The 50 Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds of 2023

Our top choice is the Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The 21 Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds in 2022

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Whether they encourage problem-solving or focus on developing fine motor skills, the best toys for three-year-olds make learning fun.

We researched and tested the best toys on the market to find our top picks, evaluating educational value, engagement level, and durability. Our favorite is the Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set, a colorful collection of stackable plastic shapes that provide a sensory experience for eyes, ears, and little hands. 

Here are the best toys for three-year-olds.

Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set - 24 pc.

4.8
Squigz

Fat Brain Toys

 

What We Like
  • Durable

  • STEM based

What We Don't Like
  • Can lose suction over time

Squigz are brightly-colored doo-dads that can be stacked into an endless array of configurations or stuck to any flat, non-porous surface. 

Our tester loved that her little ones instinctively practiced categorizing the Squigz by color as they played and noted that they were endlessly entertained by the satisfying pop each piece made when pulled off a wall or window. 

The set comes packaged in a reusable plastic case, which keeps all the pieces in one place when you're on the go. Made from BPA- and latex-free silicone, they won't leave residue or marks on your surfaces and are the perfect toy for some bathtub fun. 

According to Colleen Mason, a K0/K1 Inclusion Teacher with a Masters in Early Childhood Education, "STEM toys help children develop in so many different ways—logical thinking, creativity, problem solving and perseverance. They’re a worthwhile investment and the basics—Legos, blocks, magnetic tiles—will last well beyond the 3-year-old age!"

Price at time of publish: $32

Dimensions: 3.15 x 2.76 x 5.91 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

What Testers Say

"Squigz are deceptively simple and incredibly portable. This single set can be a great bath time toy or an activity while making dinner (our son loved sticking these to the fridge)."—Shannon Wells, Product Tester

Melissa & Doug PAW Patrol Adventure Pack

Paw patrol adventure backpack set

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comes with lots of accessories

  • Good quality

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you know a child who loves Paw Patrol, you know they can never have enough Paw Patrol toys or gadgets. This adventure pack comes with lots of little accessories so they'll never run out of things to do, and "mission" cards that will help them get started.

Price at time of publish: $27

Dimensions: 11.75 x 16 x 2.6 inches | Material: Nylon, plastic, polyester | Recommended Age: 3-6 years

CENOVE Flower Garden Building Toy

CENOVE Flower Garden Building Toy

CENOVE

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Lots of combinations and possibilities

  • Comes with a case for storage

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of small pieces

While real flowers may be too delicate for young hands, this garden toy set is perfect for children showing an interest in nature and in the garden. It comes with a range of different flowers like lilies, daisies, and morning glory, so there are endless combinations for children to make.

Price at time of publish: $36

Dimensions: 8.27 x 5.51 x 3.35 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Fisher-Price Little People Friends Together Playhouse

Fisher-Price Little People Friends Together Play House

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Folds up for easy storage

  • Plays songs and phrases

  • Teaches alphabet, counting, and more

What We Don't Like
  • Bigger than expected

This playhouse is full of fun sights and sounds for hours of play. It teaches children the alphabet, counting, opposites, and greetings, with 6 activation points to interact with. The house includes four rooms, an outdoor pool, and working tree swing, making it a fun and engaging toy for three-year-olds.

Price at time of publish: $37

Dimensions: 10 x 21.59 x 13.39 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 1-5 years

Little Tikes Totsports Easy Hit Golf Set

Little Tikes TotSports Easy Hit Golf Set

Amazon

What We Like
  • Suitable for indoor of outdoor use

  • Suitable for a variety of ages

  • High quality

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to assemble

Little ones are on their way to the Masters Tournament with this starter golf set. With three balls and two clubs, three-year-olds can play together putting over and over again. This set is perfect for the backyard or the living room on rainy days for practice and play all year round.

Price at time of publish: $23

Dimensions: 7.5 x 10.5 x 21.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 1 year and up

Little Tikes Toy Sports T-Ball Set - Red

Little Tikes t-ball set

Walmart

What We Like
  • Hangs on the wall for storing

  • Adjustable height

What We Don't Like
  • Can be flimsy

If your child loves watching sports and has just started to show an interest in playing them as well, this T-ball set is great for helping them hone their skills. The height is adjustable so it can grow with them, and will help them practice their hand-eye coordination and get ready for team sports.

Price at time of publish: $16

Dimensions: 22 x 11 x 12 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

L.L. Bean Snowman Family Kit

snowman kit

L.L. Bean

What We Like
  • 26 decorating items

  • Long lasting

  • Comes with storage bag

What We Don't Like
  • Large

Skip the carrot nose this year and opt for this great snowman decorating kit for lots of winter fun. It's a simple enough toy for young children and they can spend hours making a fun snowman using the 26 decorating items. Their high quality wood construction makes them a long-lasting item and they come with a bag for easy storage when they're not in use.

Price at time of publish: $45

Dimensions: Not listed | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Reeves International The Big Dig Sandbox Digger Excavator Crane

5
Sand toy digger

Reeves International

 

What We Like
  • Sturdy

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

  • Realistic

What We Don't Like
  • Parts may need replacing

Bring this to the beach, sandbox, or use it in your backyard. No matter where you use the crane, your kid will try and dig up whatever they can, all while honing those gross and fine motor skills. The toy rotates 360 degrees and can reach up to 33 inches—basically, it does a solid job digging and what kid wouldn't want to try that? This toy is suitable for children ages 3 and up and can hold 110 pounds.

Price at time of publish: $39

Dimensions: 21.5 x 19.3 x 5.2 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Reeves International The Big Dig Sandbox Digger Excavator Crane

The Spruce / Katie Begley

Intex Playhouse Jump-O-Lene Inflatable Bouncer

Jump-o-lene

Intex

 

What We Like
  • Suitable for various ages

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

  • Perfect for parties

What We Don't Like
  • Need large space

  • Can deflate easily

Instead of having them bounce off the walls with all of that three-year-old energy, this inflatable castle gives them a good alternative. While it can be used outside as well, it’s perfect for playrooms and those days when going outside just isn’t an option. It's big enough for a couple of little jumpers (it can hold up to 120 pounds), but not so big that it takes up an entire room.

Price at time of publish: $76

Dimensions: 6 x 16 x 20 inches | Material: Acrylic Coated Cotton | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Learning Resources Smart Snacks Shape Sorting Cupcakes

Learning Resources Smart Snacks Shape Sorting Cupcakes

Learning Resources

What We Like
  • STEM based

  • Durable and washable

  • Bright colors

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to pull apart

This set of cupcakes are both fun and educational, whether teaching kids how to match shapes or simply letting them pretend they own a bakery. The colors are bright and fun, and each cupcake pulls apart to reveal a shape.

Price at time of publish: $15

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 3 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 18 months to 6 years

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk

VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe

VTech / Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to assemble

  • Sturdy

  • Keeps children occupied

What We Don't Like
  • Touch pad can be sensitive

Children will get hours and hours of fun from this touch and learn activity desk—so it's just as well it comes with a chair. It transforms into an easel and chalkboard, has an LED display, and even tracks your child's progress as they learn shapes, letters, and numbers. And just when you think your child has been through all of the activities, you can purchase additional expansion packs to keep it engaging.

Price at time of publish: $94

Dimensions: 20.47 x 26.34 x 21.81 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2-5 years

Little Live Pets Mama Surprise Guinea Pigs

Mama Surprise Guinea Pigs

Target

What We Like
  • Very interactive

  • Repeat play

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Mama Surprise is one of the hottest toys of the year, and if you can grab it, it will please even the pickiest three year old. It's a very interactive toy and kids will love the surprise of the guinea pig giving birth to three little babies—her heart lights up when she's ready to give birth.

Price at time of publish: $65

Dimensions: 7.80 x 12.20 x 11.40 Inches | Material: Not listed | Recommended Age: 4 years and up

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Educational

  • Detailed parts

  • Great quality

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to store

Watch your children become veterinarians with this detailed and engaging play kit filled with plush animals and tools to help their "patients" feel better. The different pieces will keep little ones entertained for hours as they play and learn at the same time.

Price at time of publish: $22

Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.5 x 13.75 inches | Material: Plush, plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Stomp Rocket Stomp Jr. Glow Rocket Kit

Stomp Rocket

Target

What We Like
  • Glows in the dark

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Not enough rockets

The Stomp Rocket is a popular game for kids, and we can see why. They'll love being able to launch their own rockets. and come nighttime, these ones glow in the dark. And don't worry about these getting lost if they land on your roof—reviewers say their weight means the wind easily blows them down.

Price at time of publish: $19

Dimensions: 8.25 x 5 x 11.63 inches | Material: Foam | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Tonies Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Tonies

What We Like
  • Engaging

  • Screen-free

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Requires charging

If you're looking for a toy both you and your little one can enjoy, be sure to consider the Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set. The audio system will play classic sing-alongs that'll entertain the three-year-old in your life for hours.

The audio box is available in six colors and is made of a material that's soft enough to hold, but durable enough to withstand any rough play. The set, which includes a charging station, features a collection of popular children's tunes, from Wheels on the Bust to Baby Shark and beyond, that'll be a treat for the whole family.

Price at time of publish: $100

Dimensions: Not Listed | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Disney and Pixar Lightyear Robot Companion Sox Plush

Lightyear Sox plush toy

Target

What We Like
  • Soft fabric

  • Sounds like the movie character

What We Don't Like
  • Voice can be quiet

Anyone who has seen "Lightyear" will attest that Sox is the best part of the movie—so why not treat your three-year-old to their own plush Sox toy? This version features sounds and will say 20 quotes from the movie, and the soft fabric makes it a great toy for cuddling. They won't want to leave its side.

Price at time of publish: $30

Dimensions: 11.75 x 5.25 x 11.5 inches | Material: Polyester | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Papaton Shadow Puppet Theater

Papaton Shadow Puppet Theater

Papaton

What We Like
  • Encourages imagination and creativity

  • Collaborative

  • Endless variations

What We Don't Like
  • A bit expensive

What better way to bring the family together than a bit of shadow puppet theater? This set comes with everything you need to stage your own plays, including over 30 characters and props inspired by classic fairy tales. It will keep little ones entertained by themselves but is also a great group game.

Price at time of publish: $70

Dimensions: 11.81 x 11.81 x 2.68 inches | Material: Not listed | Recommended Age: 3-8 years

ALEX Toys Discover My Giant Busy Box

ALEX Toys Discover My Giant Busy Box

Courtesy of environmentalcontrolexpert.xyz

What We Like
  • Multiple crafts

  • Affordable

  • Good for a range of ages

What We Don't Like
  • Instructions can be confusing

This might be the ultimate solution for keeping kids busy when they're stuck inside. This craft box comes with a range of crafts, each with their own materials and instructions included. It's a great toys for an afternoon group crafting session.

Price at time of publish: $39

Dimensions: 14 x 2.75 x 8.5 inches | Material: Paper, plastic, metal | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Melissa & Doug Kids Bowling Friends Play Set

Melissa & Doug bowling set

Amazon

Bowling can be a great activity for small children, and this Melissa & Doug set lets them do it in the comfort of their home. They are fun and colorful so children will enjoy playing with them, and comes with storage so it's easy to put away when it's not in use.

Price at time of publish: $19

Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 6 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2-4 years

What We Like
  • Comes with a storage bag

  • Vibrant and smiling characters

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Pins are made of hard plastic

KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen

4.8
KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen

Amazon

What We Like
  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Many ways to play and enjoy

  • Suitable for various ages

What We Don't Like
  • Long assembly time

This is one sleek, cool kitchen set. It has the look of granite countertops and a tile backsplash as well as tons of shelves to store pots and pans. Kids will love turning and clicking the stove buttons or doodling on the chalkboard exterior of the fridge.

Price at time of publish: $141

Dimensions: 43 x 17.7 x 41 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper

Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper

Amazon

What We Like
  • Silent

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

  • Suitable for various ages

What We Don't Like
  • Can be flimsy

This foam pogo jumper is the perfect introduction to the fun and excitement of a pogo stick, without the squeaky thudding noise that traditional pogo sticks have. The foam and bungee material makes this jumper perfect for indoor and outdoor use, and toddlers can jump without noise as they conquer their fears and hone their skills.

Price at time of publish: $14

Dimensions: ‎10.35 x 5.63 x 5 inches | Material: Foam | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Etch A Sketch Classic Red Drawing Retro Toy with Magic Screen

Etch a Sketch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Helps children practice drawing

  • Classic toy

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Etch A Sketch is a classic, nostalgic toy that never goes out of style. With the two dials on the corners, children (and adults) can draw and write until their heart's content. But the best part? Shaking the Etch A Sketch to erase what you've done and start over.

Price at time of publish: $24

Dimensions: 9 x 1.75 x 7.38 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

ToyVelt Dinosaur Take Apart Toys

4.2
Dinosaur toys

ToyVelt

 

What We Like
  • Suitable for various ages

  • Entertaining

  • STEM based

What We Don't Like
  • Flimsy material

Take them back to prehistoric times with these take-apart toy dinosaurs. While the pack of six dinosaurs (featuring a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Brontosaurus, and a Triceratops) comes preassembled and ready for play, the real beauty of them is that kids can take them apart then rebuild them over and over again. The set has 218 pieces in all and comes with plastic screwdrivers to do all the work.

Price at time of publish: $27

Dimensions: 10.35 x 10.35 x 7.32 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

What Testers Say

"If he has all six dinosaurs out and he isn’t parent-directed, it quickly turns into a demolition derby situation, which is a blast for him. It should be noted that even though the dinosaurs feel flimsy, they’ve withstood all the crashes.  "—Shannon Wells, Product Tester

Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Educational

  • Suitable for independent play

  • Portable

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to use with an iPad case

The genius behind the Osmo Kit for iPad is that rather than simply getting stuck behind a screen, kids are encouraged to use both technology and the compatible game mat to physically practice different skills. They might try forming letters with sticks and rings, dressing a doll using cardboard pieces, creating squiggle pictures (that can then be animated), and solving problems as they listen to stories.

Price at time of publish: $36

Dimensions: 3 x 12 x 9.6 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Magna-Tiles 100-Piece Clear Colors Set

4.8
Magna-Tiles Clear Colors

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Good value

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Some of the magnets can be weak

If you haven't heard of Magna-Tiles, then you might be missing out. There are so many building possibilities with these magnetic tile sets, and children and adults can create almost anything they can imagine. They're bright, colorful, and easy to clean—the perfect toy for three-year-olds.

Price at time of publish: $114

Dimensions: 12.2 x 3.15 x 8.66 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Hide N Side Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels

Hide N Side Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use

  • Climbing toy

  • Durable

  • Safe material

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to put and stay together

Need a toy your toddler can enjoy for hours? This ball pit just might be the solution. The pop-up pit is easily portable whether you choose to set it up in the house, the backyard, or while on vacation. Kids will enjoy crawling through the tunnels, camping out in the tents, or trying to score a few baskets in the hoop. Just note: the balls are sold separately.

Price at time of publish: $70

Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 2 inches | Material: Polyester Fabric | Recommended Age: 3 months and up

Kinetic Sand Construction Site Kit

Kinetic sand construction site kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Non-toxic, made from natural sand

  • Easy to use

  • Stores easily

What We Don't Like
  • Can be messy

Kinetic sand comes in many different varieties and applications, but this construction kit is a great way to use it. Complete with a crane and brick molds, children can spend hours building whatever they can imagine—and then use the wrecking ball to demolish it.

Price at time of publish: $22

Dimensions: 9.25 x 8.66 x 6.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

VTech Jiggle and Giggle Fishing Set

VTech fishing set

Amazon

What We Like
  • Everything can be stored in the bucket

  • Teaches animals, colors, and numbers

What We Don't Like
  • Pole doesn't reel in

This magnetic fishing toy is so much fun. Children use the fishing pole to "catch" sea creatures using the magnetic bobber on the end. The bobber even lights up to match the creature's color. It has three modes, 10 songs, and five melodies, which will help your children learn about animals, colors, and numbers while having fun.

Price at time of publish: $16

Dimensions: 2.76 x 14.41 x 15.87 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2-5 years

Kindi Kids Snack Time Friends, Marsha Mello

kindi-kindi-doll

Courtesy of Walmart 

What We Like
  • Suitable for various ages

  • Interactive

  • Engaging

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of corresponding clothes or accessories

Made by the creators of Shopkins, the colorful, glittery Kindi Kids dolls are aimed at preschoolers. Marsha Mello comes with a cake pop that can be fed to her, as well as a realistic-looking babycino with marshmallows that move up the straw. Kids will love taking her outfit and shoes off and on, as well as playing with fun details like her marshmallow ponytail holders.

Price at time of publish: $24

Dimensions: 5.31 x 9.84 x 13.39 Inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2 years and up

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo

love-to-hug-elmo

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Interactive

  • Easy to use and set off

What We Don't Like
  • Not as soft as advertised due to battery

Most three-year-olds are excellent huggers, so why not let them practice their skills on this fun version of Sesame Street's beloved red monster? "Love to Hug" Elmo can speak English and Spanish, and lift his arms to ask for an embrace. When kids put their arms around him, he answers with kisses, songs, and phrases.

Price at time of publish: $54

Dimensions: 5.25 x 11 x 18 inches | Material: Plush | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

LL Bean Yard Games Giant Ring Toss

Ring toss

LL Bean

What We Like
  • Easy to play

  • Storage bag

What We Don't Like
  • Can be flimsy

This ring toss game is the perfect family yard game that you can take with you on camping trips or to family picnics. It's great for the whole family. While it's recommended for ages 6 and up, you can easily involve younger children with the help of an adult.

Price at time of publish: $50

Dimensions: 30 x 12 x 2 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 6 years and up

Hape Master Workbench

Toy workbench

Hape

What We Like
  • Adjustable to fit every child

  • Educational

  • Multiple uses

  • Sustainable materials

What We Don't Like
  • Assembly can be difficult

  • Pricey

This award-winning wooden building set gives kids the opportunity to build and fix things on their own. Along with the nifty tool bench that serves as both a workspace and storage compartment for all the tools, it comes with 32 different pieces including a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and saw. Then there are nails, screws, nuts, and bolts for getting down to work. Once they get the hang of the tools, they can even take apart and rebuild the entire tool bench.

Price at time of publish: $76

Dimensions: 21.65 x 11.06 x 31.77 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Toomies Bath Foam Cone Factory Toy

Ice cream toy

Toomies 

What We Like
  • Suitable for various ages

  • Perfect for bath time

  • Engaging

What We Don't Like
  • Pieces can be fickle

Add some creativity to bath time with this clever cone factory set that uses bubble bath and water to help kids make ice cream confections in the comfort of the tub. This toy mounts easily to the bathrooms wall and includes three cones and a sprinkle shaker. Plus, besides the bathtub, this can also be mounted on a glass sliding door for when the temperatures rises.

Price at time of publish: $33

Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 11 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

Creativity for Kids Sensory Bin: Ocean and Sand

Ocean and sand sensory bin

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to store

  • Self-contained play

  • Fosters imaginative play

What We Don't Like

For rainy or snowy days, kids will love playing with this ocean and sand themed sensory bin. It comes with all kinds of pieces so they can explore their creativity, and adults will love how easy it is to store when it's not in use. If kids love the ocean and sand version, there are plenty of other themes as well including outerspace, construction, ice cream shop, and more.

Price at time of publish: $20

Dimensions: 10.25 x 14.5 x 4.75 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Play Doh Kitchen Creations Colorful Cafe Kids Kitchen Playset

Play Doh kitchen creations set

Walmart

What We Like
  • Non-toxic

  • Makes lots of different colors and shapes

What We Don't Like
  • Play Doh can be difficult to push through the machine

Adults aren't the only ones who can indulge in a little treat from the coffee shop. This Play Doh cafe set lets your children get creative making their own coffees, tees, frappes, and smoothies. It comes with 5 different colors of Play Doh, but can also be used with any other Play Doh they already have.

Price at time of publish: $20

Dimensions: 3.94 x 12.99 x 12.01 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Haptime Construction Engineering Building Block Games with Toy Drill & Screw Driver Tool Set

Stem drill set

Amazon

What We Like
  • Good for learning

  • Bright colors

What We Don't Like
  • Some pieces seem unnecessary

STEM toys are great for teaching kids all manner of skills, and this building set is no exception. Children will learn fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and be able to really building things. With the brightly-colored shapes, there's no limit to what they can make.

Price at time of publish: $34

Dimensions: 12.32 x 10.28 x 2.64 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3-12 years

B. toys Floor Piano Mat - Boogie Woogie Mat

Boogie Woogie play mat

Target

What We Like
  • Folds away easily

  • Room for 2 dancers

  • Batteries included

What We Don't Like
  • Can be tricky to use the first time

For kids who love music, this piano mat is the perfect way to boogie. It has space for two children to use it at once, and has lots of musical features and combinations for hours of fun. It's great for keeping kids active, and they can mix in their own sounds to the pre-set music by dancing on the mat.

Price at time of publish: $53

Dimensions: 53.5 x 33.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

VTech Sing It Out Karaoke Microphone

VTech karaoke microphone

Target

What We Like
  • Bluetooth capabilities

  • Volume adjuster

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Voice features can be muffled

Whether they're budding singers and musicians, or just love to make sounds, this karaoke microphone will keep children entertained for hours. It connects easily to Bluetooth so you can hook up your own music, or use the 15 pre-programmed children's songs that it comes with. Plus, the reverb, echo, and robot sound effects make it great for pretend play, not just singing.

Price at time of publish: $14

Dimensions: 8.38 x 3.22 x 2.16 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2-5 years

B. toys Wooden Toy Piano - Mini Maestro

Wooden toy piano

Target

What We Like
  • Easy to play

  • Comes with an illustrated songbook

  • Sturdy

What We Don't Like
  • Plays if you don't turn it off

Teaching children to play an instrument from a young age is great for their development, and can promote their creativity and imagination. This mini piano is a great way to do just that. The keys are color-coded so it's easy to play, and the illustrated songbook that comes with it includes 6 songs for them to learn.

Price at time of publish: $22

Dimensions: 15.90 x 8.25 x 10.50 inches | Material: Plastic, wood, metal | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Lego Duplo Town Train Tracks

Lego duplo train tracks

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to build

  • Compatible with Duplo trains

What We Don't Like
  • Trains not included

This 23-piece train track set is a great addition to a child's other Duplo sets so they can create their own unique world. It's very easy to build, and children and adults alike will enjoy playing with it. While it doesn't come with trains, it is compatible with Duplo trains.

Price at time of publish: $16

Dimensions: 11.1 x 10.32 x 3.76 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2-5 years

Chuckle & Roar Sensory Tubes Kit

Sensory tubes set

Target

What We Like
  • Tactile sensory play

  • Encourages their imagination

  • Good packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Can be delicate

This sensory tubes set is great for encouraging creativity and helping with auditory development. It has 25 double-sided challenge cards for 50 activities in total, and children can choose the difficulty level that they prefer.

Price at time of publish: $15

Dimensions: 194 x 1.16 x 1.16 inches | Material: Polyurethane, polypropylene | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Fat Brain Toys Ladybug's Garden Memory Game

Ladybug garden memory game

Fat Brain Toys

What We Like
  • Encourages fine motor skills

  • Durable

  • Different difficulty levels to grow with them

What We Don't Like
  • May take younger children a while to understand

Memory games are a great way to build fine motor skills, memory skills, and teach children to engage in friendly competition. This pretty memory game features ladybug pieces that are just the right size for small hands, and it's a sturdy, well-made game that stands up to lots of use. The whole family will enjoy playing it.

Price at time of publish: $25

Dimensions: 10.25 x 10.25 x 1.75 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Skillmatics Educational Game : Search and Find

Skillmatics search and find

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to clean

  • Long lasting

  • Lots of templates

What We Don't Like
  • May be difficult for younger children

These reusable activity mats provide hours and hours of entertainment, making them a great toy for long car journeys or plane rides. They're designed by educators so kids will develop their reading, writing, and vocabulary. They're also easy to wipe clean, so you can use them again and again.

Price at time of publish: $17

Dimensions: 11.65 x 16.14 x 1.18 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3-6 years

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

Educational Insights Microscope

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Fun and interactive

What We Don't Like
  • Not enough slides

It's never too early to start expressing your inner scientist, and this talking kids' microscope is perfect for children who are starting to express an interest in the sciences. It comes with 20 pre-prepared slides for them to look at, and over 100 fun facts and quiz questions.

Price at time of publish: $34

Dimensions: 10.1 x 8.1 x 5.6 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Saneen Kids Camera

Kids camera

Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Lots of different filters and borders

What We Don't Like
  • Photos aren't as high quality as other cameras

Three-year-olds may be a little too young to have their own cellphone cameras, but they can still have fun taking photos with this child-friendly camera. While it won't produce photos that are as high quality as other cameras, it's still a fun toy for kids to use and document their days. The filters and borders for the photos are a nice touch.

Price at time of publish: $37

Dimensions: 5.15 x 4.72 x 2.36 inches| Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 2-9 years

Fun Little Toys Kids Play Tent

Fun little toys camping set

Walmart

What We Like
  • Comes with lots of accessories

  • Collapsible and portable

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as a regular tent

If your three-year-old loves spending summer nights in a tent in the backyard, this tent set will be a great addition to their toy collection. They'll want to hang out in it all day, and the range of accessories make it feel like they're really camping.

Price at time of publish: $34

Dimensions: 31 x 31 x 36 inches | Material: Plastic, fabric | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Selieve Walkie-Talkie Set

Selieve Walkie Talkies

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Work well at a far distance

  • Good sound quality

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • No instructions for set-up

These walkie talkies might be for kids, but that doesn't mean they're not good quality. This set has a range of up to 3 miles and are equipped with 22 channels. This set even has voice activation. It's a fun toy for kids both around the house and outside.

Price at time of publish: $29

Dimensions: 5.5 x 2.5 x 1 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 3-12 years

LET'S GO! Binocular for Kids

Kids' binoculars

Amazon

What We Like
  • Waterproof

  • Durable

  • Good quality lenses

What We Don't Like
  • Lenses might fall out after some use

Children can become avid bird-watchers or nature-lovers with the help of these binoculars. They're shock proof, waterproof, and overall very durable so children can take them on hikes, walks, or even just into the backyard to see what animals they can find.

Price at time of publish: $27

Dimensions: 12.32 x 10.28 x 2.64 inches | Material: Rubber | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

Hapyland Old Wooden Reading Blocks Flash Cards

Montessori flash card game

Amazon

What We Like
  • Well made

  • Teaches children to read

What We Don't Like
  • Small

These minimalist reading blocks with flash cards are a great way to teach young children how to read, spell, and associate images with words. The blocks are made of non-toxic wood, which parents and guardians will appreciate, and the toy encourages hand-eye coordination as well.

Price at time of publish: $29

Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.5 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 2-4 years

Chuckle & Roar Jumbo 4' x 3' Aqua Draw Doodle Mat

Jumbo doodle mat

Amazon

What We Like
  • Durable

  • No cleanup required

What We Don't Like
  • Not fast-drying enough

If your children love to paint and draw, but you don't like the cleanup and mess, then this jumbo doodle mat is for you. All they need to get creative is a bit of water, which will bring out a colorful creation. The mat comes with brush pens, markers, and art sponges, so there are endless ways to create. And it's even big enough for two or three children to use it at one time.

Price at time of publish: $14

Dimensions: 3 feet x 4 feet x .25 inches | Material: Plastic, vinyl | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

What to Look for in a Toy for a 3-Year-Old

Recommended Age

The age recommendations on a toy’s packaging is a good judge of how safe and engaging a toy is, says Kristin Morency Goldman, senior advisor of strategic communications for The Toy Association. However, keep in mind it’s just a recommendation based on average maturity, motor skills, and cognitive development. Toys labeled 3+ may contain small parts that can be a choking hazard to toddlers, says Morency Goldman. If your child is three, but still putting many things in their mouth, err on the side of caution, and skip these items. 

Engagement

The best toys for three-year-olds are ones that keep them engaged. If they figure out a puzzle too quickly or blaze through all the features of a toy, they may get bored. Consider how engaging a toy will be when you’re shopping—is there more than one way to play? Will it encourage them to be creative? Will it get old quickly? Asking yourself these questions as you shop will help you determine the value and longevity of the toy (in terms of whether you can see the toy growing with your child or not).

Educational Value

Many toys for children this age encourage them to learn new things while having fun. Consider educational value when shopping for toys–think building toys, crafting kits, musical instruments—these let your child have fun without having to sacrifice entertainment along the way.

Why Trust the Spruce?

This article was written by Julie Evans, a writer and editor who has worked with a host of diverse companies including Microsoft, USA Today, Realtor.com, Brit + Co, CafeMom, and SheKnows among others. She started writing for The Spruce in August 2017. Kate McKenna is a senior editor at The Spruce with over 10 years of writing and editing experience.

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