The 20 Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds of 2020

Find the right toys for older toddlers

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Micro Mini Scooter at Amazon

"It's the highest-rated scooter for kids ages 2 through 5."

Happy Bunny at Amazon

"An adorable cooperative game, this teaches counting, sorting, and teamwork."

Piggy Paint at Amazon

"The bright colors dry quickly in a long-lasting, smooth coat."

Magna-Tiles at Amazon

"This STEM-focused toy develops math, science, spatial, and tactile skills."

Baby Doll Stroller at Walmart

"This durable and easy-to-clean stroller is perfectly sized for little hands."

Melissa & Doug On-the-Go Water Wow at Amazon

"Perfect as gifts, a plane ride surprise, or a way to pass the time at a restaurant."

Julia Magnetic Dress Up at melissaanddoug.com

"In addition to developing creative play and imagination, this toy is helpful for fine motor skill development."

Waddle Bobbers Bath Toys at Amazon

"Each part is totally sealed, so water will never get stuck inside."

Electric Yard & Garden Pretend Tools at youngexplorers.com

"Let your little helper join in on the yard work with this complete set."

Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Costume at Amazon

"Keep your little firefighter busy and ready for when duty calls."

At 3 years old, kids hit a sweet spot for what toys they will enjoy. Older toddlers are able to take part in pretend play, problem-solving, active toys, and can play both independently and with other kids.

Whether you need a birthday gift, outside toy, quiet indoor toy, or anything else, you’ll find some great ideas for the 3-year-old in your life.

Our Top Picks

Micro Kickboard Mini Scooter

One of the highest-rated models for kids ages 2 through 5, this lightweight scooter is as fun as it is beneficial. Kids will love the independence and fun that a scooter provides.

Parents will love the energy that kids burn while scooting as well as the balance and coordination skills that they'll develop.

Blue Orange Happy Bunny Cooperative Kids Game

This adorable cooperative game teaches counting, sorting, and teamwork. It’s perfect for 3-year-olds to play on their own or with friends and family.

The game can be learned in a matter of minutes, and play time is roughly 15 minutes, so it’ll keep them engaged and playing.

Piggy Paint Gift Set

Dubbed “as natural as mud,” this high-quality nail polish is non-toxic, vegan, and water-based. The bright colors dry quickly in a long-lasting, smooth coat. This polish is fun and safe for kids (and moms) of all ages. Get ready for some beautiful manicures and pedicures.

Magna-Tiles Metropolis Magnetic Building Tiles

The buzz about Magna-Tiles is true. The magnet-based plastic building tiles are amazing for open-ended imaginative play. This STEM-focused toy develops math, science, spatial, and tactile skills. While a set is certainly an investment, they will be played with for many, many years to come.

The New York Doll Collection Denim Doll Stroller

Denim Doll Stroller

 Amazon

Little kids (especially those that may have a baby sibling of their own) will love taking their baby doll for a walk. This durable and easy-to-clean stroller is perfectly sized for little hands and will fit with most standard baby dolls up to 18 inches. It's easy for them to store accessories or treasures found along your walk in the bottom basket.

Melissa & Doug On-the-Go Water Wow

These amazing, no-mess coloring books only require a bit of water for plenty and plenty of fun. Simple line drawings fill with color when kids use the water pen. Once the drawings dry, they are ready to repaint.

The spiral-bound books each include a special spot to store the water pen. Perfect as gifts, a plane ride activity, or a way to pass the time at a restaurant, your 3-year-old will be amazed by their painting skills.

Julia Magnetic Dress Up

Magnetic Dress Up

 Courtesy of Amazon

Take charge of Julia’s day by dressing her for success. With 24 magnetic clothing pieces, Julia can be dressed as an astronaut, firefighter, doctor, superhero, artist, rockstar, chef, police officer, or any custom combination.

In addition to developing creative play and imagination, this toy is helpful for fine motor skill development.

Fat Brain Toys Waddle Bobbers Bath Toys

Bath time just got a whole lot more fun with this cute gang of floating penguins. They’ll bob, spin, and float in the bath and can slide down the enclosed ice slide into the bath.

The penguins are cup-shaped, so they are also fun to stack or fill up and pour water out of. Each part is totally sealed, so water will never get stuck inside.

Young Explorers Electric Yard & Garden Pretend Tools

Yard Set

Courtesy of Young Explorers

 

Let your little helper join in on the yard work with this complete set. With goggles and earmuffs, the lawnmower and leaf blower both make noise, feature imaginative details, realistic sounds, and a pull-cord start.

Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Costume

Keep your little firefighter busy and ready for when duty calls. The high-quality set includes a jacket, helmet, badge, fire extinguisher, bullhorn, and reusable name tag. If a firefighter doesn’t fit into your 3-year-old’s pretend play, there are lots of other choices from Melissa & Doug.

Kid Made Modern My First Crafts Bundle

My First Craft

 Courtesy of Kids Made Modern

Made just for little hands, these two craft kits are a quick way to stock your craft corner. With over 300 pieces, these sets include everything kids need to make lots of art projects and jewelry.

All the components are large and easy to grasp, so they’ll help older toddlers develop fine motor skills while being creative and having fun.

Jellycat Brown Bear Stuffed Animal

Don’t discount the joy and comfort that a super soft stuffed animal can bring to a small child. The cutest, softest, and perfectly sized bear, this guy will be well-loved for many years to come.

Green Toys Dump Truck

Green Toys Dump Truck

Walmart

This hard-working truck is made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers. It’s easy to clean, fun for little hands, and comes in three sweet color combinations, including a fun pink and purple version.

Fisher-Price Little People Helpful Neighbors Wheelie Garage

Little People

 Walmart

Imaginative play and fine motor skills will get a boost with this three-story garage that includes a dinging bell, cranking elevator, gas pump, mechanic’s lift, twisting ramp, and two cars with built-in characters. The fun only increases if you add in other little people, small cars, or other play figures.

Little Tikes Easy Score Basketball Hoop

Little Tikes

 Kohls

Fun for both inside and outside play, this well-priced basketball hoop can be adjusted from two to four feet high, so it literally grows with your child. Because it has an oversized rim, your 3-year-old will be sure to easily make lots of baskets. The hoop comes with one junior-sized soft basketball.

Janod Confetti Ukulele

Confetti Ukulele

 Courtesy of Janod

An award-winning toy, a ukulele is a great first instrument for 3-year-olds to engage with musical play, learn notes, and write songs. The ukulele has four strings, provides tons of fun, and comes in a sweet confetti design. There are also matching instruments sold separately, perfect for other musical family members to join in.

Creative Capes Kid’s Initial Cape

Kid's Cape

 Courtesy Creative Capes

If they're just learning the alphabet, a 3-year-old will love wearing their very own letter in cape form. Choose from lots of cute color combinations and four different sizes to select the best cape for your own superhero.

Besides giving them tons of fun playtime, you’ll also be empowering kids to be their own superhero. The cape provides a self-esteem boost and costume play rolled into one.

Crayola Fingerpaint

Fingerpaint

 Crayola

Your 3-year-old may squeal with delight when you reveal the joy that is fingerpaint. This safe, non-toxic set includes a range of bright colors and 10 sheets of oversized finger paint paper. Kids will enjoy the freedom to get messy and paint with their fingers while parents will love the fact that it's all washable.

Fisher-Price Medical Kit

Add some life-saving fun to their pretend playtime with a well-stocked doctor’s kit. This set has everything little kids need to check out family members, friends, or even stuffed animals.

Little doctors will be busy with the blood pressure cuff, play thermometer, syringe, stethoscope, and more. Bonus: everything packs into a compact tote bag for "house calls".

Cuddle and Kind Dolls

Cuddle + Kind

Cuddle + Kind

Beautifully crafted, these hand-knit dolls are meant to be loved for a long, long time. Even better: with each purchase, the company donates 10 meals to children in need. You’ll be doing good and adding a sweet friend to your child’s life.

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). 

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Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: your child by three years. Updated June 9, 2020.