ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What To Buy A 3 Year Old Boy As A Gift

Updated on August 21, 2011

Wondering What to Buy a Three Year Old Boy as a Gift?

Choosing a gift for a child, be it a birthday or Christmas gift, can sometimes be tricky, especially if you are buying for someone else's child. It is difficult to know what to choose, amidst all the thousands of toys on the market. You want to choose a gift that the child will love, which will entertain the child, and which will last longer than five minutes before being cast aside. This article is designed to help you choose a gift for a three year old boy. Of course, all children are different, and have varying likes and interests. When I write articles about children's toys I always do so with my own chiildren in mind. I base my choices on what I know my own children have enjoyed, or would appreciate, and I try to choose toys and gifts which have staying power, and are not simply a five minute wonder. So, if you are searching for a gift for a three year old and just don't know what to get, browse the list below for ideas:

First Camera

 The Vtech Kidizoom Plus Digital Camera is an excellent choice for a gift for a three year old.  The camera is desgined for ages 3+ and is very durable and well made - children have frequently dropped them and banged them with no ill effects at all.  A camera might seem like a more grown up gift, but as a parent I must say that young children like nothing better than to get their little hands on other people's gadgets.  My own son is always trying to take off with my camera, and he does in fact know how to take pictures on it.  However, most of us don't want small children handling such things without supervison - far better to provide them with their own!  The Kidizoom can take 2.0 mega pixel photos, record video and even has a choice of five simple games to play.  You can surround your photos with silly, fun frames like underwater scenes and pirate pictures and the camera comes with software for editing on your PC.  The Kidizoom has received numerous excellent reviews and in my opinion is the very best choice as far as cameras for preschool children are concerned.

Play-Doh Fun Factory

Play-Doh was around when I was a kid in the 70s, and it is still very popular today. Sometimes the simple toys really are the best, and creative and imaginative toys always come out on top. These days there are numerous sets and accessories that you can buy to accompany Play-Doh - we like the Mega Fun Factory Playspace, which is like your very own factory for making little Play-Doh toys and candies. Basically, you put the Play-Doh in at one end, select molds and press down the cutters, and the shapes pop out the end. Surprisingly simple but very much a hit with the little ones. The belt moves slowly, which is good for small children as they can really focus on what they are doing.

First Games

Around the age of their third birthday, many children are ready to start playing board games. Board games are brilliant for children because they promote sharing and the concept of taking turns. They are also fantastic for bonding with your child. Even when a child cannot recognise numbers on a dice or read a single word, there are board games available which your child will be able to play independently. My youngest son is a couple of months off his third birthday and can play several games with little assistance.  Note that the Pop Up Pirate game, pictured middle right, is advertised as suitable for four year olds but is very simple and should be ideal for a three year old.  My son could play this game at two and a half.

First Scooter

 As first scooters go, in my opinion the Mini Micro (pictured here) is the very best.  It is an award winning product.  My own son has a scooter like this - actually he received it when he was just two, although it is advertised as being suitable for 3 +.  The benefit that the Mini Micro has over alternative scooters is that there are two wheels at the front and only one at the back, rather than the other way around.  This aids balance and means that the child will take to the scooter a lot more easily because it is extremely stable and will not tip over to the side.  The foot plate is very low to the ground, which also means that it is easier to ride, and is made of plastic.  In fact, the good quality plastic is a preferable option to metal as it prevents small children catching their ankles on hard metal. The wheels are polyurethane and glide effortlessly along footpaths. The Mini Micro gives little children a wonderful feeling of confidence as they can scoot straight off and travel much faster than on the more traditional styles.  On the Mini Micro, your child will feel like one of the big boys, and they look really cool as well.  There are several colors available.


Young children usually adore puzzles. What's more, they teach children patience and perseverance and are great for a young child's cognitive development. My youngest son loves doing puzzles with me, and he feels really pleased when he can slot the correct piece in on his own. There are lots of wonderful puzzles around - I like this fire truck example, from Melissa and Doug. If you are choosing a puzzle for a three year old, be sure not to choose one with too few pieces - some of the simple sets with up to 12 pieces will become too easy soon. On the other side of the coin, don't get a puzzle that is too complicated, either. This puzzle has 24 pieces and I believe that is enough for a 3 - 4 year old.


 Books made an ideal gift for a three year old boy.  All children love to be read to, and the bedtime story is an important part of the day.  Unlike older children, little ones love to hear familiar stories, and will ask for their favorite books again and again.  What's more, they can be kept and passed down to any subsequent children.  I often purchase books as children's gifts, and we receive them in return.  Parents are usually happy to receive books over toys because they take up little space and do not add to the 'plastic jungle' that can take over a family home.  There are so many wonderful kid's picture books around right now that I am not even going to attempt to list them all, but instead have shown two of our favorites - by British author Julia Donaldson.  These books are classic, some of the best books we have ever purchased for the children. 

Dressing-Up Outfit

Around the age of 3, children start to develop more imagination which shows during play. Dress up costumes are a fun way to act out a character - young children love them. In our house Spiderman has always been a favorite which is why I have chosen this as an example, but a costume in the form of any of his favorite personalities or role-playing characters is sure to be a hit.

Remote Control Car

Children are fascinated by radio control toys. The concept of watching a vehicle move around the floor alone, without having to be pushed, is exciting. My youngest son loves radio control toys - he is quite fixated on the radio control Doctor Who Dalek his older brother owns, but that is designed for more mature children and I have chosen to display a more age-related toy on this page. Boys love cars and pushing buttons, so this is the ideal combination.

Playmobil Friction Powered Police Bike

Although this is advertised as suitable for children from 4+, personally I do not see any reason why a three year old should not play with it. It is very simple and easy to operate - it is a pull-back toy, powered by friction, but the feature that stands out over other similar toys is that it starts off at a relatively slow speed, then automatically shifts to high speed and shoots off very quickly. We have had this toy at home for years, and it has always been popular. You do not need any other Playmobil figures or sets to play with it successfully, and the little figure that comes with it can provide stimulus for imaginative games as well. It's an inexpensive item that is both fun and simple, and what's more Playmobil are an excellent, reputable company which produce durable and long-lasting, quality toys.

Tool Set or Work Bench

Boys love tools and pretending to do 'real' DIY. Age 3 is the ideal time to purchase a child's first tool set as it is also a stage when they are likely to begin partaking in more imaginative games and role playing activities. You can purchase small, inexpensive tool sets like the Fisher Price version, pictured top right. When buying a small tool set like this, you should ensure that it includes a battery-operated drill, as in my experience, this is likely to be the favored item. A work bench is also a good idea - the Educo one, pictured below right, is entirely non-toxic and offers the child plenty of things to 'mess about with'. Boys love things that they can fit together - the more the better. This set does not contan the drill, but has a lot of alternative items to keep him entertained.

Stomp Rocket

Stomp Rockets are brilliant, inexpensive and simple fun - ideal for three year old children (and older brothers and sisters).  As long as the child can stomp his foot, then he can work this toy. My children have had these and they were always a bit hit with anyone who visited. The foam rockets work really well and can travel up to 100 ft in the air. Rockets are lightweight, and so can be used indoors and outdoors - outdoors is great on a nice day, but indoors can be fun as well. My oldest son used to have a competition with his friends to see who could be the first to hit the ceiling with the rocket - perfectly safe as long as you do not operate the toy underneath a glass chandelier, as he did.  In a world of electronic and battery operated toys, the simple Stomp Rocket is simplistic entertainment at its best.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      JoanMcGuire 6 years ago

      I think your ideas are excellent! I am not sure though, that I would let my 3 year old play with a camera but maybe it is really sturdy enough to take his treatment :-)