The Best Toys for 3-Year-Old Boys to Feed Their Creativity

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Verywell Family / Lecia Landis

Three-year-olds are curious, energetic, and creative, so the toys they play with should bring out these wonderful traits. The best toys for them will inspire imaginative play and allow them to continue reaching their developmental milestones.

Reviewed & Approved

We love the Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set because it inspires tons of pretend play while teaching kids some responsibility. The Bluey Caravan Adventure Playset is another great pick to help engage kids in imaginative play.

It's also important to find toys that will begin to strengthen their social and collaboration skills. Justin Schreiber, DO, MPH, Co-Chair of the School Health Committee and Member of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, tells Verywell Family that the best toys for this age group will help kids “build on growing fine motor skills and their ability to play and interact with others.”

Not to mention, they should be fun to play with, durable, and easy to clean. We researched toys with these helpful features in mind.

Here are the best toys for 3-year-old boys.

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set

4.6
Melissa and Doug's cleaning set includes a dustpan that attatches to the handles of the other tools.

Amazon

We love this toy because it's affordable, durable, and fantastic for imaginative play. Toddlers can “help” clean the house with this adorable set that comes with a pretend broom, mop, dustpan, duster, brush, and a stand to hold everything. Made for kids ages 3 to 6, this set will strengthen their coordination and fine motor skills. It will also teach them some responsibility and give them a sense of purpose. All of the pieces have quality wooden construction and are easy to wipe down if needed. Parents note that they are easy for little hands to hold, and they're lightweight enough for them to carry around the house.

Price at time of publish: $30

Bluey Caravan Adventure Playset

Bluey Caravan Adventure Playset

Courtesy of Bluey

For kiddos who can’t get enough of Bluey, this set comes with all kinds of fun ways to play. It includes a caravan/camper that has a kitchen, dining room, and a bedroom as well as the Heeler’s family car. The set also comes with 12 accessories including three Bluey figurines, a table/chair set, surfboards, and more. The best part is that you can store the tiny pieces inside the caravan when not in use.

Price at time of publish: $34

Play22 Kids Gardening Set

Play22 Kids Gardening Set

Courtesy of Play22

Perfect for pretend play as well as real-life gardening, this 12-piece set comes with an apron, gardening gloves, a tool bag, a watering can, planters, plant tags, and four hand-held tools. The tools have splinter-free wood handles and are durable enough to play with in a real garden, but safe for playing with inside, too.

Price at time of publish: $19

Battat Shape Sorter

Battat Shape Sorter

Courtesy of Battat

Little ones can work on shape and color identification and strengthen their fine motor skills with this shape sorter. This adorable toy looks like a cute little house and comes with 14 shapes in different colors including classic shapes like a circle and square, as well as some fun ones like a car and a music note.

It’s full of different ways to play and is great for curious kids as young as 2 years old.

Price at time of publish: $20

Magna-Tiles Safari Animals

Magna-Tiles Safari Animals

Source Magna-Tiles Safari Animals

Magna-Tiles are fun on their own, but with this kit, kids as young as 3 years old can turn their tiles into a zoo for safari animals. The set comes with 25 tiles which include several shapes as well as four animals. Magna-Tiles are great for strengthening motor skills, problem-solving, and open-ended play.

Price at time of publish: $45

Haba Symphony Croc

Haba Symphony Croc

Source: Haba

This cute toy lets kids test out their musical skills on the xylophone, drum, woodblock, and bell, and it comes with two mallets to make playing all the easier. It’s made with high-quality materials and is designed so that all of the pieces can be stored together when the toy isn’t being played with. It’s a great option for kids as young as 2 years old.

Price at time of publish: $50

Paw Patrol The Movie Ultimate City Tower

Paw Patrol The Movie Ultimate City Tower

Courtesy of Amazon

If your 3-year-old is a fan of Paw Patrol, then this amazing tower is for them. It stands 3 feet tall and is packed with different ways to play. It has a ramp that extends out, a rotating pup selector that lights up a map, a vehicle elevator, and more.

Plus, it also lights up, makes sounds, and comes with six Pup figurines, Chase’s cruiser car, and a clip-on backpack. This toy is designed for kids 3 years old and up. 

Price at time of publish: $70

Chillafish Charlie Kids Balance Bike

Chillafish Charlie Kids Balance Bike

Source: Chillafish

Balance bikes are a great introduction to bike riding new riders because as they become more comfortable on them kids learn to control their balance. Once they've mastered that, they can easily transition to a two-wheel bike instead of one with training wheels.

This one is available in several colors and is sized for kids between 18-months and 4 years old. It has an adjustable seat and handlebar so that it can grow with your child, is lightweight, and features puncture-proof tires.

Price at time of publish: $50

Delta Children MySize Kids Double-Sided Storage Easel

4.6
Delta-Double-Sided-Easel

Courtesy of Amazon

Bring out your child's inner artist with this double-sided easel. It features a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other and is equipped with two storage bins and a large paper roll to give them one more way to make art.

The easel stands just over 40 inches tall, is made from high-quality materials, and is made for kids 3 years old and up.

Price at time of publish: $45

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

Amazon

For something epic, consider this amazing train table. It comes with 120 pieces to create winding train paths and little adventures. Under the table are three removable red bins that can be used for storage when the table isn’t being used, and all of the pieces are made from high-quality material, some of which also feature bright and colorful artwork.

This table is made for kids as young as 3 years old and does require some assembly.

Price at time of publish: $161

A 3-year-old is the perfect age for these cubes, which are so much cooler than traditional blocks. The set comes with 10 cubes of varying sizes that stack together using slats along their sides. This allows kids to build up and out in a way they can’t with normal building blocks.

Each of these cubes is made from durable BPA-free plastic and is brightly colored to add more fun.

Price at time of publish: $29

Fisher-Price Little People Launch & Loop Raceway

Fisher-Price Little People Launch & Loop Raceway

Courtesy of Fisher-Price

Made for kids between 18 months and 5 years old, this toy features multiple race tracks, including a Hot Wheels orange loop. The tower comes with 2 vehicles that can be launched at the same time for epic races. The tower features lights and makes sounds, a jump ramp, and a fun crash zone. 

Price at time of publish: $70

Obuby Walkie-Talkies for Kids 3 Pack

Obuby Walkie Talkies for Kids 3 Pack

Courtesy of Amazon

Whether they want to communicate during hide-and-seek or just say hello from the opposite end of the house, 3-year-olds can chat with you using these colorful walkie-talkies. They’re available in several colors and in sets of two or three and they feature more than 20 channel options, a flashlight, and an ergonomic design made for little kids.

Price at time of publish: $28

KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen

KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen

 Courtesy of KidKraft

This play kitchen is made for kids between 3 and 10 years old and is perfect for pretend play. It features a chalkboard, veggie planters with pretend carrots and purple onions that can be pulled and cut, 2 storage crates, a pot, a pan, and more.

Kids will absolutely love the fun sounds it makes, too, including running water sounds at the sink and sizzling sounds on the stovetop. Measuring 44.2 x 13.6 x 43 inches, this adorable kitchen has more than enough bells and whistles to keep your little one’s imagination running wild.

Price at time of publish: $190

BunMo Poppin’ Tubes

BunMo Poppin’ Tubes

Courtesy of BunMo

Available in packs of 4, 8, or 30, these tubes are great for imaginative/open-ended play, sensory play, and fine motor skill development. They can be scrunched together and pulled apart, twisted, and connected to create all kinds of fun.

Kids as young as 3 years old can safely play with these silly tubes, and they come in an assortment of bright colors.

Price at time of publish: $7

Melissa & Doug Knight Role Play Costume Set

Melissa & Doug Knight Role Play Costume Set

Courtesy of Melissa & Doug

Imaginative play and dress-up go hand and hand! This adorable knight set is made for kids between 3 and 6 years old and is made from high-quality, durable fabrics. Included in the set is a shirt, a hood, a play sword, and a play shield.

Your toddler will have so much fun defending his kingdom in this cute costume.

Price at time of publish: $38

What Experts Say

“Oftentimes they are starting to work on their ability to dress themselves, so an option can be dolls or other toys that allow for changing of clothes."– Justin Schreiber, DO, MPH,  Co-Chair of the School Health Committee and Member of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Tender Leaf Toys Tool Bench 18-Piece Construction Set

Tender Leaf Tool Bench

Courtesy of Tender Leaf Toys

Made completely from wood, this tabletop tool bench is made for kids 3 years old and up. It comes with all of the essentials every toolset needs including a hammer, a screwdriver, a spinner, a saw, a drill, as well as screws, nuts, bolts, and more.

This set is great for pretend play and something that kiddos can play with solo or with friends.

Price at time of publish: $164

Final Verdict

The best toy for your 3-year-old will depend a lot on his personality, but the toys that rank highest on our list are Melissa & Doug’s Let’s Play House: Dust! Sweep! Mop! (view at Amazon), the KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Wooden Train Table (view at Amazon), and the LEGO DUPLO Town Family Camping Van Adventure set (view at Kohl's).

What to Look for When Buying Toys for 3 Year Old Boys

Imaginative Play

By now you’ve probably already noticed your 3-year-old mimicking everything you do or creating pretend situations on a regular basis. According to pediatrician Justin Schreiber, DO, MPH, this is completely normal, so “toys that allow them to create their own stories or role play are perfect” for 3-year-olds.

When shopping for toys, consider dress-up sets, dolls/action figures, or a mini version of a real-life object (like a play kitchen or pretend toolset). These toys will not only encourage kids to use their imaginations but will also be something they find genuinely fun and interesting. Even better, their love for imaginative play will only continue to grow in the coming years, so they aren’t going to quickly grow out of these toys. 

Milestones

Milestone development is still rapid and important during the toddler years, so finding toys that aid in mastering new skills or strengthening existing skills is a great idea. Here are three milestones Dr. Schreiber says are important for 3-year-olds, as well as toys that can aid in the development:

  • Strengthening fine motor skills: LEGO DUPLO Town Family Camping Van Adventure (view on Khol's)
  • Playing with others and moving away from parallel play: Bluey Caravan Adventure Playset (view on Amazon)
  • Strengthening drawing skills: MySize Easel (view on Amazon)

Collaborative Play

At 3 years old, kids are still developing socially and are becoming more interested in actively playing with their friends. Because of this, Dr. Schreiber suggests looking for “games that are turn-based or allow for working together as a team, but are also very simple in directions.” Toys that combine their love for pretend play and collaborative play are also going to be big hits. “They also want to include others,” explains Dr. Schreiber, “so role-playing toys that allow another peer or adult to be involved are key.”

Toys that are specifically designed for collaborative play are obviously great, but so are toys that can be played with other kids or solo are also good. For kids that don't have siblings or other children in the home, playing alone helps to foster imagination and can teach them social independence. Additionally, in general, a toy that can be played with in multiple ways (whether solo or not) is a great option because it allows kids to use their imaginations and extends the toy’s longevity. 

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a wife to a public school administrator and mom to 1-year-old and 3-year-old daughters. In addition to regularly scouring the internet to find the best things for herself, Ashley spends multiple hours a week researching, comparing, and writing about products specifically for kids and families.

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