At age three, little boys are undergoing incredible growth and change. They’re learning new things on a daily basis as they continue to exercise their minds and bodies. Oh, and they expect you to buy them gifts for special occasions! But, coming up with the best toys for 3 year old boys can be a nerve-racking experience.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. We have plenty of great gift ideas for you, as well as some tips and thoughts on what kind of things make separate any old toy from a GREAT toy, which the three-year-old in your life is sure to love and cherish.
Top Toys For Three-Year-Olds
Everyone has fond memories of playing with puzzles as a child. But puzzles are only 2D objects, and there’s only so much fun and imaginative play that you can have with a 2D puzzle. But, the folks at RoboTime have solved the puzzle problem! They manufacture a full range of fun and exciting 3D building puzzles that are fun and affordable.
Kids can build multiple different buildings and create entire towns and cities that they can explore. These RoboTime puzzles do a great job at fostering imaginative play for children, and they make great companion toys that can be used in conjunction with other toys as well.
All of the Robotime puzzles are made from durable plywood, and they meet FSC standards. All of the components are safe and non-toxic, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re providing the child with a toy that’s tons of fun and also safe.
- Interesting and unique take on a traditional puzzle
- Facilitates imaginative play
- Safe and non-toxic
- Puzzle pieces can be difficult to remove from the package and may break during removal
Few toys are more classic than a set of walkie talkies, and this set from Radioddity is one of the best on the market. While they may be sold as a toy, these handheld radios pack some serious features into their fun and affordable package. With a range of six kilometres, kid’s will be able to have practically limitless fun with these walkie talkies.
Each radio features eight different channels, and they can be powered by the internal rechargeable battery, or with three AAA batteries. Parents are sure to love this added level of versatility that’s unavailable in similar walkie talkies for kids. Not only are these walkies a fun and exciting way for kids to bond with their friends, but they’re also incredibly useful for parents as well. Keep one for yourself and send your kid out with one so they can check in while they play out of sight. Planning a holiday in the great outdoors? Be sure to bring these walkies with you to keep in touch when you’re not within earshot.
- Looks and feels just like an expensive walkie talkie
- Works at long range
- Can use batteries or you can charge it
- It’s easy to accidentally switch channels when using
If you’ve ever spent any amount of time with a three-year old, you know they LOVE to take things apart. If that description rings a bell, then this take apart race car may be the perfect gift for the kid in your life.
This race car kit includes 30 different pieces, and it comes in pieces, so kids will be able to put the car together themselves and experience a true sense of accomplishment as they build a fully functional and fun race car.
Each kit includes everything you’ll need to create two different styles of car and an electric drill for taking apart and putting together the different components. Once the child is finished assembling the car, they’ll be able to start the engine which triggers realistic lights and sounds.
This toy is a great option for curious kids who love to know how things work. This is a great toy for improving concentration and developing fine motor skills. For the mechanically inclined kids, you can’t go wrong with this fun and exciting race car from Think Gizmos.
- Includes 30 pieces
- Runs on batteries
- Car can be configured in two different ways
- Realistic lights and sound
File this under toys you wish had existed when you were a kid. These building block toys from NextX are magnetic and available in a variety of different sizes. Kids are sure to love these building blocks which can be used again and again to create exciting new structures from cars to aeroplanes to dinosaurs and everything in between.
All the blocks are made from food grade ABS plastic and with smooth edges that are perfectly safe for children.
These magnetic blocks help to ignite the imagination of the child while inspiring them to create and build new things. These blocks also help kids develop their fine motor skills, improves colour and shape recognition and allows them to build anything they’re able to think up. Plus, they build an appreciation for science and engineering at a very early age.
- Improves cognitive function and fine motor skills
- Helps children learn STEM skills
- Made from food grade ABS plastic
- Purchasing extra pieces to add to the child's collection can get expensive
- Not as durable as Magformers
This building block toy set from ETI Toys is among the best and most fun STEM toys that are on the market. This engineering set includes 92 pieces and a deluxe storage and carrying case to help keep everything together and well organised.
Best of all, these toys are extremely safe and have been vigorously tested by a third party laboratory. They are BPA and Phthalate free, and they’re also washable, so parents will be able to keep contamination and germs to a minimum. An eBook is also included which includes 12 awesome designs kids can make themselves.
This toy set is a great way to impart children with important skills that will be critical to their development. Logical thinking, problem-solving, motor skills and hand-eye coordination are all addressed with this fabulous set that also fosters children’s imaginations and creativity.
- Comes with eBook with fun design ideas
- Teaches children important STEM skills
- Includes storage bin
- Pieces are washable
- Some pieces are very small and could present a choking hazard
- Small pieces are easy to lose
Learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage for kids everywhere, and this balance bike from Banana Bike is a great way to get kids off on the right foot. Kids are sure to love the fact that it looks just like a big kid bike. But, it’s missing one key component: the pedals. With a balance bike, kids push to go forward instead of pedal.
This takes the balance aspect out of riding a bike and makes it easy for kids to simply put their foot down on the floor to steady themselves if they feel like they may tip over, which makes a balance bike a much safer alternative to a traditional bike for young children.
This model is easy to put together and features a lightweight metal construction with an adjustable seat which can grow with the child as they get older.
The tires are made of puncture proof EVA foam which eliminates flat tires or the need to add air. This balance bike is available in bright blue and bright green, and it’s eye catching looks are sure to make this bike a hit with any child.
- Lightweight and easy to transport
- Fully adjustable
- Tires can’t go flat
- Requires constant supervision
- Not a great choice for taller children as it’s a bit small
Looking to make a huge splash at the birthday party? Then this quad from Predatour may be the gift you need! The first thing you’ll notice is the quad’s seriously aggressive looks. Next, you’re likely to be amazed by the build quality.
This model features a durable, hard plastic frame with metal axles for the wheels and a metal steering column. The wheels are made from a durable, hard-wearing plastic which is capable of riding over most terrain.
The quad also features working front lights, and it plays an ignition sound at start up, too. Plus, this quad really moves! The top speed is 6km/hr. A rechargeable 12v battery is used to power the quad.
- Plenty of features common on real ATVs that are sure to make your kid feel just like one of the big boys
- Easy to assemble
- Rides well across practically any terrain
- Needs to be recharged frequently
- Requires constant supervision
No toy roundup would be complete without a race track, and this model from Mindscope packs tons of fun into a small and affordable package. Altogether, this kit includes a whopping 220 pieces of track which make for up to 11 feet of racing fun.
Also included is a transparent race car with LED lights and a rear backlight which illuminates the neon track as the car flies by and a sticker set so kids can decorate their car to their liking. The flexible track pieces allow for an endless array of track configurations which are sure to keep kids busy for hours.
Best of all, there’s no right or wrong way to assemble the track, so this is a great way to stimulate a child’s imagination as they play.
- There’s no wrong way to set up the flexible track
- Blacklight race car lights up the track as it goes past
- DIY Stickers let kids decorate their race car however they like
- Small pieces are easy to lose
- Requires batteries
This classic parking garage toy is a must have for the three-year-old in your life. Each kit includes all the pieces necessary to create four different configurations. The track pieces snap together like a puzzle which makes it easy to build each of the different styles of parking garage.
This colourful garage play set includes two cars and all of the track pieces and accessories you’ll need for hours of fun. Altogether, this playset comes with 27 pieces. At the top of the parking garage, the integrated car launcher propels cars as they fly through the garage.
It’s constructed from durable, non-toxic ABS plastic. Not only is this toy fun, but it also promotes creativity and imagination, as well as the development of motor skills, sensory perception, language and discovery.
- Can be configured in four different ways for added fun
- Includes two cars
- Made of non-toxic ABS plastic
- Small accessories are easy to lose
This awesome radio controlled car is a fun and exciting gift that every little guy on the planet is sure to love. Plus, it literally packs double the fun of other RC cars; it comes with a second car! Altogether, you’ll find two different cars, two action figures and two remotes with this toy from PrexTex.
Kids are sure to enjoy playing as both a race car and a police car. Each car operates on a separate frequency, so kids will still be able to enjoy this toy together when they play with others. The police car plays a siren sound when a button atop the car is pressed while the race car plays music when you press its button.
Each toy also features flashing lights. Overall, this toy packs in lots of different sensory experiences into a tiny package. On the down side, this toy is a battery eater. Each remote control runs on 2 AA batteries while the car itself needs 3 AA batteries. That means you’re looking at 10 AA batteries altogether each time you need to replace them.
Even so, this toy still makes a great gift that helps teach kids about coordination and operating machinery while also teaching them how to play and collaborate with others.
- Includes two RC vehicles for the price of one
- Cars work on separate frequencies so they can be used together for group play
- Well made and seems much more durable than similar RC cars
- Each car requires 3 AA batteries and each controller requires another 2.
- This toy is a serious drain on batteries.
We figure that your children will be demanding mobile phones and internet ready devices in just a short time, so the amount of technology toys we’ve featured is limited. But, this fun laptop and tablet combo from VTech certainly deserves a look.
The device can transition seamlessly between a laptop and a touch screen tablet as it teaches children about letters, numbers, vocabulary and animals. This device comes preloaded with ten different fun games that are sure to stimulate your child’s imagination and delight them as they learn.
Open the screen on the Leap Top, and you’ll find a full keyboard. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to close the lid and watch the screen swivel forward to create a fully functioning touch screen. This learning toy provides plenty of bang for your buck and requires just 3 AA batteries for use.
- Can be used as a tablet or a laptop
- Great teaching tool for helping kids learn their letters and numbers as well as vocabulary and animal facts
- Satisfies kids urge to play with high tech toys
- Runs on batteries and isn’t rechargeable
- Doesn’t offer any expandable software
This Dinosaur toy from YopTote is another fun way to indulge kids who love taking apart their toys to figure out how they work. Each pack includes two dinosaurs, a T-Rex and a Triceratops. The different parts of the dinosaur’s body screw together with plastic screws which can be removed with the screwdriver that accompanies the kit.
Kids can even get in touch with their inner Frankenstein and combine different pieces from each dinosaur to create an entirely new creature! Each dinosaur is made of safe, non-toxic plastic. The dinosaurs have wheels under their feet so that kids can push or pull their dinosaurs along with them.
These fun and affordable dinosaur toys are a great way to teach kids about hand eye coordination, colour and shape recognition and mechanics all while cultivating creativity and intellectual development.
- Includes two dinosaurs for one low price
- Great way to teach curious kids how simple machines work
- Durable, non-toxic plastic construction
- Tiny screws are easy to lose
- Not as durable as some other take-apart toys
What to Look for in a Toy
No one said that purchasing toys for young children was easy. There are many different factors that go into what makes a toy appropriate for a young child, and at this age, these factors are extremely important. Take a look at the checklist below to determine whether or not a particular toy is appropriate for a three-year-old.
Does it Inspire?
A good toy should inspire a young child’s imagination and allow them to play with the toy in new and inventive ways. Compared to a toy with limited potential for imaginative play, a toy that sparks a child’s imagination will keep them entertained and learning for longer periods of time. Best of all, toys that inspire a child’s imagination are usually more simple and less expensive than toys that don’t do as much to stimulate the imagination.
Simple toys usually allow more room for creativity and imagination. Wood blocks can become skyscrapers, cars or aeroplanes. The box the wood blocks came in can quickly become part of a fort. Toys that are less simple typically inspire less creativity and have more rigid parameters for play. For this reason, simple toys are another great way to foster creativity and imagination in the child.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These types of toys provide kids with the basic skills they’ll need in these fields through play. STEM toys are great because they truly do make learning fun. Often, the time children spend playing with STEM toys helps set them up for success in their future studies in the classroom.
It may go without saying, but you’re going to want to look towards toys that are well made, sturdy and unlikely to break. If you’ve spent any amount of time around a three-year-old, then you’re well aware of just how easy it is for them to break seemingly everything.
When it comes to playing, every child wants to excel at what they’re doing. This can be extremely difficult when the toy is not age appropriate. Toys that are intended for older children will often stay at the bottom of the toy chest where they’re ignored until the child is finally old enough to enjoy it. That is if the toy is even still working at that point.
Playing it Safe
Before we go any further, it’s important to acknowledge the importance of safety when it comes to toys for children. At age three, a child has a fairly well-developed sense of danger and what kinds of things they need to avoid so that they don’t hurt themselves.
At the same time, it’s still VERY easy for a three-year-old to get themselves into trouble with their toys. For this reason, we need to turn our eyes to the different factors that make a toy safe and appropriate for a three-year-old.
Despite the fact that manufacturers must go to great lengths to ensure that the toys they’re selling are safe for children to use, there’s no way to ensure that a toy is completely 100% safe. In fact, toy related injuries in England have increased by 60% over the past two decades. The best way to ensure that children are safe as they play with their toys is to provide them with constant supervision. At the same time, it’s impossible to supervise children every minute of every day. This makes it even more important that you’re providing the child with toys that are very safe.
What to Avoid
- Sharp edges or points
- Parts made of glass, or plastic which may break
- Any toy with small parts that can break or be pulled off that could fit into child’s mouth, nose, ear or eye
- For toys that are painted, make sure the manufacturer uses nontoxic, lead-free paint
- Toys with hinges or parts which can pinch the child’s fingers
- Stuffed toys that are filled with beads, beans or any other material that the child could rip open and choke on
- Hand-me-down toys that have been used and show signs of wear
- Toys with battery doors that clip into the bottom of the toy where they can be removed by the child to reveal the batteries inside
- Toys made of fabric should be flame retardant
- Toys that are stuffed should also be washable, either by machine or by hand
- Art materials must be non-toxic, and if possible they should also be washable
Picking a Winner
When you consider all of these great options, it’s tough to pick just one. But, there’s one toy that we believe emerges as a clear winner: The building block set from ETI toys. This STEM toy is a perfect way to teach little boys about important subjects like math, science, engineering and technology.
This toy includes a whopping 92 pieces and includes a durable storage container to ensure that all of the small pieces stay put. All it takes to have hours of fun with this toy is a little bit of imagination.
Best of all, kids will be learning as they play. With each toy they build, they’ll be exercising different skills that they’ll need in the future. Parents will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that this toy is completely safe thanks to its BPA free, washable components. If you’re looking for a toy that will help foster creativity, fun and learning all at the same time, this may be the perfect option for you.