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The Best Toys For 3 Year Olds

Updated on December 1, 2011

Best Toys For 3 Year Olds

Finding the right toy for 3 year olds that both educates and entertains can be a delicate affair. In this article I will look at a selection of updated and hand-picked toys that I feel do the trick by both stimulating cognitive growth and creativity, and offer hours of good old fashioned fun.

In my opinion that best toys for 3 year olds should be those that ease the transition from babyhood to childhood. Specifically, supplementing (or creating) the child's new-found independence from their parents, and also encouraging social and co-operative play with other children. Games which catalyze advanced forms of creativity (which tickle the senses), and allow children to begin to learn how to take-turns and empathize with others are particularly important to this age bracket.

I have done my utmost to strike a healthy balance with this selection, but as parents you will ultimately know which kind of toy will benefit your child the most. I look forward to hearing your suggestions and reactions in the comments section!

Up & Down Roller Coaster

As mundane as a little up and down slide may seem to an adult, its easy to see why a three year old's jaw would drop in anticipation at giving this game a run. Balance and motion are still a little uncertain given the age, which makes this colorful slide something of a thrilling roller-coaster to kids.

For parents who are frowning at the idea of constant bruises, customer feedback seems to be overwhelmingly positive in this regarding, although bumps and bruises obviously do occur. Children are never more than a few inches from the ground, and the stairs leading to the top are slip-proof. Despite these assurances you can expect a bump now and then.

Pros: Kids will undoubtedly find the ride thrilling and sociable. The car itself can be fun to dash around in independently of the ride up and down the hill. The hill itself can double as a slide which they can drop marbles or other objects down. In short, the game is something of a three-in-one.

Cons: Some customers say that their kids only ever play on it for 20-30 minutes at a time before getting bored. The potential for scrapes and bruises. If the weather doesn't permit you setting it up outdoors, it can take up quite a lot of space (over 10ft).

Qwirkle Board Game

Qwirkle is multi-player game for kids that is similar in nature to dominos. Happily for children, however, that is where the similarities end. Qwirkle features 108 high-contrast, colorful blocks which are instantly striking, tickling the senses and heightening creativity.

Kids must align the blocks by either shape or color, thus promoting pattern recognition. My only worry here is that as the game develops and becomes more complex, it may become a little to complicated for 3 year olds, thus making it something of a long-term investment that will become gradually less challenging as they get older.

The plus side to this is that a three year old will nevertheless find the blocks and colors appealing, and will start to make shapes and "castles" with them. I suggest this to any parent that has more than one child, 3 and up (the game itself is advertised as 6 and up!).

Pros: Learning how to take turns, creativity and social co-operation.

Cons: Not suitable for children under 3 as the game contains smaller parts. May be a little too complex in the later stages of the game for a 3 year old!

Sesame Street Let's Rock Elmo

Elmo is a lovable and integral part of many 3 year olds' lives. What better way to stimulate creativity by allowing kids the chance to have their own band and the ability to play along to the music with different instruments?

Kids can hand Elmo an instrument (usually the one they don't want to play) and Elmo will sing one of his 6 complete songs allowing the kids to play along with their own instruments. The set includes:

  • The elmo toy.
  • A microphone.
  • Tambourine.
  • Drums.
  • Instructions.

The drums and tambourine are ergonomically designed to fit the small hands of a child which is 18 months and older.

Pros: A fun interactive introduction to singing-along, and a creative vent in music playing.

Cons: This can be a noisy past time, and parents who thrive off calm and quiet households may become annoyed after awhile.


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    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      7 years ago from USA

      I've never noticed that up and down rollercoaster before. I like it! Thanks for sharing the information.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      We like Muffin and Samuel and that Muffin series lots! Thanks for your tips.

      My grand daughter is in Milan so I can't catch up with things as I'd very useful, thanks

    • andreivan profile image


      7 years ago from New York, USA

      This is quite interesting. Great toys especially for this holiday season..

    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 

      7 years ago

      Another great toy for three-year-olds, that I find always entertains the kiddies, is one of those toy tents... it's small, but kids love playing in it and they like to hide. It's like they are going camping, but indoors. Perfect for them to play with toys inside a confined area, but without feeling restricted.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great info on some toys for kids. My nephew would ADORE that roller coaster thing. I'll have to send this to my brother.


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