3 years old is such a fun age for gifts- they understand so much more about what is going on, and it makes it so fun! Here are a few of my favorites that I have found as I’ve been looking- I hope you enjoy these gift ideas for 3 year olds!
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Books for 3 Year Olds
I love books as gifts. They provide hours of entertainment, they’re an easily transportable activity, and they lead to increased literacy and vocabulary, which is always a good thing! (I’ve already listed some of my favorite Usbourne Books & More here– so be sure and check those out as well!)
You seriously need these books. We have checked all of them out from our library multiple times and they are HILARIOUS! Mercy Watson is a pig (“porcine wonder”) owned by the Watsons, and together they get into and out of many fanciful messes. One of my favorite things about these books is that they are funny for both kids and adults- and as any parent knows, it’s much easier to read books 10,000 times when they’re enjoyable for the adults, too. They’re a little longer- perfect for the 3 year olds’ growing attention span- but also divided into short “chapters” so if you need to do a bit at a time, that works, too.
Butterfly is just getting into I Spy books, and this one looks right up her alley! I don’t know about your house, but animals are a big topic at ours, and there is a lot of imaginary play centered around animals at our house also. So this book would be perfect for her! The I Spy books encourage focus and visual acuity, and they’re perfect for long car rides or quiet times. This one is definitely going on our gift idea list!
Three year olds love rhyming books, and this one fits the bill! Gerald the Giraffe wants to dance like all his friends, but through this rhythmic lesson, he learns that it’s a good thing to dance to your own beat! This is a great gift idea for 3 year olds because it’s simple and memorable, so they will request it again and again to giggle with Gerald’s silly antics.
The Gift of Music for 3 Year Olds
I have yet to meet a 3 year old who didn’t like music in some form. I’m sure they exist, but it seems as a general rule that 3 year olds like to get their groove on! Here are some of our favorites and gifts that are on our wish list this year!
We use Amazon Music on our Fire TV to stream kids’ songs for Butterfly. Trust me, it’s much better than playing Baby Shark on repeat. 😉 And a lot of the music comes free with Amazon Prime, so if you’re a Prime Member and not already using Prime Music, you should check it out!
I love Seeds Family Worship CDs. They are Scripture songs set to catchy music (that is enjoyable to adults, too!)- great for easy memorization! And of course you can always download them onto your phone or computer instead of getting the CDs, but Butterfly has a CD player in her room for her quiet times, and enjoys having “her own” music.
We’ve had one pair of these headphones so far (and lost them), but I’ll be buying them again because we really liked them. They’re limited volume headphones, so kids can’t turn it up too loud.
My sister uses this for her oldest son to listen to audio books while she is doing her own Bible reading or even just needing some quiet, and we hope to get into that more as well. I’ve also used it to put on a show on our iPad when I’ve got a meeting or appointment that I needed her to sit through- and they would be great for a car ride or airplane ride as well!
Educational Toys for 3 Year Olds
We have a funny story in our family that my younger sister got to college and within a few weeks called my mom, and said: “MOM. I just realized that all those games you let us play that we thought were just games were actually EDUCATIONAL!” (Same sister went to college on a full ride scholarship, so evidently the games worked!).
Naturally, I plan on continuing this education games/toys tradition with my kids, so here are a few of the ones I’m eyeing!
I’m very excited about these sign language toys! I took several years of sign language courses growing up, and my sister and I used to use sign language to talk with each other about boring parties or convincing our parents to buy us pizza for dinner…which may not have been my parents’ intentions when they paid for our classes…but I digress. I’d love for Butterfly to learn the basics of sign language, and while she may or may not be interested in learning more as she grows up, for now the hand signs will help to reinforce our alphabet learning!
Butterfly is just starting to really enjoy puzzles (beyond the very basic ones), and I’m hoping she’s going to like these self-correcting puzzles! I love that each piece can only go with the correct letter, and that there is an animal or object on the other side that starts with that letter to reinforce it.
I’m a big fan of the theory of Multiple Intelligences- the idea that there are different kinds of smarts, not just math, reading, science, etc. And that means I want to give Butterfly the chance to learn in lots of different ways, including by moving her body and learning body smarts.
I got one of these for Butterfly a couple of years ago, but she’s just now getting the hang of it, so I think it’d be the perfect gift idea for a 3 year old. The unique thing about these bikes is that they don’t have pedals, so the kids use them by scooting along with their feet, which teaches balance and momentum. In case you’re new to balance bikes, here’s a video that helps it make more sense!
The Gift of Imaginary Play
Butterfly loves to “help” me in the kitchen, but being 3 years old she gets bored when I have to stop and cut up things and she isn’t allowed to touch the knives (of course). I’m hoping that this knife set will allow us to have some more mother/daughter time in the kitchen- which will also be great for me, since I’m not really a fan of meal prep, and it’s more fun (if a bit messier) with a buddy!
In our case, Daniel Tiger is a regularly played with character around here. We don’t watch many different types of shows, but Daniel Tiger and Octonauts are our current favorites. I didn’t think I would be a fan of these type of toys, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much imaginary play is generated by having these figures around. In addition to her dolls, Butterfly will often set up pretend scenarios to act out with her Daniel Tiger figures, and I can hear her processing and learning about social interactions through her play. So whatever your child’s favorite characters are, they would make great gift ideas for your 3 year old!
I’m possibly saving the best for last here. There are about a thousand variations and brands of Magnet Tiles, and for good reason- they’re hours and hours of fun! These are probably my favorite toy to play with with Butterfly.
I love that they’re safe for Turtle, too, so we can play with them with him around….as long as we’re okay with everything we build being knocked down, of course. The shapes snap together in endless variations to build anything their imaginations can create, and ours have become everything from houses to rocket ships to cars to the entirety of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Summing it up…Gift Ideas for 3 Year Olds
When buying gifts for my kids, I love giving toys that will result in their growth- books, music, educational toys/games, and things that encourage their imaginations. I hope you enjoyed this list! For more great ideas, check out this list from Baby, Toddler, and Kids blog!
Would you add anything else? Please comment below with what you would include- I’m always looking for more ideas!