The Tot Gift Guide for 3 Year Olds
Let’s be honest, most three-year-olds aka “threenagers” aren’t afraid to tell you what they want, but just in case you’re at a loss we’ve put together a gift guide with the latest toys and gear you need to know about.
At the magical age of three, little minds and bodies are moving at full speed. Whether they’re into arts and crafts, reading book after book or spending the entire afternoon exploring the backyard in a head-to-toe costume, a preschooler’s imagination is now running wild.
Let’s take a look at the little one’s stage of development and the best gift ideas to match it.
Child Development at 3 Years Old
With speech development gaining momentum around this time, educational toys that promote vocabulary like books, flash cards and colorful blocks can be invaluable.
Role play is quite common at this age as well. Toys like play kitchens and cash registers can help kids expand their vocabulary, practice manners, and introduce them to different cultures. Remember playing “Shop” as a kid? Us too. This pretend play was beyond fun and taught us the difference between fruits, veggies, canned goods, ice cream and of course – money!
Since partaking in play that uses gross motor skills is crucial for cognitive and physical development, items like pedal cars, balance bikes and climbing gyms also make great gifts. For kids to grow, they need to run, climb, jump, bounce, wiggle and wobble. Try gifting things like tricycles, scooters or trampolines.
Self-expression can really begin to shine at this age. Providing simple items like a Teepee or cubby house can create a canvas or safe place for a child to make their own. It’s a space that they can go to rest, partake in creative play or reflect on what they’ve absorbed that day. At three, the world is a child’s oyster so the best thing to do is give them items that help them feel included and empowered.
Best Toys and Gifts for 3 Year Olds
Whether you’re shopping for a Christmas gift or a birthday present idea for a 3 year old, here are our recommendations for the best gifts for playtime:
- Shape, letter and number puzzles
- Cleaning play set
- Balance boards
- Pedal cars and ride-on toys
- Balance bikes
- Toy vehicles
- Play kitchens and food toys
- Magnetic letters
- Musical instruments
- Arts and crafts materials
- Rain boots
- Dress-up clothing
Scroll down to see the high-quality products we’ve pulled for each of these gift ideas and shop below. Whether you’re shopping for a 3-year-old boy or girl, you’re sure to find the perfect toy for them!
The Mudpuppy puzzle is an excellent way to introduce your child to the numbers 1-10. This colourful puzzle teaches preschoolers problem-solving and basic educational concepts, and enhances fine motor skills. Plus, it’s great for introducing children to STEM toys early! Buy the Mudpuppy My First Numbers Puzzle here.
Spring cleaning can happen all year round with the PlanToys Cleaning Set! Great for encouraging role play, life skills and hand-eye coordination, the set includes a bucket, spray bottle, squeegee, broom and dustpan. Buy the PlanToys Cleaning Set here.
Developing core strength is one of the most important things a toddler needs to do. The Wobbel, a genius balance board can also be used as a bridge, a fort, a foundation for a rainbow tower, and countless other imaginative things! Buy the The Original Wobbel here.
Pedal cars are a fantastic ride-on toy for encouraging the development of gross motor skills. Equally important for promoting imaginative and active pretend play, they can also often double as decor! Buy the Baghera Classic Pedal Car here.
Vehicle toys like this emergency set can be a fun way for kids to expand their vocabulary and learn who to call in case of an emergency. Buy the Tender Leaf Toys Emergency Vehicles set here.
Handmade in Louisville, Kentucky, by a husband and wife duo, the E&E Lexie Teepee can be the perfect photo shoot prop, book nook, fairy den, club-house, stuffed animal holder, and more! Buy the E&E Lexie Teepee here.
You don’t have to be an animal lover to love this wooden toy vet set from PlanToys. Made of sustainable rubber wood, it includes everything your little one needs to perform a checkup or help mend a wound. Buy the PlanToys Vet Set here.
The Kid Made Modern My First Arts + Crafts Library is designed especially for the youngest crafters. Keeping in mind their small hands and developing fine motor skills, the components are large and easy to grasp, while staying true to the artist quality materials you expect from Kid Made Modern.
Puzzles are great for honing hand-eye coordination and helping kids learn to problem solve by thinking critically. Just in time for the holiday season, the Petit Collage Petit Santa Puzzle makes a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer. Buy the Petit Collage Petit Santa Puzzle here.
Great for building social skills and expanding vocabulary, play kitchens can also be a smart way to introduce healthy eating habits. Buy the Milton & Goose Classic Play Kitchen here.
Order up! Food toys are always a win when it comes to toys for kids. Perfect for role-playing and helping develop hand-eye coordination, this option from Tender Leaf Toys is also made with non-toxic materials. Buy the Tender Leaf Toys Smoothie Maker here.
The Green Toys Sturdy School Bus is ready to be loaded up for an earth-friendly ride to the classroom, a field trip, or whatever excursion little scholars see fit. Great for encouraging imaginative play and honing hand-eye coordination, the Green Toys School Bus goes to the head of the class for safety and eco-design, with no metal axles or external coatings.
A balance bike will get your tot riding a bike without a trike’s training wheels in no time! Ideal for strengthening the core and leg muscles, this sturdy kids’ bicycle also teaches steering and helps build confidence. And its adjustable handlebar, plush seat cushion and front basket make it functional and fun. Buy the Banwood Bike First Go! Balance Bike here.
Just in time for Christmas, this classic Dr Seuss book is always a winner with the kids! The best part: for every book Tiny Bee Gift Co. sells, they donate one to a child in need. Buy the Tiny Bee Gift Co. How The Grinch Stole Christmas here.
Learn the ABCs of having fun with Mudpuppy’s wooden letter magnetic set. Great for spelling, decorating or writing messages on any magnetic surface, this toy is both fun and educational. Buy the Mudpuppy Magnetic Letters Set here.
Musical instruments can do wonders for a tot’s emotional development. They’re also wonderful for practicing fine and gross motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. Buy the Schoenhut Piano Company Grand Piano 309 Series here.
Made from renewable rubber wood and painted with non-toxic paints, this wheelbarrow will spark a child’s imagination while teaching them about the world outside. Buy the Tender Leaf Toys Garden Wheelbarrow Set here.
For crafty kids, the world is their canvas. Easy for little hands to hold, these large water soluble crayons enable tots to draw, doodle or scribble on paper, glass windows and whiteboards, making craft time or party decorating extra fun. Buy Kitpas Coloring Blocks here.
Twee’s vibrant, playful and non-toxic chalks are a great way for kids to create and express themselves. Suitable for use on rough surfaces, they’re a durable option designed to last. Buy Twee Cheesy Pizza Sidewalk Chalk here.
Rain boots come in handy all year round. Perfect for puddle jumping or exploring the backyard, they’re fun and functional footwear. Buy Novesta Rubber Boots here.
It doesn’t take much to make a child’s imagination soar. (Or shall we say, ROAR!) A simple mask and tail can take your tot to the Sahara and back before bedtime. Buy the Opposite of Far Lion Set here.
Flipping your fins you don’t get too far – unless you’re using your imagination! Perfect for those who want to live under the sea, this two piece set is a dress-up box essential. Buy the Lovelane Designs Mermaid Set here.
- Looking for Christmas gifts? Visit our Holiday Shop.
- Love cozy pajamas for the whole family? Visit our Pajama Shop.
If you have tots of other ages in your life, take a look at our gift guides section. We offer high-quality present ideas for 2-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and other kids’ age groups.