Gift Guide

A child playing with a set of Magnatiles, one of the top toys for 3-year-olds.
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The 35 Top Toys For 3-Year-Olds

They’d play with a cardboard box, but toys are more fun.

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Like it or not, preschoolers have opinions. Thanks to those opinions, an assortment of Mickey Mouse and Bluey toys probably already cover their bedroom floor. Though many of the top toys for 3-year-olds feature their favorite characters, other interests like crafts, pretend play, or dinosaurs can inspire their toy collection as well. If you’re looking to add a few new items to a 3-year-old’s toy box, this list of the best toys for 3-year-olds will steer you in the right direction.

What to consider when buying toys for a 3-year-old

When buying toys for a 3-year-old, consider the age-appropriateness of the toys you’re looking at. It might feel right to buy any toy that’s marked appropriate for “ages 3 and up,” but this designation doesn’t always mean that a toy is on-target for every 3-year-old’s interests and abilities.

Consider whether or not a child is developmentally ready to play with the toy. Playtime should be fun, but if a 3-year-old with an independent streak needs too much assistance fitting pieces together or making something work, it can lead to frustration, which isn’t fun at all — for them or for the adult in the room.

Toys that spark imagination, allow a child to mimic adult activities like cooking or cleaning, or otherwise play make-believe are usually winners with the preschool age group. Toys that are open-ended and have multiple ways to play are also top contenders.

Whether you’re shopping for their birthday, a holiday gift, or just want to give their toy collection a refresh, you can accomplish the task with this list of the top toys for 3-year-olds in hand.

1

Wooden building blocks in bright colors

Pros: Comes with 100 blocks, so there’s plenty to build with.

Cons: Blocks do not stack well on carpeted surfaces.

This set of Melissa & Doug wooden building blocks comes with 100 colorful pieces in 9 geometric shapes to build a variety of structures. The blocks are small enough for little hands to easily manipulate their builds, have rounded edges, and a smooth finish so they won’t splinter.

Review: “My 3 and 7 year old enjoy playing with these. I also enjoy it. The blocks are durable and feel heavy. The colors haven’t chipped after playing with them and I suspected they would. I love how bright the colors are. We are able to practice shapes and colors while building. This has turned into a very educational toy for my toddler.”

2

A Baby Shark toy for the tub

Pros: Water-activated motion and sound with an automatic off setting that turns it off after 4 minutes.

Cons: Batteries don’t last as long as expected, but can be replaced.

Drop this toy in your 3-year-old’s bath and watch them go absolutely wild with joy as the Baby Shark song plays. From Robo Alive Junior, this Baby Shark sing and swim bath toy is sure to make a splash with any preschooler. In addition to the yellow Baby Shark version, you can also purchase a pink Mama Shark and blue Dady Shark toy as well.

Review: “My 3 year old son is obsessed with this shark! Stops him from splashing water everywhere cause he just loves playing with the shark. So happy with this shark I'm gonna get all of them!”

3

A toy toaster that helps teach counting

Pros: Has educational components to teach counting and colors.

Cons: Requires batteries.

Some of the top toys for 3-year-olds are toys that allow them to mimic everyday activities, but also have a learning element included. With the LeapFrog Yum-2-3 Toaster, kids can learn through play as they cook up a pretend breakfast and interact with the toaster’s counting and color identification features.

Review: “I ordered this for my granddaughter to add to the toys I keep at my house for her, and she was so obsessed with it, she took it home. I love how interactive it is, and that you can shut it off so you don’t accidentally turn it on during nap time. Great value for the price.”

4

This learning tablet that grows with them

Pros: Progressive learning levels keep kids engaged as they grow.

Cons: Not water-resistant and will stop working if it gets wet.

For preschoolers who aren’t ready for the responsibility of having a full-blown iPad, one of the top toys for 3-year-olds is the VTech Little Apps Tablet. A color-changing screen, interactive letters from A-Z, a piano keyboard that really plays musical notes, arrow keys to play games, and multiple activities to enjoy will keep them learning as they play.

Review: “My 3 year old loves it, he learned a lot from it! Counting spelling and reading. I am not kidding he plays with it all the time and now he can sound all the words he sees then read it! I could not be more happy for him!”

5

An octopus plush toy that’s reversible

Pros: Can be used by kids (and adults) to communicate feelings and moods.

Cons: At approximately 4 inches, this plush is small.

Some of the most beloved toys for 3-year-olds are stuffed animals. With the TeeTurtle reversible octopus plushie, not only can the 3-year-old in your life have a cute toy to snuggle with, but they can also use their reversible happy and sad sides of the toy to communicate their mood. The purple and blue color combo is a cute choice for this age group, but there are a ton of other color options to choose from as well.

Review: “These are so cute and soft, all 3 of my kids love them dearly (ages 2,4,6), and we give them as gifts - always a hit!”

6

A wooden pretend pizza set with lots of toppings

Pros: Velcro between the pizza slices allows them to be “cut” apart or stuck together as a whole pie.

Cons: Velcro may start to peel off after many slices with the wooden pizza cutter.

Complete with 6 wooden pizza slices, a spatula, pizza cutter, pizza platter, more than 30 toppings, and a storage box to keep everything nice and neat, the Melissa & Doug Wooden Pizza Play Set has everything a child needs for a pretend pizza party. One of the top toys for 3-year-olds, they’ll want to play with this imaginative set over and over again.

Review: “My 3 year old loves this toy! It’s made very well and sturdy so she can’t destroy it, and has little compartments for the smaller pieces. She loves that she can use the pizza cutter to separate the pieces and thinks she’s cutting it like mommy.”

7

A kid-friendly personal music player with headphones included

Pros: Includes 100+ songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases; has a volume control.

Cons: Headphones run big.

For kids who love music and want to imitate their older siblings who walk around with headphones on 24/7, one of the top toys for 3-year-olds is the VTech Rock and Bop Music Player. This handheld player with attached over-the-ear headphones comes loaded with 10 musical learning games that teach letters, numbers, time, instruments, animal sounds, and more. It also plays songs from 3 different musical styles including hip hop, rock, and classical, plus has a feature to mix a variety of instrument sounds into the songs.

Review: “This music playing cell phone shaped toy was a hit! My almost four year old grand daughter fell in love at first sight, she carries it everywhere! She says it’s real because it has ear phones that work!”

8

A big tub of Play-Doh tools to create with

Pros: Includes a variety of tools, stamps, and molds that all fit in one container.

Cons: The included Play-Doh tubs are a small size.

For preschoolers who many not be ready for some of the more complex Play-Doh sets available, one of the top toys for 3-year-olds is the Play-Doh Fun Tub. It comes complete with 18 different tools to stamp, roll, and cut, as well as 5 small containers of Play-Doh in a variety of colors. Everything included fits inside of the storage container, so it’s also easy for kids to put away themselves.

Review: “There are so many cool accessories included with this kit! Your child will have a lot of fun and stay entertained for a while! It is definitely worth every penny and i would buy it again as a gift if need be! It already comes in a storage container which is nice too!”

9

A pretend coffee play set to make a cup of java

Pros: Has a realistic look and can be used to make pretend coffee that’s hot or iced.

Cons: The set is smaller than an actual coffee maker.

While they’re definitely not old enough for their own latte, this Melissa & Doug coffee play set is a fantastic toy for 3-year-olds who enjoy realistic pretend play. Made to mimic the look and feel of a Keurig coffee maker, this set comes with 3 coffee pods, sugar, creamer, an ice cube, the coffee maker, and 2 mugs. There’s also a menu card to use if they want to pretend they’re a barista and take your coffee order.

Review: “Great toy for children or grandchildren of coffee lovers. Our grandson loved to push the button on our Nespresso. Now he can ‘make’ us coffee even when we don't actually want any!”

10

Snap and sort dinosaurs for learning through play

Pros: Encourages sensory play, matching and sorting, as well as fine motor skill development.

Cons: Some reviewers were disappointed by the small size of the dinosaurs.

Each of the 9 dinosaurs included in the Learning Resources Snap-N-Learn Matching Dinos set is comprised of 2 pieces that snap together in the middle. Kids can sort and match each one by color, by the shapes printed on their backs, or by species. Designed to help kids develop fine motor skills, the ridges on some of the dinosaurs backs also provide sensory stimulation as well, so it’s a top choice for 3-year-olds.

Review: “My son loved these. They come apart in the middle, and you can put them back together the way they came, or different and have different colored dinosaurs.”

11

A set of gears to build simple machines

Pros: Encourages STEM thinking and fine motor skill development.

Cons: Some kids will need help understanding how to fit the gears together so that they spin.

For 3-year-olds who love to build and tinker, the Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears! Deluxe Building Set comes with 46 colorful plastic gears to sort, construct, and experiment with. Also included in the 100-piece set are 26 square pillars to connect the gears together, 21 axels, 6 interlocking bases, 1 crank handle, and an activity guide to inspire a variety of playtime ideas.

Review: “These gears were a big hit with my car and truck loving preschooler. Nicely packaged for gifting. I will invest in some of the other sets so that he can build more. Very creative and good for fine motor skills. Not too terribly priced for such a good quality toy. Sound purchase.”

12

A vet care set for animal lovers

Pros: Everything stores neatly inside the tote bag; 2 stuffed animals are included.

Cons: Some reviews note that the decorative stickers on some of the items peel off easily.

One of the top toys for 3-year-olds who love animals is the Melissa & Doug Pet Vet Play Set. The 24-piece set comes with everything a preschooler needs to pretend they’re a veterinarian and treat all of their plush pals. It comes complete with a stuffed dog and stuffed cat as well as a stethoscope, thermometer, tweezers, bandages, cast, ear scope, syringe, office checklist, pretend medication and ointment bottles, as well as a carrying case to keep everything organized.

Review: “My daughter loves this set and loves to play vet. She is constantly giving check ups to all if her stuffed animals. It comes with a cat and a dog stuffed animal and all the tools you need to keep them ‘healthy.’”

13

A plush Paw Patrol toy to snuggle with

Pros: Soft and plush design with low lights and soothing sounds, perfect for pre-bedtime wind down play.

Cons: Audio features are almost too quiet.

Whether it’s play time or bed time, Snuggle Up Chase is on the case. This plush Paw Patrol toy has a working flashlight that emits a soft glow and makes more than 10 sounds and phrases in a soft and soothing tone. When it’s time for sleep, this snuggly toy also plays lullabies.

Review: “Our 3 year old LOVES it, cuddles at night and gets him off to bed. As others have said he doesn't say too much, a few words at tops, but thats fine. Its bedtime you don’t want a big speech or the Gettysburg Address!! If you want a story read a book, just soft words and a soft hug perfect for bed time”

14

A pretend tool box with a working drill

Pros: Multiple ways to play; has lights, sounds, songs, and learning features.

Cons: The drill doesn’t fit inside the toolbox.

With a working toy drill that really spins, gears that spin, screws that fit perfectly in their designated spots, a hammer, wrench, and so much more, the VTech Drill and Learn Toolbox is one of the top toys for 3-year-olds. Double-sided instruction cards can be inserted into the top slot of the toolbox to teach colors and numbers, so not only is this toy fun to play with, it’s educational as well.

Review: “My son loves ‘fixing’ and building’ things but a real hammer and drill are dangerous so when I found this I didn’t even think about it. He loved it! Take the drill with him everywhere and he figured out how to use it very quickly.”

15

A game they can play without help

Pros: Can be played independently or with others.

Cons: Extra butterflies to catch cannot be purchased separately.

If you recall playing with a similar game as a child, you probably remember just how fun it is to try and catch butterflies as they zoom out of the 3-foot-long elephant trunk. While this set is notably smaller than older versions, the Elefun game is still a blast for 3-year-olds to play. This toy comes with 3 butterfly nets and 20 colorful butterflies, so it’s great for playing with siblings or friends, but is also ideal for independent play as well.

Review: “This is a smaller version of what it used to be from 90's. Granddaughter is 2 and loves it! Didn't realize music plays when turned on, no way to turn off while playing. Really cute and entertaining for the kids.”

16

Wooden puzzles in animal shapes

Pros: Comes with 4 wooden puzzles to play with.

Cons: Measuring 8.25 by 4 inches each, these puzzles are a bit small.

Puzzles are a staple toy for 3-year-olds, and this set of Montessori Mama Wooden Puzzles is perfect for the preschool age group. It’s a set of 4 puzzles in the shape of a dinosaur, a dolphin, a teddy bear, and a bunny. The pieces are made from sturdy, eco-friendly wood, have rounded edges, and are finished with a water-based non-toxic paint that’s BPA-free. Each colorful piece is also numbered to enhance counting skills.

Review: “I gave these puzzles to my 3 yr. old granddaughter for her birthday. Because she recognizes her numbers, she really had little trouble assembling them. She worked with them for quite a while before she moved on to something else. I couldn't be more pleased.”

17

A musical doodle tablet to draw on

Pros: Mess-free design; doodle and draw with fingers.

Cons: No volume control, but sound can be turned completely off.

For budding artists, there’s no better toy than one that lets them draw and create without making a mess. The Crayola Toddler Touch Lights Musical Doodle Board is great for 3-year-olds both at home and on-the-go. It has a gel drawing surface that changes to a variety bright rainbow shades when they doodle on it with their fingers. It also plays 6 fun songs to help keep little ones engaged.

Review: “This product is amazing! I bought it 2 years ago and it still works after being thrown, stepped on, left outside, and having spit up on it repeatedly. It’s a favorite toy and even my older kids and adults play with it. After it’s been used and abused I notice it doesn’t seem to have as much gel so I think it’s time to replace it for a new one. Definitely kid tough and once you realize what your buying it exceeded my expectations. I love the idea of a silent mode as well for times when you have to consider others being around.”

18

A bubble mower that comes with plenty of refills

Pros: Makes realistic mower sounds.

Cons: Can be overturned easily, spilling the bubble solution.

For 3-year-olds who love to play outside and also want to do everything mom or dad does, the Lydaz Bubble Lawn Mower is a must-have toy. At just under 15-inches tall and weighing approximately 2.5 pounds, this bubble mower is perfectly-sized for little kids. It does require 3 AA batteries to run, but the mower makes realistic sounds and cranks out plenty of bubbles as it’s pushed. Plus, this particular bubble mower comes with 3 containers of bubble refill solution.

Review: “My son loves this, but he dumps the bubbles out all the time. It's an open corral where you put the bubbles that will spill out if you tilt it. Either way he likes to mow the grass with his Dad and enjoys playing with it even without bubbles.”

19

A race car track that’s self-contained

Pros: The self-contained design is great for small spaces.

Cons: Some parts of the track are not as sturdy as others.

The Hahaland Rescue Car Race Track comes complete with a police car, ambulance, and fire truck that are designed to zoom around the self-contained track. Kids can easily guide the cards through 8 obstacles on the track and experiment with a variety of controls and buttons that move different parts of the track. For 3-year-olds who are interested in race cars, this is a great starter track.

Review: “Bought for my 3 year old grandson, and he loves it. Easy to assemble and lots of features to keep him busy. Great for hand/eye coordination, learning about cause and effect and for color matching skills. One drawback though is that I feel it may not stand up to robust play as it’s a little flimsy in places.”

20

A replica vacuum that really works

Pros: Super realistic design.

Cons: Not as much suction power as a real vacuum.

Another one of the top toys for 3-year-olds that lets them mimic everyday activities is the Casdon Dyson Ball Replica Vacuum. Designed to look just like the real thing, when it’s turned on, a variety of colorful balls whiz around the clear cylinder as it glides across the floor. There’s a removable debris drawer and though it does have some suction power, don’t expect it to pick up much more than a bit of dust as your little one zips around with it.

Review: “First of all, this thing is so stinkin cute, it will make you question your sanity. Aside from that, my son plays with it for like 5 hours a day. Its his favorite thing in the whole world. I honestly would have paid three times the price for it, because it's paid for itself tenfold in fun. Fair warning, it's not really a functioning vacuum, so don't think you can put your kids to work cleaning the house with it. I mean, it will pick up hair and dust bunnies, but the suction is more of a novelty than anything, and I'm fine with that, otherwise I'd be emptying it every 10 minutes.”

21

A set of wooden train tracks with plenty of accessories

Pros: The wooden tracks are compatible with multiple brands of toy trains.

Cons: Some reviews note that the tracks can get wobbly at connection points.

Little train lovers will delight in this Kipipol Wooden Train Set. It comes complete with 19 track pieces that can be set up in a variety of ways. The set also includes multiple people figurines, stoplight posts and signage, a bridge, magnetic crane, a bulldozer, and 3 magnetic trains that they can push and chug around the tracks.

Review: “After looking at similar train sets, picked this one. Glad I did because it’s just like the pictures. Has a hill, tunnel, house, multiple trains, and fish with a magnetic fishing pole. Son plays with it daily. Might add to this set with other train cars and tracks in the future but for now it’s perfect.”

22

A Disney princess dress up trunk

Pros: Everything can be stored in the keepsake trunk.

Cons: Shoes are not included.

Dress up clothes are something that no 3-year-old’s toy collection would be complete without. For kids who love Disney princesses, this 21-piece deluxe dress up trunk set is a dream come true. The trunk comes filled with 4 tops and 3 skirts for dressing up like Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora, as well as coordinating accessories including 3 bracelets, 1 necklace, 3 rings, 1 choker, 3 headbands, 1 tiara, and a sticker sheet.

Review: “This is a perfect accent to any little one’s dress up closet. It’s not made of high durable quality but it’s well enough and has a good price point for said quality. Who wants to spend that much on kids dress up clothing anyway right? My little girls love dressing up like princesses and this easy buy was a simple but good addition for them. Probably need to get shoes and accessories now.”

23

A pretend cash register

Pros: Promotes counting skills, organization, and realistic play.

Cons: Short scanner cord and small conveyer belt area.

With everything a 3-year-old needs to imagine themselves running the checkout lane at the store, this Boley Blue Pretend Cash Register is a top toy for the age group. It has realistic lights and sounds, and comes complete with a solar-powered calculator, moving conveyor belt, money drawer with cash and coins, a scale, scanner, and microphone.

Review: “I gave this item as a gift to a 3year old who absolutely loved it. She enjoyed the conveyer belt to bring the groceries to her as well as the credit card function which she had a blast with every time the approved button came up. Its great with a built in calculator as well. The hand held scanner and the scanner on the belt both beep when pressed just like an actual store register. It also has a mic to do price checks as our 3yr old did...lol. Wish it came with more items since it only had a small basket or cardboard grocery boxes, but for a 3 and 4 year old, this item was a hit. I would definitely recommend purchasing it. Oh and bonus points cause it comes with the batteries installed.”

24

An Elsa styling head

Pros: Comes with plenty of accessories to create a variety of styles.

Cons: It can be difficult to keep the base from sliding around when styling.

If your 3-year-old loves to style hair, but you’re tired of combing knots out of your own locks, they need this Deluxe Elsa Styling Head. From Disney’s Frozen II, Elsa’s flowing blonde snow queen hair can be styled in a variety of ways with 29 accessories including a snowflake hairbrush, gems, barrettes, spirals, hair bands, elastics, and hair extensions.

Review: “Bought this as a present for a 3-year-old and she loved it. Braid, brush, put up in a ponytail, and everything else. The hair gets tangled pretty quickly but that’s expected. We used different hair elastics that don’t get stuck, the rubber ones get stuck.”

25

A transforming firetruck toy

Pros: Transforms easily with the included drill.

Cons: Some reviews note the RC capability is slow.

If your little one just can’t stop taking things apart and putting them back together, or even if they’re just in love with fire trucks, they absolutely need the Top Race Take Apart Trucks Fire Truck Set. Designed with a 3-year-old’s skillset in mind, it comes complete with a working (plastic) drill that turns various screws to take apart and reassemble the fire truck in 3 different ways. Plus, it makes realistic fire truck sounds and can be driven by an RC transmitter remote.

Review: “This is the second set of trucks I buy because my son loves them. Easy to take apart and build-again, but not too easy so my 3yo is entertained for a solid 30-45 minutes.”

26

An eco-friendly set of percussion instruments

Pros: Includes a variety of instruments that aren’t often found in other kids sets.

Cons: The metal parts can develop rust over time.

Made from 100% natural wood, the Chriffer Kids Musical Instruments Set is an eco-friendly toy for 3-year-olds. The collection of instruments includes a tambourine, rattle drum, maracas, wood sounder, sleigh bells, hand slapstick, jingle stick, flue, wooden claves, hand bells, and castanets to shake, drum, and explore a variety of musical sounds. Everything fits neatly inside of a drawstring back for easy storage when not in use.

Review: “This is the second set I have bought. My son loves his and my nephew always played with it when he came over so we got him one. We have had it for almost 2 years and it’s going strong between my 9 & 3 year olds.”

27

A Little People animal farm and barn set

Pros: Plays a tune when the barn door opens.

Cons: The plastic construction of the barn is flimsier than expected.

The Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm is a classic toy for 3-year-olds that promotes imaginative play. The set comes complete with 7 figurines including a farmer, goat, sheep, pig, horse, chicken, cow, plus a hay bale accessory. The big red and white barn opens up for play time, but has plenty of space to store everything inside and a handle so that it’s easy to carry from place to place.

Review: “My son loves it. The only sound comes from when you open the door and isn't super loud. I actually like cause it makes it where he can actually makes the noises himself. Would definitely recommend and purchase again.”

28

This fun whack-a-mole game

Pros: Can be played alone or with others.

Cons: The game is loud and the settings are not easily changed.

Bring the fun of the classic arcade game home with this Whack-A-Mole game from ANNKIE. To promote hand-eye coordination for 3-year-olds, there are nine speed settings to choose from that get progressively harder the better your child gets at the game. The game comes with two kid-safe mallets to hit the oversized balls as they light up and make noise during the game, but this game can also be enjoyed solo and kids can even use their hands to hit the balls as they play.

Review: “We love to play this game. My kids are very competitive so they play this toy for a while when we bring it out for family game night.”

29

A teeter popper to play on

Pros: An open-ended toy that gets kids moving.

Cons: The suction cups are noisy on hard floors.

Most 3-year-olds have plenty of energy to burn, so it makes sense that they need toys to engage their desire to move around. The Fat Brain Toys Teeter Popper has a unique design that allows kids to play with it in a variety of ways. The concave board has silicone suction cups on the bottom and kids can rock, sit, spin, or stand on the board to engage their gross motor skills, practice balancing, and develop a sense of coordination as they play.

Review: “My child has had this since turning two. It's been 4.5 years now. This item is STILL used on a regular basis for anything imaginable. It has withstood multiple friends, adults, etc., and it's still lasting.”

30

A set of colorful magnetic tiles for building

Pros: Endless options for open-ended play and building.

Cons: The edges can slip if not lined up just right.

Magna-Tiles are without a doubt one of the top toys for 3-year-olds. This set comes with 32 translucent shapes with magnetic edges that snap together to create a variety of flat and 3D shapes. Even if they already have a set at home, most kids can’t get enough of this particular building toy with endless ways to play. After all, the more tiles they have, the bigger structures they can create.

Review: “These are a lot of fun, my kids play with them for hours on end. I also enjoy playing with them. I think that they will be fun for years to come as well which is always awesome. Sometimes it seems kids toys are only fun for the kids for a year but not these. They are a little expensive but totally worth it.”

31

An art easel

Pros: Sturdy build with multiple uses.

Cons: No lowercase letters included; magnets do not work on chalkboard side.

The Step2 All Around Easel is a top toy for 3-year-olds that will bring out their inner artist. One size is a chalkboard and the other is a magnetized dry erase board with a clip at the top to hold paper, so there are various options for drawing and creating works of art. Also included are bins to store art supplies and a variety of soft foam magnets with different shapes and letters.

Review: “My two granddaughters, 3-1/2 and 2, got loads of toys and gifts this Christmas, but the easel was the biggest hit. It got both of their attention immediately, even over the huge Barbie jeep, and held both of their interest for the two days we were with them. The two-sided board--one side a chalkboard for drawing, the other a magnetic board with letters, numbers, and shapes--amused and educated. And like all Melissa and Doug toys, the easel is well-made and appears durable.”

32

A huge Bluey play set

Pros: Includes 4 character figures, Bluey’s house, and tons of accessories.

Cons: Some assembly is required.

Bluey toys are all the rage with preschoolers, and this Bluey Mega Bundle is no exception. Not only does it include Bluey’s house with removable furniture for every room, but you also get the entire Australian Heeler family — Bluey, Bingo, Bandit, and Chilli — as possible figurines. Also included is Bandit’s BBQ play set complete with a picnic table, grill, and food accessories.

Review: “My preschool aged kiddo is loving this house and characters from her favorite TV show. It is holding up well after a few falls off the couch and is very sturdy. The pieces of furniture and props are detailed well too. It does rely on some construction when removing from the box, but it is only two or three things max to snap on and stick on a label, and not the horror of some toy sets of the past. This is truly a fun toy set!”

33

An interactive ice cream shop set

Pros: Encourages imaginative play as well as sequencing and counting skills.

Cons: The stand itself isn’t super sturdy since it’s meant to be mobile.

With the LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Deluxe Ice Cream Cart, your 3-year-old can have a blast playing pretend as they scoop up different ice cream flavors, serve popsicles, and push the cute cart from room to room. The magic scooper recognizes ice cream flavors and colors in order to help teach memory and sequencing skills as kids play. It also comes complete with a cash register to bolster counting skills and a variety of game modes to keep them engaged as they play.

Review: “This might be my daughters (3) favorite toy now. The pieces end up all over, but we’ve never actually lost any because they’re big enough. She loves to be ice cream man and make orders, the little cards are great giving instructions and they know she picks up the right ones with the scoop somehow. Does more than I thought it would. The music is fun, not even obnoxious. I have trouble keeping the sign on the top on, but it doesn’t really add anything so now I leave it off.”

34

A velociraptor tricycle to ride

Pros: Promotes gross motor skill development and balance.

Cons: The walkie talkie speaker doesn’t actually work.

Whether your 3-year-old loves dinosaurs or is instantly drawn to anything they can ride on, the Fisher-Price Jurassic World Velociraptor Dinosaur Tricycle is such a fun toy. It’s designed with an adjustable seat, slip-resistant pedals shaped like Dino claws, and an extra-large front wheel, and easy-grip handles so it’s ideal for little riders. Plus, it has lights and makes realistic dinosaur sounds.

Review: “My boys got this for Christmas this year! They absolutely love it, fight over it a lot actually! We bought it for my toddler and my 5 year old, who is also in love with Paw Patrol loves this trike too! It has a fun walkie-talkie attached, buttons, lights, etc. The seat is made to move with growth! Total hit in my house and not a bad price for what you get! Easy to put together, colorful and fun!”

35

Waffle blocks to build with

Pros: Plenty of opportunity for imaginative play.

Cons: You may need another set to make larger builds.

The Little Tikes Big Waffle Block Set is an iconic toy for 3-year-olds. Each interlocking piece fits together securely to build large structures that little ones can climb under, in, through, and around for hours of fun. Perfect for playing indoors and out, this set comes with 18 pieces in primary colors that each measure 14 inches square and are approximately 2 inches wide, so they’re easy for little hands to move around.

Review: “My 3-year-old loves these. He needs help with assembly but he loves building different structures, and then often engages in pretend play. They're sturdy enough for him to climb on depending on the structure; as he climbs on *everything* this is important. We just bought a second set so we can help him build larger structures.”

Whatever your preschooler is into, there’s no doubt that they’ll love at least one of the top toys for 3-year-olds on this list. (And if not, at least Amazon returns are easy!)