The 42 Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds of 2023

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds

Verywell Family / Lecia Landis

At 3 years old, toddlers are preparing for preschool and learning new skills at a rapid pace, such as drawing a circle and playing with children of the same age. Toys are a great way to teach children valuable life skills while simultaneously reaching important developmental milestones. The best toys for 3-year-olds are fun, educational, and provide a safe and enjoyable play experience.

Reviewed & Approved

The Magna-Tiles Structure-Building Set for Kids comes with 16 magnetic pieces to create fun designs, like a school bus or spaceship, while honing in on fine motor skills. For a gross motor toy, we suggest the Huffy 12 in. Rock It Kids Bike.

"Toys that allow them to make-believe and be imaginative are key, as this is a growing interest in this age,” Justin Schreiber, DO, MPH, the Co-Chair of the School Health Committee and a member of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tells Verywell Family. 

Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to kids’ toys. Consider whether the toy contains any small pieces or button batteries to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Additionally, look for age- and developmentally-appropriate toys to ensure your little one plays safely at their skill level. We carefully considered design, features, toy safety, batteries, developmental milestones, age recommendations, and value when reviewing products. 

Here are the best toys for 3-year-olds.

CreateOn Magna-Tiles Structure-Building Set for Kids

Magna-Tiles Structure-Building Set for Kids

Amazon

From a school bus to a farmyard barn, these Magna-Tiles come in several cute themes 3-year-olds will love. The magnetic tiles are double-sided with letters, numbers, or additional designs, depending on the theme you choose. Connect the tiles to watch creations come to life, or mix and match with other Magna-Tiles sets

Price at time of publication: Starting at $55

Huffy 12 in. Rock It Kids Bike

Huffy 12 in. Rock It Kids Bike

Walmart

Roll down the street in style with this Huffy 12-inch bike designed specifically for children ages 3 and up. The bike features removable training wheels, an adjustable padded seat, coaster brakes, a padded crossbar, and grippy handlebars to provide a comfy and safe riding experience. 

Price at time of publication: $58

My Mood, My Choices The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids

The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids

Amazon

Three-year-olds are full of big feelings and need a helping hand to navigate their emotions. We love this mood flipbook for kids, which features 20 different emotions, inclduing bored and confident, and offers solutions for overcoming these feelings. A blank space at the bottom of the page lets kids write their own positive action idea, too (dry-erase marker not included). 

Price at time of publication: $18

Bluey Plush Two-Pack

Bluey Plush Two-Pack

Amazon

If your kiddo is obsessed with the little blue dog from the outback, it is a no-brainer that they will appreciate this set. Cuddly and soft, your Bluey fan will love their very own plush two-pack. The 8-inch Bluey and Bingo dolls are perfectly plush, ideal for snuggles, story time, or pretend play.

Price at time of publication: $20

John Deere Big Scoop Dump Truck

John Deere Big Scoop Dump Truck

Courtesy of John Deere

Get rolling in the backyard, sandbox, or playroom with this oversized dump truck that’s sure to keep little kids very busy. Free rolling wheels and the fully functional dumping action make for a fun time, indoors or out.

Price at time of publication: $32

Step2 Timeless Trends Play Kitchen

Step2 Timeless Trends Play Kitchen

Courtesy of Step2

A splurge-worthy gift that’ll get tons of use, this play kitchen has a neutral design and multiple kitchen stations. There’s enough room for a few kids to parallel play and plenty of opportunity for solo fun as well. The set comes with decals for your kiddo to spruce up the design and 18 kitchen accessories to enhance pretend play.

Price at time of publication: $140

Sunnest Kids Star Light Projector

Sunnest Kids Star Light Projector

Amazon

Light up your little one’s room with a starry light projector that’s available in a variety of colors and patterns. A removable dome softens the four LED bulbs inside for bedtime, while three buttons allow kiddos to customize their show by spinning the projector or picking their favorite color combinations. The kids’ projector requires four AAA batteries if you choose to forego the USB cable (power adapter not included). 

Price at time of publication: $15

Fat Brain Toys Waddle Bobbers Bath Toy

Fat Brain Toys Waddle Bobbers Bath Toy

Courtesy of Fat Brain Toys

Penguin party in the tub! These weighted penguin toys spin, wobble, and float in the tub. The set comes with six penguins, a slide, and an iceberg. Since they're fully sealed, water will never get inside the award-winning bath toys.

Price at time of publication: $37

Kindi Kids Snack Time Friends, Marsha Mello

kindi-kindi-doll

Courtesy of Walmart 

Made by the creators of Shopkins, the colorful, glittery Kindi Kids dolls are aimed at preschoolers. Marsha Mello comes with a cake pop that can be fed to her, as well as a realistic-looking babycino with marshmallows that move up the straw. Kids will love taking her outfit and shoes off and on, as well as playing with fun details like her marshmallow ponytail holders.

Price at time of publication: $25

Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set - 24 pc.

4.8
Squigz

Fat Brain Toys

 

Squigz are brightly-colored doodads that can be stacked into an endless array of configurations or stuck to any flat, non-porous surface. The set comes packaged in a reusable plastic case, which keeps all the pieces in one place when you're on the go. Made from BPA- and latex-free silicone, the pieces won't leave residue or marks on your surfaces and are the perfect toy for some bathtub fun. 

Our tester loved that her little ones instinctively practiced categorizing the Squigz by color as they played and noted that they were endlessly entertained by the satisfying pop each piece made when pulled off a wall or window. 

Price at time of publication: $27

What Our Testers Say

"Squigz are deceptively simple and incredibly portable. This single set can be a great bathtime toy or an activity while making dinner (our son loved sticking these to the fridge)."—Shannon Wells, Product Tester

Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table

4.7
Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table

Courtesy of Amazon

A kids’ water table is a toddler toy you simply can’t go wrong with. This Little Tikes water table features a large spiral in the middle for littles to drop squirt balls inside while practicing fine motor skills. Scoop the balls up with the included Ferris wheel toy, or pour water down the funnel to activate the water wheel.

Price at time of publication: $55

Kido Magnatab

Kido Magnatab

Courtesy of Kido

Get a jump start on early writing and letter identification with this genius magnetic toy that features the full upper case alphabet. The built-in stylus pen pulls up the magnetic beads as kids are encouraged to follow the arrows and trace the letters.

Price at time of publication: $29

USA Toyz Pop Up Kidz Tent

USA Toyz Pop Up Kidz Tent

Courtesy of USA Toyz

Give young kids their very own private play space—even in the middle of the living room! This easy-to-assemble pop-up tent has a tie-back flap door, mesh widows, carrying case, and can fit up to three kids.

The included projector toy showcases themed images to complete the fun. Choose from space or other themes that fit your kiddo’s interests.

Price at time of publication: $55

Melissa & Doug Doctor Role Play Costume

Melissa & Doug Doctor Role Play Costume

Courtesy of Amazon

We all know how helpful doctors are, so it’s no wonder if your child wants to dress up like one. This well-made kid-sized doctor costume comes with a jacket, mask, and essential doctor tools.

Price at time of publication: $38

Blockaroo Magnetic Foam Building Blocks

Blockaroo Magnetic Foam Building Blocks

Amazon

Just like magic, these soft foam blocks contain magnets, so they click together. Young builders will love the open-ended possibilities that these STEM toys provide. The foam is safe in the bath, meaning the fun can go anywhere your kiddo goes.

Price at time of publication: $40

What Our Editors Say

"Some toys that are designed to be played in and out of water actually end up falling apart from being submerged. These blocks are made from a very lightweight foam-like material that dries quickly so they don't disintegrate over time. My son played with these in and out of the water and the magnetic pieces worked and the foam is still holding up" - Latifah Miles, former Commerce Editor, Verywell Family

Micro Kickboard Mini Deluxe 3 Scooter

Micro Kickboard Mini Deluxe 3 Scooter

Amazon

Your mini-me will love to get rolling on this super popular three-wheeled scooter. Perfect for little kids, the adjustable and lightweight scooter helps kids master balance and movement while making sure they're safe on a wide and stable base.

Price at time of publication: $95

WoodilyToys Wooden Name Puzzle

Wooden Name Puzzle

Courtesy of Etsy

Especially lovely for kids with unique names, this all-wood puzzle will help kids with letter recognition and hand-eye coordination. Choose from a wide variety of color and style options for a one-of-a-kind present.

Price at time of publication: Starting at $16

LEGO DUPLO Town Airport Set

LEGO DUPLO Town Airport Set

Courtesy of LEGO

Jumbo-sized for the preschool-aged crew, this DUPLO set includes over 20 pieces that’ll turn into an airport, plane, and characters. Use this toy to build excitement and ease worry for any first-time flyers.

Price at time of publication: $39

Power Wheels Dune Racer

Power Wheels Dune Racer

Courtesy of Power Wheels

Wow your kiddo with their very own dune racer vehicle. With room for two (weight maximum is 130 pounds), the parent-controlled dune buggy drives forward at either 2.5 or 5 miles per hour and in reverse at 2.5 miles per hour.

Price at time of publication: $279

First 100 Stickers: Animals: Over 500 Stickers

First 100 Stickers: Animals: Over 500 Stickers


Kids will love learning about animals, building vocabulary, and focusing on hand-eye coordination as they are challenged to find matching stickers and place them in the correct spot. With 100 animals and over 500 stickers, this book is sure to be well-loved.

Price at time of publication: $10

Toomies Bath Foam Cone Factory Toy

Ice cream toy

Toomies 

Add some creativity to bathtime with this clever cone factory set that uses bubble bath soap and water to help kids make ice cream confections in the comfort of the tub. This toy mounts easily to the bathroom wall and includes three cones and a sprinkle shaker. Plus, this can also be mounted on a glass sliding door for when the temperatures rise. 

Price at time of publication: $40

Jellycat Fuddlewuddle Elephant Plush

Jellycat Fuddlewuddle Elephant Plush

Courtesy of Jellycat

Cozy up to Jellycat’s incredibly soft stuffed elephant. This machine-washable stuffy is sure to be well-loved, but if elephants aren’t your thing, pick from Jellycat’s wide array of super soft stuffies.

Price at time of publication: $28

Big Preschool Workbook

Big Preschool Workbook

Courtesy of School Zone

Preschool is right around the corner for 3-year-olds, so give them a headstart with a fun workbook. With 320 pages, this preschool workbook is chock full of activities teaching numbers, letters, writing, and more. The glossy front cover is a nice touch, too. 

Price at time of publication: $13

KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen

4.8
KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen

Amazon

This is one sleek, cool kitchen set. It features faux-granite countertops and an imitation tile backsplash, as well as tons of shelves to store pots and pans. Kids will love turning and clicking the stove buttons or doodling on the chalkboard exterior of the fridge.

Price at time of publication: $156

Hide N Side Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels

Hide N Side Ball Pit, Play Tent and Tunnels

Courtesy of Amazon

Need a toy your toddler can enjoy for hours? This ball pit just might be the solution. The pop-up pit is easily portable, whether you choose to set it up in the house, the backyard, or while on vacation. Kids will enjoy crawling through the tunnels, camping out in the tents, or trying to score a few baskets in the hoop. Just note: the balls are sold separately.

Price at time of publication: $89

Little Likes Kids Joyful Carousel Jumbo Puzzle

Little Likes Kids Joyful Carousel Jumbo Puzzle

Courtesy of Little Likes Kids

This puzzle, which pictures kids on a carousel, features oversized pieces that are sized just right for little hands. Fun to play with alone or with a friend, a puzzle is a smart addition to the playroom.

Price at time of publication: $18

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Melissa & Doug Examine and Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Watch your children become veterinarians with this detailed and engaging play kit that's filled with plush animals and tools to help their "patients" feel better. The different pieces will keep little ones entertained for hours as they play and learn at the same time.

Price at time of publication: $38

8 Little Planets: A Solar System Book for Kids with Unique Planet Cutouts

8 Little Planets: A Solar System Book

Amazon

Introduce your little one to our planet’s solar system with a rhyming book that’s enjoyable to read—even for grown-ups. From Neptune to Mercury, each adorably-illustrated planet gets its own page filled with fun facts. (Did you know that Jupiter has a total of 80 moons?) 

Price at time of publication: $11

Little Tikes Totsports Easy Hit Golf Set

Little Tikes TotSports Easy Hit Golf Set

Amazon

Little ones are on their way to the Masters Tournament with this starter golf set. With three balls and two clubs, the set allows 3-year-olds to play together and putt over and over again. This set is perfect for the backyard or the living room on rainy days for practice and play all year round.

Price at time of publication: $28

Reeves International The Big Dig Sandbox Digger Excavator Crane

5
Sand toy digger

Reeves International

 

No matter if your 3-year-old is using this crane at the beach, in the sandbox, or in your backyard, they can try and dig up whatever treasure they can, all while honing those gross and fine motor skills. Suitable for children ages 3 and up, the toy can hold 110 pounds, rotate 360 degrees, and reach up to 33 inches.

Price at time of publication: $43

Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper

Flybar My First Foam Pogo Jumper

Amazon

This foam pogo jumper is the perfect introduction to the fun and excitement of a pogo stick, without the squeaky thudding noise that traditional pogo sticks have. The foam and bungee material make this jumper perfect for indoor and outdoor use, and toddlers can jump without noise as they conquer their fears and hone their skills.

Price at time of publication: $18

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo

love-to-hug-elmo

Courtesy of Walmart

Most 3-year-olds are excellent huggers, so why not let them practice their skills on this fun version of Sesame Street's beloved red monster? "Love to Hug" Elmo can speak English and Spanish, and he lifts his arms to ask for an embrace. When kids put their arms around him, he answers with kisses, songs, and phrases.

Price at time of publication: $40

Hape Master Workbench

Toy workbench

Hape

This award-winning wooden building set gives kids the opportunity to build and fix things on their own. Along with the nifty tool bench, which serves as both a workspace and storage compartment for all the tools, it comes with 32 different pieces, including a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and saw. Then, there are nails, screws, nuts, and bolts for getting down to work. Once your toddler gets the hang of the tools, they can even take apart and rebuild the entire tool bench.

Price at time of publication: $78

Tonies Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Toniebox Playtime Puppy Starter Set

Tonies

This audio system plays classic sing-along songs that'll entertain the 3-year-old in your life for hours. Available in six colors, the audio box is made of a material that's soft enough to hold, but durable enough to withstand any rough play. The set, which includes a charging station, features a collection of popular children's tunes, from Wheels on the Bus to Baby Shark and beyond.

Price at time of publication: $100

ToyVelt Dinosaur Take Apart Toys

4.2
Dinosaur toys

ToyVelt

 

Take toddlers back to prehistoric times with these take-apart toy dinosaurs. While the pack of six dinosaurs comes pre-assembled and ready for play, the real beauty of them is that kids can take them apart and rebuild them over and over again. The set has 218 pieces in all and comes with plastic screwdrivers to do all the work.

Price at time of publication: $25 for Pack of 3

What Our Testers Say

"If he has all six dinosaurs out and he isn’t parent-directed, it quickly turns into a demolition derby situation, which is a blast for him. It should be noted that even though the dinosaurs feel flimsy, they’ve withstood all the crashes.  "—Shannon Wells, Product Tester

Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Osmo Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Courtesy of Amazon

The genius behind the Osmo Kit for iPad is that rather than simply getting stuck behind a screen, kids are encouraged to use both technology and the compatible game mat to practice different skills. They can try forming letters with sticks and rings, dressing a doll using cardboard pieces, creating squiggle pictures (that can then be animated), and solving problems as they listen to stories.

Price at time of publication: $100

Shuttle Art Washable Gel Crayons

Shuttle Art Washable Gel Crayons

Amazon

Forty-eight colors are included in this gel crayon set for kids, so your toddler can draw whatever their little heart desires. Simply twist the plastic tubes to adjust the length of the crayon, and store them in the included carrying box when not in use. Parents will appreciate that the crayons are non-toxic, washable, and work on both light and dark paper (not included). 

Price at time of publication: $26

Play-Doh Stamp 'n Top Pizza Oven Toy

toy kitchen

Play-Doh

This pizza-themed Play-Doh set comes with a pretend oven that stamps and spins the crust, a cheese grater, and molds for creating different toppings like vegetables and pepperoni. A pizza pan, cutter, and stand are also included for children looking to play restaurant and show off their masterpieces.

Price at time of publication: $22

Ryan’s World Vending Surprise

Ryan's World Vending Surprise

Ryan's World

Ryan's World Toys are inspired by Ryan ToysReview, a YouTube channel named for its young star who's become famous for his videos reviewing products. This operational vending machine has surprises galore: Simply insert a coin to receive a toy that might have slime or a toy figure hidden inside. The machine has bright lights and even features phrases from Ryan.

Price at time of publication: $40

Kindi Kids Fun Time Friends

Kindi Kids Fun Time Friends

Courtesy of Kindi Kids

The Kindi Kids Fun Time Friends ranks high on our list because this oversized doll is fun, stylish, and makes for a lot of fun for pretend play. The sturdy doll is sized just right for younger kids and can withstand some rough and tumble play. Each doll comes with removable clothes and shoes, brushable hair, and accessories.

Price at time of publication: $25

Paw Patrol Mighty Pups Super Paws Lookout Tower Playset

Paw Patrol

Nickelodeon

You might need to rearrange your kid's toys before ordering this fabulous-but-giant playset, which stands almost 3 feet tall and will be a guaranteed hit. Kids will stay busy for hours playing with the elevator, zip line, and six vehicle launch areas (note that the set only includes the Chase vehicle and pup, but others can be bought separately). Just like on the show, the tower has lots of flashing lights and sound effects, including Ryder's famous control tower missions. 

Price at time of publication: $145

Intex Playhouse Jump-O-Lene Inflatable Bouncer

Jump-o-lene

Intex

 

Instead of having them bounce off the walls with all of that 3-year-old energy, this inflatable castle gives them a good alternative for getting out their wiggles. While it can be used outside, it’s also perfect for playrooms and those days when going outside just isn’t an option. It's big enough for a couple of little jumpers (it can hold up to 120 pounds), but not so big that it takes up an entire room.

Price at time of publication: $98

How We Selected the Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds

We chose the best toys for 3-year-olds by studying the design and features of more than 70 toys on the market while researching reviews from customers and competitors. We also monitored shopping trends to bring you the best and most up-to-date offerings on toys for 3-year-olds. We considered toy safety, age recommendations, developmental milestones, ease of use, battery, design, features, and value when reviewing products. 

We also spoke to Justin Schreiber, DO, MPH, Co-Chair of the School Health Committee and Member of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and reviewed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on developmental milestones. We chose age- and developmentally-appropriate toys for 3-year-olds that are easy to use and sure to entertain for hours.

What to Look for When Shopping for Toys for 3-Year-Olds

Toy Safety 


Toys are meant to be fun, but safety should always come first. Be sure to opt for toys that are bigger than your child’s mouth and don’t contain any small pieces, since they can pose a choking hazard. Additionally, steer clear of toys with small button batteries and high-powered magnets to prevent your child from potentially swallowing them. Toys should be well-made and sturdy to provide a safe play experience.

Age Recommendations 

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations for a few reasons, with safety being the top priority. Some toys contain small pieces that are not safe for 3-year-olds to play with due to a choking hazard. You also don’t want a toy that’s too difficult for your little one to understand or play with, so opt for a toy that matches your child’s development level. This will ensure your child plays safely and at their own skill level.

Developmental Milestones

As with any age, milestones are very important for 3-year-olds, and toys are a great way to help support kids as they work to reach and master these skills. For example, support a 3-year-old’s gross motor skills development with a bike, such as the Huffy 12 in. Rock It Kids Bike. “In terms of gross motor skills, they should start to be able to pedal,” says Dr. Schreiber, adding, “starting to think about a tricycle or pedal bike with training wheels might be a good option.” 

As for fine motor skill development, Dr. Schreiber suggests “encouraging coloring and drawing with crayons and colored pencils,” such as the Shuttle Art Washable Gel Crayons.  This will not only help strengthen their fine motor skills but also help them as they learn how to draw and write with control. 

Imaginative Play

The more toys you can find that offer opportunities for imaginative play, the better. “Pretending is…a very important area of growth” for 3-year-olds, explains Dr. Schreiber. “Toys that allow them to make-believe and be imaginative are key, as this is a growing interest in this age.”

Some examples of good imaginative play toys include dress-up accessories and costumes, like the Melissa & Doug Doctor Role Play Costume, dolls, or miniature versions of things you use every day, such as the Step2 Timeless Trends Play Kitchen. “Playhouses or kitchens are a lot of fun [for 3-year-olds],” says Dr. Schreiber. Additionally, he suggests looking for toys and games that allow them to play pretend with someone else, like a friend or parent, as kids start moving away from parallel play and into collaborative play around this age.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a 3-year-old like to play with?

    Overall, 3-year-olds are easy to please when you consider a couple of key details. You’ll want to think about your toddler’s interests; for example, if you know they’re a fan of Bluey, opt for a toy like the Bluey Plush Two-Pack, or if they like to be outside, check out the Little Tikes Spiralin' Seas Waterpark Play Table. Additionally, keep your child’s development in mind to ensure they’re playing with a toy that matches their skill level.

  • What is a good educational toy for a 3-year-old?

    Educational toys for 3-year-olds include anything that teaches them some sort of skill. Whether the skill is fine or gross motor, problem-solving, or another skill set, you simply want to ensure your child is gaining an educational experience through play. When in doubt, go for a fun workbook, such as the School Zone Big Preschool Workbook, which gears children up for preschool. 

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She's also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 6-year-old son, and 2-year-old daughter. In her house, a scooter and a personalized cape are an official sign of being 3 years old (and of course, they must be used together). 

Additional reporting by Ashley Ziegler and Katrina Cossey.

Katrina Cossey is a commerce writer for Verywell Family with nearly eight years of experience under her belt. Katrina’s background in journalism began at an Emmy Award-winning news station in Oklahoma before she obtained her B.A. in professional media. Her love for service journalism, helping others, and becoming a parent led to her commerce writing role, which allows her to research and recommend the best products for families, pregnant people, and kids of all ages.

Ashley Ziegler is a lifestyle writer specializing in motherhood, family health, and consumer products. She has written for Romper, Femestella.com, InspireMore, Moms.com, Introvert Dear, This Is My Brave, and various other publications. As a lifestyle writer, Ashley publishes content on everything lifestyle, from home, family, and kids, to fashion and beauty.

More Toys and Gifts for Kids

When it comes to toys and gifts for kids, our team has you covered. The Verywell Family team of editors (who are parents or have nieces and nephews of their own) have tested, gifted, and personally recommend every item we feature. Find more of our top gift and toy picks for every age and stage here:

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. CDC. What developmental milestones is your 3-year-old reaching? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  2. CDC. What is a developmental milestone? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3.  How to buy safe toys. HealthyChildren.org.