With additional reporting by Deena Campbell.

Giving a great gift is relatively easy when little ones are 3 years old—the name of the game is to be thoughtful and practical. But, let's be honest, the challenge here lies in giving a gift to someone who has a new interest by the second. Pair that with your competing desires to get something fun, educational and also functional (we know you're tired of seeing toys strewn around the house your kiddo deserted after 2.5 minutes) and the ensuing stress *might* make you wish you were dealing with a tantrum instead.

OK, not really. But if you're the parent of a threenager, the last thing you need is more drama in your life.

We hear you, mama. Here are 25 picks that are sure to make any preschooler smile this holiday season as they develop their independence and growing personality—and staunch opinions.

Best Gifts for 3-Year-Olds

Loog Mini Guitar Yellow



1. Loog Mini Guitar

This beginner’s guitar is not just for playtime—it can teach your child how to play an actual instrument. Featuring the first three strings of a full-size guitar, the Loog mini is perfect for tiny hands—and fun from day one, thanks to the companion app and flashcards.

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Plan Toys


3. Modern Wooden Dollhouse

Brb, moving into the dollhouse of my dreams. This mini modern dream home features three separate units that can be arranged in different configurations and comes complete with 20 pieces of furniture for endless interior design opportunities (er, pretend play, if you’re 3).

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6. Calming Toy Companion with Dynamic Heartbeat and Soothing Purr

If your little one sometimes has trouble regulating their emotions and finding calm (and who doesn’t), they might love (and learn from!) the experience of helping Purrble calm down. This fuzzy lovey has a dynamic heartbeat that subsequently slows down after sensing cuddles from your kiddo.

Garnet Hill Kids Boiled Wool Fox Slipper Boots

Garnet Hill


7. Kids' Boiled Wool Slipper Boots

If you’re looking for breathable slippers that keep little feet warm and comfy, Garnet Hill’s boiled wool slipper boots are worth a try. Parents rave about the knit cuff that makes them a breeze to get on and off and the whimsical creatures and characters make them a time-tested favorite for kids, too.

Little Tikes


8. Little Tikes Light-Up 3-Foot Trampoline with Folding Handle for Kids Ages 3 to 6

Now that winter is around the corner, this Little Tikes trampoline is ideal for colder climates or if you have limited outdoor space. Let them bounce around for hours on this lighted trampoline, then fold it up to store it when you want to reclaim your living room.

Wee Gallery


9. Baby Animal Lacing Cards for Toddlers

My own 3-year-old loves these animal lacing cards, and I love that it’s a mess-free craft activity he can even bring in the car. Good for flexing those fine motor skills—and keeping little fingers busy.

GG Sushi Party Set

Kiko and gg


10. gg* sushi party set

Got a tiny foodie on your hands? Foster that fire with a mini sushi set. Little ones will love the velcro seaweed and magnetic sushi toppings as they learn to make their own maki rolls.

Manhattan Toy


11. Early Bird Espresso Toddler & Kids Pretend Play Cooking Toy Set

Now your toddler can take part in your morning coffee ritual with their very own espresso set. This bright wooden early bird (get it?) kit comes with two espresso cups and seven colorful wooden discs so your budding barista can whip up a wide range of beverages.

Manhattan Toy


12. Making Faces 34-Piece Emotion Toy

Kids can explore their own emotions through play with this kit of 34 punch-out magnetic facial features. It’s a good vehicle for identifying feelings—or just making funny faces!

The Ultimate Construction Site Book

Anne-Sophie Baumann & Didier Balicevic


13. The Ultimate Construction Site Book

Your little one talks of nothing but diggers, skid steers and bulldozers—and is sure to adore this lift-a-flap book that goes into meticulous detail on building bridges, crafting roller coasters and digging subway tunnels.

Le Van Toys Honeybake Doctor Kit

Le Toy Van


14. Kids Wooden Pretend Play Honeybake Doctor's Medical Play Set Kit

Three-year-olds are primed for pretend play at this age, and this adorable doctor kit helps them get creative in the medical field. With tools made from sustainably-sourced rubber wood, kids can take up a residency and test out their expertise on their stuffed animals or willing siblings.



15. Big Cooker Reverso Retro Wooden Kitchen and Laundry Playset

A play kitchen that’s pretty enough to leave out in the living room? Yes, please. This reversible wooden model has a retro kitchen on one side and a laundry setup on the other, meaning double the fun.

The Big Dig


16. The Big Dig and Roll Ride-On Working Excavator with Wheels

No sandbox, no problem with this ride-on excavator that can literally go anywhere. Kiddos will love digging up snow (or sand or dirt) and pretending the backyard is a big construction site.

Alohaland Wooden Blocks

Keiki Kaukau


17. ALOHALAND Wooden Blocks

We swooned over this sweet block set that’s like a 3D postcard from Hawaii. Perfect for island-life lovers big and small.

Wonder and Wise by Asweets Ice Cream Truck Play Tent

Wonder and Wise by Asweets


18. Ice Cream Truck Play Tent

Encourage that entrepreneurial spirit with an ice cream truck play tent that’ll have your kiddo serving up cones and popsicles as they cruise around the neighborhood. Ideal for indoor play now, outdoor play come spring.

Story Time Chess Game

Story Time Chess


19. Story Time Chess

Why not start them young? Chess has big benefits for young thinkers, but teaching the game can be tedious. Story Time Chess transforms game play into a children’s book, so little ones can see gamepieces as characters and follow along with the story.

Moon Chalk Set Areaware



20. Moon Chalk Set

For the cool tot who has everything, these avant-garde chalks are out-of-this-world. An art piece in and of themselves their unique shapes make for beautiful sidewalk designs.



21. Duplo Train Set

My toddler gets endless joy out of this LEGO Duplo train set, and especially gets amped up over the moveable tiles that direct the battery-operated train to turn on its lights, whistle, stop or fill up with fuel.

Lunii Experience Pack



22. Lunii Experience Pack

For the kid who loves a good story, Lunii’s screen-free player gives them the power to choose their own adventure. Kids can select a hero, location and primary object and listen as their crafted story comes to life.

Melissa & Doug


23. Wooden Magnetic Matching Picture Game

This magnetic picture board is a great alternative when you’ve reached screentime limits for the day. Kids can select a scene and create their own image using the magnetic pictures–with endless possibilities.



24. Four Stage Rocket Ship

Gift tiny astronauts their very own mini rocket ship as they blast off into pretend play. With a design inspired by actual space shuttles, it comes with 20 pieces and three sides for plenty of new discoveries.

William Bee


25. Stanley's Diner

We’ve been collecting the Stanley series books since my little one was born, and they’re one of my favorite kid gifts to give. Little friends will love the Stanley world, which is full of bright illustrations and an engaging story as Stanley goes about his busy day.