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 SETDisney Princess Dress Up TrunkAmerican Plastic Toys Deluxe Beauty Salon PlaysetMagnetic Puzzle Multifunction Writing Drawing Toys BoardKidoozie My First PurseMelissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep and MopStep2 Little Helper’s Shopping Cart
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:
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!
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 DriverVTech Smart Shots Sports Center – Online ExclusiveFire Truck with Extending Ladder & Lights & Siren Sounds Lacing, First Lacing, OT, Jumbo Large BeadsMelissa & Doug Basic Skills BoardVTech Alphabet AppleMelissa & Doug Farm Wooden Chunky PuzzleButton Mosaic Transparent Pegboard Rolimate Wooden Preschool Shape Color Geometric Board The Learning Journey My First Puzzle Sets 4-In-A-Box