Toys for 3 Year Olds




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Browse our amazing selection of age-appropriate toys. These toys are specifically designed to encourage fun and creative learning for your little ones. We have a wide range of eco-friendly dolls from Rubens Barns to keep your preschooler company as they explore their surroundings.

Prepare your kid for preschool with our stacking toys that teach them how to count, building blocks for logic and problem-solving, and beautiful stationeries for writing. Choose from a variety of toys that promote role-play which is a creative way to develop your child’s social and emotional skills. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got the best toys on the market.

Find playsets and gifts perfect for your three year old

As children develop more complex vocabulary and a better understanding of the world around them their games become more complex and imaginative. By the time they get to three years old, they will probably love role-play games such as playing doctor or making endless cups of tea for you and their dolls.

Wooden train sets have been a favourite toy for 3 year olds for generations, they spark hours of creative and imaginative play as well as being great for developing loads of key skills. Plus dolls, fire engines, superheroes, and of course beautiful wooden animals are always popular with little ones.

Pretend Play Toys: Perfect for a 3 year old

We have a great range of kitchens and accessories, all chosen because they are high quality and come from companies with strong ethical principles. A play kitchen will keep your three year old amused for hours at a time as they prepare breakfast, cook up a feast, or serve customers in a cafe or restaurant.

TheTenderleaf Stove set is great if you don’t have space for a full-size play kitchen, and there are so many amazing accessories to choose from.

The doctor’s sets, Plan Toys makeup and tool belts are always popular for role play and how many three year olds wouldn’t want their own tool bench. And of course, a pushchair or mini carrier for babywearing are bound to go down well with little ones who like to play mummies and daddies.

Small World Play: Makes a great gift.

Like role play, small world play is wonderful for language building, imagination and creativity. Traditional wooden toys for kids like dolls houses, garages, railway sets, fire stations and castles are all perfect backdrops to open-ended small world play. As our forests and farmyards are filled with animals.

Big Jigs have some amazing small world playsets that are perfect for three year olds. Beautifully constructed with loads of lovely features they are great for inspiring little imaginations.

As well as the usual fire station and farm sets, their mini farm set is great if you are looking for compact toys for travel, we are particularly loving the Dino Island and Polar Glacier. I mean who wouldn’t love a pretend ice bergh complete with Eskimo’s and six animals including a whale and a penguin.

Holztiger and Ostheimer make stunningly beautiful wooden animals and figures. All handmade and painted with water based stains, both these brands make gorgeous toys that children will love to collect and play with for many years. Choose your favourite or mix and match. Then watch as their little imaginations create and act out all kinds of scenarios.

Story sacks are also a great way of encouraging small worlds and imaginative play as children recreate stories they have heard and expand on their favourite characters’ adventures.
Their building and stacking toys will also make great props for imaginative play as they become castles, caves, forest hideouts, boats and animal enclosures.

A Wooden Train Set

A wooden train set is a great toy for a three year old, great for sparking their imaginations, and learning and developing loads of key skills. Putting together the track might seem easy to us but when you are three it requires patience, dexterity and fine motor skills.

Not to mention the problem-solving ability to figure out which pieces go where to get your train from A to B. And there are so many great wooden train set accessories to choose from that these make perfect gifts. I mean who wouldn’t want a Trex tunnel or a fairy garden to spark little imaginations?

This is a toy that is likely to be played with for years and will certainly be durable enough to pass on to the next generation.

Educational Games

We also stock a great range of educational games that are perfect for preschoolers. Learn about numbers and letters, magnets and stacking or even how to tell the time with fun and engaging toys.

We love the Plan Toys My Mood Memo game, great for memory games and talking about and understanding emotions. The Bajo fox or Plan Toys Tie Up Shoe are great for fine motor skills and learning to tie your shoelaces, and there are lots of beautiful number and letter puzzles.

Our top gifts for three year olds

There are so many amazing gifts for three year olds available. This is an age when they are into everything, learning at an incredible rate of knots, and so active and imaginative it’s hard to keep up. We have an amazing range of toys on the site that we have chosen not only because they are great for kids but also because they are made by companies that source their materials responsibly and treat their staff fairly, meaning we have filtered out quite a lot of toys you might find elsewhere. Nonetheless we still stock a pretty epic range, so if you are in need of a bit of guidance here are some of our top gifts for three year olds.

  • A wooden toy kitchen – if you haven’t already get one a toy kitchen is a great way to keep a 3 year old amused for hours at a time. There are loads of options available depending on your budget and how much space you have available. Plus the accessories make great gifts, perfect if you are compiling a christmas of birthday list to send to friends and relatives.
  • A Doctors Kit – As mentioned 3 year olds love role play. A doctors set is a fabulous toy that can provide hours of fun as well as being a lovely way to learn about empathy and emotions. This would also make a lovely gift for a three year old going to hospital.
  • Musical Instruments – Perfect from tiny tots to teenagers musical instruments are perfect for teaching your 3 year old about rhythm and patterns. It’s great fun to play along with them and see how they copy the rhythms you are making. These are toys that will hopefully be loved for years so it’s worth making the investment now and building up a collection over time.
  • Wooden Animals – Another toy that will stand the test of time and be played with for years if not generations. By the age of three years old, your little one will probably have a pretty good knowledge of different types of animals. Start a collection of farm animals, wild animals or dinosaurs, or use collect sets to use in story sacks. We love how well the Holztiger Animals stack meaning they are perfect not only for encouraging imaginative and creative play developing narrative thought and vocabulary but also for building dexterity, concentration and fine motor skills.
  • A Doll – Nothing is better for playing role play games and learning empathy that a beautiful doll. Rubens barn makes a fabulous range of soft dolls. Many are suitable from birth but the Rubens Barn original and Little Rubens are reserved for those over 3 years old.

And of course, don’t forget you can always get in touch with our fabulous customer services team if you need a bit of help deciding.

Fun Toys for Both Boys and Girls

Erm, sorry. Whether you are looking for toys for a specific gender, you just won’t find them because we just have toys! We strongly believe that these playsets should be gender-neutral and enjoyed by little kids. Whether it’s a kitchen, a fire engine or remote control cars, girls and boys can play with them.

Check out our playset section, which divides toys into different types of playset. Such as wooden trains, fire engines, farm toys, etc. To find jigsaws puzzles, we have them under our educational toys. We have an amazing range of jigsaw puzzles, with jigsaw puzzles for age 1 up to age 13! Our pretend play section, is where children can step into the role of pretend play, such as kitchens, shopping & construction toys, etc. Our learning resources include a wide range of toys like games and toys with sound effects and sensory toys which would be the best toys for 1 year old.

What Toys Do 3-Year-Olds Like?

By the time kids are 3 they are beginning to get more into imaginative play, the best toys for 3-year-olds will fuel this newfound passion, and encourage their continued exploration of the world around them.

At 3 children are beginning to get much better at playing together rather than just alongside each other and they are increasingly able to ask more in-depth questions and follow more complex directions.

Role play toys are perfect for encouraging children to use their imaginations and practise language and vocabulary while also developing narrative thought. At 3 kids still love to mimic us so kitchen toys, doctors sets, vet sets, toolboxes etc are all fab toys for older toddlers.

Open ended toys that encourage creativity and allow children to build, explore and bring their ideas to life are also great at this age. Many toys they already have will simply be used in different ways, but also at three they are able to really get to grips with more complex open-ended toys.

Children at age three are also drawn towards small world play. They might love a toy farm and animals, train sets, dinosaurs, space ships, a dolls house or a castle. From about 2.5years and up children will start enjoying small world play and telling their own stories.

Pirates, animals, fairy’s and dinosaurs seem to be pretty universally popular with 3-year-olds, and the great thing with small world play is that you can set up these worlds with all sorts of materials you probably already have. Small world play is also a great opportunity for introducing sensory elements to play.

Best gifts for 3 year olds

If you are looking for a gift for a 3-year-old then picking something from one of the above three categories (role play, small world play, and open-ended toys) is a great place to start.

Here are a few of our top buys in each category:

Role play toys

  • A doctors set, vet set or dentist set. These make a wonderful gift that will be loved and played with for years. They are perfect for encouraging role play and are really compact so don’t take up huge amounts of space.
  • Play food or related toys. If you have a big budget then a kitchen or shop is obviously a fabulous gift, but there are numerous related role-play gifts for every budget. Ice creams, lollies, biscuits and cake always go down well. Every child should have a tea set. And children love mini versions of adult kitchen gadgets so they tend to really enjoy a toaster, coffee machine, smoothie maker or mixer.
  • Cleaning toys. This might seem like an odd gift for a child but you might be surprised how much they love them.
  • Tools or a workbench. These are a popular gift for 3-year-olds and combine role-play with practising fine motor skills.

Open ended toys

  • Tegu is one of our favourite options for 3-year-olds as the hidden magnets make them captivating in a way that other blocks just aren’t. The magnets also allow kids to build up as well as out so they can get even more creative with their inventions.
  • Grimms is beautiful for any age and the tactile, natural nature of the wood makes it perfect for stacking and building whilst activating the senses.
  • Trains or cars with wooden track sits somewhere between small world and open-ended, and ticks so many boxes when it comes to development. We also love the fact that it doesn’t matter how much train track to you have you can always add more and the adventures just get bigger and better making this a fabulous gift.

Small world play

  • Animal toys are great for small world play. A farm set makes a great gift or you can buy individual animals for a farmyard or other theme. Wild animals are a popular choice, kids love lions and tigers, and it can be a great way to start introducing them to the need to look after nature and protect the natural world.
  • Dinosaurs seem to rank pretty highly for 3-year-olds and they love small world dinosaur play. There are also lots of great books and days out that are dinosaur related so it’s a theme that can be built on
  • A dolls house, fire station, hospital, space station, pirate ship or castle. Here it really does help if you know what the child is most into as there is a limit to how many of these toys most families can fit in their homes.

Toys with educational value make for fantastic early learning tools. These toys are designed to catch your kids attention and keep them entertained for hours while providing a good developmental value.

Top Educational Toys for 3-Year-Olds

Education and play are one and the same when you ‘re three, and so the best educational toys for 3-year-olds will enable them to develop key skills such as fine motor skills, problem-solving, communication and vocabulary, STEM skills or social skills while they are having fun.

Educational games for 3-year-olds

By the age of three children are getting much better at taking turns and so playing games together is a great way to encourage concentration skills, as well as lots of other skills such as matching, pattern recognition, counting, memory skills, strategy and problem-solving.

Games also make great gifts and if you are starting to get birthday party invites from preschool or toddler groups then having a few games stashed is perfect as they are suitable for boys and girls and parents love the educational aspect.

Our top games and educational toys for 3-year-olds include:

  • Matching and memory games. There are lots to choose from but we particularly love the Big Jigs sock memo game for the fact that there is lots of colour and pattern recognition. And the Plan Toys mood memo game which is not only a great memory and matching game but a really good way to start talking to children about their moods and emotions.
  • BigJigs classic board games. Snakes and ladders is a great game for 3-year-olds who are just learning to count and will certainly help them get used to dealing with highs and lows as they climb the ladders and slide down the snakes. Ludo is another great game for counting and turn-taking, and kids love the animal shut the box which requires dexterity, turn-taking and colour recognition.
  • Goula ‘s selection of games are well worth a look for little ones. We love the honey game for its teamwork angle and of course because we love bees. And the colour matching Chameleons are perfect for little ones to practise their colour recognition.
  • Balancing games (again there are plenty to choose from) are great for concentration and fine motor skills. They are a step up from just stacking and balancing blocks and they require taking turns and being able to begin to think strategically.
  • Fishing games. These are one of those classic games you will most likely remember playing as a kid that children still love today. They help children develop concentration and dexterity and are perfect for little ones that are not quite ready for the more complex games.

Puzzles and other educational toys

The humble puzzle might not jump out as an educational toy but they actually develop lots of skills. Turning the pieces and figuring out where they fit requires concentration, dexterity and fine motor skills. Children develop the muscles in their hands that they will later need for writing and cognitive skills that will help them with Math and Science.

Matching the colours or shapes within a puzzle to determine where the pieces fit and reading the clues requires the same skills that will later be useful when learning to read and write.

And of course in many puzzles the picture itself is educational. We love the Djeco puzzles although they can be quite tricky unless you have an expert little puzzler. There are also some great alphabet and number puzzles.

A calendar and or clock

Three might seem very little to start learning to tell the time, and it is, but pre-schoolers are actually really interested in knowing what the time is and it’s a very valuable skill.

Training clocks are also great for learning numbers, so even if they haven ‘t got the concept of telling the time yet they are still learning.

We love the Goula calendar clock as not only does it help children learn to tell the time but they also get to learn the days of the week, the months of the year, the days of the month, the seasons and the weather.

OK so it ‘s not a toy as such, but it can become a great way to add a little bit of learning and education to their daily routine.

Top Travel Toys for a 3 Year Old

If you are going on a long haul flight with children, or even a short one, then you ‘re going to want to have a few tricks and toys to keep them entertained.

Little travel toys that you can pack in your hand luggage are perfect for the plane, train or even just car journeys. Plus they are good fun to play with when you get there as well so its worth bring travel toys for 3 year olds.

Why pack toys for the plane?

Downloading games and their favourite programmes to your phone or a tablet are a great way to entertain a 3-year-old on a flight. However, you will probably want a few toys in your bag as well.

For starters the battery may die in which case you need a backup plan, and, depending on the length of the flight and the time of day you ‘ll probably want them to sleep and screen time disrupts the production of melatonin making this much harder.

When choosing toys for travel you want to weigh up how much space they are going to take up in your luggage vs how much entertainment time they ‘ll provide. It ‘s also worth thinking about how likely they are to end up on the floor and rolling under other peoples seats.

Any small toys that you know are favourites are a good shout but it is worth considering your fellow passengers. For example, a kazoo or harmonica might be perfect for a long car journey but not so great for a plane or train ride.

Here are some of our top picks for travelling with a 3-year-old:

  • BigJigs runway tape. What better treat for the plane than a little toy plane. Big Jigs reusable transport tapes are low tac so they can be used pretty much anywhere and should keep your little one amused as they create a runway for their very own plane. There are also train and car sets available.
  • A spinning top. This can provide a surprising amount of fun for such a tiny item. Just don ‘t get it out while the seat belt signs are on as they are quite likely to spin off the little table.
  • Noughts and crosses is a classic game that most toddlers can just about figure out and is great for travel. We love the magnetic pirate and cat and mouse versions from Small Foot.
  • Small cars trains for other vehicles are always good to have in your bag if your little ones are into that.
  • Tegu blocks are perfect for travel as they are magnetic and so spend slightly less time on the floor.
  • Lacing cards can be fun for a plane as they require concentration and can be really absorbing for little minds. Cards are better than beads as they don ‘t have the same fondness for rolling away.
  • A card game. This could be a regular pack of cards or a special family-friendly card game. A standard deck can provide some entertainment for the grownups as well.
  • Their favourite cuddly toy.
  • Colouring supplies.

Other tips and tricks for a peaceful journey

As well as toys there are a few other things you can pack to keep your little travel companions happy:

  • Having a few books as well as toys is always a good idea. And you could even get them a magazine at the airport.
  • A tablet if you have one or a few games and a favourite program downloaded on your phone.
  • Pack plenty of snacks. Having a few treats on hand is always a good distraction technique and you never know when you might get held up somewhere. Lollipops can be good to help avoid ears popping at takeoff and landing, and lots of little snacks that can be given out over a long period of time might be better than a big meal.
  • If you know a favourite toy will keep them busy then that ‘s a great option. But having a few new toys, or toys you reserve just for travel can also be a good idea. It adds a bit of excitement.

Activities to Do With 3-Year-Olds

You can have a lot of fun with a 3-year-old. They are into loads of great toys, their imaginations are really taking off, they can communicate with you and they have oh so much energy.

However they may also be getting increasingly into screen time, and you might find you could do with a few ideas up your sleeve to keep them busy on rainy days or fun activities you can do together outside in nature.

The good news is there are a vast array of fun activities that 3-year-olds love. We ‘ve compiled a few ideas that are good for all occasions. Whether you want to get outside or hide from the rain, get messy or play something quiet and contained, hopefully, this list will provide you with some kid-friendly inspiration.

Activities to have fun outdoors

Playing outside is such an important part of childhood. Not only does being in the sunshine build vitamin D which strengthens their bones, but children are generally more active when they are outside. They burn calories, use their muscles, learn about risk, use and improve the senses, and studies have even shown that children who spend lots of time outside are happier and more relaxed.

If you are stuck for ideas your 3 year old might love:

  • A treasure hunt. Either hide things for them to find (toy bugs are a favourite here or dinosaurs) or have a list of things you have to find on a walk. Finding something for every colour of the rainbow is fun or just pick a few common items such as a feather, a pebble, a stick, a flower etc.
  • Gardening. You don ‘t need a big garden for this, a couple of pots will do, or you can even find a local community garden or allotment to go and help out with. Gardening is a great opportunity to learn and get really hands-on with nature which children love.
  • Mud. Whether it ‘s splashing in puddles, finding the stickiest mud you can to squelch in or making mud pies in the garden (check out some great gardening toys for children) there ‘s a lot of fun to be had getting muddy. Plus its great sensory play and fantastic for the immune system.
  • Bubbles. Bubbles are fun whatever age you are and a great outdoor activity. You can get some amazing giant bubble making kits that give incredible results but even a little pot of bubbles is mesmerising.
  • Ball games. Throwing and catching games are much less likely to cause breakages if you play outside and they are brilliant for helping preschoolers with their coordination and gross motor skills.

Other fun activities might be going on a bear hunt in the woods, building a den, having a picnic, searching for bugs in the grass, throwing sticks or paddling in a river, feeding the ducks, or even just lying down and looking at the clouds.

Rainy day activities for 3-year-olds

Sometimes it seems to rain for days on end and you can quickly run out of dry wellies and waterproofs but children never seem to run out of energy. Soft play can be a great option but not every day, so here are a few other ideas for rainy day fun.

  • Make an indoor obstacle course. This is a fun activity for little ones and you don ‘t need any special equipment.
  • An indoor treasure hunt. This is a firm favourite and can be played in lots of ways. You could create a set of cards with different things you can find around the house then set a timer and take turns seeing how many of the items you can find, or give each person a colour.
  • Go to the library. This is a great rainy day activity as it costs nothing, gets you out of the house and means you ‘ll have fun new books to read when you get home.
  • Build a den.
  • Have an indoor picnic.
  • Play ball games with a balloon. Balloons are great for indoor games as they are much less likely to cause any damage. You could play catch, see how long you can keep it in the air, or have a balloon and spoon race.
  • Have a dance party. This is a great way to get active when it ‘s too rainy to go outside.
  • Have a cinema day. Pick a movie, make popcorn and cuddle up on the sofa. (this is especially good after a really active puddle splashing session.
  • Get baking. By the age of three kids are generally pretty capable of and excited about helping in the kitchen. There are plenty of things they can get involved with including cupcakes, crispy cakes, mini pizza ‘s, cheese straws, fruit kebabs or even just cutting their sandwiches into fun shapes with cookie cutters.

A few other fun activities for 3-year-olds

If you are stuck for ideas to keep your little one busy and engaged here are a few fun ideas that might pique their interest.

  • Have a tea party with their toys.
  • Play at being doctors and have fun bandaging each other up.
  • Make a card and post it to someone special.
  • Get crafty with the contents of the recycling bin.
  • Make and play with Play Dough.
  • Practise balancing, jumping and throwing
  • Wash the windows, they love it more than you might think.
  • Follow their lead. If they want you to be a dinosaur or a rabbit or a customer in their restaurant go for it.

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