Three-year-old kids are curious about the world and love pretend play that allows them to mimic what they see around them. 3-year-olds also are beginning to develop play independence and you will notice they can now play in longer stretches without the need to be redirected. Toys that encourage pretend play, independent play, and/or that help develop cognitive and motor skills are great options for this age group. Below are some toy gift options that have worked great with my kids over the years. 

  1. HABA Biofino Watermelon Washable Plush Play Food with 5 Slices

Children want to mimic their parents and mentors and this HABA realistic play food watermelon takes pretend play to the next level! The realistic design and packaging encourage imagination and creative role play. All HABA toys are constructed with BPA and phthalate free materials. The HABA watermelon play food contains 1 watermelon with 5 removable slices, one watermelon rind, and one play watermelon slicing knife. The watermelon slices stick together with hook and loop fasteners and all watermelon items are machine washable. HABA pretend food is a great toddler pretend food gift option! 

2. DJECO Le Petit Artist Collages for Little Ones Activity Set

You would be surprised at how exciting a glue stick can be to a 3-year-old child and this Djeco Le Petit Artist Collage Set is a perfect kit for your little one’s creative outlet. The Djeco Collage Set includes everything you need to create beautiful collage art including 4 picture boards, 100 paper elements, and a glue stick. Your child can follow the included instruction book to create a decorated, color coordinated paper masterpiece or they create their own design. Toddler craft projects like paper collage help to build fine motor skills, creativity, and imagination. 

3. Olivia’s Little World Twinkle Stars Princess Deluxe Baby Doll Stroller

The Olivia’s Little World Twinkle Stars Princess Deluxe Baby Doll Stroller is the perfect toy stroller for stuffed animals or baby dolls 16” to 18” (like an American Girl doll or Our Generation doll). This 2-in-1 toys stroller system is a fully functioning doll stroller with a removable hand baby bassinet. The foldable steel tube makes it easy to store this toy stroller and the stroller includes a retractable canopy and under stroller storage compartment. 

4. Fubbles Bubbles No-Spill Bubble Tumbler

Step into any daycare center on bubble day, and you’ll witness hordes of toddlers jumping with excitement as they chase bubbles all over the play yard.  Bubbles, especially Fubbles, will bring a smile to any toddler’s face. While the no-spill Fubbles bubbles are great for a 2-year-old child as well as a 3-year-old child (and older), a 3-year-old child will be able to blow bubbles independently, adding to the excitement of the bubble event. The no-spill bottle design can be knocked over, turned upside down, and thrown around without spilling. Fubbles Bubbles Tumbler comes with 4oz of non-toxic bubble solution that will provide hours of bubble loving fun. Tumbler colors will vary. The Fumbles Bubbles Tumble is a multiple award winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s Gold Seal, Parents’ Choice Classic, and National Parenting Publication Award. 

5. KidKraft Wooden Farm to Table Play Kitchen

Every toddler needs a play kitchen and toy kitchens will keep the interest of your child for years to come! The KidKraft Wooden Farm to Table Play Kitchen let’s kids “grow” veggies in planter boxes, write names and menus on the chalkboard, and it comes with an ice maker that really works (plastic ice cubes drop down when the button is pressed)! The pretend carrots and onions are held together with self-adhesive closures for a crisp sound and clean cut. Mess is easily contained thanks to the two included wood-grain look fabric bins that hold all of the pots, pans, and kitchen accessories. The bins can also be pulled out to carry toys from one room to another. This is a great play kitchen for your blossoming little chef!

6. Hasbro Hi Ho! Cherry-O Board Game

The HiHo Cherry-O board game is a great first board game for children ages 3-6. This game is quick to play, fun for the whole family, and teaches children about taking turns and how to count. Kids have a blast picking pretend fruit from the trees on the game board, and filling their buckets. The spinner lets them know the number of pieces to pick–or put back. The first to fill their basket wins! 

7. BathBlocks Floating Adventure House

Most 3-year-olds love bath time and having fun bath toys adds to the joy of bath time! The BathBlocks Floating Adventure House brings classic block play into a watery environment. These blocks float on the water and stick together when wet. BathBlocks empower children to create their vision as they experiment with geometry, addition, subtraction, balance, and cause and effect. Best of all, there are no hidden compartments or crevices for mold to grow and hide!

8. LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

The LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set is a fun way for your 3-year-old to learn their letters and the letter sounds. Children explore the world of A to  with 26 interactive, colorful letter tiles that talk, sing, and teach about the alphabet. Kids learn phonics, the alphabet, fine motor skills, and vocabulary. This is a fantastic educational toy that will also provide hours of fun for years to come!

9. Schwinn Toddler Bike

Every kid dreams of a bike and these Schwinn Elm toddler bikes with 12-inch wheels and included training wheels are perfect for toddlers between 2 to 4 years old, or 28-38 inches tall. I remember my 3-year-old taking off down the path on such a bike with a stuffie friend riding along in the basket. Freedom and speed at any age is a thrill!

The Schwinn toddler bike is designed especially for kids and includes a lighter frame, narrower pedal positions, smaller grips and seats, and cranks and pedals that are positioned forward, allowing for easier starting. This toddler bike also includes a rear coaster brake (reverse pedals to stop), and a front caliper brake (hand-brake like on adult bikes), helping to ease the transition to a hand-brake only bike when they are older. 

10. Jewelkeeper 15 Piece Kids Tin Tea Set & Carrying Case (12 Design Options)

Every 3-year-old needs a tea set and the adorable Jewelkeeper 15 piece kids tin tea set and carrying case is the perfect choice. The Jewelkeeper tin tea set is designed for pretend play, encouraging children to use their imagination and improve their creativity and social skills. This toy tea set comes in 12 design options, perfect for both girls and boys. The carrying case makes it easy to carry and transport this toy tea set and the set is easy to clean. All Jewelkeeper tin tea sets are 100% BPA and lead free, making them safe for use with little children. 

11. CatToys Official Construction 10 Inch Plastic Dump Truck Toy

Dump trucks are often a toddler’s favorite toy and the CatToys Official Construction 10 inch plastic dump truck toy is sure to be a hit! This toy dump truck has real working parts allowing  kids to move and pose the articulated vehicle bucket just like the real thing. The Cat Construction Dump Truck is built from sturdy plastic and can handle the rough and tough play outdoors. 

12. New York Doll Collection 11 inch Soft Body Doll

This New York Doll Collection realistically looking 11 inch soft baby doll is easy for toddlers to hold, carry, and play with. The doll is available in 8 varieties (male, female, Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic). All dolls are dressed in a onesie and cap and each doll comes with a removable pacifier. The New York Doll Collection baby doll is designed to be loved and it makes the perfect first doll for any toddler!

13. Melissa & Doug Role Play Collection – Step In Style! Dress-Up Shoes Set (4 Pairs)

Your 3-year-old will love prancing around in the Melissa & Doug Dress-up shoes. The set includes four styles; Elegant Princess, Prima Ballerina, Magical Fairy, and Rocker Girl. These pretend dress-up shoes are designed to fit kids ages 3 to 5 years old. 

14. Thomas and Friends Big Loader — Motorized Thomas the Train Set — Includes Thomas the Train, Percy the Train, and Terence the Tractor

Your 3-year-old will be absolutely mesmerized by this Thomas and Friends Big Loader motorized train set. Watch as the train gathers its load (marbles) and drops off its load. The set includes 8 feet of track and destinations, 1 transforming vehicle chassis, and 3 vehicle bodies. This Thomas the Train will provide hours of fun for kids ages 3 and up. (The set does use small marbles so it is not recommended for children under the age of 3). 

15. Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Oven Kitchen Play Set

Watch as your 3-year-old magically transforms into the world’s best pastry chef with the Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Rising Cake Kitchen Playset! The Play-Doh cakes rise before your eyes and the “ding” sound tells kids when the cake is done. This play food Play-Doh set lets kids create surprise Play-Doh cakes by filling the hollow center with pretend sprinkles or a second color. Reveal the surprise when you cut a slice of cake. This Play-Doh set includes a 3-ounce can of pink play-doh, 2-ounce cans of white, blue, and green, and a 1-ounce can of orange. The Play-Doh set also includes a decorating tool that allows kids to pretend pipe frosting, a mixing bowl that makes pretend sprinkles, a mold to make Play-Doh candy toppings, and a birthday candle. 

16. Melissa & Doug Fold & Go Wooden Dollhouse With 2 Play Figures and 11 Pieces of Furniture

This Melissa & Doug Fold and Go Wooden Dollhouse is a great first dollhouse for any child! This portable wooden dollhouse features working doors (the front door and the garage door) and includes 11 pieces of wooden furniture as well as 2 dolls. The dollhouse comes with a sturdy carrying handle, allowing you to bring it along for portable play. The dollhouse comes in plan, but finished, wood that you can paint or decorate in any way you choose. Leave the dollhouse in its natural state or paint, design, and wallpaper it anyway you choose. The sky’s the limit with your creativity! This neutral dollhouse is waiting for ideas and makes a great first dollhouse for both girls and boys. 

Below is an image of design hack a user posted on Amazon. Hopefully this inspiration will get your creative DYI juices flowing!

17. Maxim 50pc Mountain Train Set

Train Tracks Fits Brio, Thomas, Melissa and Doug

All aboard! Unleash your toddler’s creative play with the Maxim 50-piece Mountain Train set. This wooden toy train set is made from premium beech and birch wood, responsibly harvested from sustainable forestries. Configure the tracks in any way that suits your needs and Maxim train tracks work with other popular brands including Brio, Thomas, and Melissa and Doug. The Maxim Train set includes a mountain with a removable top level, a crossing station, a train, traffic signs, houses, trees, and people. This train set will provide hours of imaginative playtime. 

18. BRIO Battery Operated Action Train

The Brio Battery Operated Action Train is a great addition to any wooden toy train set. The set includes a 3-piece train featuring an engine with headlights that light up, a rotating cement mixer, and a moving coal wagon. This battery operated toy train is compatible with all BRIO railway toys and with many other wood toy train tracks. 

19. Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Picture and Sound Book Featuring “When the Saints Go Marching In”

Welcome to Jazz is an interactive, swing-along picture and sound book will be a hit with any music lover and is sure to become a bedtime story favorite. This interactive story book helps children discover the wonders of jazz including how to get into the groove, what a solo is, and the joy of singing in a call-and-response. Children are encouraged to participate in the music and the story by clicking on the 12 corresponding sound buttons to hear different musical instruments including the banjo, drums, tuba, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone, as well as scatting and the full band performing, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

20. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cookie-Baking Set

Whether in a sandbox or at the beach, toddlers love sand play and the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cookie-Baking Set will take their imaginative outdoor play to a new level of fun! This sea-creature inspired “baking” set of sand toys includes 3 cookie cutters, a rolling pin, a crab-topped sprinkles shaker, a cookie sheet, a spatula, two shell-shaped dishes, a rinse through mesh bag for storage. 

21. Klee Kids Water-Based Peelable Nail Polish Gift Set. Odor-Free. Non-Toxic. Made in USA.

Toddlers love mimicking what adults do, and that includes dressing up and getting their nails done. The Klee Kids non-toxic nail polish is water-based, odor-free, and made from a 10 Free formula: No alcohol, acetone, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde, xylene, parabens, phthalates, or gluten. The nail polish easily peels off the nails in a large strip after a few days and no smelly nail polish remover is needed. This kid-friendly nail polish dries in 30 seconds to a beautiful glossy finish, has a pretty gem on the bottle, and it is made in the USA. 

22. Little Adventures Galaxy Wizard Costume Cape

Dress up is a preschool age favorite pastime, and this Little Adventures Galaxy Wizard Costume Cape will surely please your little wizard. The Little Adventures cape is machine washable, has no buttons, zippers, or ties to frustrate little fingers, and comes with a hook and loop closure at the neck, making it easy for kids to take off and put on. The cape is made from non-itchy fabrics, and is glitter free. 

23. Little Adventures Traditional Pink Cloak

24. Great Pretenders Glitter Rainbow Wand

The Great Pretenders Glitter Rainbow Wand will turn any toddler into a fairy god-mother or a wizard with magical powers. This toy wand is perfect for Halloween and/or everyday play! All Great Pretender products are tested to meet and exceed North American and European safety standards. 

25. Little Adventures Children’s Dragon Cloak Cape

The Little Adventures Deluxe Children’s Dragon Cloak Cape is machine washable and made for everyday play and adventure. The dress up costume cloak contains no buttons, zippers, or ties to frustrate little fingers and is made from non-itchy fabrics. It is also glitter free. One size fits most children ages 3-8 years old. 

26. Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit

You little one will quickly become a dependable handy person with this Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit. This sturdy wooden pretend play tool set features 24 pieces, including a child-size play hammer, spanner, screwdriver, wooden nails, screws, nuts, and bolts. Pretend play with toy tool sets like the Melissa and Doug Take-Along Tool Kit helps children develop hand-eye coordination, counting, sorting, color recognition, and problem-solving skills. 

27. Kinetic Sand Scents: Ice Cream Treats

Kinetic sand is a favorite for kids age 3 to 100 and this scented kinetic sand ice cream treats playset is the cherry on the sundae for kinetic sand kits. This kinetic sand kit includes 1lb of scented kinetic sand including strawberry (pink sand), chocolate (brown sand), and vanilla (white sand). This playset has everything you need to create your treats–a freezer-style tray, scoop, sundae cup, spoon, ice cream cone, waffle press, and 6 topping accessories. Mix, mold, and create your own ice cream sundaes, waffles, ice cream cookie sandwiches, and ice cream cones. Kinetic sand never dries out and you can reuse the sand again, and again! Kinetic sand is made from natural sand and is non-toxic.

28. Speedo Unisex-Child Swim Goggles Sunny G Ages 3-8

Get your little one ready for the water with the easy to use Speedo Child Swim Goggles. These Speedo Unisex-Child Swim Goggles come in 28 color options and have an easy to adjust toggle that is perfect when fixing the goggle size on a squirmy toddler. The Speedo Sunny G goggles contain UVA and UVB polycarbonate lenses and are anti-fog. (28 color options available)

29. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Flashlight With Easy-Grip Handle

Prepare your toddler for an exploration adventure with the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy toddler flashlight. This large, colorful child flashlight has an easy-grip handle and comes in an adorable bug shape with six buggy feet to help its rounded body sit steadily on flat surfaces. This toddler flashlight has an integrated on/off switch and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. This child-friendly flashlight is sure to wow any kid! (Flashlight requires 2 AA batteries not included). 

30. Stephen Joseph, Travel Tin Magnetic Dress Up (4 Tin Options)

The Stephen Joseph Travel Tin Magnetic Dress Up travel activities are compact tins full of fun and creativity! They make the perfect travel toy for your little one. Each tin includes 2 play scenes and 40 unique rubber magnetic pieces perfect for creating a fantastical scene of your child’s imagination. When your child is finished playing, store all of the pieces inside the tin for easy clean up. 

31. Picasso Toys Bristle Blocks

Picasso Tiles Bristle Blocks offer frustration-free building with easy connectivity and they are simple to disconnect, maximizing the fun for little hands. Block building enables children to improve hand-eye coordination, gain a sense of color, counting, sorting, and attention, and promotes child brain development. There are no limitations to how your child can build with these bristle blocks and this 120 piece bristle block set can create over 20 different creative designs. Each bristle shape block is toxic-free and made from child-safe materials. 

32. Green Toys Submarine

The Green Toys Submarine is designed to be submerged underwater to explore the terrain at the bottom of the tub. The top of the submarine opens and the hollowed-out submarine toy body can explore carrying passengers and cargo. The toy submarine also features a spinning rear propeller, a flat bottom for added stability, a handle, and a wide-mouth opening allowing for scoop-and-pour fun. The entire vessel is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. All Green Toys are made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs.

33. Segreto Creative Flower Pots (31 Plant Design Options)

The Segreto Brand resin plant holders are whimsical plant pot holders that will spark your child’s imagination. All plant holders have a drainage hole in the bottom of the flower pot allowing your plant to be drained and ventilated. Sweet animals adorn the 31 child plant pot options and these kid plant pots are perfect for small plants such as succulents, cactus, or herbs. These fun kid plant pots are a great gift for any toddler or child!

34. Driven by Battat – Micro Fire Truck – Toy Truck with Lights and Sound

Turn your child into a community hero with the Battat Toy Fire Truck with Lights and Sound. This toy fire truck features an extendable ladder with basket, flashing blue lights and headlights, siren noise, doors and a hood that opens, and support legs that fold out. Toy trucks encourage imaginative play and this toy fire truck is a great gift option for children ages 3 and up. 

35. Set of 3 Barbie Chelsea Dolls with Removable Dress and Shoes

The Barbie Chelsea Dolls features three 6” Chelsea dolls, each wearing a removable dress with a bright, colorful print themed to rainbows, flowers, or cherries. Each Barbie Chelsea doll features a sweet hairstyle, and removable shoes. These Chelsea dolls make great gifts for kids ages 3 and up. 

36. Kreative Kids Adorable Brown Puppy Plush Backpack with Removable Stuffed Animal

The Kreative Kids Brown Puppy Plush Animal Backpack with removable stuffie is perfect for carrying on a trip, to daycare, on a hike, or for use with pretend play around the house. This is a great first backpack for your child and it is made from high quality plush fabric. This compact and lightweight toddler plush backpack encourages your child to be independent because they will have their own bag to keep everything they need organized. 

37. eeBoo: Animal ABC 20 Piece Big Puzzle

The eeBoo Animal ABC puzzle is a perfect ABC puzzle for little hands and features 20 glossy pieces that fit and snap together with ease. This ABC puzzle can be the perfect vehicle for helping your child learn the alphabet and letter sounds. Also, piecing together a puzzle aids in the development of pattern, shape, and color recognition and encourages hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and problem solving. This non-toxic toddler puzzle is made from 90% recycled materials and is printed with vegetable-based inks.

38. Schylling Baby Dino Jack in The Box

The Schylling Baby Dino Jack in the Box is a dinosaur-themed version of the classic popup musical toy that has brought joy and delight to children for generations. Turn the handle and enjoy the tune of “pop goes the weasel” until the cute, soft plush T-Rex pops out, surprising and delighting your child. 

39. Sometimes I’m Bombaloo (A Big Feelings Book) 

All children sometimes become “Bombaloo,” and the book, “Sometimes I’m Bombaloo,” is a tender story that explores BIG feelings. This children’s book includes a wise take on tantrums and learning how to feel like yourself again. The main character Katie Honors is a good kid, most of the time. But, sometimes Katie gets mad, like when her little brother knocks down her beautiful sand castle. Sometimes Katie gets so mad she becomes Bombaloo, and she is just not herself. Then she starts to use her feet and her fists instead of her words. Being Bombaloo is scary. But after a little break and a little understanding, Katie can start to feel like Katie again. This is a great feelings book for any toddler to help them understand how to regulate their emotions and it gives parents and guardians a great code word to use with children when you see them getting upset. Just ask them, “Are you starting to feel like Bombaloo?”

40. HABA Peter and Pauline’s Farm Magnetic Game with 4 Background Scenes in Storage Tin

The HABA Peter and Pauline’s Farm Magnetic Game comes with 4 background scenes and a beautiful storage tin. From walking the cow, driving the tractor, or feeding the pigs, children can create new scenarios again and again. Toddlers can use the magnets to play on the storage tin and backgrounds, great for fun on the go, or attach them to the refrigerator for fun at home! This toddler tin magnet set includes the tin, 4 background scenes, and 122 magnetic pieces. 

41. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Crawl-Through Tunnel

The Melissa and Doug Sunny Patch Crawl-Through Tunnel is perfect for use both indoors and out. Kids will love exploring and crawling through this child-safe tunnel made from durable, wipe-clean materials. The tunnel folds flat for easy storage. 

42. ALEX Toys Little Hands Pop Stick Art Craft Kit

The ALEX Toys Little Hands Pop Stick Art kid includes 7 playful projects made with pop sticks. Create cute animal and flower puppets. Crafts like the Alex Toys Pop Stick Art kid helps to develop hand-eye coordination and helps to improve fine motor skills. This toddler craft kit includes 32 craft sticks, 85 stickers, 42 paper shapes, a glue stick, and easy picture instructions. This is a great kid craft kid for children ages 3 years and up. 

43. Little Tikes 4.5 ft Lights ‘n Music Trampoline for Kids

Let your kids jump out all of their extra energy without them bouncing on the furniture! With the Little Tikes Lights & Music Trampoline, your child will have 4.5 feet of bouncing surface and the trampoline comes with 15 LED lights with 9 different patterns to enhance the action and promote extended play. Connect your device to the rechargeable Bluetooth speaker and kids can bounce to their favorite songs. The sturdy safety handle helps keep jumpers where they belong and the handle folds away for easy storage. This indoor trampoline is great for kids ages 3+ and the LEDs require 3 AAA batteries.