Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Button Art Mosaic Pegboard at Amazon
“Allows kids to express their creativity and create fun pictures.”
Best Princess: Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk at Amazon
“Includes everything that they need to dress up as their favorite princess.”
Best Doll: Baby Alive Doll at Amazon
“Has over 80 real-life expressions, movements, and sounds.”
Best Tech: Game Smart Watch at Amazon
“Has capabilities that are fun, functional, and educational.”
Best Craft: Little Hands Paper Bag Monsters at Amazon
“Will provide tons of inspiration for puppet shows and other activities.”
Best Fine Motor: Kinetic Sand at Amazon
“Can be used indoors or outdoors and will help hone their motor skills.”
Best Wooden: Melissa & Doug Nina Ballerina at Amazon
“Dress up Nina Ballerina in six different outfits.”
“The vibrant tiles snap together magnetically to create shapes.”
“Kids can play alone or with someone else as they try to catch the fish.”
Best Active: Little Tikes 3' Trampoline at Amazon
“There’s a large surface for jumping and a handlebar on top.”
Best Pretend Play: LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart at Amazon
“It lets them scoop up their own delicious pretend treats.”
Best for Bath Time: Crayola Color Bath Dropz 3.59 Ounce at Amazon
“Use one at a time or mix them to create your own fun combinations.”
Best for Travel: Melissa & Doug Reusable Activity Pad at Amazon
“Kids use water-filled pens to bring these images to life.”
01 of 13
Best Overall: AMOSTING Button Art Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard
This activity set is as cute as a button. By snapping small, button-like “mushroom nails” into various pattern cards, kids create fun pictures. They just match up the color of the button to the color on the pattern card and watch as the images come to life. Once they get the hang of it, they can go freestyle and create anything they can imagine.
The set comes with ten 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.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best toys for 3-year-olds.
02 of 13
Best Princess: Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk
Not all little girls dream of being a princess, but for those who do, this trunk is a dream come true. There are 21 pieces in all, including shoes, crowns, dresses, and jewels. It’s everything they need to transform into Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, or they can mix and match to come up with their very own looks.
Recommended for girls ages 3 to 6, the dresses fit sizes 4-6x. They can be used for hours of creative play and Halloween costumes as well. All of the pieces come in a beautiful storage trunk that’s just perfect for storing all of her royal attire. And for even more princess play, check out our favorite Disney princess games available online.
03 of 13
Best Doll: Baby Alive Real As Can Be Baby
Girls at this age 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 life-like expressions, movements, and even real-life sounds. Your little girl will love to feed her and will love that she makes a sucking noise. When the baby is called she will turn her head and even babble back to you. The doll comes with a removable outfit, hat, bib, blanket, pacifier, bottle, and instructions so mom and dad can figure out how to operate this thing.
Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best dolls can help you find what you're looking for.
04 of 13
Best Tech: Game Smart Watch for Kids
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 too that are not only fun and functional but educational as well.
From games to a calculator, a step counter and a calendar, it’s all there right at their fingertips on a handy little touch screen. It also has a built-in camera so they can take photos of whatever catches their 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 five to seven days after being charged. It’s a great travel toy and a fun way for them to learn to tell time. 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.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
05 of 13
Best Wooden: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up Wooden Doll
Tiny dancers will love this fun wooden doll dress-up set. Similar to a traditional paper doll, it allows them to dress up the doll, “Nina Ballerina,” change her clothes countless times 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 shoes, of course. There’s also a wooden stand included, so they can easily show off all of their fashionable creations and spin Nina around the floor in dances they choreograph all by themselves.
Take a peek at some of the other best wooden toys you can buy.
06 of 13
Best Craft: ALEX Toys Little Hands Paper Bag Monsters
These paper bag monsters will be a roaring hit with little budding artists and crafters. This kit contains everything they need to create five silly, not-so-scary monsters. From the bags to stickers, paper shapes and a glue stick, all the monster makings are labeled and ready for creative little hands. Step-by-step instructions are included to create five monsters, but the skills they learn while creating them can help them develop their own creatures and more down the road.
Once the monsters are complete, they’ll provide lots of fun inspiration for puppet shows and other playtime activities. Fun and easy to make, this kit makes a great activity for play dates or parties or any day when a creative mood strikes.
07 of 13
Best Fine Motor: Kinetic Sand
Kinetic Sand is a cool way for kids to play with sand without making a big mess. This fun and educational toy will help hone their fine motor skills, sensory skills, and creative thinking. 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.
Kinetic Sand can be used both indoors and outdoors. Reviewers love it because it is easy to clean up and provides hours of entertainment. Many preschool teachers commented online that this is a must-have for this age group.
08 of 13
Best STEM: Magna-Tiles 3-D Magnetic Building Tiles
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 as they can be used to build all sorts of creations. The vibrant tiles snap together magnetically to create shapes, scenes, and anything else they can imagine, all while developing important skills that build the basis for science, math, and other learning.
This set has 100 pieces, which will allow your child to create plenty of 3D objects, but all Magna-Tiles work together, so you can combine it with other sets for double the fun (and even more pieces). Hundreds of online reviewers call Magna-Tiles are a "must-have for any playroom." They're a creative and durable building set that will last for years. "Given the amazing things we've built so far, they're worth every penny," enthused one mom.
If you're looking for more toys that will help refine your child's reasoning skills, there are plenty of STEM toys that she is bound to love.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
09 of 13
Best Game: Melissa & Doug Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game
This adorable wooden game from Melissa & Doug is a great catch all around, as it’s 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 then try to “catch” the fish with the number on which they land. (Instructions for other ways to play are included, too.) It’s great for learning numbers and building motor skills, and it’s also a whole lot of fun. When the fun is done, all the pieces fit into a mesh bag, making clean-up time a snap.
Customers say this toy reels in tons of fun. Some reviewers say the strings on the poles should be longer, and it may not stand up to rough handling from a toddler, but it's a huge hit with kids and it encourages counting, color recognition, and more. This game proves that educational toys don't have to be boring!
10 of 13
Best Active: Little Tikes 3' Trampoline
She can bounce, bounce, bounce that energy out on this cute trampoline from Little Tikes that’s just her size. There’s a large surface for jumping and a handlebar on top so she can keep her balance while she springs up and down and all around. Designed for indoor use, it can hold kids up to 55 pounds.
Parents love that it’s easy to assemble and that it gives kiddos a fun form of exercise when playing outside isn’t possible. Online reviewers note that it’s well-made and a great energy burner for little ones who can't sit still. A few people noted that the foam handlebar can rip or tear with repeated use, but it can be easily repaired with some duck tape or tennis racket grip tape. Recommended for ages 3 to 6.
11 of 13
Best Pretend Play: LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart
This ice cream cart from LeapFrog can take your child's creativity to new and amazing 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 as well as 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. Three AA batteries are required, but they’re included, so she can open up for businesses immediately.
Online reviewers give this toy extraordinarily positive reviews. They say toddlers love it and play with it for hours on end. Parents love that their kids are learning while they're playing and say it’s beyond cute to watch all the make-believe scenarios they come up with while using this cart.
12 of 13
Best for Bath Time: Crayola Color Bath Dropz 3.59 Ounce
Rub-a-dub-dub here’s to fun in the tub! Bath time can be the best time with these Bath Dropz from Crayola. Just like their crayons, they brighten things up, but in this case, it’s the bath water that's brightening up. This set comes with 60 drops in a variety of colors. You can use one at a time or mix them to create your own fun combinations. They’re non-toxic, fragrance-free, and wash off most surfaces without any staining. However, they do suggest testing them first because unsealed tile and grout can be difficult to clean.
Online reviewers say these drops produce bright, vivid colored bath water that makes bath time magical. Parents say kids love them, and they're great for kids who hate bath time. Some parents who previously had trouble getting their kids into the bath now have trouble getting them out! (Note: while this product is non-toxic and free of fragrance, it may contain several dyes, so if your child has sensitive skin you may want to opt for more traditional bath toys).Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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Best for Travel: Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Reusable Color with Water Activity Pad
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. Three coloring books are included, each with a different theme (farm, ocean, and safari), and they're "mess free" so you won't have to worry about cleaning the car afterwards. Instead of using crayons or markers, kids use water-filled pens to bring these images to life and complete the fun activities. When the “ink” dries, the colors disappear, and they can start all over again!
Parents say these books are a lifesaver on long trips. They're easy to stash in a diaper bag or purse and pull out when little ones need entertaining. In an online review, one happy mom wrote, “I bought these for road trips. It kept the kids engaged and they enjoyed them. They use them at the house, too. Great product!”
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 21 hours testing one of the most popular toys for 3-year-old girls available. To ensure the most thorough feedback possible, we asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this toy — from its design to its educational benefits — and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Toy for a 3-Year-Old Girl
Age appropriateness Most toys have an age recommendation on the packaging. Remember that this is just an estimate based on expected maturity and motor skills — a good guideline but not an absolute.
Complexity Sometimes simple toys are tons of fun, but toys with more than one function tend to hold kids’ attention longer. Look for toys that light up, move, make noise, or have some interactive features.
Type Think outside of gender norms when buying toys for 3-year-old girls. If you’re going to go with a doll, why not choose something like the computer engineer Barbie? Toys that introduce kids to STEM are also great.
Test Results: AMOSTING Button Art Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard (Best Creative)
What We Like
What We Don't Like
No case to store different boards besides original box
One of our testers thought that this toy had a number of benefits for her two young children: ‘It helps with fine motor skills because the kids need to fit the pegs in the holes,” she said. “It also teaches them analytical skills because there are multiple colors that go on each board. And lastly, for a young child who’s learning how to speak, it’s a great opportunity to teach them about the colors and objects on the board.” Although the game has a storage bin for the pegs, our testers wished there was also a storage case for the different boards: “If you throw the box away, you won't have any real storage for them. However, if you put everything in the box, it’s stored neatly,” one reviewer noted.