There are two criteria for selecting toys for kids, safety and age appropriateness. Many enthusiastic parents buy toys without giving any consideration to the age of the child. Before you buy the next trending toy, ask your self, does this toy match my child’s current skills?
Each child develops at his own pace and often buying toys meant for higher age groups only leaves the child overwhelmed and disinterested.
In order to encourage creativity in play you first need to buy materials (toys and games) that are suited your child’s current skill set.
I always look to my child when I need to buy him a toy. What is his current area of interest? What skills do I see him develop at the moment? Has he spotted something that he wants to try? Using his innate curiosity for things around him we slowly introduce him to new concepts and materials.
There is no rush for him to try everything within a specified time frame. There have been times I buy something I like and my son rejects the toy immediately. Then after a while has passed I see him take a liking to the same toy he rejected earlier. This is because he was not ready to explore when he was first exposed to the toy. There is no rush. More on child led learning here.
Here are a few toys and ideas I think 3-year-olds will enjoy. These are age-appropriate toys for 3-year-olds, some of them also make great 3-year-old birthday gift ideas.
Age Appropriate Toys For 3-year-olds
- Puzzles And Pattern Blocks
You can introduce puzzles at age 2 and by age 3 most kids can solve 9-10 piece puzzle sets. This is also a great time to use pattern blocks and allow the child to use his creativity and come up with his own designs.
A few puzzles and pattern blocks to try;
Creative Educational Aids (5 – 9 piece puzzles)
- Magnetic tiles
Magnetic tiles is one of the best birthday gift ideas for 3-year-olds. By now most 3-year-olds know how to build using building blocks and magentic tiles add another level of creativity to the mix. The colored tiles hold 3-year-olds attention for long periods of time. This is one toy our son can be seen playing with first thing in the morning.
- Coloring And Art
Toddlers love using crayons and paints and getting really messy with them. Copy coloring becomes a particularly interesting activity at this age as toddlers begin to figure out how to color within the lines.
Paint using materials from the kitchen like okra or potatoes. Paint on stones or eggshells. There are many ways to add variation in art and craft.
- Outdoor Toys
As 3-year-olds develop gross motor skills engage them in a variety of outdoor play and activities. Toys like a sandbox, trampoline, cricket bat and ball, football, and beach toys all engage little ones to get out there and catch some Vit D and exercise.
- Ride-on Toys
This age group also enjoys ride-on toys. They are figuring out balance and motion and ride-on toys are a lot of fun.
- Vehicle Sets
Anything that moves and has wheels can catch the eye of little ones. Most 3-year-olds are beginning to name the different modes of transport and this is a great time to introduce them to pretend play with vehicles
Some of great vehicle toys,
- Activity Subscription Services
Activity boxes are a great way to introduce little ones to different themes and learning concepts. There are many subscription services these days that provide interesting materials for art and craft activities. These are to be done with the help of a parent and can be used as a way to have conversations around the themes and gauge the child’s interest and likings.
Some of our favorite subscription activity boxes are,
Pretend play is a huge part of a young child’s games. If your child is enjoying a particular role play buy him that outfit for dress up. Dress up games are a great way to allow the child’s inner creativity to shine.
After using the mega blocks since age 1, it is now time for your child to graduate to building blocks that require advanced motor skills.
We really like these bristle blocks, our son finds the texture of the blocks interesting and they require the use of fine motor skills to be made into different structures.
- Pretend Playsets
And of course, I am going to end this list with pretend play. If you follow me on Instagram you know we are big on pretend play in our house. We use a Kitchen set, a teepee tent and lots of stuffed toys to build endless hours of fun.
Use your child’s interest and find toys that cater to his creativity. There are so many pretend play toys out there from doll houses to doctor sets. Find a few that interest your child and use pretend play as a way to spend one on one time with your child.
I hope this list is handy to moms of three-year-olds. What toys does your child like to play with?