The 35 Best Gifts for 3-Year-Olds

Parent-approved picks at every price point

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gifts for 3 year olds universal

What makes shopping for a 3-year-old so tough? Well, mostly the fact that this is the first year you absolutely cannot phone it in. (She is definitely not just interested in the wrapping paper anymore!) Don’t worry, though. We have some suggestions to make your life a little easier…well, minus the whole potty training part.

The best gifts for 3-year-olds are often the best gifts for parents, too. Hear us out: 

  1. They are easy to store and/or set up, or they’re easy to bring along with you on a trip or to a friend or family member’s house (see: Lincoln Logs, $110, a vintage toy that comes with a sweet carrying case). 
  2. They don’t make a ton of noise (though let’s face it, toys for 3-year-olds are all about the noise, so get some earplugs, parents!). They are engaging enough to maintain a young child’s attention span (the V-Tech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe, $55, has more activities than the child will have time to do in a single sitting). 
  3. They offer some type of educational component, typically in such a way that the child is having so much fun, they don’t realize they’re learning, too. The best gifts for 3-year-olds also take into account that not every 3-year-old is created equal: some kids are more advanced, others learn slowly. Some can chill and concentrate on one activity, others can’t sit still. You have 3-year-olds that love to spend time outdoors, and ones with sensory issues and autism who might have very specific needs.

On this list, we have gathered more than three dozen toys, activities, books and other gifts that every 3-year-old will love and actually use, and that their parents will be thanking you for getting.

How We Chose the Best Gifts for 3-Year-Olds 

We scoured reviews and ratings online, and looked for products that are popular, even trending on social sites like TikTok. We also used our own personal experience and talked with friends and family members with kids around this age to come up with the best of the best. We also considered toys we loved from our own childhood that seem to be making a resurgence (or have always been classics).

In addition to the considerations above, we also looked for toys that promote physical activity and time away from the bright, distracting screens of connected mobile devices. The toy should be durable enough to withstand the slippery fingers and the rowdy nature of a typical 3-year-old: a toy car that is going to crack when they slam it on the ground won’t cut it. We also looked for products made of BPA-free, non-toxic materials.

The Best Gifts for 3-Year-Olds

Best travel-friendly gift for a 3-year-old

1. Seckton Kids Selfie Camera

What We Like

  • made of non-toxic material
  • multiple colors
  • comes with microSD card

What We Don't Like

  • battery doesn’t last very long
  • takes low-resolution photos
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

You’ll be taking photos like wildfire on your vacation or family outings, so why not get something a 3-year-old can use to join in on the fun, too? This kids’ selfie camera comes with a 32GB microSD card for snapping and storing tons of photos and even videos, too. After taking a photo, kids can add funny frames and color filters to them. Remove the microSD card, pop it into your computer, and save the photo creations, even upload them to social media or have them printed. It comes with a lanyard to safely secure the camera around their neck (or you can secure it to the stroller) and offers up to two hours of battery life per charge, enough for an afternoon at the park or sight-seeing stroll on vacation. Made of non-toxic plastic, this camera is totally safe for kids to use and it’s ultra-durable, too, so don’t worry if they toss it to the ground. With five colors, you’ll easily find one for they’ll love.

Best STEM toy for 3-year-olds

2.OugerToy Magnetic Building Tiles

What We Like

  • smaller box size available
  • comes with car bases

What We Don't Like

  • some pieces might be too small for 3-year-olds
  • easy to lose pieces
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days 

Kids are just starting to develop and hone those fine motor skills at this age, and building block toys are a perfect fit, pun intended. These magnetic stacking blocks can be used to construct everything from a car to a castle, basic cubes or just jumbled messes that they can knock down and giggle hysterically while watching them fall. Kids learn about 2D planar and 3D geometric shapes while having fun, which is what the best STEM toys are all about. Pieces are BPA-free with magnets securely inside. Each set even comes with a pair of magnetic car bases and four window click-ins so they can enjoy imaginative play after building something amazing. These tiles help kids work on basic geometry, color and shape recognition—as well as problem solving—all core facets of STEM.

Best easy clean-up toy for 3-year-olds

3. Lincoln Logs

What We Like

  • vintage look
  • storage tin included
  • high-quality maple wood

What We Don't Like

  • can get messy while playing
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Lincoln Logs are still just so smart and cool. Your 3-year-old can build a tiny house that actually looks like a mini version of a real house—and best of all, a Lincoln Log structure can withstand a huff and a puff, so it’s a pretty badass way to play architect. The best part for parents, however, is that it comes with a classic collectible tin that makes both clean-up and storage a breeze. Older siblings will love playing along, too. And who are we kidding? Parents will, too!

Best Active Toy for 3-Year-Olds

4. National Geographic Balance Stepping Stones

What We Like

  • use indoors and outside
  • made of flexible foam
  • teacher recommended

What We Don't Like

  • not washable
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Your soon-to-be preschooler might be fairly sure-footed (and perhaps a little too confident), but when it comes to gross motor skill development, these stepping stones are great for a wide age range. They’re low to the ground and soft, so you don’t have to worry about your toddler twisting an ankle, yet still a perfect prop for 7-year-olds who want to play “The Floor Is Lava!” This toy encourages physical activity, too, perfect for the backyard or even inside on a carpeted area. It’s also worth noting that every National Geographic product purchase helps support the global non-profit National Geographic Society, so you can feel good about helping the planet. 

Best Vintage Toy for 3-Year-Olds

5. Aurora World Stick Pony

What We Like

  • simple
  • encourages imaginative play

What We Don't Like

  • might be too small for larger kids
  • non-replaceable battery for sounds
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

If you have or know a 3-year-old, you have probably seen firsthand how small props can go a long way. Doesn’t matter if you call it a stick pony or a hobby horse, your little one is very likely to find it exciting. It might even slow her down a bit as she tears through the house during those stir-crazy winter months. It plays two sounds when you press the ears for even more realistic play. Chances are, you had a toy just like this when you were a kid (or maybe just used a broomstick with a toy stuck to the end). It’s always the simplest gifts that kids play with, isn’t it? 

Best Toy for Suburban 3-Year-Olds

6. Kriddo Classic Metal Toddler Trike

What We Like

  • ergonomic
  • comfortable chair
  • easy to store
  • built-in bell and basket

What We Don't Like

  • assembly required
  • no hand brakes
  • Return Policy: full refund within 30 days

Think your babe is ready to upgrade to something with pedals? When it comes to finding a good trike, the decision-making process can be daunting. That’s where you can’t go wrong with a classic. This one is comfortable and durable, thanks to its metal frame, and it even has a bamboo basket for toting your kiddo’s favorite stuffed animal. 

Best Sporty Toy for 3-Year-Olds

7. Little Tikes T-Ball Set

What We Like

  • comes with two balls
  • adjustable height
  • can hang on the wall for storage

What We Don't Like

  • may easily fall over
  • Return Policy: free 90-day returns

Hooray! Your child can hone their hand-eye coordination and get out the threenager aggression without wielding an actual baseball bat. T-ball has stood the test of time because it is toddler-tested: safe and fun. A 3-year-old might just gain an affinity for softball, or sports in general, after playing with this toy. Get ready to sign this lil’ slugger up for the local t-ball team after they hit a few out of the park (er, across the backyard). If they’re already playing ball, this set is perfect for extra practice at home.

Best outdoor gift for a 3-year-old

8. Eezy Peezy Monkey Bars Climbing Tower

What We Like

  • durable
  • interlocking tubes
  • UV protection

What We Don't Like

  • assembly required
  • heavy
  • anchors not included
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

It’s a big-ticket item, yes…but it might save your sanity on those days when the weather is truly frightful (and your couch is so delightful?) Plus, by age 3, all kids just really need to climb! For a family with a sizeable backyard, this is a great structure to set up that will provide hours of fun. If kids are too cautious at the park, let them get comfortable at home, and invite their neighborhood buds over for some good old-fashioned climbing fun. 

Best art gift for 3-year-olds

9. Cra-z-art Creative Artist Studio

What We Like

  • extensive selection of art tools (250 pieces)
  • comes with case to organize them

What We Don't Like

  • may be too advanced for some 3-year-olds
  • small pieces
  • Return Policy: free 90-day returns

It might not all be fridge-worthy (did we say that out loud?), but if your little one has an affinity for art, you should definitely scoop up this artist studio set. It includes pastels, watercolors, markers and more—all for the same price you’d pay for just one of those items. Best of all, it’s neatly packaged in an oh-so-fancy briefcase so you don’t have to come up with new ideas for crayon storage.

Best pet lover gift for 3-year-olds

10. Furreals Walkalots Big Wags Dino

What We Like

  • leash is detachable
  • other animal options available

What We Don't Like

  • leash must be assembled
  • Return Policy: free 90-day returns

A dino that walks, makes fun noises, has all the charm of a real pet—and none of the responsibility that you might regret. If your child has been begging and pleading for a cat or dog but you’re deathly allergic (or just pretend to be), your child can nurture this dino instead. It walks along as your little one pushes it with the included (and detachable) leash. His head wobbles and tail wags as he enjoys the view and the exercise. You’ll never have to worry about extinction since this reptile friend runs on a coin cell battery you can replace at any local convenience or watch store. (Just make sure to keep the battery secured inside the pet if this is for an extra curious and destructive 3-year-old).

Best ‘Paw Patrol’ gift for 3-year-olds

11. Paw Patrol Transforming City PAW Patroller Vehicle

What We Like

  • comes with a vehicle to get started
  • has authentic Paw Patrol sound effects
  • batteries included

What We Don't Like

  • be mindful of small parts
  • Return Policy: free 30-day returns

No 3-year-old’s wish list would be complete without something related to Paw Patrol. This rescue vehicle is oversized, but that’s because it has a fully functional elevator—and storage for all the Chase, Marshall and Skye accessories you picked up along the way. The set comes with Ryder and his ATV, but with room for three more Paw Patrol vehicles (able to display up to five when open), you can bet there will be a few on the list for Santa this year. 

Best educational gift for a 3-year-old

12. Vtech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

What We Like

  • frustration-free packaging
  • multiple ways to play

What We Don't Like

  • 4 AA batteries not included
  • assembly required
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Your 3-year-old might not officially be in school just yet, but this educational gift will prep them for what’s to come. The desk and stool are perfectly suited for little bodies, and activities are built right in. They can go from learning about letters and numbers to drawing shapes, identifying objects and animals, and listening to songs, just to name a few options. Oh, and when parents get sick of hearing the same song for the 20th time, they can transform the desk into a chalkboard, or even an easel, for creative fun. There’s even storage under the desk for crayons and other art supplies. With more than 100 vocabulary words and 20 activities, they’ll be ready to tackle preschool and kindergarten like a boss. 

Best musical gift for 3-year-olds

13. Kidzlane Floor Piano

What We Like

  • folds for easy storage
  • made of heavy-duty
  • toxin-free vinyl
  • wipe clean

What We Don't Like

  • batteries (3 AAs) not included
  • some say poor battery life
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days 

Kids today might not get the reference from the movie Big but there’s no denying the joy you get from a floor piano. Unroll this six-foot mat on a flat surface, then let your toddler tap, jump, walk, and slide their feet along the keys to make sweet, sweet music. (Or more like horrifying, out of tune noises). Hop on with them and use the 10 song cards (so they think they’re totally playing that song with their feet) or use the learning mode and eight instrument sounds to help them create a decent melody. Don’t be afraid to just stomp your feet around like you’re on a disco dance floor and just have boatloads of fun, too. You can even record and playback your unique track. Diplo and Zedd will be calling to add this kid’s sick tunes to their next DJ mix!

Best puzzle for 3-year-olds

14. Melissa & Doug Floor Puzzle

What We Like

  • made with FSC-certified materials
  • extra-thick pieces
  • helps with hand-eye coordination

What We Don't Like

  • kids might get bored of it quickly
  • Return Policy: free 90-day returns

If you’re going to do a jigsaw puzzle at age 3, it has to happen fast—but the finished product must be sprawling and spectacular too. Melissa & Doug floor puzzles walk that fine line with ease. This puzzle features imagery of roaring dinosaurs, and what kid doesn’t absolutely adore those creatures? There are only 24 large pieces so this isn’t going to rack your toddler’s brain trying to figure out how to finish it, nor will they get bored before they do. Once done, it measures 2 by 3 feet, and the wee one will have just as much fun tearing it apart to do it all over again.

Best playroom gift for 3-year-olds

15.Giant Foam Building Blocks

What We Like

  • bright colors
  • non-toxic
  • waterproof

What We Don't Like

  • need more than one set to build a larger structure
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Building blocks really are one of the most popular gifts for kids of this age. They learn hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills while building all types of creations and, of course, knocking them down. But why deal with tiny handheld pieces when you can get oversized foam blocks that you can jump onto as well? This set comes with 50 pieces in different shapes and sizes (hello, more learning!), all made from safe, non-toxic material. They are waterproof, too, and non-toxic in case a younger sibling starts to gnaw on one while teething. Literally build a castle or get a few sets and make a full-on fort. Just add the pillows and blankets.

Best gift for 3-year-old daughter

16. Pre-World Tea Party Set

What We Like

  • comes with tea party accessories
  • non-toxic material
  • different themes

What We Don't Like

  • pieces can easily get lost or left behind
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Maybe it was that photo of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson parked in a tiny chair having a tea party with his daughter that brought this trend back to light. Nonetheless, every little girl will invite you to a tea party at some point, and with this set, she can take that tea service on the road. It comes with all the pieces necessary for perfect afternoon tea—yes, even the tablecloth (45 pieces in all)—with everything packed into a convenient carrying case. She’ll present you with freshly baked muffins, donut, and scones on a tiered stand that will leave your mouth watering (and maybe strike the itch to bake).

Best gift for 3-year-old son

17. Hot Wheels City 50 Mega Garage

What We Like

  • can fit up to 60 cars
  • can connect other sets

What We Don't Like

  • only comes with one car
  • Return Policy: 15 days return, 60 days for My Best Buy Plus and My Best Buy Total members

You can’t go wrong with Hot Wheels. These tiny cars have been a favorite to zoom across the floor for decades, and a little boy will love this garage set. It only comes with a single Hot Wheels vehicle, but buy an add-on pack to go with it (or he might already have a bunch at home) so he can race them all around the garage. There’s a corkscrew elevator, hand-crank, parking spots and more. They can connect other playsets, too, to make an entire village. This gift will provide hours of fun for little boys, who will be “vroom-vrooming” and performing stunts like they’re on the NASCAR track.

Best creative gifts for 3-year-olds

18. KRAFUN My First Felt Kit

What We Like

  • easy art projects
  • no glue needed

What We Don't Like

  • limited pieces included
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Crafting is always fun, but kids as young as 3 are too little to deal with hot glue guns, scissors and other potentially harmful materials. Instead, opt for felt crafting, which is soft without jagged edges and has pieces that don’t require glue to stick together. Kids can make six simple things: a mask, keyring, door hanger, bag, banner and puppet. This set features adorable animals, but there are other themed sets, too. Kids will walk into kindergarten as an expert designer and have something they can proudly say they made all by themselves (shh, no one needs to know you helped!).

Best TikTok trending gift for 3-year-olds

19. Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby Doll

What We Like

  • realistic features
  • comes with lots of accessories

What We Don't Like

  • comes with demo batteries only (needs 4 AAs)
  • can only spot clean clothes
  • doll food can stain
  • Return Policy: free 90-day returns

The TikTok universe has spoken, and there’s an entire channel dedicated to the Baby Alive Dolls, which come in tons of different types, each of which performs different realistic functions. This one utters 50 sounds and phrases, and eats her own baby food then requires a diaper change. Seriously! For a 3-year-old dealing with a baby sibling, this trending doll is the perfect way to keep her involved: she can change her baby while a parent changes the real one. Baby Alive even moves, giggles and drinks from her sippy cup.

Best book gift for 3-year-olds

20. Classic Fairytale Pop-Up Book

What We Like

  • adds a new element to reading

What We Don't Like

  • stories are shortened
  • small font
  • requires delicate hands
  • Return Policy: no limit on returns

What’s better than lying down with your 3-year-old and reading a classic fairytale to them? Choose from classic stories like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and the Little Mermaid with 3D illustrations that add intrigue and wonder. Forget the movies: Let kids use their imagination. One reviewer says they read this book to their 2-year-old grandchild and there was a “sense of wonder in exploring each new page.”

Best sensory gift for 3-year-olds

21. Pussan Busy Board

What We Like

  • has an educational component
  • based on Montessori learning methods

What We Don't Like

  • doesn’t come with storage for tools
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

For 3-year-olds with sensory issues, a sensory toy can make a world of difference. But really, no kid can resist touching buttons, flipping switches, and pulling levers. That’s what this toy is all about, which has an activity area with six switches that correspond to different colored light bulbs and another area with six screws that work with different tools. Called a “busy board,” this toy will indeed keep a child mesmerized. Plus, it helps them understand cause and effect and develop fine motor skills. Before you know it, they’ll be helping you repair things around the house.

Best board game for 3-year-olds

22. Candy Land Board Game

What We Like

  • no reading required
  • classic game

What We Don't Like

  • lots of small pieces
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

You probably have fond memories of kicking your parents’ butts playing Candy Land when you were a kid. Spark nostalgia and introduce a new generation to this classic kids’ board game with a twist: the Kingdom of Sweet Adventures edition has lots more delectable treat surprises. It’s a simple game that doesn’t require any reading, and each round is pretty quick, making it perfect for preschoolers.

Best tech gift for 3-year-olds

23. Amazon Fire Tablet 7 Kids Tablet

What We Like

  • comes in a kid-proof case
  • worry-free guarantee
  • long battery life

What We Don't Like

  • limited functions for when they get older
  • limited storage
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days, free replacement if it breaks within 2 years

Yeah, yeah, we know, too much screen time isn’t great. But wouldn’t it be nice to get a 15-minute break to wash the dishes or chat with your gal pals at brunch without having to tend to your fidgety 3-year-old? Don’t feel guilty about a bit of screen time. But instead of being nervous they’ll smash your brand-new iPhone to the ground when the next episode of Peppa Pig doesn’t play right away, get them their own tablet. This tablet is specifically designed for preschoolers. It’s small enough to fit in their hands, comes with a protective bumper case with a built-in kickstand, and offers access to a curated selection of content. Loosen the parental controls and they can continue to use it beyond the toddler years, too.

Best imaginative play gift for 3-year-olds

24. KidKraft Let’s Cook Wooden Play Kitchen

What We Like

  • realistic buttons and knobs
  • sturdy wood construction
  • storage under microwave

What We Don't Like

  • doesn’t include accessories
  • assembly required
  • requires a lot of space
  • Return Policy: 90-day returns

What we especially love about this playset is that a child won’t grow out of it so quickly: kids will enjoy a set like this for years. At this age, they can enjoy cooking up a dinner, serving and washing dishes. Don’t worry, though, it’s all pretend. As they get older, you can add a cash register and help teach them about math calculations. I mean, every little kid knows that “grocery store” is the Best. Game. Ever. This set has realistic lights and sounds, doors that open and close, knobs that turn and click, and even a pull-down faucet. Add plastic food and other accessories and they’re ready to hold their own cooking masterclass.

Best backyard gift for 3-year-olds

25. Step 2 Neat & Tidy Cottage Outdoor Playhouse

What We Like

  • good height
  • sturdy construction holds up in all types of weather

What We Don't Like

  • assembly required
  • batteries for doorbell not included
  • Return Policy: free 90-day returns

I had this exact outdoor playhouse for my now 11-year-old son when he was younger, and he used it until he could no longer stand inside. Even after, it became a “garage” for his toys (if you have the space, this could be moved indoors, too.) The Dutch doors, pretend fireplace, built-in shelves and play sink, seat, and outdoor grill make them feel like they’re soaking up the sun by the water. There’s even a doorbell (two AA batteries required) for when they’re expecting guests and a play phone for calls if someone is running late. They’ll be hanging out in their own little cottage for hours: Sorry, no adults allowed.

Best first phone for 3-year-olds

26. FAO Schwartz Starter Smartphone

What We Like

  • good height
  • sturdy construction holds up in all types of weather

What We Don't Like

  • assembly required
  • batteries for doorbell not included
  • Return Policy: 90-day returns

Let’s be honest: Your favorite accessory is bound to pique their interest. But unlike handing over your phone for a few minutes, this starter cell can’t be used to order pizza or dial your ex. It’s all about learning (colors, animals, numbers!) with its 20 built-in songs and quiz modes. There’s also a sensory fidget popper case to play with, as well as a lanyard to keep it from getting lost easily.

Best customized gift for 3-year-olds

27. Custom Search & Find Adventure Book

What We Like

  • made of 100% recycled paper
  • kids also learn about each destination
  • 10 languages available

What We Don't Like

  • non-refundable
  • Return Policy: made-to-order not returnable unless damaged or defective

Let’s be honest: Your favorite accessory is bound to pique their interest. But unlike handing over your phone for a few minutes, this starter cell can’t be used to order pizza or dial your ex. It’s all about learning (colors, animals, numbers!) with its 20 built-in songs and quiz modes. There’s also a sensory fidget popper case to play with, as well as a lanyard to keep it from getting lost easily.

Best ‘Bluey’ gift for 3-year-olds

28. Where’s Bluey? Search-and-Find Book

What We Like

  • 8-12 items to seek per page; thick
  • high-quality paper

What We Don't Like

  • not many pages
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Want to watch a 3-year-old go suddenly quiet for minutes (or longer) at a time? Gift this book and be mesmerized as they intently stare at the pages trying to find Bluey. The book is perfect for this age group with 32 pages, each with a hidden Bluey character along with other hidden items for them to locate and jump with joy as they discover each one. Challenge them to a search and find contest to see who can find the most items in the quickest time. We named this the best quiet time activity among Bluey toys, with reviewers saying their kids who love the show appreciate that many characters are littered throughout the book. Just don’t mark the pages up and you can do it again and again.

Best dress-up gift for 3-year-olds

29. Born Toys Dress Up & Pretend Costumes

What We Like

  • includes accessories with each costume as well
  • each is easy to put on and take off
  • machine washable

What We Don't Like

  • some costumes might be too big for 3-year-olds
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

With this dress-up set, toddlers will be in and out of their room trying on various costumes to play pretend in. They’ll take on the persona of a firefighter, then move on to a doctor (to check you over after you narrowly escaped the fire, of course), and finally a chef—hopefully to cook you a delicious dinner. The set includes six costumes (the aforementioned three, plus policeman, gardener and explorer) and even comes with a storage box. It’s the perfect solution for an antsy kid who needs to keep busy for an hour and loves to strut their stuff. Bonus: Use these as Halloween costumes, too.

Best gift for 3-year-olds who love to bake

30. Tovla Jr. Kids Cooking and Baking Gift Set

What We Like

  • utensils are safe for kids to use
  • made from non-toxic
  • food-grade materials
  • can use for years to come

What We Don't Like

  • might be too advanced for some 3-year-olds
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Some 3-year-olds love to sit intently watching an adult cook and bake. Get them involved in the process with this cooking and baking gift set. It has tons of supplies that aren’t just for play: They can be used with real food, too. From mixing batter for banana bread to rolling out dough for apple turnovers and cutting cookies into adorbs shapes, kids will love being in charge.

Best nostalgic gift for 3-year-olds

31. Lite Brite Ultimate Classic Learning Toy

What We Like

  • sparks nostalgia
  • they can do it over and over again

What We Don't Like

  • lots of little pieces
  • Return Policy: 90-day returns

Remember Lite Brite? Yep, it’s still around. And yes, it will still keep kids busy for hours upon hours. This new version comes with six design templates you can place on top of the lightbox, then use the 206 different colored pegs to fill in the image. There are four lighting modes and the LED bulbs are battery powered and don’t get hot. Kids learn to place the right colored peg in the right spot as well as develop their hand-eye coordination. Once they finish one project, light it up, snap a pic, take it apart and start another.

Best quiet play gift for 3-year-olds

32. Alvantor Kids Play Tent

What We Like

  • great for travel
  • stores away nicely
  • easy to set up

What We Don't Like

  • recommended only for indoor use
  • Return Policy: free 30-day returns

We could all use some quiet time and our own space, and 3-year-olds need that, too. After they’ve had a massive tantrum because you didn’t cut their baby carrots just so, maybe it’s time to retreat to their own little oasis. This 4’10’’ x 4’10’’ x 3’9’’ tent can fit multiple kids, or a single 3-year-old with some toys and books to keep them occupied when they need quiet downtime. It’s easy to set up and take down for storage. It even comes with a small carry bag.  Sorry, no parents allowed, but there is a secret window in the back where adults can check in on the kids and send in snacks. One reviewer says their boys “can’t stay out of it” and views it as their “secret place.”

Best play figure set for 3-year-olds

33. TEMI Dinosaur Truck Toys

What We Like

  • comes with eight figures
  • Triceratops also available
  • option to add cars

What We Don't Like

  • requires storage space
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Dinosaurs are a favorite among kids of this age. Trucks are a favorite with kids at this age. Put the two together? You can’t go wrong! This T-Rex transport carrier is massive and comes with eight dinosaur figures they can capture and trap inside. But chances are the child already has some dino friends (or other play figures) they can take along for the ride, too. Once they park at the destination (Jurassic Park, anyone?), kids can transfer the dinos to the activity play mat to roam freely, or try to evade capture. From static play on the mat to zooming around the house, this toy will keep them thoroughly entertained.

Best activity book for 3-year-olds

34. Momo & Nashi Montessori Busy Book

What We Like

  • teaches 14 core concepts
  • waterproof plastic pieces
  • extra Velcro included

What We Don't Like

  • lots of little pieces are easy to lose
  • Return Policy: full refund or replacement within 30 days

Keep kids occupied, intrigued, learning and prepping for preschool with this busy book that contains tons of activities to teach them about the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes, farm animals, healthy food, transportation, emotions and more. Shipping in a box with a convenient carry handle, it’s perfect for a plane ride or road trip, or keeping kids entertained in a hotel room. They can remove and stick things onto pages, and that alone will keep them engaged.

Best gift for budding entrepreneurs

35. Melissa & Doug Top & Bake Wooden Pizza Counter Play Set

What We Like

  • durable design
  • encourages creative play

What We Don't Like

  • pieces could get lost easily
  • Return Policy: free returns until January 31

Papa John? We don’t know him. Your kid will be slinging pies like the best of them with this handy set. It comes with cash, a pizza box, slices and thick felt “toppings,” all housed in a play storefront, so he or she will have everything they need to launch their own cheesy empire. Plus, while they’re selling pies, they’ll be accidentally learning to count, too. Win-win.

What’s the Best Present for a 3-Year-Old?

There really is no one size fits all answer here. There are certainly items you can’t go wrong with, and that any child of that age would love, like a puzzle, a book, a toy car or an electronic toy of some kind with buttons that makes noises. 

Every child is different, so consider the specific child. Do they appear to be ahead of the curve in terms of intellectual development? If so, consider a more advanced toy; something educational that will challenge them. Are they rowdy? Look at something that will help them expend energy indoors or out, in a healthy way. If there’s a specific TV show, movie, or character they love, you might want a gift that ties to that. 

Consider the parents as well: if you know they are overwhelmed with three kids under the age of 5, maybe steer clear of the noisier toys and ones that require supervision or assembly. Finally, do you know the child’s interests? If they’re totally obsessed with dinosaurs, a dinosaur toy is a no-brainer. If they love sports, help introduce them to a new one. 

Where to Buy Gifts for a 3-Year-Old

Gifts for 3-year-olds are super-easy to find at all types of stores. Naturally, Amazon has a massive selection from which to choose, as do stores like Walmart and Target. You can find some great tech and educational toys at Best Buy, along with other goodies like board games and playsets. 

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Freelance Writer

Christine Persaud has been writing and editing since the early 2000s. With a passion and deep knowledge for cooking, fitness, fashion, TV entertainment and tech, she contributes...

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...

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