Turning three years old is a particularly influential time in a boy’s life. For the very first time, 3-year olds are learning to interact with their peers and their surroundings in entirely new ways, absorbing information and knowledge like never before, and slowly growing into their own unique personalities.
The best toys for 3-year olds are the ones that take advantage of the lightning storm of energy and creativity inside the brain of the average toddler. From drum sets to scooters, this is when toy shopping for toddlers really starts to get fun.
We’re reviewing 50 of the very best gifts for three year olds, as well as taking a closer look at some of the things we learned along the way. By the end of it all, you’ll know precisely how to shop for the most unique presents that any 3 year old boy will absolutely love!
The Best Toys & Gifts For 3-Year Old Boys (2020 Update!)
It seems like STEM-based toys are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Toys that are able to not only entertain a child but also provide some level of educational value are a no-brainer. The Write & Learn Creative Center by VTech is one such toy, providing a litany of features and functions that are designed specifically to boost your kids’ creative and intellectual development. From stenciling to doodling, letter learning to shape recognition, this little work pad can do it all. Best feature: a small digital readout screen that can show your kid how to make letters!
Most of the kids that we knew growing up never had a trampoline of their own, probably because they can be so bulky, expensive, and hard to deal with. Now, the bouncy magic of the trampoline can be given to your child in a way that is significantly cheaper, smaller, and easier to handle. The 3’ Trampoline from Little Tikes also features a sturdy crossbar for your boy to hold onto as they jump up and down, making this much safer than a full side trampoline. If you’re looking for a gift for a toddler who might have a little too much energy, this is the toy you want to go with.
The 3-In-One Race And Learn Game is much more than just a video game. This console style driving unit is pre-loaded with three different vehicle games, including race car, fighter jet, and motorcycle. Your kid will make their way down the digital highways while hearing the realistic sounds coming from the pretend-shift stick and ignition key. The real treat here is the educational value, as each one of the playing modes will teach shapes, letters, and numbers, all without your kid even noticing. The vibrating steering wheel is a realistic touch that will have any youngster giggling up a storm.
The ‘magic; behind the Aqua Magic Drawing Board is actually just a water-activated color board, but the pictures that can be created are nothing short of amazing. All you need to do is fill one of the included magic pens with warm water, replace the cap, and then hand it to your kid. They’ll be creating brightly colored doodles instantly, and they’ll laugh in amazement as their pictures slowly fade back to white. This means that there is literally no end to the amount of pictures that can be drawn on the Aqua Magic Drawing Board.
Tyrannosaurus, stegosaurus, pterodactyl, oh my! By picking up your kid one of these Assorted Mini Dinosaur Figures Kits, you are opening a portal to a prehistoric world of fun and adventure, Standing at only about 2 inches tall, these little lizards are the perfect companion to any afternoon of fun. Because there are 60 of them in the pack, they also make a great party favor for birthdays, family reunions, and many other occasions. Is your kid already a dinosaur-nerd? No worries there … these figurines are made from updated, accurate models that will encourage your child to learn even more about the natural history of the dinosaurs.
When it comes to tabletop board games, there are only a select few that absolutely everybody knows about, and Candyland is one of them. Now that your kid is three years old, he is likely ready to experience the magic and excitement of the Kingdom of Sweet Adventures, embarking on a cross-board journey to try to reach the legendary Gumdrop Castle. Bright colors, yummy drawings, and memorable characters are just a few of the reasons that this game has managed to remain popular for so many decades. This is truly the best introductory board game out there.
Although we have not reviewed that many toys by the relatively young toy-maker Green Toys, we have a feeling that we are going to be seeing more and more of their products hit the shelves in the months and years to come. Almost every toy that is made by Green Toys is constructed of 100% recycled plastic, meaning that parents don’t have to worry about contributing to an already saturated plastic waste problem in the world. The Car Carrier Vehicle Set has three different cars that can all fit inside or on top of the big blue truck, making playtime more mobile than ever before.
It is every little boy’s dream to be just like dad … who is able to fix just about anything as long as he has his trusty tool set with him. Now, boys as young as 3 can enjoy their own full-featured construction tool set and work bench with this incredible set by the folks at Toi Choi’s. There are over 100 pieces in this set, ranging from simple tools like hammers and pliers to more advanced pretend tools like power drills and spinning plastic saw-blades. The most impressive thing, however, is that the whole set can be broken down to fit inside of a suitcase-sized carrying case!
Kid’s love playing make-believe, and one of the games that they play most commonly is Doctor. Perhaps it is because as humans we have an innate drive to take care of one another, and there is something about the mind of a child that understand this fully. The Deluxe Kids Doctor Kit from KidzLane has everything needed for a detailed game of doctor, including a stethoscope, a pressure pump, thermometers, and a number of other detailed medicine toys (12 in all). KidzLane is one of the few toy-makers featured on our list that offers a Satisfaction Guarantee, just in case you need another reason to buy this awesome set.
In the process of putting together our list, we knew that there would be a lot of dinosaur-themed toys, and probably an equal number of race-car toys. After all, what two things could young boys possibly like more? Now, it is possible to have the best of both worlds with this incredible 142-piece Dinosaur Race Track Set by HOMOFY. With a flexible track that can be re-shaped and a collection of detailed dinosaur figurines, your kid will use the included park jeep to escape the dino-monsters and get to safety. There are even a few plastic palm trees included to complete the scene.
There is nothing like a bit of unstructured drawing time to really stoke the imagination, not to mention calm the nerves of any overly-energetic child. This three pack of drawing paper pads offers a total of 150 sheets that can be used for anything from mindless doodles to ongoing works of art. The paper is heavy weight, which stands up well to the crayon & colored pencil scratching of the average 3 year old. The additional thickness also means that markers won’t bleed through as much, allowing your child to use both sides of the paper instead of just one.
3 years old is just barely too young for many Lego sets due to their small pieces, but fortunately, Duplo is there for all of us. As the more toddler-focused brand of Lego, all Duplo sets are designed specifically for kids as young as 2. The bright colors and jumbo-sized pieces are big selling points for any 3-years old, and the real swiveling action makes these just as cool as some of the more expensive truck toys that are out there. This set comes with two small vehicles as well as two worker figurines, making it the perfect gift for brothers or the multi-child household.
No matter how old your kid is, it never hurts to make bath time a little bit more enjoyable. The Fishin’ Bath Toy by Munchkin is an immediate way to make bathing more fun. A cute plastic fishing rod with a working reel and magnetic bobber work together to pull adorable little plastic creatures up from the surface of the water. The three different underwater bobbing characters are all fitted with magnets, making it easy for them to be fished up from the bubbles. They are also airtight, which makes them resistant to mold and mildew like some bath toys are.
One of the best ways to teach your kids about commerce, community, and good food is to let them play inside their very own natural foods store. This beautiful freestanding wooden shop from Melissa & Doug lets kids manage the shopping experience all on their own. With a grocery belt that really moves and a series of shelves with labels, your kid will feel like they are experiencing the real thing. The best part about the Wooden Grocery Store though is that it makes it easy for more than one kid to get in on the action, whether they choose to be the customer, the cashier, and maybe the store manager!
Boys grow up fast, and even if yours is fairly new to the world, it will not be long before he picks up the patented need for speed that strikes every youngster around the age of three. Indeed it seems that once a child is able to walk, they are trying to run. If you put some wheels under them, then you might be surprised at how fast they can actually go. The Harley-Davidson Tough Trike by Fischer-Price is an affordable, stylish way to add some speed to your youngster’s life. Easy-grip handlebars and a pedal-powered front wheel make this the perfect starter trike for any kid.
There is nothing like an afternoon in the yard with the Hot Wheels collection to keep a 3 year old boy entertained. From dragsters to speedsters, tractors to firetrucks, the Hot Wheels collection is more varied and amazing that it has ever been. With new additions being released all the time, this is one of the most collectible toys around, meaning that your boy is very likely to keep these for a long time, and maybe even give some to his younger brother when he comes of age. Personally, we can name more than a few adult men who still have some of their Hot Wheels from childhood, and that is saying something!
We say this is risk of dating ourselves, but in our day, Hot Wheels were a lot smaller than this! The Hot Wheels Ride-On Thrill Coaster is a toy the likes of which we have never seen before, offering real-ride on action and a gravity-fed ramp that will send your kid flying across the yard or lawn. By pushing the blue race car up to the top of the ramp (using the safe staircase) kids are able to position themselves for an exciting ride down the coaster ramp. A small bump at the bottom will reduce their speed before they reach the ground, but on hard surfaces, they will just keep on rolling!
Any golf-loving parent is going to want to get their kid into the sport as quickly as possible, so that they might have a chance to develop the skills to one day win that coveted Gold Jacket. But even if your boy doesn’t have aspirations to dominate the sport of golf, they will still thoroughly enjoy this smartly made golf set by iPlay / iLearn. With a spiraling, foot-controlled ball loader, your kid can whack ball after ball with little more than a step of their foot. Because of the patented lowering arm, the golf balls mount easily on the tee every time. For young kids with a less developed sense of balance, this is a great way to make them feel more confident with their swing.
Until recently, Bounce Houses were something that could only be found at fares and amusement parks. With Little Tikes, it is now possible to take all the excitement of the big bouncy houses to your own yard and living room, with the Inflatable Jump ‘N Slide Bounce House. Powered by a heavy-duty air blower, this fluffy castle is the perfect way for you little ones to burn off all that extra energy in a safe, contained way. And because the whole thing collapses down to a small, packable size, it is no hassle to setup or breakdown as often as your kid wants.
Teach your kid all about the “Jeep Thing” with this faithfully rendered miniature recreation of the classic 4WD adventure vehicle. The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler ride-on toy has some of the best wheels, biggest battery, and snappiest brakes of the entire Power Wheels collection. A roomy rear storage compartment gives your kid space to pack up for their own adventure, while a rapid 12V battery charger will make sure that they are never waiting too long to refuel. Because this model is available in a number of different exciting themed pain jobs, there is a good chance you will be able to find the perfect one for your boy.
The John Deere Ground Force Tractor is the kind of kid that we wish that we had when we were little. Imagine the look on your little boy’s face as you present them with one of the coolest riding tractor toys around. With highly detailed design, a working FM radio, and a 2-speed electric motor, this tractor will have your boy feeling just like a real farmer. The big farm tractor wheels can provide excellent traction on grass and dirt, two surfaces that many ride-on toy cars cannot handle due to their small wheel size. The pull-behind trailer is the icing on the cake … giving your kid the opportunity to help out with the yard chores in a fun way.
There is no denying that few things go together better than boys and dogs. If your kid is a little too young to have a pet dog of their own, then you might want to consider getting them the next best thing … a wolf. This super-soft plush wolf toy from Wild Republic is sure to be your child’s hard and fast friend, joining them on imaginary journeys through forests and fields, or simply keeping them company as they drift off into peaceful sleep. Once they become best friends, your kid is not going to want to leave this guy behind even as they get older and older.
To stand or sit … that is truly one of the deepest and most meaningful questions that we as humans must ask ourselves. Fortunately, with this neat 2-in-1 ride-on scooter from Lascoota, your kid can change his mind on that question as often as he would like. Simply remove the handlebar and slide on the seat attachment, crank it down, and then you’ll have a sit-down scooter for a more luxurious ride. Another great feature is the variable-length handle shaft, which means that this little scooter can grow right alongside your child. Cool LED light-up wheels are an aesthetic touch that any kid will certainly appreciate.
Art is one of those things that kids of absolutely any age can get into, so a fully-functioning art easel is perhaps one of the best gifts that you can get for kids around the age of three. Because of the dual height adjustment knobs, this easel is capable of shrinking down for youngsters, then slowly getting taller alongside your kid. A roll of craft paper is included and hangs on a dowel up top, allowing for an ongoing source of art paper for things like crayons and pens. One side of the easel features a magnetic whiteboard, while the other is a chalkboard surface. This means that there are 3 different ways to create!
Even if you ignore the countless studies that have shown how beneficial musical toys are to young children, you would still have a hard time arguing against the KidiBeats Drum Set by the pros over at VTech. These bangin’ drums and drumsticks allow your kid to play along with 9 different pre-recorded melodies, from rock & roll to dance and pop. Or, he can take control of the free-play mode and rock out to his little heart’s desire. There is also an innovate letter-learning mode, which can help your kid learn more about the letters and numbers that are printed on the drum surfaces.
One of the hottest new toys on the market is also one of the simplest and most affordable. Touted as a mixture of 98% sand and 2% magic, Kinetic Sand is a new, exciting moldable substance that can be used for all sorts of creative purposes. Because the sand magically sticks to itself but not to your hands, it is easy to shape into things like castles, monsters, and landscapes … anything your kid’s imagination can come up with! The material does not leave a residue, which parents will appreciate, and is also entirely non-toxic.
It is time for your kid to meet the Learning Friends, a trio of animal companions that have arrived to help teach all about some of the most common words in the English language (and Spanish, considering that this particular model is programmed to be totally bilingual). Mr. Turtle, Mr. Tiger, and Mr. Monkey are going to be the guides through this literary adventure, encouraging your child to press on different images in order to her the corresponding word. This is a great toy for any kid between the ages of 18 months and 4 years old, so you might as well pick one up early and give your child the head start that they deserve.
The most ferocious creatures to ever walk the face of the earth are now the subject of some of the coolest kids toys that exist. This LED Walking Dinosaur from Windy City Novelties not only features LED light-up effects on the spinal fin and in the mouth, but it also has automatic walking action that will send it stamping across the floor in search of its next meal. This dinosaur’s audible roar will have lesser lizards fleeing for their lives, but isn’t going to scare that brave dinosaur-loving child of yours. When it comes to dinosaur toys for boys, this one is a great starting point considering the price.
Bring the excitement and action of TV game-shows to your living room or playroom with this 4-pack set of light-up, sound-making buzzers. Each buzzer has a different colored light, and on top of that, a different sound effect that will play when it is being pressed. This makes it possible to get all the kids together for a rousing round of educational trivia games, or whatever type of buzz-in game you can think of. An excellent choices for classrooms and home use alike, these buzzers are highly likely to change the way that your kid wants to learn.
Without a doubt, one of the most iconic American toys of all times is Lincoln Logs. These toy building logs were invented over 100 years ago by John Lloyd Wright, and now you can celebrate their centennial anniversary with a great deal on an updated classic. Inside the tin you will find 100 all-wood pieces that have been notched at either end, allowing them to be easily snapped together to create an infinite amount of structures and buildings. Or, you can follow the included directions to build the classic Lincoln Cabin, straight out of the history books.
Quit worrying about your iPad, and get your kid a fun screen all of their own. The VTech Little Apps Tablet is a fun way to introduce your toddler to the world of electronics. The push-button pad gives kids control to a number of different fun applications, everything from letters, to numbers, to matching. With 8 educational activities and 4 fun games, your kid will feel like they have their very own smart device … only one that is actually making them smarter! This tablet operated off AA batteries, but an automatic shutoff mechanism will kick in to save power when not in use.
Even if your kid isn’t already a fan of the Paw Patrol cartoon series, there is a very good chance that they will still enjoy all the action, adventure, excitement, and friendship that is backed into the four different stories that come with the Little Red Rescue Box. Inside, you will find a collection of four different fold-out “board books” each of which tells its own story through adorable, brightly colored images that will have your kids’ eyes gleaming. There is also a digital Kindle e-book version available for parents who want to take these awesome stories on the go.
T-ball is one of those all-American activities that every young boy should get the chance to experience, and now, that is more possible than ever with the highly affordable Little Tikes T-Ball Set. This brightly colored plastic set includes an easy-to-load tee, four hollow plastic balls, and a big yellow bat to smack them with. The base plate doubles as a storage mechanism, allowing both the t-shaft and the bat to be clicked in for both transport and storage. From basic motor skills to more advanced batting technique, the Little Tikes T-Ball set is, in the parlance of the sport, a grand slam.
There are only a few types of toys out there that are pretty much guaranteed to bring a smile to a boy’s face, and one of them is good old-fashioned truck toys. This highly detailed Matchbox Garbage Truck has the intricate detail, awesome electronic sounds, and real lever-action can grabber for one of the most immersive play experiences that you can get. While the Amazon listing calls it a Garbage Truck, this green-colored beauty also features the iconic recycling logo, meaning that it can handle a lot more than just rubbing, not to mention possibly teach your kid a thing or two about how to recycle.
While many of the 3-wheeled kids’ scooters on the market can be sluggish and hard to operate, the Micro Kickboard 3-Wheel Scooter is exactly the opposite. With two wheels in the front and only one in the back, your kid will no longer have to worry about banging their little ankles against the rear wheels, bringing them to an immediate and unfortunate stop. The lean-to-steer design of the front end is great for kids who are just learning to scoot around, and an easy-function push brake makes it easy to come to a safe stop quickly.
Seeing as how the Paw Patrol cartoon is one of the most popular children’s TV programs out there, it is no surprise for us that the Paw Patrol Toy Series is currently one of the best-selling groups of toys on Amazon. The Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower allows kids to get in on the action in a detailed and engaging way … by operating the all-important look-out tower and dispatching the various Paw Patrol officers to various emergencies across the land. A twisty firefighter slide is a fast way for one of the figurines to reach their vehicle in a hurry, and a functioning elevator will bring them right back up to the top.
If you’re not sure what Picasso Tiles are, then you are not alone. These colorful plastic tiles can be snapped together in all sorts of ways, allowing your kid to build intricate designs and complicated architecture. Picasso Tiles have a signature neon translucence to them, making them one of the coolest-looking toys of the year. Picasso Tiles are not only highly versatile, but they also happen to be the winner of the Brain Child award from the Tillywig Toy Awards, as well as a PTPA award winner. With those kinds of accolades, you can be positive that you are getting one of the best toys around.
Since its initial creation over 100 years ago, Play-Doh has become one of the most popular toys in the world, not only for its unique ability to provide a fun creative outlet, but also because of how remarkably affordable it is compared to many other types of toys. This massive 24-pack of Play-Doh cans is the ultimate stocking stuffer for the kids, as it will provide endless hours of entertainment. Whether playing with Play-Doh on its own or using it in tandem with one of the company’s many Play-Doh Playsets, this is one of those products that you really can’t lose with.
The world of radio controlled cars can be a little too fast & overwhelming for the average three year old, meaning that most boys have to wait until they are a little older to experience the exhilaration of controlling your own little car. Now, kids as young as 3 have an intro-level RC car designed specifically for them. The RC Cartoon Police Car from Prextex is easy to handle, safe to operate, and best of all, comes with a pack of two meaning that your kid will never have to play all by themselves.
It might be a few long years before your boy is old enough to get behind the wheel of the family automobile, but as long as they are at least three years old, they are not entirely out of luck. The Ride-On 2-Speed Toy Car is one of the most affordable ride-on car toys on the market, in fact significantly cheaper than comparable Power Wheels toys that have the same amount of power. Speaking of power, the 12 volt battery can fully recharge itself in only a couple of hours, meaning that there will always be enough juice for a leisurely drive around the yard when toddler life gets too stressful.
Whether it is a fun-filled trip to the moon or simply a meeting of the “no-girls-allowed” club, every boy needs a place to hide away and play. This awesome rocketship-shaped play tent is the perfect thing for kids who are just starting to understand the value of a secret hideout. With a brightly colored star pattern and sleek rocket fins on all four sides, this is set up to be the perfect imaginary rocketship right out of the box. The pop-up style construction of this particular tent means that it goes up in a jiffy, unlike some of the more frustrating kids’ tents out there.
One of the more unique and innovative products to come out of the workshops of Melissa & Doug are these brightly colored Scratch Art Mini Notes. By drawing the included wooden ‘pen’ across the black surface of these small notes, vivid rainbow colors are revealed underneath. This lets kids make cool-looking notes and drawings that can be stuck absolutely anywhere. It is also an inspiring way to create lasting works of art, so don’t be surprised if your kid goes through these faster than you imagined! Considering that the whole box is just over five bucks, this is what we call a no-brainer stocking-stuffer.
We will be honest, we had no idea what a “Squigz” was until we sat down to comb through the bestselling toys for 3 year olds. It turns out, these funny-named rubber toys are one of the most popular new bath time toys of the year, offering fun suction-cup action that allows them to stick to any smooth surface. Or, connect the Squigz to one another to form long chains and intricate shapes. This this Squigz Starter Set, your kid is going to get 24 Squigz pieces, enough to get into all sorts of fun. They also work great on windows and glass!
Young fans of the Amazon original series The Stinky & Dirty Show will be pleased to know that their favorite wise-cracking cartoon tractors are now available in toy form, and the results are amazing. Here we have the Backhoe Deluxe Vehicle, a friendly-faced work truck with the ability to help your kid move rocks, dirt, or even just the toys that are scattered all over the floor. With motion activated music and sounds, your kid will feel like they are part of the crew, just like in the popular TV cartoon series. Frustration free packaging is a good bonus in the age of excessive plastic consumption.
Whether you are shopping for a birthday, holiday, or ‘just because’ occasion, one of the best things you can get for a boy is a race-car. What makes the Take Apart Racing Car by Play22 stand out from the competition is the fact that it can be completely taken apart and reassembled again, using intuitive plastic screws and tools. While this might seem a bit complicated for the average 3 year old, they should have no trouble operating the hassle-free lights and sounds power drill. The car also comes pre-loaded with some super-cool race-car sounds that play as the car is pushed around the room.
Here we have a stylish little speedster that is the perfect size for any 3 year old boy, and is guaranteed to provide the speed and exhilaration that this age group is looking for. With smoothly-spinning wheels and a highly responsive steering wheel, this baby can reach speeds of up to 6 miles an hour before it starts to wobble even a little, making it the perfect vehicle to buzz around the driveway or park. One of the best features, however, is the increased weight limit. Able to support a full 220 pounds, this thing is strong enough that some adults will be able to ride it with their kid, as opposed to having to watch from the sidelines.
We’ve got a lot of truck-based toys on our list, but none of them are as sturdy or strong as the Tonka Classic Steel Mighty Dump Truck made by Funrise. Because it is constructed of actual steel, this truck is not going to bend or break like other toy trucks will. In fact, it is pretty much guaranteed to last for as long as you decide to keep it, which will likely be for as long as you have kids. The dump bed is totally functional, meaning that you boy can load it up with stones, dirt, grass, or toys and haul them effortlessly across the yard of living room to their final destination.
Some pretend food toys look so delicious that they are actually making our stomachs growl as we write this. The playful and detailed pieces included with the Top and Bake Wooden Pizza Counter will do more than just stoke the appetite, however. Your kid will jump at the opportunity to operate their own full-service pizza joint, from preparing the dough to adding toppings and taking a pretend cash payment. There is even a pretend folding pizza box that can be used to transport the pizza to its’ final destination, that is, if the little-sister delivery driver doesn’t call in sick again.
With the ability to hold a whopping 24 different toy cars, the Toy Car Transport Carrier by Play22 is an absolute must-have toy for any kid who is into Hot Wheels or other small toy cars. The storage slits are the perfect size for these tiny speedsters, and will allow the whole collection to travel just about anywhere, from across the room to across the country. A very handy carrying handle fold out of the top and makes it easy to pick up, but for shorter trips, it can just be wheeled across the room or yard.
The expert toy makers at FAO SCHWARZ have really knocked it out of the park with this one, creating a highly customizable and versatile building block set that will unleash your child’s true imaginative powers in a big way. With 150 durable wooden pieces, your kid can start to form their kingdom piece by piece, stacking them in all sorts of new and inventive ways. When it comes to toys, there is nothing sturdier than wood, meaning that these blocks are likely to be in the family for more than just a couple of years. A smaller 75-piece set is also available for kids who might not need so many blocks, or alternatively, if you are thinking about expanding your kid’s already mighty kingdom!
Toy Buying Guide For 3-Year-Old Boys
Now that your kid is three years old, they are about to enter a new phase of their mental, emotional, and physical development, likely all at the same time. Three is about the age where kids develop the desire and ability to interact with other children in more meaningful ways, such as playing a cooperative game of make-believe or racing against one another with miniature cars. These kinds of games represent an internal understanding and empathy for others, which is an incredibly exciting and important time in the child’s life.
The best toys for 3-year olds are designed to not only please, but to also support the unique needs and mindset of the average three year old. For instance, a Construction Work Bench like the one made by Fischer Price allows toddlers to pretend to be someone else entirely, an exercise in empathy that is invaluable in childhood education.
Next up, we’re going to detail some of the things that you should pay attention to when looking for gifts for 3-year old boys. Afterwards, we’ll reveal a few of our own top-pick toys for 3-year olds.
The Different Types Of Toys For Your Toddler
As you can probably tell from seeing our list, there are more than a few different types of toys that are available specifically for 3 year olds. With options from action figures to board games, it seems like just about anything can be turned into a toy for a 3 year old.
The first step of shopping for your toddler is to choose what type of toy you are looking to buy. After that, choosing something more specific becomes a little bit easier.
Here is a rundown of the different toy types on the market, as a well as a few words about how each type can be beneficial to boys who are around the age of three.
Whether they are static or dynamic, action figures and figurines have been an essential part of any boy’s childhood for literal centuries. Playing with figures allows children to imagine the life of another, which in turn helps them develop the natural human skills of empathy and sympathy. Figures can also make for fine friends, so don’t be surprised if your boy chooses a few favorites over the years that he refuses to get rid of.
Spelling & Numbers Games
Any good parent is going to want to give their kid a head start in school if at all possible, and if they can get that done through an awesome toy, then all the better.
While all kids develop at different rates, the ages of two and three are when children really become interested in all the numbers and letters that they see around them. Even if they can’t yet read, they are becoming familiar with the shapes and figures that make up our written language.
Any toy that features the alphabet is going to be helpful to a child, but the toys that can correspond letters with electronic sounds are the ones that are going to be most engaging.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics … four broad topics that have been bundled into one convenient term by educators and toy-makers alike. To put it simply, STEM toys are designed with education in mind, focusing on one or more of the aforementioned topics.
For instance, a building block kit can provide the basics of engineering, while a Deluxe Doctor Kit might be able to teach a little something about science. At the age of three, most boys are not yet ready for the best STEM toys, but in general, if your kid is learning anything from the toy at all, you are on the right track.
Puzzles Not only are puzzles a great way to pass the time, but they also have a surprising number of mental benefits for kids and adults alike. For the 3 year old toddler, puzzles are going to be pretty basic, offering big wooden pieces and easy-to-understand placement systems. Often times these puzzles are paired with electronic sounds or lights to make them more exciting for the child.
You might know them best at Power Wheels, but ride-on toy cars are so popular that a number of different companies have started producing them. Many are modeled after real cars, allowing parents to have a little say in their kid’s style on the road.
Sometimes controllable by a radio remote, these cars are one of the most exciting toys a 3 year of could ask for. Integrated safety features usually include a parent-controlled remote that can turn the car off in the event of danger. The anti-lock brakes bring the car to a swift but safe stop so there is no danger of the child getting hurt by whiplash.
The most popular brand of miniature toy cars is definitely Hot Wheels, but there are other companies out there that make similarly-sized replicas that can be just as good. These mini cars have been popular with kids for the better part of the century, and the fact that there are literally thousands of models to choose from makes them a fun thing to collect and trade.
Often times these Hot Wheels and other mini car toys can be purchased in large multi packs, giving parents an easy way to handle stocking stuffers or birthday parties, not to mention give a kick-start to a kids brand new collection.
When kids turn three, they are reaching the age when they first become interested and capable of engaging in cooperative play. Board games are a particularly effective way of teaching kids how to engage with other human beings through concepts like rules, turns, and fairness.
Board games for 3-year olds need to be pretty simple, as most children of this age are still working on learning their letters. Our team recommendation for the best board game for a 3 year old would almost definitely be Candyland.
Not only is painting and coloring a great way to occupy the fidgety child, but it also acts as a direct stimulus to the creative part of their brain, which is learning how to imagine things for the first time, wonderful things that have never existed before.
Painting and coloring is also a particularly relaxing and introspective activity, and as such these activities are often used by educators and counselors as a fun way to calm everybody down.
Part of growing out of the 2s is being old enough to play games with your peers. Believe it or not, a pair of 3 year olds can come up with some pretty complicated games if left to their own devices … so fresh and eager is their creativity.
As kids pretend to be other people for the first time, they learn how to feel empathy for other persons by imagining what it would be like to be them. These imaginative exercises are actually incredibly important training exercises for children, in which they will learn the rules and norms of social systems and develop their ongoing problem solving skills.
Make-believe time can always use a helping hand. Take the Wooden Grocery Store Playset from Melissa & Doug as an example. The playset acts as a guide as to what kind of games are possible, giving children a fun jumping off point for their imaginary adventures.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Q: How important is the recommended age that is printed on toy packaging?
A: The fact is, all children develop physically and intellectually at slightly different rates, so there will always be a little bit of leeway when it comes to matching the recommended age requirement on the packaging with the age of your own child. Having said that, these recommended age markers are quite often based off recommendations that are put together the manufacturer to address safety concerns.
For this reason, if you are interested in a toy that your kid is too young for according to the packaging, use caution with playtime and be sure to supervise until you are confident about the safety of the toy.
Q: What is the best STEM toy for my 3-year old?
A: When it comes to three year old boys, most of the good STEM toys are just barely out of reach, more often recommended for the 4 & 5 year olds. But it’s never too early to encourage a sense of scientific curiosity in your child.
Our recommendation for the best STEM-related toy would be the Wooden Castle Building Blocks. These simple, safe, and dynamic blocks can help establish some of the basics of toddler-level physics and engineering. Also, kids love castles!
Q: Are there any good toys that my 3-year old won’t outgrow too fast?
A: The fear of buying a toy that you child will quickly outgrow is well founded, and one that should be payed close attention to when deciding on a birthday gift for a 3 year old boy. These toddlers are only going to continue to grow at alarming rates, so the physical size of their toys can be a big point of concern.
Some toys are size-adjustable, like many 3-wheeled scooters. This allows them to stay relevant for multiple years, which is a big selling point for parents and gift-buyers.
Other hands on toys for three year olds like Hot Wheels Cars and stackable blocks can stay relevant on their own, simply because their versatile nature means that kids will just play with them in new and different ways as they grow.
Conclusion: The Birthday Or Holiday Gifts For Three Year Old Boys
So what’s the best gift for a 3-year old boy? After scrolling through our list of the top 50 toys and perusing our oh-so-interesting buying guide, we hope that you have the tools required to make that decision for yourself. While comprehensive, our review of the best 50 gifts for 3-year olds is still only a fraction of what is available out there.
Our opinion? If you need a birthday, Christmas, or Hanukkah present for a 3-year old boy, your most risk-free option is going to be the Wooden Castle Building Blocks by FAO SCHWARZ. Maybe we are just partial to castles, but these really do have a highly versatile appeal that all types of boys will like.
And if you’re really looking to make a splash with your holiday gifts, The John Deere Ground Force Tractor is simply the top of the heap. This deluxe ride-on RC car is not something that your kid will simply get bored of.
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