The terrible twos have come and gone, and your three-year-old sweetie is blossoming into a fun, communicative and curious child. They’re always on the hunt for something new to explore, and their learning abilities are at a peak – this finds many parents in search of the very best toys for 3 year old girls, seeking out picks with developmental boosts, durability and long-term entertainment value in mind.

If you’re searching for ideal toys for your special little lady, look no further. We’ve put together a guide to some truly fun and useful picks we think you’ll both love, as well as a rundown of how our kiddos are developing at three and which picks are appropriate. Dig in!

The Winners

#1

KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set

Best Overall

Creative, imaginative pretend play is naturally appealing to kids at age three, and larger playsets like this realistic Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set from KidKraft engage their physical, cognitive and social skills. The kitchen features a refrigerator and ice maker with three play ice cubes, a counter, and a sink that features a faucet with real running water sounds.

There’s also a stovetop, oven and extra storage in the form of hooks and wooden slide-in crates beneath the sink. A windowsill creates a convenient pass-through window, and decorative flower boxes are perched cheerfully between. The kitchen features an 18-piece accessory and play food set, so they’ll be cooking up fun in no time.

Developmental & Play Insights KidKraft Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#2

Wishbone Design Original Balance Bike

Upgrade Choice

Three years old is the ideal age for a balance bike. They’re not quite ready for the real thing, but they’ve established the balance and coordination necessary to propel themselves forward comfortably and experiment with steering. The Wishbone Design’s Original Balance Bike features a durable, sustainably-harvested birch and eucalyptus wood construction with rugged black and white wheels.

This pick can convert from a trike to a bike, so younger riders can enjoy the stability of three wheels before eventually switching to the more challenging two-wheeled style of riding. The adjustable seat height means it grows with them, and this balance bike can be used safely until they’re five.

Developmental & Play Insights Wishbone Design Original Balance Bike

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#3

Hape Garden Salad Play Kitchen Play Set

Best Budget Buy

We already know that toys that encourage kids to pretend and tell stories are developmentally beneficial at three, which makes this Wooden Garden Salad Play Kitchen Play Set by Hape a great addition to their collection of creative toys. The bright yellow bowl holds smooth wooden pieces of colorful bell peppers, lettuce, onion and tomatoes.

The garden salad is served up with labeled bottles of oil and vinegar as well as a pepper shaker featuring a bright yellow icon of the letter “P”. Kids can mix their salad using the regular and pronged spoon accessories that also accompany the playset. It’s an ideal addition to kitchen sets like the KidKraft pick mentioned earlier on our list, but it’s also a perfectly fun toy for inspiring creative play all on its own.

Developmental & Play Insights Hape Garden Salad Play Kitchen Play Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#4

GUND Kangaroo Stuffed Animal Plush

She might not be geared up to go on safari in the Australian outback quite yet, but this sweet Kangaroo Stuffed Animal Plush​ are a unique addition to your three-year-old’s stuffed animal collection. Mama kangaroo’s functioning pouch holds her 4.5 inch removable baby plush, who’s ready to play when he’s not along for the ride.

GUND plushes are known for their superior durability and softness, so it’s a pick that’s fun to snuggle and will last her through plenty of play. It’s best not to machine wash these plush kangaroos, but surface cleaning can get rid of most spots.

Developmental & Play Insights Giant Tumbling Timbers

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#5

Fisher-Price Barbie Tough Trike

At three years of age, kids have improved their strength, balance and coordination enough to successfully ride a trike. Fisher-Price has long been the power behind great three-wheeled picks for toddlers, and the Barbie Tough Trike is a gift that would thrill any three-year-old girl. The body features a multi-tone pink finish with a fun Barbie logo, colorful hearts and a picture of the queen herself.

The rugged wheels are a bright pastel purple and can tackle most terrains with ease. They’ll also love the easy-grip handlebars, which are comfortable and make hanging on a breeze. The teal foot pedals are easy to spot, and they’re also wide, making it simple and comfortable for kids to achieve foot placement while riding.

Developmental & Play Insights Fisher-Price Barbie Tough Trike

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#6

GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars: Binoculars

Binoculars help us take a closer look at the world around us, but most regular picks are simply too complex for a three-year-old to use or enjoy. These pint-sized picks from GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars are just the right size for small hands. The big, comfortable eyepieces are focus free, making operation extra simple for younger children.

They’re made of durable plastic in a graduated design that’s easy for them to hold, and the bright purple, yellow and blue construction makes them a breeze to keep track of. An adjustable black lanyard, attached, also allows them to safely wear these binoculars around the neck. They offer 2x magnification that’s just right for little eyes, letting them look just a bit closer during their outdoor adventures.

Developmental & Play Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars: Binoculars

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#7

L.O.L. Surprise! Hooded Bath Towel Wrap

L.O.L. Surprise! dolls are favorite picks of many little girls. If your three-year-old is a fan, she’ll no doubt adore this bright pink Hooded Bath Towel Wrap featuring Diva and Rocker in a chuckle-worthy “I Rocked Before I Could Walk” design. The hooded towel is perfect after their evening bath, but it’s also great to take along to the swimming pool or on a beach vacation.

It has convenient corner pockets which allow kids to pull the towel shut and hold it close, so it’s great at doubling as a bathrobe or poncho. It’s 24″ x 50″, making it a big pick that suitable for use up to age 7.

Developmental & Play Insights L.O.L. Surprise! Hooded Bath Towel Wrap

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#8

Melissa & Doug Astronaut Role-Play Costume Set

Costumes are especially good picks for encouraging pretend play in three-year-olds, which can offer both cognitive and social boosts. Melissa & Doug are experts at making simple, sturdy toys which encourage kids to be creative, and this Astronaut Role-Play Costume Set will have them blasting off on all kinds of imaginative adventures.

It’s made of a shiny silver fabric that mimics a real space suit, and features a removable see-through helmet, gloves, and even a reusable name tag. The costume is machine washable, so messes don’t have to be stressful – just toss it in with their other clothes. It’s a pick that fits well up to age six, so they can keep enjoying it as they grow and share it with siblings and friends easily.

Developmental & Play Insights Melissa & Doug Astronaut Costume Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#9

BRIO World Railway World Deluxe Set

Car and train playsets are ideal for encouraging small motor skill development as well as offering cognitive boosts and encouraging creative play. BRIO is a top name in railroad toys, and this wooden World Railway World Deluxe Set is a comprehensive first pick your three-year-old girl will love.

It features trains and tracks that are compatible with the rest of the BRIO railway system as well as most other wooden train tracks. Also included are bridges, a crane, a farm with animals, fun destinations, and even a lighthouse and ferry. They’ll be dreaming up all kinds of adventures and learning about their world, and this pick is big enough that it’s easy for them to share playtime with friends and siblings.

Developmental & Play Insights BRIO World Railway World Deluxe Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#10

Primo Toys Cubetto Playset

Inspired by Montessori educational strategies and the famous Logo Turtle educational programming game for children, Cubetto takes coding outside the electronic setting where we typically imagine it and retools the skill into this Wooden Coding Board Toy. Cubetto is a friendly robot who needs to find his way home, and kids use hands-on blocks to create their first programs.

It’s a way to introduce programming to young children in a simplistic way they can grasp, and no reading or writing skills are required. It’s a great introduction to cause and effect that offers a boost to their developing cognitive skills. Cubetto, his control board, 16 coding blocks, a world map and an adventure story book are included.

Developmental & Play Insights Primo Toys Cubetto Playset

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#11

PLAYMOBIL Children's Room

Dolls and figures, both large and small, offer three-year-olds opportunities for creative play and storytelling. These are essential to their cognitive development now, which makes picks like this Playmobil Dollhouse Children’s Bedroom Set an entertaining and beneficial addition to their collection. Once they’re past the age of choking hazards, smaller figures and toys that can be manipulated with precise motion help children to refine their small motor skills.

This set is especially great if they’ve got a dollhouse to fill, as it comes with two child figures, two beds, a small table with two chairs, stuffed animal, soccer ball and other accessories. It’s fun as a standalone toy, as well, and is compatible with other Playmobil Dollhouse sets.

Developmental & Play Insights PLAYMOBIL Children's Room

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#12

ECHEERS Dance Robot Toy

A good old fashioned dance party is just what the toddler ordered sometimes – it’s great for their gross motor skills, plus it’ll help them burn off just a little bit of that energy they’ve got in spades. This adorable Dance Robot encourages them to get up on their feet and move, acting as a wireless Bluetooth speaker that can really dance along to tunes with unique steps and 360 degree join movement.

The cute, expressive companion robot isn’t just good for music, it can also read them nursery rhymes or simple stories. The simple single button on and off operation means kids can turn their dance robot on easily, but when it goes idle, it will conveniently shut down to save on battery life.

Developmental & Play Insights ECHEERS Dance Robot Toy

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#13

HABA Kullerbu Windmill Playset

Marble and ball runs encourage toddlers to experiment with cause and effect, and they also stimulate the kind of active manual play that boosts their small motor control. This sturdy Kullerbu playset is made from a combination of wood and plastic, and the connectors snap snugly into place, so the set stays upright and stable when assembled. 

The cheerful park-like design includes a foliage archway with a bell, a red windmill which really rotates, a sharp curve that makes runs more exciting, and a high arched gateway to pass under.The track can be expanded and can connect to other parts of the durable Kullerbu play system.

Developmental & Play Insights HABA Kullerbu Windmill Playset

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#14

Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe Ride-On

Her driver’s license test is still a few years away, but your three-year-old girl can still ride in style with this posh pink Princess Cozy Coupe from Little Tikes. The removable floor means that it can be powered by parental pushing – there’s even a convenient handle – or her own two feet, making it a versatile pick that’s good as she grows.

The moving and clicking engine switch and opening and closing gas cap add realism to the ride-on car, and the front wheels rotate 360 degrees to make turning simple. The side doors pull open, making it easy for her to get in and out of the vehicle, and rear storage space gives you a spot to stash drinks and snacks for your kiddo.

Developmental & Play Insights Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe Ride-On

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#15

Sarah's Silks Rainbow Silk Streamer

Deceptively simple in appearance when sitting still, this Rainbow Silk Streamer from Sarah’s Silks is durable, brightly colored, and has a smooth Baltic birch wood handle that’s splinter-free and comfortable to grasp. The lightweight streamer can be twirled and spun, and will dance on the air behind your three-year-old girl as she runs, jumps and plays.

The toy is mesmerizing to watch in motion, creating a sensory experience that also inspires motion-centric play and gross motor skill development. It’s a Montessori-inspired pick that’s simply crafted and designed to inspire their imagination get them moving, and may also be a safe movement play pick for some special needs children.

Developmental & Play Insights Sarah's Silks Rainbow Silk Streamer

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

How to Pick the Perfect Gift for A 3-YEAR-OLD Boy

Consider Their Developmental Stage

If age two is known for temper tantrums and battles of will, age three can equally be remarked upon as a time when many parents can exhale a bit. They’re starting to understand their world and its parameters a bit more, and socialization, cooperation and validation all begin to feel more important to them. This means they’re playing more socially, and also engaging in more creative play that involves acting out other roles in depth.

At three, children begin to speak more clearly, and have an average vocabulary ranging between 250 and 500 words. They’re able to answer simple queries and speak in short sentences, with this skill improving drastically over their third year. They’re also more able to tell stories and remember portions of stories they’ve been told. They’re more adept at identifying and naming colors, familiar objects, pictures and people. They’re more able to sort objects, determine differences, and complete puzzles that are appropriate for their age range.

Physically, three-year-olds are continuing to develop both gross and fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination, but improvements in these areas allow for tackling the stairs with alternating feet, kicking, throwing and catching a ball, improved climbing skills and the ability to ride a trike. Being able to bend over without falling and hop on one foot for at least five seconds are indications that their balance is also improving.

Entertainment vs. Education

At age three, a healthy balance of toys that are entertaining and educational is appropriate. It’s an age where a distinction doesn’t always have to be made, as children learn through play and are often quite entertained while doing so. Puzzles and toys that encourage them to explore their world are great for inspiring them educationally, but it’s important to remember that they’re also learning while engaging in creative role play using playsets, costumes or simply their own imaginations.

Physical vs. Cognitive vs. Social

Three-year-old girls are becoming more physically adept and coordinated. Their balance is improving, they’re more able to help dress themselves, and they’re a lot better at climbing, to parents’ occasional chagrin. They can also ride trikes and kick, throw and catch balls, making outdoor toys that engage them physically optimal picks.

From a cognitive standpoint, three-year-old girls are better at recognizing people, places and things. They’re also getting better at sorting and identifying differences. When you combine that with their improving small motor skills, age appropriate puzzles emerge as a lovely gift option that engages them on multiple levels. They’re also learning about the world and roles others play through pretending, making this a great time to provide costumes and toys that facilitate imaginative role play.

Socially, three-year-olds are more present, empathetic and cooperative. They want to play with and befriend other children, and they understand sharing and taking turns. They’re mirroring the friendly social behavior they see around them, which is an important step in their understanding of interpersonal interactions. Toys they can share with other kids, especially while engaging in pretend play, are some of the most well-rounded gifts for 3 year old girls – they’re educational, entertaining, boost gross and fine motor skills, engage them cognitively and provide socialization opportunities.

Digital vs. Manual

While there are digital learning toys that are appropriate and beneficial for three-year-olds, they shouldn’t be the most frequently used toys in their rotation. This is a developmental stage where kids should be engaged physically, mentally and socially, and that’s not something that most electronic toys encourage. Manual toys or those with both digital and manual features that encourage movement and engagement are best at this time.

Wrapping Up

Your three-year-olds is beginning to play well with others and surprising you with their imagination daily. Providing age-appropriate toys that give our three-year-old girls opportunities to get creative, engage with other children and refine their developing motor skills is the best way to make sure they’re reaping developmental benefits while also having fun. You were already a pro at what she loves – now that you’re an expert on what she needs, you’re well on your way to finding her new favorite toy.

Quick Decision

Farm to Table Play Kitchen Set – Best Overall

Our pick for best overall encourages creative and imaginative pretend play that is naturally appealing to kids at age three. 

Wishbone Design’s Original Balance Bike – Upgrade Choice
Ideal balance bike for three years old which features a durable, sustainably-harvested birch and eucalyptus wood construction and can be used even until she’s five.

Wooden Garden Salad Play Kitchen Play Set – Best Budget Buy
This pick is budget friendly yet a perfect fun toy for inspiring creative play all on its own.r the ride.

THE BEST PLAY KITCHEN FOR TODDLER

For your budding chef in the making, you might consider buying a kitchen of their own.! Check out our guide to play kitchens for toddlers .
Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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