Best Toys and Gifts for 3 Year Old Boys in 2017

By the moment your little one blows the candles on the cake for his third birthday, you’ll realize just how time flies. You’ll be amazed at how the tiny bundle of joy has now transformed into a great ball of energy that practically won’t stop bouncing and running around. You’ll also be wowed at how many great strides your child has made so far, turning him into a magnificent human being that is full of love, beauty, and happiness.

As his third year will usher in great changes, picking the right toys to keep him happy and help him learn more things is important. You have to pay close attention to what are the best products for his development because learning can still be best achieved through play for this age.

What are the best toys and gifts for 3 year old boys? Here are 20 of our top picks.

1. Little Tikes Gas ‘n Go Mower

Kids at three years of age will surely know the routines of his parents through observation. This is why getting them a toy version of an actual everyday thing can be a fun way for them to play pretend, as it’s a great way to imitate the adults and make a new world of their own, which is precisely why we believe that the Gas ‘n Go Mower of Little Tikes is a great push toy for little boys.

What We Like about This Product: Aside from looking like a cartoon version of an actual lawn mower that dad has in his shed, it also makes fun sounds that will really get your little one enthralled with the toy. It’s great for pretend play and will even help refine their motor skills.

2. VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set

If you think your little one has a good rhythm, a musical toy like the VTech KidiBeats will be a great gift for them. This is electronic drum set toy will not only let them make their own drum beats but can also teach them about letters and numbers.

What We Like about This Product: The best part about the KidiBeats is that it has 9 pre-programmed melodies that your little one can follow along to and has a free play setting that will just let them enjoy the music they can create by beating on the pads. It can easily ignite their imagination, spark their interest in music, and refine their hand-eye coordination.

3. Little Tikes TotSports T-Ball Set

With a more refined set of gross motor skills, giving your child a few toys that will teach them the basics of certain sports can be a great way to introduce them to team sports. The TotSports T-Ball set is an excellent gift for those who want to get their child acquainted with baseball as it comes with a kiddie baseball bat, ball, and tee.

What We Like about This Product: Even if your child doesn’t have someone else to play baseball with, they can still practice their swing with this set. It’s also excellent for pretend play as well as developing their hand-eye coordination and motor skills. You’ll also love that the tee has an adjustable height so your child will be able to play with it for quite a while.

​4. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

A lot of boys tend to get interested in trains even at such a young age, so a nice train set will always be a good gift idea for them. Melissa & Doug’s Deluxe Wooden Railway Set is a sophisticated option that both parents and child will love, not only because it’s a fun toy to play with, but it’s also a very pretty set to look at.

What We Like about Its Product: This massive railway set is composed of over 130 pieces so there’s so much your child can do with it. Their imagination can run wild with this set, but since it’s a wooden toy, they’ll still need to manually operate the trains to play with it. This means that their motor skills, coordination, balance, and even problem-solving skills will also be sharpened by this toy.

​5. VTech Little Apps Tablet

While experts recommend against giving your child a handheld device that can have them addicted to technology, a mini tablet that has limited but well-curated features could be a good alternative. The Little Apps Tablet of VTech is exactly what your little one should be enjoying.

What We Like about This Product: This toy is designed to stimulate their brains and help them learn about letters, numbers, music, and some basic words. It also has a pretend play setting, so your little one can still enjoy some make-believe games even as they learn about new things. I also love that this unit is very sturdy, so even if your child drops it, it won’t be easily damaged or destroyed.

​6. VTech Write and Learn Creative Center

Mixing interactive with imaginative and creative gameplay is the VTech Write and Learn Creative Center. This toy is a mix of a VTech tablet with an easy-erase, magnetic drawing board. Its primary goal is to teach your little one how to write without consuming a lot of paper and ink in the process.

What We Like about This Product: The tiny device works by having a display screen projecting a letter or shape that your little one can replicate in the magnetic drawing board. It also allows free draw mode with music playing to let them express their creativity and imagination.

7. PlasmaCar Ride On Toy

By the age of three, your child may already be a pro at riding his kiddie bike. This makes him capable of riding other toys of the same nature, so why not take it up a notch with the PlasmaCar Ride On Toy. This product is somewhat similar to a go-kart, except it’s manually propelled by your child’s legs and feet.

What We Like about This Product: The PlasmaCar Ride On Toy is really great for letting your child spend some time outside and exploring your yard. It’s ideal for pretend play and giving them a good exercise. It will also help them learn more about cause and effect as well as directionality as this unit is easily steered by the rider. I also like how safe this unit is, thanks to its low clearance and elongated shape.

​8. Fisher-Price Little People City Skyway

If your little boy loves playing with toy cars, the Fisher-Price Little People City Skyway is the best playset that you can get for their enjoyment. This towering construction will help their pretend play come to life, further igniting their imagination and allowing them to be more creative.

What We Like about This Product: It’s more than 3 feet tall with a few winding platforms where your little kid can run his toy cars through. The paths even change with a flip of a switch, making gameplay even more exciting.

As this playset will require manual operation of the toy cars, your child will get a good amount of physical activity playing with this toy. This can lead to improved motor skills. The winding paths will also refine his problem-solving skills without a hitch.

​9. Melissa & Doug Car Carrier Truck and Cars Wooden Set

Car carrier trucks are some of the most common sights for kids who often go on trips with their parents. They can really pique the interest of your little boy, so a wooden car carrier from Melissa & Doug can be a good gift idea.

What We Like about This Product: Aside from being really adorable, this car carrier truck is definitely a unique toy to get for a child. It’s definitely perfect for a lot of pretend play and since it is compatible with all standard wooden train tracks, you can easily get this set as an addition to your little boy’s railway set.

​10. Hot Wheels 9-Car Gift Pack

Three-year-old boys can now enjoy small toys as they now know that they shouldn’t try to swallow them. Being one of the most popular toy car manufacturers in the world, a pack of Hot Wheels toys is a classic gift idea for preschoolers.

What We Like about This Product: Toy cars are classic toys for young children, as they miniaturize hulking concepts to young kids, making them more manageable for them. They’re great for make-believe games, allowing children to be as creative and imaginative as they can be while playing. As they’re not battery-operated, they can also help out in refining a child’s motor skills.

​11. Nerf Super Soaker Freezefire Blaster

Water pistols are the perfect ingredients for a lot fun summer playtimes, so why not let your child in on the fun with a special Super Soaker blaster from Nerf? The Freezefire is a specialized model as it has a special compartment for ice cubes, giving your ammunition an ice cold edge to it.

What We Like about This Product: Despite the controversies, a lot of experts still believe that toy guns are excellent choices for pretend play among young boys and I tend to agree. Nerf Super Soakers are great options for such play in the summer months as it can bring tactile play into the mix as well as a refreshing jolt at the same time. Not only will playing with this toy fire up your child’s imagination, but it’s also great for their motor skills development, concentration, and reflexes.

12. Magformers Standard Set

For a young boy who already has everything, a unique, educational toy like the Magformers Standard Set can be a great present. This is a building toy that makes use of magnetized Neodymium tiles in different colors, letting your child create different shapes with great ease.

What We Like about This Product: Being a building toy, this set is definitely great for an imaginative three-year-old child. The different shapes and colors of the tiles will allow him to be as creative as he wants to be in his gameplay.

​13. Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow in the Dark

Toys that are big on the cause and effect relationship tend to be very enjoyable for little kids. This is why we’ve included the Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow in the Dark in this list as this easy but exciting game will surely add some thrill to your preschooler’s playtime.

What We Like about This Product: The rule is simple with the Stomp Rocket Jr.: you just need to stomp hard on the platform to launch the rockets to the air. The harder the stomp, the higher the rocket will go. It’ll be exciting for a child who’s only getting started in moving about, making this toy a great tool for refining his motor skills, targeting, concentration, and precision.

​14. Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Vehicles and Animals Bundle

Coloring books is another excellent activity for young kids. They can get messy and wasteful, though. Opting for the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! is an entirely different experience. This bundle is made up of reusable coloring books that don’t even need crayons or color pens to work. It comes with a special pen that only requires water to work.

What We Like about This Product: Once the pen is filled with water, your child can already use it to “color” the pages of these activity books. The colors will be revealed when the pages are wet and will turn back to being black and white once the water dries. This makes the books reusable and practical. The Water Wow! activity books are great for encouraging your little one’s creativity. It can also be a nice way to keep them entertained while you’re traveling or out for some errands.

​15. Zuru Bunch O Balloons

Summer playtimes with the kids won’t be complete without a water balloon fight. With the Zuru Bunch O Balloons, creating them will be a breeze. Honestly, this one is more for the parents than the three-year-old, although, young kids will still thoroughly enjoy the game later on.

What We Like about This Product: This product will let you fill a hundred balloons in seconds, minimizing your preparation time and letting you get into the action right away. It’s great for hot summer months with a bunch of kids and adults alike as it can be a fun party activity that will not only let young kids improve their motor skills, but will also help them socialize with other children.

​16. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Fishing Set

Fishing trips are some of the best outdoor activities that young kids can go to. However, sitting still for hours may not exactly be something your three-year-old will like to do. So, why not get them this Pretend & Play Fishing Set first to introduce them to the idea of fishing?

What We Like about This Product: Featuring the toy versions of everything your little one will need on a fishing trip, this set can really get them in the mood for some serious make-believe games. They can totally get in the zone with the fishing rod with a magnetic hook, a few fishes, and even worms for bait.

​17. Fisher-Price Triple Hit Baseball

Another baseball trainer toy is the Triple Hit Baseball by Fisher-Price. This one is more sophisticated than the other item on this list as it can be used in three ways, making it a great training toy for kids who want to learn how to play baseball.

What We Like about This Product: With three different settings to pitch the ball, this Fisher-Price toy will surely get a lot of years of use out of a three-year-old boy. It will also help develop their motor skills as well as refine their concentration and imagination.

​18. Leapfrog Scribble and Write

The LeapFrog Scribble and Write is a lot like the VTech Write and Learn Creative Center since both aim to teach kids how to write. If you’re not a fan of the magnetic write board, though, this LeapFrog alternative can be a better choice as it uses a touchscreen as a writing board.

What We Like about This Product: Instead of using a separate screen to display the letters and patterns that your child can copy, this product has a touchscreen that will project the letters and numbers that they can trace to practice their writing. It’s a highly interactive toy that also uses positive reinforcement to encourage your little one to refine their handwriting even more.

​19. Battat Take-Apart Toy Airplane

Some kids get to be mislabeled as destructive for wanting to see what makes things work. In most cases, though, they’re just really curious. The Take-Apart Toy Airplane by Battat is a perfect toy for them. As the name suggests, it can be easily taken apart so your little one can easily explore its construction and then put it back together without having to worry about whether it will still work properly or not.

What We Like about This Product: This product puts a twist to puzzle toys so expect it to hone your three-year-old’s problem-solving skills. I especially love the power drill with three drill bits as it adds an element of pretend play to the toy, providing more dimension and excitement to your little one’s playtime.

​20. Lego Duplo Creative Play All-in-One Box of Fun

Composed of 65 oversized bricks to ensure young kids’ safety, the Duplo Creative Play All-in-One Box of Fun is a highly versatile Lego set. There are countless ways how your child can play with it, but two are pre-determined. They can easily build a house and wagon or play a matching game to recreate images depicted on the box.

What We Like about This Product: Like other building blocks toys, this Duplo set is great for fostering your little one’s creativity. With the added features, it can also teach them numbers and counting as well.

What Your 3-Year-Old Boy Has Achieved So Far and What He Needs in His Toys

Your three-year-old may still be your little baby, but in terms of personal development, your little one has already gone a long way. They’re now self-aware and know that their bodies, emotions, and mind are their own. This makes a world of difference for young kids, as preschoolers will already show signs of independence and will now want to be with other kids.

Playtimes will now involve a lot of teamwork and group activities. They will start to learn the concept of sharing. Some kids, especially those who don’t have siblings, may have a difficult time doing so, but with supervision, positive reinforcement, a good explanation, and exposure to other kids will help them in grasping the idea soon enough.

Group playdates will also be more fun at this age since your child will now enjoy being with kids older and younger than him. It can teach him a bit of independence, especially if he realizes that playing with other kids can be more fun than playing on his own. It’s also good for the development of his language skills as kids tend to learn better through social interactions. They can also start learning about visual cues and nonverbal language from kids of their age.

Your child entering his preschool years is also considered as the “magic years”. This is mainly because they can now understand the things you tell them. With more sophisticated cognitive skills, they can now get easily bored with games that are too simplistic in nature. Three-year-olds will now want to be challenged but don’t expect too much from them yet as they still have a short attention span. A good toy for these youngsters will catch and hold their attention for an extended period of time.

Preschoolers are also more capable of being highly imaginative at the age of three. They will tend to have their own imaginary friends but will still most likely be able to tell what’s from their imaginings and what’s real. Igniting their imagination further can be highly beneficial for three-year-olds, so you should look for toys that will let them enjoy some pretend play.

While a three-year-old will still be pretty clumsy, they can now do more things than before. They can now kick, throw, or catch a ball. They can climb well, as well as hop or stand on just one foot. They’re also capable of bending over without falling as well as walking backward. This is why they can now enjoy more physical games outside without you having to worry that they’ll hurt themselves with every step.

Because three-year-olds are also more physically developed, some parents may feel like it’s time for them to start to learn a sport. However, experts believe that this isn’t really the case. While you can get your child introduced to the basic concepts of certain sports, it’s important to find a place that will de-emphasize the competition part of the sports to help the child play without the unnecessary stress of having to win. This can prove to be too much for a three-year-old, so if you want them to excel in sports, you might want to postpone their classes for a couple of years more.

How We Chose the Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds

After much consideration of their developmental milestones, thorough research, and through personal experience, we’ve come up with this twenty best toys and gifts for 3-year-old boys. It wasn’t exactly easy, but since we have a good idea of what a preschooler needs, we were able to choose products that are designed to help foster their development and stimulate their brains.

We’ve also made sure that each toy is made from high-quality and durable materials that are also safe for children to get in contact with. Your 3-year-old may be well over the phase of putting everything in their mouths but since they will get in close contact with toys, they can still get harmed by certain chemicals and components are not good for the health. Making sure that everything is non-toxic is another important factor for our list.


Choosing the best toys for 3-year-olds isn’t the easiest task to do, but with the right knowledge, narrowing down the options is a lot simpler. The ones listed above are carefully selected and proven to be age-appropriate for preschoolers, so if you’re ever stumped with what to give as a present to a 3-year-old, you can easily use our picks for a few great choices.

    Sandra Cobain

    Mum of two. Child psychologist. Ardent admirer of art, crafts and cooking. She is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she's not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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