20 Best Toys to give a Three-year-old

By Assistant Editor Ashley


Liz and I have daughters just six weeks apart. The last two years we’ve done a gift guide around their ages (gifts for a one-year-old, gifts for a two-year-old), so we couldn’t help but follow up this year with a gift guide for three-year-olds. We also reached out to a few trusted friends to get their picks as well! Anything we’ve missed?


  1. Three-year-olds love games. This game is great for not only three-year-olds but the whole family.
  2. Toys that burn off energy are like a gift for you (and them!). This scooter fits the bill!
  3. You can never go wrong with Playdoh.
  4. Cars to push here, there, and everywhere. We love this one because it’s so eco-friendly.
  5. Puppets are a great channel for imagination play. I love these Medieval puppets and this doorway puppet theater.
  6. Three-year-olds like to take care of things. This mouse in a matchbox fits the bill.
  7. The perfect pram for pushing things around all. day. long.
  8. Play kitchens are a must-have for this age.
  9. I like to try and sneak in an educational toy, and these Alpha Pops are the perfect fit.
  10. Time to make the jump from babies to dolls. I love this doll because it’s kind of in-between the two.
  11. Hone in on what they are interested in most. Dinosaurs? Try these figurines.
  12. It’s always good to have a nice set of wooden blocks. They’ll last through all your kids.
  13. These Playmag Tiles are a hit for the whole family and keep the kids entertained for hours.
  14. Dress-ups are a great gift. We love the idea of adding butterfly wings to your collection.
  15. If you have a yard, this might be a good time to get a soccer goal.
  16. These Calico Critters are so cute they come in almost any animal (look at these hedgehogs).
  17. A rope ladder for the indoors or outdoors.
  18. My three-year-old’s favorite toy is her doctor kit. Hours of entertainment!
  19. Books! A Moon of our Own is one of our favorites.
  20. They’re already running around the house – why not add a cape?







Rock and Pebbles in LA has fantastic, open ended wooden toys. I
Give them a look. I found their H blocks and Pebble people at Heath Ceramics when I took my kids on the free tour. Children 2-12 have loved the toys I bought from this company. And you are right on about Playmags and magnatiles. As a preschool teacher and mother I’ve never seen a child who does not enjoy them and so many amazing books thes days. Sleeping Cinderella and Interstellar Cinderella are great at showing girls and boys that girls can solve hard problems and be their own heros

Mathilde is 2.5 (let’s just pretend she’s 3) and the two things she keeps asking for are “a big girl digger” and “two big red dinodoors”! I’ve got the dinosaurs sorted but she already has quite a few Playmobil diggers and trucks so I’m hesitant to get any more. Plus, I have no idea what makes a digger a “big girl digger”!

Thank you for posting this great list. I was at a loss as to what to get my niece and this really helped!

Speaking for my 3-year-old: you’ve got most of her interests covered, yes.

Additions for my particular kid: she likes doing things ‘like mama’ – lipstick (erm, lip balm) and nail polish is a BIG win. She also likes being ‘like papa’ – button-down shirts and screwdrivers. She is NOT interested in bigger dolls, babies are where it’s at (but she also loves babies more than any other person I know, ever, so that may totally just be her). And, finally: TRAINS. A toy wood train (Brio is amazing) has been a HUGE hit for her.

Can’t believe I forgot to put a train on there. Of course! Loved your other suggestions as well!

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