Birthday Gifting

The Best Birthday Gifts for 3-Year-Olds in 2024


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best gifts for 3-year-olds"
best gifts for 3-year-olds
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

Welcome to the threenage years. If you haven’t already noticed, 3-year-olds have opinions—and lots of them. They aren’t afraid to tell you what they want and, in many instances, what they don’t want. The development between ages 2 and 3 is substantial, and for many of our little ones, it includes milestones like moving to a big kid bed and potty training.

Over this past year, I felt like I blinked and suddenly my son was going from a toddler to something more like a little boy. And while he still has some time left in toddlerhood, every now and then, I get an unmistakable glimpse of what our future holds. When he’s not running and climbing and jumping off anything and everything, he’s spending longer and longer amounts of time playing with his toys, including more creative and imaginary play.

Whether your little one has a third birthday coming up or you’re just in the market for some new activities, we’ve rounded up some of the best gifts for 3-year-olds below.

How we chose the best gifts for 3-year-olds

There are moms with kids of all ages on The Everymom team. They’ve conquered the baby phase, changed all the diapers, and celebrated third birthdays. On top of that, our commerce and editorial teams are always on the hunt for the best products for kids, moms, and families. If there’s a new must-have, must-try, or must-see in the kids or parenting space, we’re on it. Real-life experience combined with knowing the current trends allows us to put together a well-rounded list of gifts.

What makes a great gift for a 3-year-old?

We know the best gifts for 3-year-olds are fun, engaging, and educational. Plus, like the little ones they’re for, some are just simply adorable. When our kiddos hit three, they’re talking more than ever, counting, and sharing their creativity. The gifts below aim to encourage all of that and more. We looked to editor and mom favorite brands and beyond. To name a few, you’ll find picks from beloved brands like Melissa & Doug, Maisonette, Pottery Barn Kids, Crate & Kids, and more. Not to mention, the creative minds behind our favorite Etsy finds deserve to be highlighted as well.

In addition to great quality, we took price into consideration. We’ve even broken it up into two categories so that you have choices at every price point. With that in mind, we know the best gifts are the ones that you select with your kiddo in mind. Whether you’re looking for something sweet and simple or heirloom-quality, look no further.

Gifts for 3-Year-Olds Under $50

3 year old Melissa and Doug toy
Melissa & Doug
Super Smile Dentist Play Set

Encourage real-life inspired play with this 25-piece dentist set. This set is also helpful if your little one is anxious about visiting the dentist so they become familiar with the tools.

“We used this dentist play set to prep my son for his first dentist appointment, and I genuinely believe it contributed to him having zero anxiety when we went. We used the 25-piece set to explain what each tool is, and how they worked, then role-played how the dentist would use them. He even recognized all of them during his first appointment!”

– Steph Alleva Cornell, Branded Content Editor

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3 year old Etsy t-shirt
Etsy | Happy Life Parties
3rd Birthday Shirt

A personalized shirt to celebrate their big day is sure to be a favorite well beyond their birthday. We love this Barbie-inspired option, as well as a super cool personalized construction option.

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3 year old Melissa and Doug birthday toy
Melissa & Doug
Examine & Treat Pet Vet Play Set

Animal lovers will go crazy over this vet play set! This toy was recognized by toy experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute for how it helps kids develop empathy.

“As a kid who swore I’d be a vet when I grew up (until I realized how hard biology is), I was almost as excited as my kids to play with this vet play set. They love ‘treating’ all their stuffies with these pretend medical tools while I enjoy watching them practice empathy.”

– Steph Alleva Cornell, Branded Content Editor

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3 year old kinetic sand toy
Kinetic Sand

Perfect for plenty of sensory and creative play, kinetic sand acts like wet sand, but only sticks to itself and never dries out or hardens.

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tee ball toy for 3 year old
Tee Ball Set

Batter up! This plastic T-Ball and bat set comes with six oversized balls for little players to practice their hand-eye coordination inside or outside!

My boys loved learning about tee-ball with this easy-to-use set. It was a great way for them to practice their hand-eye coordination and develop the basic skills of the game. The set includes 9 balls which is great so you don’t have to retrieve them constantly.”

– Ally Pagar-Wolf, Chief of Sales & Marketing

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ada twist, scientist 3 year old gift
Ada Twist, Scientist

Beaty and Roberts’ rhythmic storytelling and unique illustrations make these some of our favorite books to read aloud. Parents and kids will find lessons within the pages of STEM-themed Ada Twist, Scientist.

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3 year old apron toy
Crate & Kids
Kids Chef Apron

Have a little one who loves to help out in the kitchen? Get them their very own apron so they’re always ready to make a delicious mess. The best part is that it can be personalized with your little chef’s name. Make it a set my grabbing this chef’s coat and hat, too!

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3 year old frozen toy
Storybook Projector for Smartphones

Turn your phone into a screen projector for story time! This set comes with five Frozen-themed stories. Other stories are available for your collection, too.

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3 year old train set toy
Pottery Barn Kids
My First Train Set

No little one will ever turn down the excitement of a train set, and this one is sure to withstand the test of time and offer hours of entertainment.

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3 year old Encanto doll
Disney’s Encanto Mirabel Madrigal Doll

The hero of Disney’s runaway hit Encanto, this Mirabel doll comes with her signature green glasses, blue earrings, and beautiful dress!

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3 year old personalized nightlight
Personalized Star Night Light

Bedtime can get a little easier with the help of a night light, like this sweet, personalized version from Etsy.

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3 year old indoor swing
Kids Pod Swing Seat

Not only is this seat tons of fun since it feels like a swing, but parents also love it as a soothing space for their little ones to calm down. Talk about a win-win!

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bath bombs for 3 year old gift
Amazon | Dabble & Dollop
Droplets Bath Bombs for Kids

This set of 12 Droplets bath bombs will add fizzy, moisturizing fun to bath time. They’re 100 percent natural, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and made in the USA.

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3 year old Melissa and Doug toy
Melissa & Doug
Bake & Decorate Cupcake Set

Your little can make their own pretend birthday cupcakes with this bake and decorate play set! It includes a baking sheet, mitt, birthday candles, and more.

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Gifts for 3-Year-Olds Over $50

best gifts for 3 year olds magna tiles
Amazon | Magna-Tiles
100-Piece Building Set

Magna-Tiles keep kids entertained for hours with open-ended building and creating. Plus, they’re a gift they will use for years to come.

Magna tiles are STILL the toy of choice in my house. Both of my sons love using their imagination to create everything from cities to zoos, to garages and more. Magna Tiles are bar none the most used toy in our home and one our whole family enjoys playing with. The ability to truly create anything and add more specialty sets makes these a great toy to collect and grow with.”

– Ally Pagar-Wolf, Chief of Sales & Marketing

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best gifts for 3 year olds guitar
Amazon | LOOG
Mini Acoustic Guitar

This educator-approved and award-winning toy comes with access to the Loog app plus flashcards to help little ones learn to play. It also comes in six colors to suit your child’s personality.

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best gifts for 3 year olds mini golf set
Crate & Kids | Wonder & Wise
Kids Mini Golf Set

If your little one’s ready to work on their golf game with dad, get them set up right with their very own mini golf set. They’ll be going pro before you know it.

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best gifts for 3 year olds tea party set
Metal Tea Party Set

This adorable tea party set is one they’re sure to cherish long after they outgrow tea parties.

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woom bike best gifts for 3 year olds
Woom Bikes
Woom 1 Plus Balance Bike

Editor-favorite Woom bikes are not your average kids’ bikes; they’re designed specifically to fit just right and grow with your LO—and a bonus for parents: very little assembly is required!

7 colors available

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best gifts for 3 year olds ice cream set
Melissa & Doug
Cool Scoops Ice Creamery

Order, create, and serve cool pretend play frozen treats with this ice cream shop counter featuring a soft serve dispenser, write-on ordering and payment tablet, menu board, and display area!

“This ice cream shop counter play set is one of my daughter’s most-used toys. Every day she writes our orders on the payment tablet, creates a variety of delicious frozen treats, and proudly presents each of them with the biggest smile. It’s absolutely adorable watching her imagination flourish each time uses the soft serve dispenser, stacks ice cream scoops, or adds “toppings” to her latest creations.”

– Steph Alleva Cornell, Branded Content Editor

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best gifts for 3 year olds doll house
Pottery Barn Kids | LoveShackFancy
Antoinette Floral Dollhouse

An heirloom style dollhouse is one of those gifts they won’t only cherish now, but will hang onto for years to come. This may even be one of those items they pass onto their own kids one day.

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best gifts for 3 year olds picnic set
Crate & Kids
Picnic Kids Playset

Pretend play is always a good idea, and this set brings the excitement of a picnic indoors even on the rainiest of days.

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best gifts for 3 year olds rainbow playset
Etsy | What Makes Kids Happy
Soft Playset Rainbow

The possibilities are endless with this foam playset. Let your little ones safely get creative by using it as an obstacle course, a lounge chair, balance bean, and more.

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best gifts for 3 year olds scooter
Crate & Kids
Banwood Cream 3-Wheel Kids Scooter

Let your 3-year-old in on the joys of a scooter with this adorable option. Pretty soon they’ll be racing down the driveway with the biggest smile on their face.

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Why You Can Count on Us

The Everygirl Media Group has brought valuable content to our readers for 12+ years. In 2018, The Everymom set out to ensure that all moms know they’re not alone. If you find yourself seeking advice on how to style the latest fashion trend or searching for the best kid-friendly coffee table, we have the answers. And if you’re wondering what’s actually worth it from a sale or looking for a review of the hottest new kids’ product, we’ve got that covered too. From our annual Registry Awards and beloved holiday gift guides to the shopping round-ups you find on our site every day, The Everymom commerce team is well-versed in sifting through thousands of products to curate a digestible list for you. We combine our own experience with in-depth research to bring you a selection that meets our high standards for both fashion and function.

jaclyn voran

Jaclyn joined The Everymom team as a Contributing Writer in 2020. She brings a strong editorial background as a freelance writer, including being published in The Atlantic. She holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Kansas. 

brett nicole hayden

As the Editorial Assistant, Brett works with the editors of The Everymom on the content creation process by updating stories, sourcing images and graphics, and pitching and contributing her own articles. Her favorite topics to write about are culture, relationships, and living. She’s also The Everymom’s resident baby names and family movies expert!