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In my experience, gifts for 3 year olds can be tricky. They are too big for a lot of the “baby” toys, but they aren’t quite ready for the “big kid” toys. I’ve found that things they can do or toys that encourage movement get more interest than toys with lots of pieces that require lots of focus. Or, maybe that’s just true for my active kids!
There is a little mix of both on this list. I’ve also divided it up between things Nolan already has and loves and things he wants this year or ideas I’ve come up with for him.
Gifts for a 3 Year Old: Things he already has (and loves!)
We have a version of this water doodle mat, but it’s not nearly as big as the one linked. This is a great rainy day activity and I love that it’s really hard to make a mess.
Stomp Rockets are a huge hit in our house with Nolan and Isla. I’m always amazed at how entertained they are by this. It’s now my go to birthday party gift for all the classmates we don’t know well enough to pick out a more personalized gift.
I would have thought 3 was too young for Duplo LEGOs (the benefits of being the younger sibling- you get access to all the big kid toys), but Nolan plays with them practically every single day. This would be a great starter set, but be warned, the sets multiply quickly. Dads like them just as much as kids!
Truthfully, Kinetic Sand was Isla’s present last year, but Nolan has gotten way more use out of it. It’s great sensory play and if you throw in these mini construction trucks in it and you’ve got a construction site!
Gifts for a 3 Year Old: What he wants this year
If you follow us on Instagram, you may have heard what monstrosity Nolan wants this year. He will. not. stop. about this Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage. I think it’s ridiculously expensive, way too big and will not hold his interest to justify the price. But, he is one stubborn kid, and try as I might, he will not be deterred. I’ve tried showing him other Hot Wheels tracks, and all he will talk about is “the climbing guy”. I still haven’t decided if this is what Santa will bring. AJ is all for it, but I need some convincing.
I just found out there is a Dear Boy book! Already got this one waiting in the closet to be wrapped.
He is due for a new pair of rain boots. We saw these a few days ago and it took some major negotiation to get him to put them down. You can’t argue that he’s a kid who knows what he wants.
This Design & Drill set was out at a toy store we were at recently and Nolan loved it. I’m all about any toy/activity that encourages him to sit quietly and expand his concentration and fine motor skills.