Preschoolers love pretend play and we are here for it! There’s nothing better than watching kids get engaged and immersed in playing with our favorite top toys for 3-year-olds. These holiday gifts are ones kids will love, and you’ll feel great about giving. If you're a parent or caregiver looking for helping in finding the right toy for your little one, check out Melissa & Doug's 2023 Holiday Gift Guide and let it do all the work for you!
Our 10 Best Toys and Holiday Gifts for 3-Year-Olds
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: This six-piece play set gives kids all the housekeeping tools they need to keep it clean! Sized just for kids and built to last, the broom, mop, duster, dustpan, and hand brush are comfortable to use and easy to store--just hang them from the sturdy cords onto the included stand for neat, compact storage.
Fun feature: The dustpan can also snap onto any of the handles.
Skills: Fine and gross motor, problem-solving, storytelling, color recognition
How to wow: If your little one loves to play clean-up, we also offer the Let's Play House! Spray, Squirt & Squeegee Play Set for more squeaky clean pretend play fun.
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Scoop up some cool treats with this all-inclusive, 28-piece pretend play ice cream counter! Take orders on the reusable menu card and serve up delicious fun!
Fun feature: The sturdy wooden tabletop counter holds eight wooden scoops of different-flavored ice cream, six assorted toppings, two cones, a plastic cup, an ice cream scooper, wooden spoon, tongs, resusable menu card, and six bills.
Skills: Fine motor, storytelling, color recognition, basic counting
How to wow: Perhaps your little one prefers baked goods over frozen treats? If that’s the case, we suggest serving them Slice and Bake Cookie Set - Wooden Play Food instead!
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Smile, the dentist will see you now! This 25-piece dental care play set features an over-sized set of pretend teeth so young dentists-in-training can give cleanings, treat cavities, and even fit retainers and braces!
Fun feature: Mark the pretend teeth with the cavity stickers, then use the vibrating tool with interchangeable polishing and drill heads, and the toothbrush to clean. The set includes realistic instruments like a pick, mirror, and floss, a dental rinse bottle and cup, 2 gauze pads, 2 tooth polish cups, and an instrument tray to keep organized.
Skills: Fine motor, creativity, imagination, good dental health practices
How to wow: Maybe your kiddo would rather practice medicine on pets and animals instead? We’ve got a toy for that—our Examine & Treat Pet Vet Play Set to be precise!
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Mama mia, it's pizza time! Create fresh-baked pizza, made to order, with this deliciously unique 34-piece pizza making set.
Fun feature: Start with felt sauce and cheese on the wooden crust, choose from wooden toppings (pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, and peppers), then "bake" in the pizza oven built into the storage and serving counter. Pieces stick together with self-stick tabs and can be sliced with the rolling wooden cutter.
Skills: Fine motor, storytelling, imagination, basic math skills,
How to wow: Serve a healthy balanced pretend play meal and offer up a side of our Slice & Toss Salad Set—kids need five to seven servings of fruit & vegetables every day.
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: This play set features shiny stainless steel cookware Mom and Dad would envy. With two hardwood utensils included and stainless steel pieces polished to a gorgeous mirror-finish, this set is truly top shelf!
Fun feature: Generously sized (5-inch diameter) for a more realistic look and feel, the colander and three pans (with interchangeable lid) fit most play food items for exciting restaurant and kitchen play, and store neatly on a convenient storage rack when the kitchen is closed.
Skills: Gross and fine motor, storytelling, imagination
How to wow: Your little foodie will need ingredients to prepare in those Stainless Steel Pots & Pans, so stock up on pantry staples with our Fill & Roll Grocery Basket Play Set.
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Scoop up cool pretend play creations with this full-service ice cream shop! Offer pretend play ice cream and soft serve cones, cups, milkshakes, and ice cream sandwiches.
Fun feature: Add toppings like sprinkles and hot fudge for an extra special treat!
Skills: Fine motor, sorting, and counting skills; promotes imaginative play and storytelling
How to wow: If pretend play service is something your little ones enjoy, consider our Wooden Cafe Barista Coffee Shop to power their imaginations.
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Rev up playtime and have hours of imaginative adventures in the driver’s seat with the PAW Patrol™ pups! Slide one of the three double-sided mission cards into the windshield of the wooden dashboard and set the dial to show who needs help. Press buttons to choose the pups for the mission and hear multiple phrases for each, then press the paw print "mission start" button to hear Ryder give mission instructions based on the pups chosen for the job - there are hundreds of possible combinations, and kids can choose to hear him in English, French, or Spanish!
Fun feature: Turn the removable key to hear the engine rev and shift the gear to "D" to start the scrolling GPS - turn the steering wheel to keep the vehicle on the GPS track!
Skills: Fine motor; promotes imaginative play and storytelling
How to wow: If your child is a fan of the Adventure Bay rescue pups, especially high-flying Skye, check out the pretend play fun of our PAW Patrol Mighty Skye Role Play Pack!
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Create piled-high sandwiches, made to order with this wooden sandwich counter play set with all the fixin's!
Fun feature: The sturdy wooden deli counter includes a play meat and cheese slicer for the wooden play food, and felt sandwich roll and toppings to create sandwiches ordered from the menu. There is a wooden dressing bottle, play snacks, and a cup with drink insert to round out meals that customers can pay for with the included play money!
Skills: Counting, sorting, and fine motor skills; promotes imaginative play and storytelling
How to wow: Your kiddo likes breakfast foods more than lunch time grub? No problem! Melissa & Doug serve up pretend breakfast 24/7 with our Star Diner Restaurant Set!
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: Kids who love a good grocery-shopping trip will never want to leave this pretend-play grocery store! Ideal for a few kids to play with at once, this free-standing play space has a browsing area as well as a checkout setup, complete with a hand-cranked conveyor belt in the bagging area!
Fun feature: The checkout area includes a “beeping” scanner and pretend card swipe machine!
Skills: Sorting, fine and gross motor skills, color recognition, math skills, collaborative play
How to wow: Add to the available options in the Fresh Mart Grocery Store with the Let’s Play House! Grocery Basket with Play Food!
Why it’s a great gift for 3-year-olds: From the magnetic dry-erase board, to the chalkboard, to the paper-roll holder, this easy-to-fold-flat tabletop easel leaves everything to the imagination! Preschoolers will love using the dry-erase marker and felt eraser, colored chalk, and seemingly endless (50-foot-long) paper roll!
Fun feature: This double-sided easel includes 36 letter and number magnets!
Skills: Counting, creative play, collaborative play, fine motor skills, color recognition, letter and number recognition
How to wow: Get creative on the paper roll with the 24-pack of triangular crayons!
Happy Holidays! Looking for more of the best Christmas and holiday gift and toy ideas for kids of all ages? Check out these blog posts: