Preschoolers have a lot of learning to do, so it’s important for parents to grab some different learning toys for 3 year olds to encourage and grow their skills.
A 3 year old is working on so many different skills!
They learn early literacy skills through letter recognition, early math skills, gross motor skills, and so many other things. Their brains develop at a rapid rate, and the best thing we can do is support their growth through age-appropriate toys that focus on these necessary skills.
Related: 31 Things That You Can Teach Your 3 Year Old
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16 Best Learning Toys for 3 Year Olds
Here are some of my favorite education toys for preschoolers to foster their development while having fun. Remember, playing is learning!
1. Pretend Play Kitchen, Food, and Market
One of the best learning toys for 3 year olds is play food – seriously! Not only is play food one of the best gifts for toddlers and preschoolers, but it’s perfect for pretend play.
Think about it!
Kids see their parents cook every day, so it’s natural for them to want to do what they see. Imaginative play develops social skills, cognitive skills, and more.
I have a lot of favorite play food sets, but here are a few that I highly recommend for parents to get their little 3 year olds!
- Slice & Bake Wooden Cookie Play: This set by Melissa & Doug is a favorite for my little kids. It develops fine motor skills and counting skills, plus my kids play with these for hours.
- Wooden Pizza Play Food Set: Here is another set by Melissa & Doug. Kids create their own perfect pizza with 36 toppings. It’s easy to incorporate counting and pattern making with this set.
- Learning Resources Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Sets: This set is awesome! It has three baskets of food for each meal of the day, perfect for all the pretend play.
- Learning Resources New Sprouts Garden Salad Set: Teach your kids about eating healthy with this garden salad set.
Don’t forget to get a play kitchen or market.
You have all sorts of options, but my favorite is the KidKraft Ultimate Corner Wooden Play Kitchen. I like the corner design, and it’s definitely large enough for two little kids to play together.
Kids absolutely love to play in their very own grocery store also. This makes their pretend grocery store trip seem so realistic!
They will love to shop for items and check out at the counter. Play money is really my kid’s favorite thing!
I’m a huge fan of open-ended toys, and one of the best are Magna-Tiles. Compared to traditional building blocks, my kids spend hours with this magnetic tiles. They attach in all sorts of ways, allowing kids to create different towers and buildings.
They’re so fun, and they’re the perfect size for little hands. All sides are magnetic – you’ll be surprised what you can create.
3. Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks
Pattern blocks are a classic toys that can be used in different ways. They are math manipulatives that teach the beginnings of patterns – an early math skill.
These blocks also helps with spatial awareness, color recognition, hand eye coordination, and problem solving. That’s a lot, but there are reasons why these are considered one of the best educational toys!
4. Melissa & Doug See & Spell Wooden Spelling Boards
Here is another one of the best learning toys for 3 year olds – See & Spell Wooden Boards. This set has over 50 wooden pieces and two-sided boards that spell different words.
The goal is these spelling boards help to develop sight reading, spelling, and fine motor skills. Multiple kids can play with these at the same time.
5. Rainbow Counting Bears
Counting bears are a versatile educational toy that you can use in many ways to develop math skills. Use them to practice counting up to 50, sorting colors, making patterns, and more.
The set comes with tweezers that kids use to grab the bears with to put them into colored cups, developing fine motor skills.
6. Skoolzy Nuts & Bolts
Another one of my favorite learning toys for 3 year olds is these Skoolzy Nuts & Bolts set. They are for kids from one to five years old, and they use fine motor muscles to screw and unscrew the large nuts and bolts together.
The set comes with 24 pieces including six colors and four shapes. It introduces kids to math skills and spatial reasoning for kids. You can use these as basic math manipulative for learning!
7. Counting Self-Correcting Puzzles
Puzzles are a great learning tool for preschoolers. This set comes with 30 pairs; kids match two puzzle pieces together, learning counting and early math skills. The puzzles also strengthen your child’s concentration and focus skills.
8. Upper & Lower Case Letter Puzzles
Here is another puzzle that preschoolers love – connecting uppercase and lowercase letters together. These are skills your child needs learn before entering kindergarten, so it makes sense to grab one of these puzzles.
9. Rhyming Words Puzzles
Rhyming is an early reading skill that preschoolers focus on before they start reading CVC words. It teaches phonemic awareness and build a literacy foundation for years to come.
This puzzle has 30 pairs for your kids to match. Each word also has a corresponding picture to go with the rhyming word.
10. Wooden Building Blocks Set
I think all kids need to have a set of wooden building blocks. These work on gross motor skills and fine motor skills; stacking is a big milestone for kids.
Older toddlers and preschoolers love to play with these blocks, and I like that this set has different geometric shapes aside from rectangles and squares!
11. Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
Preschoolers love board games, and this Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game is adorable. The game requires no reading; you have to get your forest friends to find acorns. The game teaches young kids colors, and it’s easy to play and understand.
Sneaky Squirrel teaches your kids so much!
It encourages matching skills, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and more.
12. A Doll House
A dollhouse is a classic gift for little kids because it embodies pretend play. Kids get to imagine and make believe with their little dolls.
Every kid – boy and girl – need to have at least one doll house in their house for endless hours of fun.
One of my favorite gender-neutral doll houses is the Melissa & Doug Hi-Rise Wooden Doll House. The colors are perfect for little boys and little girls, and it has an elevator – so fun!
13. Wooden Music Set for Toddlers & Preschoolers
All preschoolers need a set of musical instruments to enjoy. Not only are instruments fun for kids and families to play with together, but they also develop problem solving skills, rhythm, a love for music, and more.
These are perfect for some quality time as a family!
Also, since this set includes different items from tambourines to chime bars, kids use different small muscles to make them play. I prefer this set since its natural colors rather than bright colors, but if you want instruments with different colors, grab this one with 33 music-making items.
14. Melissa & Doug Wooden Train Set
One of the best toys for 3 year olds is a wooden train set with plenty of train tracks and different vehicles. Young children love these toys, and Melissa & Doug makes good quality toys.
These will last for years to come. You really don’t need to buy more than one since they last for years.
If family members want to get your kids a gift, suggest more tracks or accessories. Also, a train table is a must to hold all of the pieces. My 3 year old loves his set; it occupies him for hours.
15. Love Every Play Kits
Lovevery makes play kits for kids from birth up to 3 years old! These kits have toys that focus on developing skills based on what experts recommend.
Lovevery provides toys that are meant to last with organic wood, non-toxic paint, and baby-safe plastics. You receive new kits in the mail based on a subscription service that you can cancel at any time.
16. Kiwi Co STEM Kits
Kids love receiving things in the mail, and Kiwi Crates are so fun. Each month, your child gets a new STEM kit with projects to teach them something new. They’re so fun!
17. Rainbow Pebbles
These grippy plastic pebbles are perfect to stack and develop fine motor skills. They can use the cards to copy a design, focusing on visual motor skills, or simply stack them on their own using problem solving skills as they build.
Young minds will love this educational toy as they count, sort, build, add and subtract. Use it as a teaching aid to guide children on the path to school readiness!
The vibrant colors and varying sizes of the rainbow rocks inspire kids to practice their adjectives, recognize colors and talk about their designs!
Remember, your three year old is learning a lot of different skills, so grab some learning toys that will help encourage their development. This is a key period in your child’s life with tons of milestones!