Best Toys for 3 Year Olds

three year old girl

Our three year old loves to be a big girl, doing things like Mommy and Daddy do

The best toys for a 3 year old? Anything that keeps them occupied longer than 2 minutes is considered a success!

The good news is at this age they start to have a longer attention span, so you can actually sit and play for longer than before.

For instance, my three year old will sit for hours with play dough, making different shapes and colors into creatures.

Three year olds are also busy exploring new environments, making new connections and understanding more complex emotions, such as sympathy or concern. 

She is also beginning to understand the concept of money and exchanging goods for money at the store. She loves to hand our card or cash to the cashier!

The concept of possession is big at this age, in addition to beginning to compare & contrast things about themselves to  other kids.

My three year old loves to point out which item belongs to whom in the house, and comparing the differences between them.

“This is mommy’s,” she says, pointing to my food. “This is mine!” she says, pointing to her food.


When thinking about the best toys for a 3 year old, think about the following considerations: 

Role Play/Pretend Evolving:  Dress up is a big thing at this age, and pretending to be someone else (Mom and Dad are favorite choices!) 

Physical Development:  Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball, and doing other evolved physical things continue to help physical development 

Social/Emotional Development:  Showing sympathy or concern for others; taking turns

Cognitive Ability & Fine Motor Skill Development:  Playing with toys that have levers or buttons, small puzzles or blocks with more than 6 pieces 


Best Toys for a 3 Year Old:  Role Play/Pretend Evolving

Playing and dressing up like Mom and Dad is a popular choice at this age, or using dolls or other stuffed animals to play as “Mom” and “baby.”

For example, a baby doll is an excellent choice for a toddler expecting a brother or sister at this stage, so they can help take care of their own baby.

Here are some great toy options that help promote role playing and pretend play:

 LA NEWBORN Deluxe DIAPER BAG GIFT SET Disney Princess Dress Up Trunk American Plastic Toys Deluxe Beauty Salon Playset Magnetic Puzzle Multifunction Writing Drawing Toys Board Kidoozie My First Purse Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep and Mop Step2 Little Helper’s Shopping Cart

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Best Toys for a 3 Year Old:  Physical Development

As we mentioned above, three year olds LOVE to run around and play, just like they are likely watching older kids do.  Toys that mimic sports like soccer, baseball, etc will be a hit with this age.

Here are some great options for continued physical development for 3 year olds: 

 Redmon Fun and Fitness Exercise Equipment for Kids Fisher-Price Super Sounds Soccer Set of 4 Sports Balls for Kids PlayStar Flexible Swing Seat Fisher-Price Kawasaki Trike

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Best Toys for a 3 Year Old:  Social/Emotional Development

Understanding the concept of sharing, sympathy and other emotions is a turning point for 3 year olds. Books are especially handy at helping 3 year olds understand this.

We’ve picked out some great books and toys that help reiterate these skills! 

 Let’s Be Friends LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket Brio My First Railway Beginner Pack Train Set Sharing Time (Toddler Tools)

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Best Toys for a 3 Year Old:  Cognitive Ability/Fine Motor Skill Development 

Three year olds are beginning to understand toys that are more involved, such as ones with multiple pieces, puzzles, levers, pegboards, etc.

These are great toys options that help continue to stimulate the cognitive function in their brain in addition to their fine motor skills. 

 VTech Turn and Learn Driver VTech Smart Shots Sports Center – Online Exclusive Fire Truck with Extending Ladder & Lights & Siren Sounds  TTT Lacing, First Lacing, OT, Jumbo Large Beads Melissa & Doug Basic Skills Board VTech Alphabet Apple Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle Button Mosaic Transparent Pegboard  Rolimate Wooden Preschool Shape Color Geometric Board  The Learning Journey My First Puzzle Sets 4-In-A-Box


Check out our other toy pages for 6 month olds, 1 year olds, 18 month olds, and 2 year olds