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The Best Toys for 3 Year Olds

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Our list of the best toys for 3 year olds are designed to help children aged 3 and up learn through play, stimulating their minds and encouraging creativity. From building blocks to puzzles, there's something for every young learner. With this list of toys, you can help your child develop language, counting, and problem-solving skills.

Please keep in mind that some of the toys listed are towards the higher end of the age group and therefore could present a choking hazard. You are responsible for ensuring that each toy is safe for your child to use.

To jump to a specific category of learning/development, click below:










Fine Motor and Art Toys




Amazon Price: $82.95




How they help in Fine Motor development:

Hand-eye coordination: While stacking blocks on top of each other without knocking other ones down.

Bonus Development:

Creative play: These blocks come in different shapes and sizes which allow children to come up with thousands of variations of structures!

Math Skills: Children can use blocks to learn about the different shapes and sizes of objects!




 


Amazon Price: $23.99




How they help Fine Motor Development:

Hand - eye Coordination: Similar to wooden building blocks, Lego Duplos allow children to stack with the additional bonus of needing to press hard enough and in the correct spot to get the pieces to click together!

Bonus Development:

Creative play: These blocks come in different shapes and sizes which allow children to come up with thousands of variations of structures!

Math Skills: Children can use blocks to learn about the different shapes, sizes, and colors of objects!




 

Amazon Price: $49.99




How they help Fine Motor Development:

Hand - eye Coordination: Magna Tiles are fantastic for your child's growing fine motor skills! They will learn how to hold pieces in place as they connect others along with how to balance. Another great way to use these (which combines fine motor and math) it by tracing the pieces on a piece of paper!

Bonus Development:

Creative play: These tiles are fantastic for building all sorts of structures!

Math Skills: Children can use these tiles to learn about spatial recognition, shapes, and building in general! This is a great STEAM toy!



 

Amazon Price: $25.20 (coupon available)



How they help fine motor development:

Pressure/squeezing: Children will learn how to place the correct amount of pressure as they push the blocks into one another to build whatever masterpiece they desire!

Grasp: Your child will practice their grasping skill as they disconnect (and reconnect) different blocks!



 


Amazon Price: $29.99





How it helps fine motor development:

Grasp: These suction toys are the perfect size for developing small muscles in the hand to grasp and pull up!

Bonus:

Bath: These suction toys do not have openings in them which are perfect for the bath (think nowhere that will stay wet for mold to grow) and can easily be cleaned!



 

Amazon Price: $23.99




How it helps fine motor development:

Pincer Grasp: Your child will develop their pincer grasp as they peel up and stick down these reusable stickers!

Bonus:

Environment: These stickers can be used over and over again instead of just once making them far more environmentally friendly than their sticky sticker counterparts. Not to mention the backgrounds these stickers come with will encourage your child's creativity!



 

Amazon Price: $10.49




How it helps fine motor development:

Hand-eye coordination: As your child stings beads to create beautiful bracelets and necklaces their hand-eye coordination will develop!

Bonus:

Travel: These beads are a great activity for car travel. they can be contained in the wooden box they come in and can easily be done while seated!


 

Amazon Price: $15.99 (for three)




How it helps fine motor development:

Pincer Grasp: These Water Wow books come with water pens, as your child draws with them they will practice their pincer grasp - a needed skill for writing later on!

Bonus:

Travel: These books are amazing for travel, simply fill the pens up with water and let your child draw! They are virtually mess free (unless the water spills when opened) and can be used over and over again!



 


Amazon Price: $7.99









How they helps fine motor development:

Building Muscles: Play Doh and Floam are amazing ways to build up those tiny muscles in your child's hands in a fun way. Their muscles will get stronger as they squeeze and shape the doh or floam to whichever form they choose!



 


Amazon Price: $43.69





How they help art development:

Color experiences: While children use the various colors that come with this kit, they can create new ones as well! They can create whatever comes to mind with these beautiful, non - toxic paints!

Bonus!

Easy Cleaning: These paints are washable so they shouldn't stain hands or clothes or whatever else they land on! They also come in squeezable bottles which could help contain the mess even more!



 


Amazon Price: $7.99





How they help art and fine motor development:

Painting: The obvious one here is that these can be used for painting some masterpieces with your child. This set comes with a variety for brush types so your child can create in whichever way they choose!

Grasp: Holding paintbrushes is another great way to start practicing the beginning pincer grasp your child will need to grip things like pencils later on!



 


Amazon Price: $15.98





How they help art development:

Creativity: Your child can use this kit of art supplies to create whatever wonderful things comes into their mind! This kit works great with our various art activities as well!



 

Gross Motor Toys




Amazon Price: $89.99






How they help Gross Motor Development:

Balance: These "stones" come in different sizes making them easy for children to set up in various ways to walk or even jump on. They have grippers on the bottom so they won't slide around with use. They can simply create paths or play games like "the floor is lava" all while working on their balance!

Bonus:

Easy to store: the stones can be placed inside of each other making them easy to store when not in use.




 


Amazon Price: $14.99





How they help gross motor development:

Throwing and catching: These balls are ideal for children of all ages because they are made from soft foam making them less likely to hurt.

Kicking: These balls are lightweight which means that though they are great for practing kicking skills they won't go too far!



 


Amazon Price: $13.75





How they help gross motor development:

Throwing and catching: These rubber balls are a great introduction to various sports and make it easier to throw and catch.

Kicking: These balls are great to practice kicking skills as well, just be careful rubber balls are likely to go further than foam!



 



Amazon Price: $136.10





How they help gross motor development:

Climbing: These foam blocks are perfect for kids who like to climb! They can be rearranged in many ways to keep things interesting! They also have a non-slip base so they won't move around while playing!

Bonus:

Easy Cleaning: These are covered in vegan leather making them easy to wipe down if something is spilled!




 


Amazon Prices: $49.99





How it helps gross motor development:

Balance: This scooter comes with three wheels making it perfect for beginning balance skills (it does not tip like two-wheeled scooters) all while getting great exercise! The handlebar is adjustable so it can grow with your child as well.






 

Language and Pretend Play Toys



Amazon Price: $42.95




Amazon Price: $26.59



How they help Language and Pretend Play Development:

Oral Language: You and your child can act out stories together and give each puppet their own personality. Talking through puppets is a great way to build up oral languge skills!

Pretend Play: As stated above the puppets can act out stories your child thinks up, giving them a great way to feed their pretend play talents!

Bonus:

Social/Emotional Learning: At this age children are developing their social/emotional skills and puppets can be a great way to help! Act out scenarios that can be difficult for children to react to. The puppet could: have a toy taken from them, get in a fight with a friend, feel sad about something and more! Work with your child to decide how to react!



 


Haba Price: $59.99



Haba Doorway Theater


How it helps Language and Pretend Play Development:

Oral Language: Your child can create true puppet shows while using this over-the-door theater! A theater they can "hide" behind may give them even more encouragement as they can use their puppets to talk and create a real show!

Pretend Play: Your child's stories can get even more complex as characters can "enter and exit" the scene as they leave the puppet stage!

Bonus:

Easy to use: This theater is easy to set up using the included compression rod and can be stored when folded!



 


Amazon Price: $34.99





How they help Language Development:

Musical awareness: This kit comes with tambourines, maracas, bells and more! It is a great introduction to not only learning the names of instruments but to hearing their sound as well. You and your child can work on creating a beat, playing a long to songs and more!



 


Amazon price: $7.19





How it helps Language Development:

Social Emotional: This funny pineapple is great for working on matching facial expressions with emotions! Your child will love building with this goofy "Big Feelings Pineapple!"

Opposites: Your child can work on opposites as the pineapple can be built on two sides (think one side happy, one sad).

Bonus Development:

Fine Motor: Your child's hand-eye coordination will be developed along with their language skills as they pull and push pieces in and out of the pineapple!



 


Amazon Price: $26.99





How it helps Language Development:

Upper Case Letters: This fishing game is great for developing alphabetic awareness! Your child will have so much fun matching the fish to their spot using the magnetic fishing pole!

Bonus Development:

Fine Motor: This game is great for developing hand-eye coordination as your child mus carefully set the end of the pole string onto the fish to "grab" it.



 

Amazon Price: $5.99





How it helps Language Development:

Vocabulary: I spy books are filled with pictures of everyday objects for them to find and identify, such as animals, plants, and shapes which will help build their vocabulary while working on their observational skills!

Bonus:

Travel: I Spy books are great for travel because they do not require actual reading, your child can work through this book all on their own making it perfect for road trips!



 




Zero to Five Libro Link

How Libro helps Language Development:

Listening: Libro features audiobooks for children (and adults) while also benefitting bookstores. You and your child can listen to stories while on the go or at home! They can close their eyes and envision what is happening in the story or give them the acutal book an they can listen and follow along!




 






How it helps Language Development:

Reading: Owl Post Books offer three subscription options based on what you would like. Each subscripton comes with one or more new books and an art project. These are great for developing a love of reading!



 

Price: Free!





How this helps language development: This is a wonderful resource that ships books to children 0-5 all over the United States. You will recieve one book each month along with early literacy tips! To check if it is available in your area click here.




 



Amazon price: $36.62





How it helps Pretend Play Development:

Doing Tasks: This lawn mower is a great way for your child to engage in a "household task" with you. You can mow the lawn "together!" Your child will love how realistic this mower looks and sounds - they can start practicing early for when it's their turn to really mow!



Amazon Price: $22.81





Amazon Price: $230.93





How they help Pretend Play Development:

Cooking: Though these items are more expensive than their competitors, we love them because they look real which will make your child feel like they are actually cooking! Some of the best pretend play happens when a child feels like they are doing an acutal task!


**If you are looking for real child-friendly cooking tools (or baking sets) for your little one, check this one out by Baketivity!


Baketivity Cooking Set


 






How they help Pretend Play Development:

Professions: Oyster kits provide your child with an introduction to real professions! Each kit contains projects and real information to allow your child to create and pretend play!



 

Math and Discovery Toys



Amazon Price: $31.99





Amazon Price: 14.99





How they help Math Development:

Problem Solving: These puzzles are a great way for your child to problem solve as they try to figure out which puzzle piece goes where as they work through the various shapes of the puzzle pieces.

Bonus:

Travel: Both of these puzzle options are geat for travel! The Melissa and ddoug puzzle sets can be easily contained in the box and the magnetic puzzle sticks together in the folding container!



 


Amazon Price: $24.99




How they help Math Development:

Shapes: These pattern blocks are a great way for your child to work on their understanding of shape names and how they take up space all while being creative!


 


Amazon Price: $21.99




How it helps Math Development:

Colors, Matching, Counting: As your child plays this entertaining game they will be able to build up these necesarry math skills!

Bonus:

Rule Understanding: Another important skill for children to learn is understanding (and later explaining) the rules of a game, playing "Sneaky Squirrel" is a great way to do just that!



 


Amazon Price: $27.87




How it helps Discovery Development:

Exploration, asking questions, observation: This discovery kit includes all of the tools your child needs to discover nature around them! They can use binoculars to watch birds fly by, the magnifying glass to look at all of the features of a worm and much much more!



 


Amazon Price: $33.99





How this helps Discovery Development:

Observation: This talkingmicroscope will encourage your child to obseve with over 60 images and amazing facts to go along with them!



 





How it helps Discovery Development:

KiwiCo offers a multitude of subscription boxes and toys/activities in general to get your child asking and answering questions on their own. They are free to learn and discover with all of the fun acitivites KiwiCo has to offer!




(Monthly Subscription Cost Varies)





How it helps Discovery Development:

Green Kids Crafts boxes come with 4-6 activities that combine science and art along with a magazine that encourages further learning!







Children playing


That's all for now! Do you have any other toys you enjoy, let us know!




Play Connect LLC recieves compensation for affiliate links.

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