If there’s a 3-year-old boy in your life, you know just how creative, fun, and active they are. 3 year olds are working to improve their motor skills and can play with toys that have small moving parts and buttons. They’re learning more about the world and are ready to learn things like counting to 10 and naming basic colors. Many are quite talkative and can have basic two- to three-sentence conversations.
If you’re looking to buy a toy or gift for a 3-year-old, finding the best toy can be intimidating. There are thousands of options, but not to worry. We’ve pulled together a list of the best toys that are not only super fun, but also meet the developmental needs of typical 3 year olds, and won’t break the bank. These 10 best toys for 3 year old boys help both entertain and develop physical and cognitive abilities.
A critical developmental milestone for 3-4 year olds is the ability to draw a circle with a crayon or pencil. The Crayola Inspiration Art Case, full of bright markers and crayons, is a dream gift that will inspire your child to create more art than you have gallery space for. And as an added bonus, with each drawing they complete, children will be developing their fine motor skills. Wish we had one of these growing up.
Musical play can be a large part of a 3-year-old’s day. Children learn about rhythm and timbre while having a blast. Pick up a wide variety of musical instruments in this compact set by Smart Wallaby.
3 year olds start to get the hang of toys with small moving parts and buttons. Give them an engineering blocks set specifically designed for 3 year olds to nurture their dexterity, creativity, and problem solving skills. This tool helps kids see how fun it is to be an engineer, and prepares them for success with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) later in their development.
The blocks allow children to build 12 different toys, plus any number of their own unique creations.
3 year olds are just picking up the ability to learn numbers and letters. This feature packed kids tablet does great at helping them learn to count to 10, memorize the alphabet, soak up early vocabulary. There are 12 activity modes, sure to keep your 3 year stimulated for a long time. The tablet comes in black for boys, and pink for girls.
As three-year olds leave toddlerhood and enter a period of more imaginative play, they will be kept entertained for hours with a set of color magnetic tiles from Magna-Tiles. Children will develop spatial reasoning skills as they build their masterpiece.
Help your 3 year old develop coordination with a great wooden balance bike that won’t break the bank. Children will improve their strength, balance, and motor skills as they cruise around. The jump to a full bicycle will be a little easier too. Boys will appreciate the style of this ZÜM wooden bike.
Play-Doh helps kids imaginations run wild while also improving their dexterity and strength. The extra tools in the deluxe set add even more fun and stimulation. Kids can make all kinds of creatures and objects. We’ve yet to see a child that wasn’t excited to receive Play-Doh.
Building blocks like Legos help children develop all kinds of skills ranging from motor skills, to spacial reasoning, to problem solving. This Lego DUPLO set is specifically sized for 3 year olds.
These great take apart toys help children develop find motor skills while encouraging team work and social development. The toys come assembled, and children use screwdrivers to take them apart and reassemble them. The toys even come with a bonus dinosaur coloring book, for your budding paleontologist. We encourage STEM toys for both boys and girls.
We are no luddites. Modern technologies like tablets can have a hugely positive impact on childhood development. They allow children to ignite their imaginations, learn more about the world, and develop academic and social skills. Children also find them highly engaging.
One of the best kids tablets around is the LeapFrog Epic. Kids play one of over 20 kid-friendly android apps. You can download more free Amazon Android apps onto it too. There’s even a kid-safe web browser. Just be sure to limit usage to some reasonable amount every day. As with all things, there needs to be balance.
Note: if you already have an iPad lying around, save a little money and check out our list of the 5 best educational apps for iPad.
Other Age Ranges
Check out our lists of top developmental toys for other ages:
- Best toys for 1 year old boys
- Best toys for 2 year old boys
- Best toys for 4 year old boys
- Best toys for 5 year old boys
- Best toys for 6 year old boys
- Best toys for 7 year old boys
- Best toys for 8 year old boys
- Best toys for 9 year old boys
- Best toys for 10 year old boys
- Best toys for 11 year old boys
- Best toys for 12 year old boys
Criteria for Placement
While listing the best educational resources is never an exact science, we’ve done our best find products that rank highly on the following criteria:
- Developmental impact: We’ve critically evaluated the toys on this list for their impact on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
- Safety: All toys on this list are safe to use, widely reviewed, and free of toxic compounds like lead and BPA.
- Durability: Toddlers love to throw, sit on, and hit everything they can get a hold of. The toys on this list are fit to withstand the bumps and hard landings of a young child’s play.
- Price: Parenting doesn’t need to be outrageously expensive. We looked for the cheapest products that still meet our developmental and quality requirements.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of 10 great toys for 3 year olds. Play is an essential part of childhood. Giving your children the right toys ensures that play is also highly enriching. If you have any toy suggestions or feedback, reach out to us @SmartParentBlog.
At Smart Parenting, we are committed to editorially independent research and thoughtful writing. We do our best to objectively review the best parenting and educational products. Links to products are sometimes affiliate links, which support the blog.