The Best Christmas Gifts for 3-Year-Olds
Three-year-olds are interested in... everything, which makes them oddly hard to shop for. Here are a few ways to make a 3-year-old happy.
The best Christmas gifts for 3-year-olds play to their existing strengths, while also helping them develop and master new ones. By age 3, kids are speaking in full sentences and thus are old enough to let you know if they like something — but too young to clearly and specifically articulate what they want. So that leaves the guesswork to you, as you try to decipher which toys will keep your 3-year-old challenged, entertained, and engrossed. The right educational toys for toddlers boost learning by rewarding discovery with delight.
“Three-year-olds are eager to solve problems and will make their own if needed. That’s why blocks of all kinds are fun choices for 3-year-olds who want to explore, create, and figure things out,” says Rebecca Parlakian, the senior director of programs at Zero to Three.
Look into “pretend-play props that encourage feisty 3-year-olds to tell stories and act out roles, like puppets, pretend play costumes, and storybooks with simple storylines and vivid illustrations,” says Parlakian. “Finally, don’t forget that 3-year-olds like to move. Balls of all sizes, bowling sets, tunnels to crawl through, child-size rakes and shovels (so they can ‘help’ you), and wheeled toys to push and ride” all make great gifts for 3-year-olds.
The Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds 2020
Going to the doctor can be scary. And this set puts kids in charge, empowering them to treat their four-legged patient, and understand that medical care is a good thing. The set includes a stethoscope, thermometer, syringe, ear scope, tweezers, clamp, cast, bandages, and ointments.
There's absolutely no prescriptive way to play with this set. No stringent directions to follow. No way to do the wrong thing. And that's absolutely perfect. Kids build whatever they want and bring it to life with a working motor. The set is ideal for boosting fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, and task completion.
If you're looking for that wow toy, the one that absolutely blows your kids away, this is it. Because there is nothing more fun than playing outdoors, in the mud, and using said mud to make pies. This wooden kitchen includes shelves for ample storage, as well as planters, metal kitchen utensils, pots and pans.
You don't need a lab to learn about science. Just take your kids outdoors. Talk to them about sun and rain, wind and slush, humidity and cloudiness, and document weather changes on this station. It gives them a stake in what's happening in the natural world around them.
We can't say enough good things about this market stand. Not only does it make fruits and veggies look utterly delectable. But it encourages kids to engage in total pretend play, as they sell the fruit to their friends, collect payment, and package it up. There's a scale, a register, and shelves, plus a clock to let customers know it's closing time.
It's rare to find something this detailed aimed at the younger set. And while we may not be flying much at the moment, this airport is a reminder that the world is a big, big place. It's compatible with all Brio sets, and this one includes a control tower, a terminal, two travelers, and luggage. And a plane, of course.
This set helps your child be part of the food prep process, and it's made from 100 percent recycled plastic. This 18-piece meal set inspires young chefs to whip up succulent pretend meals using a cheese stamp, a sauce cutter, dough tubs, and myriad other necessities. Fantasy play at its best.
These are blocks in name only — a set of 16 beautiful stacking shapes, with complex edges and multiple faces, giving kids a renewable challenge and bringing something beautiful into the playroom. And because every block manufactured is unique, you can rest assured no one will have a set quite like yours.
On their own, flamingoes are unique, glorious creatures. But this game ups the ante. This bird has removable wings, a culbuto base, and comes with 10 small chicks. The goal: Distribute the birds evenly, without anyone taking a tumble. Kids can play solo, or together, as they learn about gravity and balance.
Kids sort the products by color and put the veggies into the corresponding baskets. The set includes 25 foods, five baskets, and stickers to label them. The foods look like what actual people eat for actual meals, and it's one great real-world toy to help kids understand what they see in their kitchen at home.
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