them up to be little fixers too. This toy has a saw, a hammer, and a circular saw. It also has lots and lots of little toy screws, bolts, and nails, which is what makes it ideal for the older toddlers (and not the litlte ones)
6. Play Houses
If your kids are off in their own little world when they’re playing, help them set up a play world that’s “just right.”
These little playhouses are so sweet and understated, they’ll be the perfect addition to a play town without stealing the show.
You can actually stack and mix and match the rooves and the houses, making this a fun learning gift for 3 year olds as well.
Play houses and cars ($18)
Fairy adventure? Woodland party? Dolls playing dress up? These toy trees will feel right at home in any imaginative scene!
They come in various color schemes, and make for lovely décor beyond the nursery.
Toy Trees ($19)
8. Toy Stroller
This little pram can spark any child’s imagination! Kids love carting their prized possessions around or just playing pretend.
Wooden Toy Pram (from $100)
There’s something ultra-charming about this kid-sized wooden cleaning set. Maybe it’s the idea of watching your little 3 year old want to become a responsible “big kid.”
Either way, it never hurts to teach tidying skills, and they’ll certainly have fun. Who knows, maybe you’ll come home to an ultra-clean play area!
Wood cleaning set by Melissa and Doug (from $35)
If your little one regularly comes with you grocery shopping, return the favor with this adorable and realistic gift.
Your toddler will love to pretend they’re shopping (or just carting their things from here to there!)
Toy Shopping Cart by Melissa and Doug (from $72)
11. Bubble Lawn Tools
Can you picture your three-year-old as a landscaper? Except instead of the noisy leaf blower or lawn mower, they can make bubbles!
Honestly, these gifts will keep them occupied for hours, and they’re a fun way to spend time outdoors.
Bubble Lawn Mower (from $25)
Bubble Leaf Blower ($27)
Active Toys For 3 Year Olds
If your little one has conquered every play structure and climbed every tree, you may be on the lookout for some active toys that will keep your kids from summiting your kitchen counters and using the couch as a trampoline.
But the best part about these active toys for 3-year-olds, is that they’re not just for active kids. If your toddlers are a little shy on their feet, these toys will certainly build their confidence.
12. Balance Board
Those 3-year-olds will be naturally drawn to a balance board. It’s fun yet challenging, and will definitely keep them focused!
This balance board builds strength, a sense of balance, and physical awareness in general. The only drawback is that you’ll want to use it yourself.
13. Balance Beam
Whether your toddler is a force to be reckoned with or a cautious little mover, a balance beam will help them work on their gross motor skills by either forcing them to slow down just enough to master it, or step a little outside their comfort zone.
Either way, this is an great gift for 3 year olds!
If you have a 3-year-old who would happily run up and down your home (knocking down everything in their path) for hours on end, you won’t regret this gift! A little trampoline will let them expend some of their energy while staying more or less in one place.
Little Tikes Trampoline (From $73)
15. Ride-On Car
It’s always so cute seeing a little kiddo ride towards you in one of these cars or watch them take turns pushing each other around.
And while the classic red happy-face car has a special place in each grown-up’s heart, there’s no denying that these upgraded themes like a little truck or a horse and carriage are just too irresistible and would make for the best gifts.
Little Tikes Truck Ride-On ($100)
16. Balance Bike
Remember struggling to learn to ride a bike? Frustrating, right?
Well, you’d be amazed to know that toddlers who got to zoom around on a balance bike have no issues transitioning to the real thing. Some even get it on their first try!
The balance bike gives them a sense of control and lets them master balance, speed, and steering. We love this one by Mima Zoom because it’s lightweight, has adjustable handlebars and seat, as well as puncture-proof tires.
Balance Bike ($195)
When your 3-year-old sees this climber, they’ll instinctively know what to do! It will help them develop their little hands and feet as they find new ways of climbing up and down.
Want to raise confident, adventure-loving kids? Let them climb!
Birch Climber with Rock Wall (from $270)
18. Learning Tower
A learning tower is a nice safe way to observe mom and dad in the kitchen, and it’s a gift for 3-year-olds that will make them feel like they help and contribute to the family.
Who can ask for more than that?
Little helper learning tower ($279)
Gifts For 3 Year Olds’ Hands And Minds
Whether they’re Montessori, Waldorf, or just plain fun, these gifts are engaging, educational, and skill-building.
19. Toy Piano
If your little toddler thinks she’s “too mature” for the old xylophone, let her upgrade! Pianos make the best fits for 3 year olds!
You can go with a more classic look and feel that will engage your little one without overstimulating her, or you can go for the electronic version that has additional instrument sounds and background music. Plus it comes with a working microphone, how cute is that!
Toy Piano by Amy and Benton ($25)
Baby Grand Piano ($150)
20. Thinking Putty
If you have a three year old who won’t sit still, you’d be surprised by how focused and intent they’ll become while playing with putty. It’s almost a parenting hack!
You could do just as well with playdough, but we find that putty is a fun way to mix it up, is a little more mesmerizing due to its iridescent colors, and is slightly less messy.
21. Doodle Mat
Mess-free and mega-engaging. Just add water to the included markers, and your kids can make colorful doodles until their heart’s content.
Then, just let it dry and start over.
Large Doodle Mat (From $19)
You’ll be amazed by your little 3-year-old’s math skills once they have an abacus! We love it for addition and subtraction, as well as keeping count of how many toys are on the shelf. The great thing about introducing these skills early in a fun and sensory way, you know your little one will absolutely shine at school!
Abacus by Melissa and Doug (From $16)
23. Board Games
Board games are so much more than a simple gift. Your little toddler will be learning, following rules, and bonding with you all while having fun.
Our favorite board game at the moment is Sequence for Kids, but there are tons and tons to choose from!
Board books make for the best gifts for kids!
So what are the best books for 3 year olds? Our family loves books about planets that introduce science in a very kid-friendly way. We also really like “This Little Scientist” for inviting our kids to learn about scientists and their accomplishments, covering different cultures and genders.
Read our interviews with children’s authors
Interactive and Electronic Gifts for 3 Year Olds
These gifts will be awesome for long car rides, learning, or a fun screen-time alternative.
25. Doodle Tablet
This fun toy will make your three-year-olds feel like they have their own table without having to worry about screen time.
It’s fun to doodle or practice writing with this bright and colorful toy.
18-inch Doodle tablet ($18-$23)
LeapFrog really delivers when it comes to fun, interactive, and educational toys.
Your toddler can pick up new words related to emotions, animals, careers, and more. There are various levels of difficulty – from being given the word to being asked to find a word, and it comes in English and Spanish!
LeapFrog 100 Words Book ($14-$20)
Best Gifts For 3 Year Olds – Final Words
Aren’t these gifts super-special? Whatever you choose, we’re sure it will be loved by that little toddler for years to come!
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