Updated November 29, 2019 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

The 10 Best 3 Year Old Boy Gifts

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This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Your young man will stay amused for hours if you select the perfect present for him from our comprehensive assortment of innovative and imaginative 3-year-old boy gifts. We've included everything from the purely fun to the educational, and have just saved you about a week of trolling the Internet or schlepping around the nearest mall. You're welcome. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Power Wheels Ford Lil' F-150

2. Little Tikes EasyScore

3. Strider 12 Sport

Editor's Notes

November 22, 2019:

As your little one continues to approach exciting milestones, we wanted to ensure that we chose gifts to help him stay the course by developing fine and gross motor skills and assisting with cognitive development (all while entertaining and delighting him, of course). Safety was a top priority, and we selected options made with high-quality materials, ergonomically-sound designs, and plenty of play value.

When it comes to safety, though, there are certain things to bear in mind. Toys that facilitate physical activity such as the Kidoozie Pogo Jumper, Strider 12 Sport, Original PlasmaCar, and motorized cars like the Power Wheels Ford Lil' F-150, all come with an inherent amount of risk. Naturally, you'll want your child to get his energy out and continue building balance, motor skills, coordination, dexterity, and strength, and these toys are all great for that. That being said, children should always be closely supervised during play, outfitted with the proper safety gear, and items need to be routinely inspected for damage. No toy can be guaranteed to be infallible, even with copious safety features, which is why a wary eye is a must to ensure nobody gets hurt.

Joining the ranks today is the Strider 12 Sport, Original PlasmaCar, and ToyVelt Construction. These fun and engaging toys came at the expense of the Yookidoo Submarine Spray Station, which had repeated complaints regarding durability, Paw Patrol Look-Out, which has parts that tend to break over time, and the Schwinn Easy Steer Tricycle, which is more appropriate for children under or approaching age three.

Special Honors

Henley Bear Henley is a plush and cuddly handmade bear from England that boasts super-soft, rich cream mohair that has been carefully worked with beige wool felt, and is topped off with a silky burgundy bow. His embroidered facial features lend further fun-loving appeal, while he also comes fully jointed for propping up on a bed or shelf. Henley can be personalized, is offered in two sizes, and can be lightly spot cleaned when dirty. merrythought.com

Luxury Kids Car Club If you want to give your tot the same luxury experience that celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Cardi B, and Kim Kardashian give their children, then consider ordering a handcrafted car from Luxury Kids Car Club. Each piece is painstakingly made to order in the USA and guaranteed for life. The starter pack comes with a remote control, 12-volt battery and charger, Bluetooth compatibility, interior and exterior paint, a custom license plate, 22" custom rims and tires, HID headlights, and a five-point safety seat belt. luxurykidscarclub.com

4. Original PlasmaCar

5. Kidoozie Pogo Jumper

6. Learning Resources Fishing Set

7. Little Tikes Gas 'n Go

8. ToyVelt Construction

9. Melissa & Doug Learn-To-Play Piano

10. Melissa & Doug Monster Bowling Game

The Quest For Great Gifts For Three Year Old Boys

Look for kits complete with costumes and accessories and that allow a child to engage with their pretend play both physically and mentally.

The mind of a three year old boy is more complex and nuanced than most people without intimate knowledge of children could imagine. Youngsters at this age are curious, playful, and energetic, at times ready to explore new places and things yet also lent comfort by the known and familiar. A three year old boy can often spend long stretches of time on his own, absorbed in solitary play activities without the need for external input. But of course young children also look for attention and support.

When searching for a gift for a child turning three -- or already in his fourth year of life -- consider both the general attributes and abilities of kids of this age (more on that below) and also think carefully about the individual child for whom you are shopping. While some gifts may be almost universally appropriate for three year old boys, others might be absolutely perfect for the specific child on your shopping list.

Many three year old children have an impressively developed sense of imagination and will take to role play and make believe activities with zeal. You can facilitate this imaginative play with gifts that encourage a child to assume the role of a doctor, a fisherman, a veterinarian or an explorer. Look for kits complete with costumes and accessories and that allow a child to engage with their pretend play both physically and mentally. These gifts are also great for fostering interaction both between a youngster and his peers or with his parents, siblings, or caregiver.

Other boys this age are highly active and physical and are never happier than when in motion. Most young children still lack the fine motor skills for most sports activities though, so choosing a gift that's both enjoyable and relatively easy to play with is imperative. Consider classic options like diminutive basketball hoops that can be lowered for easy access or oversized bowling sets that make it easy for a child to feel a sense of accomplishment.

If your intended gift recipient is musically inclined, by their third birthday they should begin to play more with genuine instruments rather than with toys approximating instruments. There's no need to buy a young child a Stradivarius violin, but a three year old should at least be given a compact piano with real notes or a guitar that can actually be tuned and played.

And keep in mind that young children love to imitate the people they see most often. Consider giving your child (or the child for whom you are shopping) items like a play kitchen or a little lawn mower so they can emulate their parents safely.

Gifts To Avoid For The Three Year Old Boy

Just as there are a plethora of great gift ideas for three year old boys, there are also plenty of items that should be avoided for kids of this age. Spending a few minutes thinking about those inferior gift ideas can help the good ideas stand out even more clearly.

Just as there are a plethora of great gift ideas for three year old boys, there are also plenty of items that should be avoided for kids of this age.

A three year old boy is generally out of the oral stage of life and can be trusted not to place random objects in his mouth. However a momentary lapse in thought can see a three year old boy inadvertently putting something in his mouth nonetheless, so toys with smaller pieces are still best avoided. This is also true of toys with long strings or cords which could be a strangulation hazard.

Powered riding toys are popular with many families, but are actually not a good idea for children still under the age of four or five; these devices require more spatial reasoning, faster reaction times, and better overall judgment than many kids of three yet possess. (And in fact some of these units have even been known to present fire safety issues).

Also resist the urge to buy stereotypically male toys, such as a football or a toy weapon; a youngster has an entire lifetime to be pressed into expected roles and deserves freedom from such limitations while still so young.

Mental And Emotional Milestones Of The Three Year Old

Between the ages of three and four, a child is often said to be in the so-called Magic Years. This post-toddler, preschool age is a unique time in life; the individual is yet free of any meaningful responsibility but is also possessed of a mind that can be effectively tuned to specific tasks and activities. And of course this age is also filled with an imaginative -- "magical," even -- approach to play and interaction.

Between the ages of three and four, a child is often said to be in the so-called Magic Years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a number of concrete milestones that most boys will meet during the time between a third and fourth birthday; knowing these can help you process behavior as it happens and can help you look out for anything your child does that seems abhorrent and that warrants extra attention or intervention.

A three year old boy should display a degree of self sufficiency including dressing and undressing with minimal help, the ability to wait for his turn during a meal, play activity, or a sport or game, and he should be able to communicate his wants or needs using clear language. (Keep in mind some children can do this before the age of three, while others won't master some skills until they are nearly four.)

A three year old boy should also have a rapidly developing sense of empathy and compassion; his emotional maturity may be far from complete, but a child of this age should be able to show affection when appropriate without any external prompting and should respond properly to the emotions of others. This means an attempt to comfort and console the person who is clearly upset and the ability to laugh along with the person in high spirits.

On the physical side, a three year old boy should have a good enough sense of balance to run and jump without falling over (or without falling often, at any rate) and should be able to go up and down stairs with ease. He should also be able to kick and throw a ball, though likely without much accuracy for some time yet. Many three year olds can reliably pedal and steer a tricycle, which makes for yet another fine gift idea.

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated on November 29, 2019 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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