Three year olds are rapidly developing new physical and cognitive skills, trying new things, and flexing their independence. They’re curious about the world around them, and have longer attention spans to focus on a single task or interest. They have lots of physical energy to go along with improving fine motor skills and coordination—they can build block towers, climb on things, and repeat rhymes and simple songs. Their vocabulary is expanding, and their imagination is growing as they learn more about the world around them. They’re also starting to play more with others. The best gifts and toys for three year old girls will encourage her growing independence and creativity and hone her newfound skills.
Some great options include puzzles, to sharpen cognitive skills and boost confidence; ride-on toys, to use some of that boundless energy and improve strength and coordination; books, to foster an early love of reading and develop critical skills for future success; props for make-believe play that allow imitation of the real world; arts and crafts to encourage creativity and personal expression; and blocks or construction sets to teach spatial awareness and aid imaginative play.
Tips For Choosing The Best Gifts And Toys For Three Year Old Girls
Three year olds learn and develop mainly by playing, so the best gifts combine fantastic entertainment value with developmental advantages. Some of the best options allow for open-ended and creative play and can be adapted to many developmental stages. You may want to consider gender-neutral options to maximize versatility.
Toys that allow three year olds to play independently are especially great—flexing independence is one of the developmental markers of that age. Just make sure to choose options that are safe for their age. Consider materials, durability, and whether there are sharp edges or other potentially harmful features. Most toys will explicitly state a recommended age, but also use your best judgment and your knowledge of the child.
If you’re buying a gift for someone else’s child, it may be best to steer clear of toys that require labor-intensive assembly or that could be messy (unless you will assemble the toy or it will be used mainly at your house, of course). It’s also best to take into account any categorical preferences her parents have expressed. Perhaps they prefer toys made from organic or all-natural materials, or would rather their child have mainly gender-neutral toys, or don’t want their daughter spending too much time in front of a screen or using stimulating technology. Be considerate and abide by their preferences.
Best Gifts And Toys For Three Year Old Girls – Reviews
By three years old, most toddlers have developed the coordination to ride a scooter or tricycle and love independent movement. Tricycles and scooters are fantastic for developing balance and encouraging active fun, as well as outdoor play.
This Red Rider Trike from Radio Flyer (maker of the classic kids’ wagon) features a sturdy steel frame, an adjustable seat, and a cargo compartment with lid on the back for hauling a small treasure or two. Assembly is simple, requiring just pliers and a screw driver.
Three wheel scooters like this Micro Kickboard are also a popular choice; they allow toddlers to keep up with adults on family walks (or just enjoy a little speed on their own), and don’t require a mastery of pedaling.
Puzzles are fantastic toys for teaching problem solving. They’re also a fun and easy way to inspire persistence, since three year olds get excited when they conquer the challenge of a puzzle and will often stick with it until the picture is complete! Puzzles are great for working on categories, shape recognition, and vocabulary; in addition to these cognitive advantages, they’re also beneficial tools for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye-coordination.
This wooden puzzle set from award winning toy maker Melissa and Doug includes four puzzles with 12 pieces each (marked on the back for easy sorting), featuring cute and colorful pets. The sturdy storage box can also be used as a puzzle board. Other Melissa and Doug puzzle set options include sea life, princesses, and dinosaurs.
Play-doh and non-drying clay are great toy options for developing little ones’ hand dexterity and strength. It’s true to say that Play-doh is a quintessentially open-ended toy. It allows kids to create and recreate whatever their imaginations can invent, all while providing simple tactile fun.
This Play-Doh brand Fun Factory Set includes two cans of play-doh and a press tool with multiple shape options, which is great for teaching how colors mix together to make secondary colors and introducing 2D and 3D shapes.
Consider including a craft mat or thick plastic table cover to make for easy clean up as a bonus gift for the little one’s parents.
Building blocks are one of the best toys for open-ended play, which is an important aspect of three year olds’ development. Playing with blocks encourages creativity and helps develop fine motor skills. Blocks are also a versatile option, since younger three year olds can play with them immediately, but they’re still a fun toy for much older children.
This DUPLO set by LEGO (similar construction but larger blocks than the classic LEGOs) is a great starter set, with basic blocks and a couple of specialty pieces in a storage box. The blocks are easy for little hands to handle, but click and stick together well. If you’re looking for a bit more, there’s also a larger Deluxe Box option, or several other smaller specialty sets that all work together.
Pretend play is one of the most important components of a three year old’s development, so dress up clothes can be a great gift option. Dramatic play engages little one’s imagination, creativity, memory, and empathy. The huge range of dress up options also offers some great scope for personalization—it might be fun to give a costume related to a family member’s career or one of the child’s early interests.
A lab coat is a great starter option for a range of pretend personas (and especially great for encouraging interest in science or medical careers).
Arts and crafts projects develop hand-eye coordination, sharpen spatial perception, and stimulate creativity. Because three year olds are increasingly expressing independent ideas, art supplies that allow them to express themselves independently are especially fun. An art set will also help little ones develop muscle control for handwriting and help prepare them for preschool projects.
This Crayola Ultimate Art Case gets rave reviews for its fun range of supplies, including markers, crayons, colored pencils, paint, and paper, which all arrive in a case to keep everything together.
An all-time favorite children’s gift, books are popular for good reason. Books help toddlers develop language skills, expand vocabulary and imagination, understand others, and develop empathy. Great books can also build a lifelong love of reading! Three year olds have mostly outgrown the simplest board books, though many three year olds continue to enjoy board books in addition to paper books. Picture books with simple plots and rhyming books are especially fun for three year olds. Books that introduce and reinforce “sight words” (frequently encountered simple words that children should learn by sight) are also a great choice.
Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is a classic children’s book for good reason. Little ones love the rhyming story and main character Sam’s persistent silliness. This book is a good option for sight words, too.
Another alternative, is Olivia, by New Yorker illustrator Ian Falconer, follows the strong minded pig of the title throughout a range of daily activities, from soccer to drama. You can follow Olivia’s adventures in the multiple other books in the series.
Dolls and stuffed animals are another great choice for fostering pretend play and developing abstract thinking. Many children younger than three enjoy stuffed animals and dolls. However, by three years old they are really starting to enjoy imitative play. This age can be perfect for receiving a special doll. While three year olds will likely enjoy dolls or stuffed animals that are safe for younger children, there are lots of options designed specifically for older toddlers.
This larger (20”) Lots to Cuddle doll by JC Toys is life-sized and can be dressed in real (size 0-3M) baby clothes, allowing little one to practice buttons, zippers, and snaps. The doll is made with lifelike vinyl face, hands, and feet and a soft cloth body, to allow for comfortable cuddling. It’s available in African American, Hispanic, Asia, Caucasian, and Twins options, as well as a smaller (13”) option.
Three year olds are learning to enjoy playing with others, so toys that teach socialization and encourage interaction with friends can make great gifts. A play house does just this, and is also a versatile option for stimulating imitative and make believe play. Little ones love having their own environment to recreate scenes from daily life.
The Neat & Tidy Cottage play house from toy maker step2 can be used indoors or out, and includes a kitchen table, built-in seat, sink, and stove, as well as an integrated floor with drain holes. The large window and door openings allow for easy adult supervision. Some simple assembly is required.
Three year olds are learning to sing increasingly longer songs and tap or clap along with a beat. They’re also enjoying moving to music and are developing increasingly complex dance moves! Simple musical instruments are great tools for teaching rhythm, encouraging creativity, developing coordination, and nurturing a love of music.
This Band in a Box, another Melissa and Doug toy, includes 10 simple instruments in a wooden crate. This allows you to expose little ones to a wide range of different sounds, tones, and volumes. The instruments are sized for little hands to handle easily. The durable construction stands up to, as the manufacturer says, “enthusiastic enjoyment.”