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Finding the perfect toy for a 3-year-old girl isn't always easy, but one that encourages learning and social play is a great place to start. And don’t stress too much about finding true learning toys for toddlers: Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, chief learning officer for HOMER, an early learning program that's curated to help kids learn based on their personal interests, says it’s just as important to tap into your child’s interests since children tend to learn more when they’re truly engaged in what they’re doing.
From dolls to games, there are tons of toys out there that make for great gifts. To help you with your search, here are the best toys for 3-year-old girls that are educational and fun.
Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Bakery Playset
For little ones begging to help out in the kitchen, this playset by Play-Doh offers a fun and more kid-friendly approach. Your little girl can mold cake into the included cake pan and pop it into the blue oven all on her own. When she hears the timer go off, she can pull down the oven door handle to watch the cake she made rise right before her eyes. The set includes pretend frosting and three sprinkle shapes so she can decorate her cake whichever way she'd like.
3.19 x 13 x 12 inches | Weight: 1.21 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Set comes complete with baking and decorating tools
Little to no assembly required
Can be a little messy
AMOSTING Button Art Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard
Dimensions: 30.7 x 30.2 x 5.3 inches | Weight: 1.35 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 2 years and up
Create pictures with bright colors
Includes 10 different pattern cards
Storage tray included for buttons
This activity set is as cute as a button. By snapping small, button-like “mushroom nails” into various pattern cards, kids create fun pictures. Simply match a button's color to the color on the pattern card and watch as the images come to life. Once your toddler gets the hang of it, they can freestyle and create anything of their imagination.
The set comes with 10 different pattern cards, a pegboard, and 46 colorful buttons. If you’re wondering just where you’re going to keep all of those colorful little buttons, don’t worry—there’s a storage tray included as well. Parents say that it’s a great activity for developing motor skills, and it's perfect for rainy or snowy days when you need a quiet indoor activity.
"This game doesn’t come with instructions, but perhaps they just aren’t needed, as 3-year-old Nova [my daughter] intuitively figured out exactly what to do. She enjoyed picking out the images, and after finishing her favorites, she opted to redo the tree and frog designs with the button colors of her choosing." —Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Disney Princess Disney's Raya and The Last Dragon Color Splash
Dimensions: 3.11 x 17.87 x 12.76 inches | Weight: 2.31 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor and Outdoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Can be played at bath time or in the pool
Cool color transformation
It takes a while to drain out Sisu's dragon body
She can't stop raving about how Raya bravely sought the last dragon, thus saving the kingdom of Kumandra and, subsequently, the world. With this Color Splash Water Toy, your 3-year-old toddler can continue the epic adventure right at home.
The 2-foot-long Sisu Dragon makes a great companion for the Raya doll, and both can be dipped into warm water to reveal a magical color transformation. Sisu can even sway her tail, so it looks like she's swimming in the water.
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set
Dimensions: 4.5 x 11 x 28 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Great for imitation play
Dustpan is a little flimsy
Years from now, she might detest being told to help sweep the floor, but right now, she's likely taking the broom from you! This six-piece set includes brightly colored cleaning tools, like a mop, broom, and dustpan built for pretend play. The tools are totally functional, too—so she'll actually help clean while having a blast. It's a fun way to get little ones away from the screen and on their feet while also building confidence and motor skills.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up Wooden Doll
Dimensions: 1 x 8.25 x 11.5 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Encourages sorting, matching, and make-believe
Can be played alone
No lid on tray for the pieces
Tiny dancers will love this fun wooden doll dress-up set. Similar to a traditional paper doll, it allows young kids to dress up the ballerina (named Nina), change her clothes, and have all sorts of make-believe fun. This doll, however, is made of sturdy wood, as are her outfits, and they’re all magnetic to make dressing and undressing her a snap.
There are six outfits to mix and match with a slew of accessories too. In all, there are 27 pieces, including skirts, shirts, pants, a tiara, and ballet slippers, of course. There’s also a wooden stand included, so your tot can easily show off all of her fashionable creations and spin Nina around the floor in dances she choreographs all by herself.
"While the concept of playing with this set is simple, it actually involves more layers of thinking than you’d expect. It combines dress-up with dance as well as sorting, matching, and the implicit challenge of creating the best outfit, which gives the toy more of a game-like feel."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Little Tikes 3-Foot Trampoline
Dimensions: 36 x 36 x 33.5 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 to 6 years
Good for indoor fun
Easy to assemble
Foam on handlebar can tear with use
She can bounce all that energy out on this cute trampoline from Little Tikes that’s perfect for her size. There’s a large surface area for jumping, and the handlebar on top will help her keep her balance while she springs up, down, and all around. Designed for indoor use, it can hold one kid up to 55 pounds and is a fun form of exercise when playing outside isn't possible.
Parents love its easy assembly, with online reviewers noting that it’s well-made and a great energy burner for little ones who can't sit still. A few people mentioned that the foam handlebar can rip or tear with repeated use, but you can easily repair it with duct tape or tennis racket grip tape.
VTech LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart
Dimensions: 8.27 x 20.58 x 23.77 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 2 to 5 years
Helps toddlers learn colors and numbers
Includes education phrases and fun music
Batteries are included
Cart on the smaller side
This ice cream cart from LeapFrog can take your child's creativity to new heights. It lets them scoop up their own delicious pretend treats, all while they’re learning important things like colors and numbers. Fun and educational phrases and upbeat music set the stage. It comes with six order cards, a magic scooper, ice cream scoops, cones, and toppings. Kids will love pushing it around, taking orders, and preparing treats for anyone they can find. It comes with the three required AA batteries, which means she can open up for business immediately.
Magna Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set
Dimensions: 12 x 3 x 9 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Easy-to-play STEM toy
Good for solo and collaborative play
Many pieces to clean up
This simple set of colorful 3D tiles lets little ones do some pretty cool things. There are no rules, but they offer the opportunity for open-ended play and plenty of creativity to build all sorts of creations. The vibrant tiles snap together magnetically to create shapes, scenes, and anything else she can imagine.
It boasts 100 pieces, allowing your child to create plenty of 3D objects, but all Magna-Tiles work together, and you can combine it with other sets for double the fun (and even more pieces).
"The pieces have thin magnets along the edges that snap together easily and make an ever-so-satisfying “clicking” noise. This makes it effortless for younger kids who are still developing their motor skills." —Danielle Directo-Meston, Product Tester
GBD Game Smart Watch for Kids
Dimensions: 8.76 x 1.95 x 0.78 inches | Weight: 2.12 ounces | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 to 12 years
Easy starter watch
Includes lots of games
Features a camera to take photos
Not the most high-tech
Here’s some smart-looking wrist candy for her that’s actually a smartwatch made just for kids. It has a pretty impressive set of capabilities that are not only fun and functional but also educational.
From games and a calculator to a step counter and calendar, it’s all there right at her fingertips on a handy touch screen. It also has a built-in camera so she can take photos of whatever catches her eye and add fun special effects and borders to them, too.
It runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included) and will run for about seven to 15 days after being charged. It’s a great travel toy—plus, it’s just adorable to see a 3-year-old checking her watch. Oh, and if pink isn’t her thing, it comes in other colors, too.
"I loved being able to set time-per-day limits, so I didn’t have to worry about the distraction of 24-hour access. Parents will also appreciate that unlike many tech toys, this watch isn’t noisy. All the games have various noises, and the watch makes a satisfying “whoop” when toggling between functions, but none of the sounds are super annoying." —Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby
Dimensions: 5.94 x 15 x 17.5 inches | Weight: 4 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Lifelike sounds and noises
Many little girls are fascinated with dolls. If you're looking for the perfect doll to give as a gift, the Baby Alive collection has an infant doll that looks like the real thing and boasts over 80 lifelike expressions, movements, and even real-life sounds.
The doll comes with a removable outfit, hat, bib, blanket, pacifier, bottle, and instructions so mom and dad can figure out how to operate their pretend baby.
"Despite the product name, it’s visually not the most lifelike doll, which is my only gripe. The doll definitely looks like a toy, with exaggerated eyes and eyelashes and smoothed-down everything else. However, my 3-year-old tester did not mind or notice this at all." —Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Melissa & Doug Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game
Dimensions: 7.25 x 18 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Helps kids learn about fishing
Great for learning numbers and motor skills
Magnetic pieces for easy clean-up
Short pole strings
This adorable wooden game from Melissa & Doug is an all-around great catch, as well as fun and educational. It comes with two fishing rods and ten numbered fish, all of which are magnetic. Kids can play alone or with someone else as they spin the worm and try to “catch” the fish with the number on which they land. Included are instructions on other ways to play. When the fun is over, you can store all the pieces in the mesh bag, making clean-up time a snap.
The Little Blue Box of Bright and Early Board Books
Dimensions: 6 x 2.45 x 4.69 inches | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: Up to 3 years
Encourages reading and imagination
Convenient carrying case
Books may not hold up well without supervision
Books make great gifts for children of all ages, and a set of Dr. Seuss books—even better! This gift set includes four favorites for a reasonable price "Hop on Pop," "The Shape of Me and Other Stuff," "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!" and "Ten Apples Up On Top!"
Kinetic Sand Beach Sand
Dimensions: 8 x 3.2 x 11 inches | Weight: 3.06 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor and Outdoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Helps build sensory and motor skills
Encourages creative thinking
Good for both indoors and outdoors
Can get stuck in rugs and carpet
Kinetic Sand is a cool way for kids to play with sand without making a big mess. They can make a castle, play with it in a sensory bin or water table, or use cookie cutters and sand toys to make shapes. The ideas are endless, and parents will also want to get in on the fun.
Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Reusable Color with Water Activity Pad
Dimensions: 4.8 x 6.7 x 10 inches | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Good for traveling and road trips
Includes six coloring books
Mess-free disappearing ink
Cardboard can warp after a while
Traveling with a toddler can be tough if you’re not prepared. Luckily, these activity pads from Melissa & Doug are just the thing to have on hand to make road trips more fun for everyone. Six coloring books are included, each with a different theme (animals, vehicles, and safari), and they're "mess-free," so you won't have to worry about cleaning the car afterward. Instead of using crayons or markers, kids use water-filled pens to bring these images to life and complete fun activities. When the “ink” dries, the colors disappear, and they can start all over again!
Hape All-in-One Wooden Kid's Art Easel
Dimensions: 18.9 x 15.9 x 41.8 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor and Outdoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Encourages art and creativity
Two sides with whiteboard and blackboard
Folds away for storage
Must unscrew bottom to fold away
The budding artist will get a kick out of this easel where she can display her creative talents. The set includes three paint pots and paper to help get her started. What we love best is this folds up so you can stow it away when not in use.
Hasbro Gaming Candyland
Dimensions: 1.46 x 15.75 x 10.51 inches | Weight: 1.12 pounds | Intended Use: Indoor | Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Classic board game
Great for minimizing screen time
Good for 2 to 4 players
Adult assembly required
Say goodbye to screentime with this classic board game that is a great first foray into board games. She'll fall in love with the candy-themed board, and she doesn't need to know how to read to play along. This is a great gift for any family who wants to start a board game night tradition.
Our top pick is the AMOSTING Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard, an educational playset that lets kiddos create fun pictures with the included "mushroom nails." Those interested in STEM might check out the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100-Piece Set, which earns high marks from our tester for its versatility and fostering of creative play.
What to Look for in a Toy for a 3-Year-Old Girl
Most toys have an age recommendation on the packaging. These guidelines are there for a reason— they serve as an important gauge of safety and stimulation, adds Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association.
Toys labeled 3+ may contain small parts that pose a choking hazard, Goldman notes. Although your child may technically meet this age requirement, use your best judgment based on their level of maturity. If your toddler still mouths many of their toys, they may not be ready for these types of toys. Remember manufacturer suggestions are just that—an estimate based on expected maturity and motor skills—a good guideline but not an absolute.
Sometimes simple toys are tons of fun, but toys with more than one function tend to hold kids’ attention longer. As your toddler grows, look for toys that light up, move, make noise, or have some interactive features. Toys with more than one function are also great.
Toys don’t have to be learning-based to have educational value. There are plenty of traditional toys—pretend play sets, scooters, puzzles, building set, memory games, and more—that help your toddler develop important physical, language, and cognitive skills, suggests Dr. Natasha Burgert, a pediatrician in Overland Park, Kansas.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Julie Evans, a writer who has been researching home products for The Spruce since 2017. She has extensive experience covering products for children, including toys and gifts. For this article, Julie considered budget, safety, and age appropriateness.