Toys are great tools for supporting your child’s development. With the right one, you can promote and encourage their newfound skills and interests. However, choosing which one to buy can be a daunting task. So to help you out, here’s a list of the best toys for 3-year-olds.
With so many products available on the market, finding the best toys for 3-year-olds is not easy. In Australia alone, there are a wide variety of toys for such age group and gender from hundreds and thousands of retailers. It becomes even harder to choose which one to buy since you have to consider not only your child’s age but also their interests, abilities, and developmental stage.
That said, the toys you should buy should be able to foster your child’s newfound skills and abilities. They should provide plenty of opportunities for children to explore and discover, allowing them to carry out their ideas. Such toys should also encourage creative engagement, interaction, and further aid in all the domains of your child’s development.
So where do you find such toys? Well, we’ve got you covered. Our toy design experts sifted through several toy retailers in Australia like B Toys, Janod, Micro, Le Toy Van, and Tender Leaf Toys. We also scoured through leading online marketplaces such as Amazon, Catch.com.au, Etsy, and eBay to put together a list of the best toys for motor skills, creativity, cognitive, imaginative play, and roleplaying all in one place.
All the toys included in this list are carefully chosen based on their safety, durability, and usefulness for your child’s learning and development. Each one is guaranteed suitable and, of course, fun for ages 3-year-old and up!
The Best Toys for a 3-Year-Olds
- Best for Creativity: Easel Does It Wooden Easel
- Best for Imaginative Play: Dinosaurs Toy Set
- Best for Introducing Music: Confetti Ukulele
- Best for Gross Motor Skills: Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter
- Best for Cognitive: Sendida Stack and Count Puzzle Toy
- Best for Roleplaying: Wooden Work Bench
- Great for Language Skills: Honeybake Chococcino Coffee Machine
- Great for Open-Ended Play: Dream Castle Princess Play Tent
- Great for Imaginative Play: Foxtail Villa Doll House
- Great for Social and Emotional Skills: Little Doctors Set
- Great for Gross Motor Skills: Teeter Popper Balance Board
- Great for Comfort and Confidence: Soft Toy Blind Box
1. Best for Creativity: Easel Does It Wooden Easel
This wooden easel is a great way to take your child’s imagination and creativity to the next level. It has two sides, particularly a chalkboard and a whiteboard, offering plenty of blank space where your child can scribble, draw, and write or draw anything they want.
What’s great about this toy is that it not only helps get your child school-ready, but it’s also a great tool for when they are already attending school. With it, your child can practice their drawing skills and try solving math problems later on.
We recommend this toy for children ages 3 years and up. As your child gets older, make sure to provide plenty of materials to draw with. Aside from markers and chalk, you can also use paper and allow your child to explore their creativity with pencils, paint, and crayons.
A wooden easel when used with different drawing and colouring materials can strengthen the small muscles in your little one’s hands and fingers. Not only that, but it can also exercise the large muscles in their shoulders and arms. All these can help improve their motor skills, which are essential later in their school life.
The best part is that this wooden easel comes with trays and storage bins, so your child has easy access to all their drawing supplies. It’s also great for keeping everything neat and tidy once playtime is over. So give it a try!
2. Best for Imaginative Play: Dinosaurs Toy Set
Dinosaurs are good toys for kids as it encourages imaginative play or make-believe play. It’s also a plus that it’s children’s most loved creature, especially for boys. By pretending to be a dinosaur, speaking and creating stories with you and/or friends, your child can foster their creativity and develop their emotional, social, and language skills – all while having fun.
The Wooden Dinosaurs by Tender Leaf Toys comes with 8 types of dinosaurs, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Parasaurolophus, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Pterodactyl, Ankylosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Stegosaurus. It even has its own wooden shelf, so you can store and display it when not in use.
This toy is recommended for children ages 3 years old and up. To make it more fun and exciting for older kids, consider adding other toys like wooden blocks, other animal figures, or simple things such as sticks, leaves, and stones. This will allow them to create more fascinating worlds and stories.
Dinosaur toys are perfect for your child’s cognitive development as it encourages them to explore their surroundings. It can help improve your child’s attention span and persistence, increase their knowledge, and have deeper information-processing skills. Overall, it helps make them smarter and better learners.
Even better, this toy is made of high-quality rubberwood with a smooth rounded finish. So it’s sure to be durable and able to last for years. Go check it out now!
3. Best for Introducing Music: Confetti Ukulele
A ukelele is a perfect instrument to get your child started with music. It can teach the basics, such as beat, melody, rhythm, harmony, and tempo. Plus, it can help them develop their hand-eye coordination and dexterity. With its Hawaiian charm, this is a toy that will surely get your little one interested in how to play fun songs and melodies.
Generally, the ideal age to start your child on ukulele lessons is around 6 to 7 years old. But you can introduce them to music and musical instruments as early as 3 years old. Just don’t expect them to learn and play more than one or two chords.
The Confetti Ukulele by Janod is recommended for children ages 3 to 5 years old, but it’s still plenty of fun even for those older than that – especially when they start learning how to play the chords. It has the perfect size for them to hold and play with. Designed with a white background and bright polka dots, it is also complete with a look that will certainly catch any child’s attention.
Sure, they won’t be able to play it as well as they can a few years from now, but they’ll certainly have a great time strumming and pretending like little rock stars with it. You can even put in some counting lessons here and then by letting them practice their strumming. For instance, they can start with a single strum down, a single strum up, then move on to two, then, three, and so on.
What’s great about giving your child this ukulele is that you can help build their self-confidence while stimulating their different senses. With it, they can discover, experiment, and practice their sense of touch, seeing, and hearing. So get one today!
4. Best for Gross Motor Skills: Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter
If you are looking for a ride-on toy that will help fine-tune your little one’s motor skills, then the Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter is a great choice. With it, you can help your child get some much-needed exercise while having fun.
Whether it’s just going up and down the sidewalk or your driveway, your child can develop their balance and coordination, and get those muscles in their bodies working by riding a scooter. It is also great for their critical thinking and ability to make decisions as they try to figure out when to stop, slow down, turn, and how to steer without falling.
This scooter by Micro is suitable for kids as young as 2 years old. But thanks to its adjustable T-bar, it’s a type of toy that grows with your child. It can be used until they are 5 or until they reach 110cm tall. To make it even more fun and challenging for older children, you can create a whole obstacle course for them to complete.
A scooter is a great toy for 3-year-olds as it allows them to use their energy while moving, learning, and discovering – all while having a great time. Since they are naturally very active, this gives them the perfect opportunity to play and be physically active.
The best part? The Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter is specially designed for younger children. It’s lightweight and has a low ground clearance and large front wheels. This makes it safe, stable, and easy to pick up and move around. So what are you waiting for? Check it out now!
5. Best for Cognitive: Sendida Stack and Count Puzzle Toy
The Sendida Stack and Count Puzzle Toy is perfect for improving your child’s cognitive abilities. It not only teaches kids about colours, numbers, and shapes, but it also allows them to learn about counting, sorting, and stacking. All these help develop the core skills that a child needs to be able to learn, think, remember, reason, read, and pay attention.
This toy set is recommended for children 3 years and up. It comes with 10 wooden blocks in various shapes, numbers 1 to 10, 55 circles, 10 wooden stakes, and a wooden base. With so many parts and pieces, your child will never run out of things to do.
For younger children, you can start with simple activities like naming the colours, matching the pieces in their right position, or counting the pieces. You can then encourage them to sort the rings by colour, stack the blocks, or put the rings on the wooden pegs later on. For older kids, you can also use this toy for teaching math.
This stack and count toy is also a great tool in helping improve your child’s fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. It can encourage your child’s imagination and creativity as well.
But what we really love about this toy is that it’s safe, durable, colourful, and 100% fun for little ones. It’s sure to keep your child busy for a long time. So make sure to give it a look!
6. Best for Roleplaying: Alex’s Wooden Work Bench
The Wooden Work Bench by Le Toy Van provides children with the perfect opportunity to play the role of a builder. Through this pretend play, you are able to encourage their imagination and give them the freedom to express their creativity.
This toy comes with a sturdy toy workbench and is complete with 12 accessories that your budding builder will certainly love. Its base is equipped with a flatbed circular saw, vice, and a measuring gauge. The back wall features hooks and a shelf to put all the tools. There’s also a tray underneath for storing all the bits and bobs that need fixing.
As for the accessories, this workbench includes a saw, screwdriver, hammer, spirit level, spanner, 2 nails, 2 screws, 2 bolts, and a piece of wood. Each one is made of wood, chunky, and perfectly sized for your little one’s tiny hands.
We recommend this toy for children ages 3 and up. It offers plenty of things to do like pretending to cut the piece of wood or putting the screws and nails in the holes. For older children, you might want to add other wooden toys from Le Toy Van’s Cars and Constructing Collection like the Retro Metro Car Set and Kids Tool Box. This will extend their play time and make their role-playing more fun.
If you are looking for a toy that will encourage your child to talk, communicate, and play with you or other children, then the Alex’s Work Bench is a great choice. It is fun and colourful, and all the accessories and tools are perfect for improving their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
But what we love most about this toy is that it’s extremely durable and well-made. With its smooth rubberwood material and solid construction, this is a type of toy that can last for years. So go check it out!
7. Best for Language Skills: Honeybake Chococcino Coffee Machine
The Honeybake Chococcino Coffee Machine is a beautiful, well-detailed cafe-style machine that can help improve your child’s language and communication skills. By pretending to run a bustling cafe, your child will certainly have a blast taking orders and making you and other people delicious drinks.
Through pretend scenarios and conversations, your child can exercise their vocabulary, try out new words, and feel more confident while speaking. It’s also an excellent way for them to practice expressing their thoughts and emotions.
This toy has everything your child needs to play as a barista. It features a movable “milk frother”, two pretty cups, a spoon for stirring, and colourful pods that can be inserted into the removable “filter”. It also has buttons on top that can be pressed in. So whether it’s a cappuccino, a latte, or a hot choco, your budding barista will surely be excited to make one for you.
We highly recommend this toy for girls from 3 years old and up. For older children, consider getting more toys and materials to complete their coffee shop setup. To give you an idea, this coffee machine goes perfectly with Le Toy Van’s Honeybake Card Machine or Cash Register and 2-in-1 Shop & Cafe.
A coffee machine toy is great for children as it not only fosters creativity and imagination but also promotes physical development. By allowing them to “make coffee” and serve them to their “customers”, they can practice moving and controlling their hands in different ways. This improves their fine motor skills and coordination.
And the best part is that this is a wooden toy that is well-made, solid, and very durable. So it’s sure to last for a very, very long time. So buy it now!
8. Best for Open-Ended Play: Dream Castle Princess Play Tent
Make your child feel like the princess she is with this Dream Castle Play Tent. While it may seem simple, this type of toy is perfect for open-ended play. It provides an empty space and infinite opportunities for them to explore and use their creativity and imagination to create a world of their own.
Shaped just like a castle, it’s perfect for making children feel like a princess where they can recreate stories straight from books and movies. It can also fit around 2 to 3 kids inside, so they can play with friends and family – which is excellent for socialising.
While this toy has a manufacturer’s recommended age of 4 to 8 years old, it’s still suitable and offers plenty of fun for 3-year-olds. You can put in balls, stuffed animals, and other toys your child enjoys. Adding a carpet is also a great idea to make the space more comfortable.
For older children, consider filling the tent with more toys to make their open-ended play more exciting. Or you can bring in books, pillows, blankets, and lights to turn it into a cosy spot where they can read and enjoy some alone time.
We highly recommend this toy for parents who want to give their children their own space where they can feel safe, comfortable, and in control. By having a play tent, they can create their own worlds and express their thoughts and feelings without worrying about making a mistake.
Even better, this toy does not require tent pegs. It can be set up indoors or outdoors, so your child can play wherever and whenever. So check it out now!
9. Best for Imaginative Play: Foxtail Villa Doll House
Dollhouses are among the most popular and loved toys among toddlers, especially little girls – and for good reason. Not only are these miniature homes beautiful and eye-catching, but they are also great for letting your child’s imagination and creativity soar. And if you are interested in getting one, then we recommend the Foxtail Villa Doll House by Tender Leaf Toys.
Featuring two spacious floors and a roof that also opens up, this doll house is the perfect place for your child’s little dolls to live. It also comes with a starter set of furniture, including a lounge, bathroom set, bed with covers, cooker, sink, table and chair, and lamp and wardrobe. It’s sure to keep your child entertained for hours.
This toy engages your child in imaginative or pretend play, which is known to help boost their social, emotional, and cognitive skills. It also provides the perfect opportunity to let them improve their language and express their emotions without worrying about being dismissed or reprimanded.
We recommend this doll house for children from 3 and up. It’s a perfect tool for improving their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they figure out how to control and move around tiny dolls and other small objects without knocking over all the other things inside.
For older kids, you can get more dolls for them to play with like the Wooden Doll Family by Tender Leaf Toys. You can also add more furniture and decorative knickknacks like the Dovetail Kids Room Doll House Set to inspire more creativity and imagination.
What we like about the Foxtail Villa Doll House is that aside from the doors and windows, it doesn’t have any fixed fixtures. So your child can enjoy decorating and styling it however they want! So make sure to give it a look!
10. Best for Social and Emotional Skills: Little Doctors Set
When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, a doctor is almost always one of the top answers. And how else can you encourage such interest than with their very own doctors set, right?
This Little Doctors Kit by Tooky Toy comes with a tube thermometer, medicines, medicine bottle, eye chart, paper medical record pad, and even a work permit sticker. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a cool-looking wooden stethoscope. With all these, your child will surely have a blast playing the role of a doctor.
By engaging in pretend doctor games, your child can experiment with a different social role. This gives them a chance to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes, which then allows them to understand how others are feeling.
When playing with other children or adults, your child can also develop their social skills. It can help them learn about the importance of sharing responsibility and taking turns. Plus, it can give them an idea of when to lead and when to follow.
The Little Doctors Kit is suitable for budding little doctors ages 3 and up. For older kids, it’ll be great to add a doctor’s costume to complete their pretend play experience. You can also take it up a notch and start teaching them the parts of the human body with an Anatomy Puzzle.
We highly recommend this toy for parents who are looking for toys that can help with their child’s early learning. Not only does it help develop imagination, creativity, and social skills, but it can also help with their thinking ability, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. It’s perfect for preparing your child for a visit to the doctor, too.
The best part? This toy is affordable, looks great, and comes with a red canvass carry case for safe and easy storage. So go get one for your child today!
11. Best for Gross Motor Skills: Teeter Popper Balance Board
If you’re looking for a fun way to get your child active, then the Teeter Popper is an excellent choice. It is unlike other balance boards as it has suction cups on the underside. So instead of just trying to stand on it and shift their weight, children can do whatever works to unstick the cups from the ground.
This is a great toy for fine-tuning your little one’s gross motor skills. Whether they stand on it, sit, rock, roll, spin, tilt, wiggle, and wobble, it’s sure to keep your kid moving. And while they are playfully exploring what maneuver or position works best, they can build their core strength, leg strength, coordination, balance, and stability.
We recommend this toy for little girls ages 3 to 6 years old. But it’s still a lot of fun for children up to 8 years of age or until 110lbs (50kg). They can start with simple movements like sitting or standing on a toy for balance. Once they get the hang of it or as they grow older, they can then try out more complex actions to get the suctions to pop!
The Teeter Popper can awaken not only a child’s curiosity, but can also stimulate their senses. As they move, the suction cups get unstuck and create a popping sound that is both pleasant and rewarding for kids.
What’s great about this toy is that it doesn’t require any special skills. Regardless of age and abilities, your child will certainly find a way to play with it. So make sure to buy one today!
12. Best for Comfort and Confidence: Squishmallows Soft Toy Blind Box
There’s a reason why little girls love stuffed animals so much and why they will always remain one of the best toys for them. Aside from being cute, they also offer a sense of safety and comfort in unfamiliar situations. Plus, they can give children the courage and confidence in an often frightening world.
Going to a doctor, for instance, can suddenly become less scary for a child when they are holding their favourite stuffed toy. They are also able to gain a new best friend – or in this case, friends since every Squishmallows soft toy blind box contains 3 stuffed animals.
With this set of new plushies, your child won’t ever have to feel alone. They can stroke their soft fur and hug them tight whenever they’re feeling scared or anxious. There’s also an added mystery in every box as you won’t know which out of the thousands of Squishmallows you will be getting. This adds to the fun and excitement both for you and your little one.
The Squishmallows Mystery Box is suitable for children from 12 months old and up. But it’s particularly ideal for 2 to 3-year-olds as this is the perfect opportunity for them to master their people skills, language, and communication. They can roleplay with their new “friends” and act out different scenarios.
For older children, it can help to provide your child with props or toys that they can use for imaginative play. For example, you can get them a tea set or the coffee machine toy we’ve mentioned earlier.
We highly recommend this toy for parents who want to help their child in dealing with their emotions. Since 2 to 3-year-olds regularly experience intense feelings but can’t express or fully understand themselves yet, they tend to get frustrated easily – which could then lead to tantrums.
One way to help them learn to manage their emotions is through roleplaying with their toys. This provides them with the perfect avenue to communicate and express their thoughts and feelings in a playful yet fun manner.
To top it all off, the Squishmallow plushies are extremely cute, soft, and huggable. So get one – or better yet – 3 today!
How We Researched the Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds
To make sure we are only shortlisting the very best toys in Australia, we relied on our extensive toy design experience and looked at reputable studies on how to choose the best toys depending on a child’s developmental stage and age.
With this in mind, we scoured all over the country for different toy retailers, both big and small, to see what is available. We started listing all the toys we liked and those that were highly recommended by both professionals and parents. We then grouped similar toys according to their use and developmental benefits and compared them against each other.
To find the best toys in their respective categories, we looked at things like quality, design, functionality, value for money, safety, education value, and versatility. Of course, while making sure each one is fun and suitable for 3-year-olds.
For this list, we have identified over 50 different toys from 25 different retailers. After much consideration and discussion, we were then able to cut it down to the final 6 you see in this list.
So guaranteed that what you see above is truly a list of the best toys for 3-year-olds in Australia.
What to Look for When Buying Toys for a 3-Year-Old Boy
Giving your child toys that are not really designed for them can result in overstimulation. This can affect your child’s ability to learn and play creatively. On the other hand, if you get them toys that are too simple and boring for their age, there’s a high chance that they’ll end up in a corner and collect dust.
So before buying a toy for your child, you should always check for its age-appropriateness. To do that, you can simply check the manufacturer’s age recommendation.
Now, since kids are not the same even when they’re at the same age, you should also consider your child’s specific needs and interests when buying a toy. This will help ensure you are getting a toy that your child will enjoy and understand. This will also help in their overall development and further improve their skills.
If you’re still struggling with determining age-appropriate toys, you can read about child development and what to expect from kids ages 3 to 4 years old. Once you’ve understood what children can and can’t do at this age, it will be easier for you to find the right toys for your child.
Safety is another important feature to look out for when buying toys for toddlers. You have to check the materials and finishes and make sure they are non-toxic and non-combustible. Additionally, there should be no parts that can trap your little one’s hands, fingers, or toes. There should also be no exposed pins, nails, or sharp wires as well as no glass or brittle plastic.
Other toy hazards to look out for, according to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, are:
- Choking hazard from small parts: any toy part that can fit through a standard toilet paper roll is a potential choking hazard for kids age 3 and younger.
- Batteries: Button batteries, which are in many toys today, are easy for young children to swallow. When this happens, the batteries can leak acid and cause severe injuries.
- Magnets: When two or more magnets are ingested, they can bind together and lead to serious intestinal damage for kids.
When buying a toy for a 3-year-old boy, you have to consider its durability. It should be shatter-proof or not likely to break easily into small pieces. It should be well-made with no sharp edges or points and jagged edges.
You should also ensure that the toys you’ll buy can withstand the rough play of such young children. These features can help ensure your child’s safety. Not only that, but it will also make the toy last longer, thus, giving you more value for your money.
So what makes a toy durable? For one, some materials like wood and cloth can last longer than others, i.e plastic. You should also check if it can survive the impact from getting stepped on, dropped, hit, or thrown away.
Design and Aesthetics
As for the design and aesthetics, you should look for toys that are fun and exciting. This is incredibly important as 3-year-olds still have the attention span of toddlers. They should be easy to understand but not too simple that they become boring. According to a study, you should buy toys that are challenging without being too difficult as this can frustrate your little one.
Additionally, the toys you should buy should be lightweight and easy to lift or carry around. This includes ride-on equipment, so they are easy to maneuver. Also, consider toys with realistic detail and working parts.
The best toys for 3-year-olds are those that are not only fun but also offer opportunities that will get them started getting ready for preschool. This means toys that can help practice letters, shapes, colours, and numbers are a great choice.
Since their milestone development is still incredibly fast and important during their toddler years, it’s a good idea to look for toys that can help them in practising their new skills and improving their existing skills. For instance, a scooter is perfect for strengthening your child’s fine and gross motor skills. On the other hand, to foster their newfound drawing skills, you can get them a wooden easel.
Additionally, toys that encourage roleplaying or imaginative and pretend play are perfect for such an age. Not only can such toys push kids to use their imaginations and creativity, but they will also find them genuinely fun and interesting. And you know what that means – they are able to hold your child’s attention longer.
Benefits of 3-year-Olds Playing with Toys
3-year-olds are still developing their social skills. At this age, they are more interested in playing actively with others. This is why you should consider getting toys that promote collaborative play such as a wooden workbench or dinosaur sets.
When children play with children their own age and older, they start to share and take turns. They also learn about the concept of fair play. Thus, they can develop valuable social skills.
According to the Catholic Early EdCare, social skills help children to have conversations, form positive relationships, develop body language, and cooperate. When developed well, it can also lead to better cognitive abilities, mental capacity, and good overall mental health – which they will need later in life.
Language and Communication
From a 2019 report, pretending through toy characters like dinosaurs, dolls, and figures and associated toy objects such as buildings, cars, utensils, etc. can “promote the use of words and narratives to imitate, describe, and cope with actual circumstances and feelings.” So ultimately, toys that encourage pretend and imaginative play can help support your child’s language development.
By helping develop good language and communication skills at an early age, you are preparing your child to be better in reading as well as in their academic life later on. This also provides them with the necessary skills to build a successful future.
A study states that playing is an action that involves fun and learning in which children willingly participate, while toys are tools that they use while performing these actions. It has a very important role in their lives and it contributes greatly to their cognitive development.
From the same study, cognitive development is described as the learning and thinking ability of children. So by playing with toys, their ability to solve problems and understand things will be greatly improved.
Fine Motor Skills
While 3-year-olds have indeed better fine motor skills, it is still developing. And one way to help them improve such skills is through playing with toys.
Colouring, for example, is one of the best activities to develop fine motor skills in 3-year-olds. Through it, children are able to practice holding writing or drawing materials better. They are also able to move their fingers independently and do more precise drawings.
Toys are also good for getting those tiny hands and eyes working together. For instance, stack and count toy sets like the one we’ve mentioned above are great for building hand-eye coordination. It encourages children to match the right shapes in their respective position while providing them with plenty of opportunities to sort, count, and get those fingers moving.
Gross Motor Skills
By playing with toys, children can develop their gross motor skills as well. A scooter, for example, promotes whole-body movement. It activates the larger muscle groups and gets them working. Not only that, but it can also expend all that energy children at this age normally have.
So why does building your child’s gross motor skills important? Well, according to Michigan State University Extension, practising gross motor skills will “help children learn how to coordinate and control their body movements.”
Creativity and Imagination
According to Raising Children, creative activities like music, art, dance, drama, and craft are good for helping develop your child’s creativity and imagination. They allow them to explore and express themselves freely. Plus, they encourage children to learn about the world, explore their senses, and try out new ideas and ways of doing things.
Now, one way to encourage 3-year-olds to get involved in creative activities is through toys. To introduce them to music, singing, and sound, for instance, you can hand them their own ukulele and have them play with it. For arts and crafts, a wooden easel where they can paint, draw, and colour is also a good idea.
Sure, they won’t be able to play the right chords, finish a song, or create a perfect masterpiece. However, they can practice their creativity and imagination, which then lays the foundation for better critical thinking, problem-solving, visualisation, and decision-making in the future.
So there you have it! We are hoping this list can help you find the best toy for your 3-year-old boy. Now, remember, while these toys are great on their own, it’s just more fun and better for their development when you join in.