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My youngest just turned 3 years old, and what a fun age it is!! He is the last of five in the lineup of children in our household. We gave away most of our toys after our fourth, so if a toy is worth re-buying for my littlest guy, you know I love it. I am definitely trying not to accumulate more plastic and junk in my home, but I do want to make sure this guy has all the great toys that his older siblings had. Toys that ARE allowed into our home come with intention and forethought.
With the holidays around the corner, I wanted to share with you my top 10 gifts for a three-year-old boy or girl. These are gifts that jive with an eco-friendly lifestyle and a Montessori mindset, and that will withstand the test of time.
Best Toys For Three-Year-Olds
1. Balance Bike & Helmet
A balance bike is a big step toward a 3-year-old learning to ride a bicycle. In case you aren’t familiar with what a balance bike is, it is a bicycle with two thick wheels and no training wheels. Your child will learn to get the bike moving with their feet and then pull their feet up onto a center platform and balance while the bike coasts. We have been using one with our three-year-old and it is pretty remarkable what he is able to do when not relying on training wheels! I think he will be an early two-wheel bike rider because of it! Of course, it is super important to teach bike safety from the beginning and make sure your little one is wearing a helmet.
This is such a great tool to allow little ones to help out with some housework and give them a sense of worth. 3-year-olds love to help and to be given some responsibility. Make sure you get them a real, functional version that will hold up and not a toy version that doesn’t work well. The one shown above is the one I bought my son for his birthday, and it is holding up great.
These puzzles are excellent quality jigsaw puzzles. They come in different levels based on age and number of pieces. For my new three-year-old, the 24-piece puzzles are perfect. He is able to put them together on his own or with a little help without getting too frustrated. I recently purchased two of the 2-puzzle sets which is a great deal for under $12. My son loves putting these together and feels SO proud when he finishes! Amazon has a pretty good selection if you’re a Prime shopper like me. Ravensburger’s website has a much more vast selection than what is available on Amazon if you want more options. Check it out.
4. Board Games
Age three is a fun age because this is when kids begin to develop the ability to sit and focus for a longer period of time, while also exhibiting some self-control. This makes a simple two- or three-person turn-taking game within the realm of possibility suddenly. It’s a great idea to test and develop this new ability with a simple game geared toward preschoolers. A game of Memory or a simple cooperative board game such as Hoot Owl Hoot, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, or Count Your Chickens are all great choices!
5. Doctor Kit
This doctor kit is great for little ones because it has all the basic doctor equipment, and it is mostly made from wood. The stethoscope is a plastic piece, but the ointment bottle, thermometer, medicine bottle, are all wood. The caps even screw on and off of the bottles for great fine motor practice. I personally didn’t feel very comfortable giving my son the pretend wooden pills that came with the set, so I removed those before giving it to him. A doctor’s kit can also double as a vet kit for any stuffed animal pets you have in your home!
6. Football, soccer ball, and/or basketball
Yes, a ball is a pretty basic toy. With all the flashy and high-tech toy options available today, it would be easy to not think of a simple ball as an excellent toy to gift. BUT, it really is one of the best, and here’s why: a ball can provide HOURS of entertainment, whether a child is playing alone or with someone else. A three-year-old is old enough to be able to coordinate the motor movements needed to bounce a basketball, throw a football, or kick a soccer ball. If they have older siblings, the desire to learn and practice these skills will be even greater! Make sure you get a mini/small size that a three-year-old can handle though.
Creating and playing with playdough is a fun and absorbing activity when your child is three! These wood playdough toys are a sturdier and more eco-friendly alternative to the plastic ones. Your preschooler will be able to create a variety of shapes and textures with these tools. If they’re anything like my little boy, some homemade playdough and these tools will keep them occupied for a long time!
8. Wood easel & art supplies
Three-year-olds love to create artwork! An easel gives kids a designated place they can go to be creative on paper, with chalk, crayons, or paint! The sky’s the limit! An art smock and some art supplies would be perfect accessories to give along with this awesome gift.
Beginning around age three, pretend and make-believe start to get really fun! A three-year-old’s imagination can run wild and allow them to act out many far-fetched (and entertaining) scenarios. Dressing up as real people, like doctors, firefighters, construction workers, and astronauts, as well as make-believe characters like fairies, superheroes, princes, and princesses, helps them develop these awesome imaginations. My 3-year-old son’s favorite dress-up outfits are currently a firefighter, doctor, and construction worker…oh, and Super Otis!
10. Picture Books
No gift list is ever complete without books, no matter what the age! Most 3-year-olds will be ready to handle paper-paged picture books without tearing them. 3-year-olds also have an attention span long enough to listen to longer stories. This opens up a whole new world of stories available to explore! Some of my family’s favorite picture books are Click Clack Moo Cows That Type, The Lorax, Tops and Bottoms, How I Became A Pirate, and Where The Wild Things Are, but there are SO many wonderful books out there!
If the three-year-old on your gift list does not have all of the toys here, you will surely hit a home run by filling in what they don’t have from this list!