Your little guy may not be as verbally gifted as this tiny lawyer or as skilled at dancing as this little charmer, but he’s delightful for many of the same reasons. He can be a handful sometimes, but everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious. He’s graduated from babyhood while retaining the same chubby-faced cuteness, and he’s testing boundaries, exploring the world around him, and taking great joy in all of his new skills.
Most of all, he loves pretend-play: pretending to be Daddy (or Mommy), pretending to be a doctor or a fireman or a superhero, or pretending to build a house, drive a car, or run a store. The books you read to him, the cartoons he sees on TV, and the rapidly expanding knowledge in his wonderful little brain will provide hundreds of imaginative scenarios – all he needs is some props! Kid versions of adult things, dress-up clothes, blocks, and lots and lots of toy vehicles will get his imaginative motor started. Just give him these awesome toys and watch him go!
Really, this entire blog could just be about toy vehicles and you’d be pretty well covered: most boys at this age love everything on wheels! The cause of this obsession is the subject of much debate, and of course there are exceptions to the rule (which is one reason why, if you’re buying a gift for a child you don’t know well, you should ask the parents what their child enjoys), but trains, planes, and automobiles are usually surefire gifts.
The Whittle World playsets from Melissa & Doug include plenty of accessories to build a little world around the included vehicles: the school bus comes with passengers and a school doorway, and the plane comes with a luggage cart, a cart trailer, and passengers!
For kids who enjoy puzzles and building, Automoblox are an irresistible challenge: these lovely retro-modern wooden cars are made to come apart and be put back together. All the cars of the same size have mix-and-match parts, so packs of multiple minis add even more fun!
If you’re looking for a deluxe gift for a little guy who loves trucks, Bruder is the way to go: these famous toy trucks are beautifully realistic, are built kid-tough, and have tons of working, moving parts to thrill any child. Get a crane that really lifts, a loadable garbage truck, an excavator that scoops, or a cement mixer that really mixes, with a working hose! They’re all equally awesome in the sandbox or the playroom, and kids who are into trucks will absolutely lose their minds with joy when the wrapping paper comes off.
COSTUMES & ROLE-PLAY PROPS
While your child is more likely to grow up to be a veterinarian than a pirate, he’s going to love the opportunity to try out both roles, in full costume. If you want to make either role even more immersive, the vet might enjoy having a patient, and the pirate will definitely enjoy captaining his own ship!
Schleich animal figures will also impress little pretend-players, and the realistic Schleich dinosaurs with moving jaws couldn’t possibly be more perfect for an energetic three-year-old, who will love saying “rarr!” and pretending to eat other dinosaurs! The Schleich Dragon Rider and Griffin Rider have the same terrific degree of detail, including one key feature that makes them extra-great for little kids: the riders stick to their mounts with magnets, so kids won’t get frustrated by mid-air wipeouts.
Kids at this age also love imitating domestic skills and jobs, so if you feel like going deluxe, why not get him his own Grocery Store / Lemonade Stand? Just add play food and maybe a toy cash register, and you’ve created the ultimate gift package loaded with stealth learning – sorting toy veggies and handling toy money are great ways to develop early math skills, and on playdates, he’ll learn how to share and negotiate.
Of course, this is only a very quick overview of awesome gifts for his third birthday – if you check out our Shop By Age page for three-year-olds, you’ll see just how much more fun there is to be had! From active toys to toy trains to tool benches to a robot fish who can swim around the bathtub, we’ve got toys to thrill every birthday boy.
And if you’re not sure what toy is just right? Ask us! Our friendly toy experts love matching the right kid with the right toy, and they’ll never steer you wrong.