Educational Toys For 3 Year Olds (5 Best Educational Toys!)

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Three-year-olds are ready for preschool.

They are always excited to learn and have so much energy for fun and games.

At age three, children are the most curious.

They learn through discovery and exploration with the use of their little hands. They want to be independent and are always moving. 

Thus, at this stage, the little ones can be such a handful!

Educational Toys For 3 Year Olds

What are the best educational toys for 3 year olds? The best toys with educational value for 3-year-olds are toys that help them improve and master their developmental milestones and achieve new ones. Instructive toys should teach toddlers a lesson or a skill. These toys have a purpose and that is to teach toddlers and preschoolers abstract concepts through simple and interactive activities.  Most instructive toys are STEM toys thus they have the capacity to teach simple academics, and practical life skills, and develop good character traits, and social skills among little kids.

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    Importance of Learning Toys for 3-year-olds

    Learning toys play a crucial role in the development and growth of 3-year-olds. With the help of toys with educational value, kids can build age-appropriate development skills and spatial reasoning.

    Fortunately, the best toys for 3-year-olds are not only the best learning tools, they can also make the best gifts!

    Here are some key reasons why having toys for instruction and learning is important for children at this age:

    Cognitive Development

    Many toys stimulate a child’s cognitive abilities by challenging their thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills.

    But toys with educational value encourage the development of memory, concentration, and logical thinking, laying the foundation for future learning.

    Language and Communication Skills

    The best learning toys are designed to enhance language and communication skills. 

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    They introduce vocabulary, encourage verbal expression, and promote early literacy through activities like letter recognition, storytelling, or interactive games.

    Fine Motor Skills

    Toys often involve manipulative tasks that require precise hand movements and coordination.

    Activities like stacking blocks, threading beads, or using puzzles help refine gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and finger dexterity.

    Social Skills

    Certain instructive toys are designed to promote social interaction and cooperative play.

    Through playing with others, children develop important social and emotional skills such as sharing, taking turns, negotiating, and collaborating, which are vital for their social development.

    Creativity and Imagination

    Toys that allow for open-ended play foster creativity and imagination.

    They encourage children to think outside the box, explore their ideas, and express themselves creatively, supporting the development of their artistic and imaginative abilities.

    Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

    Instructive toys often present challenges or puzzles through storybooks that require problem-solving and critical thinking.

    They promote logical reasoning, cause-and-effect understanding, and the ability to find solutions independently, fostering a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

    Emotional Development

    Toys can also support emotional development by providing a safe and engaging outlet for self-expression.

    Pretend play toys, for example, allow children to explore different emotions, roles, and social situations, helping them understand and manage their own emotions and empathy for others.

    Subject-Specific Knowledge

    Some toys are designed to introduce specific subjects or concepts, such as math, science, or geography. 

    They provide early exposure to these areas, allowing children to develop an interest and foundation in different academic disciplines.

    Joy and Engagement

    Learning toys are designed to be fun and engaging, capturing children’s attention and enthusiasm.

    When children enjoy playing with toys with educational value, they are more likely to be motivated and actively engaged in the learning process, enhancing their overall learning experience.

    Parent-Child Bonding

    Toys can be played with together and provide opportunities for parent-child bonding and shared learning experiences. 

    Engaging with children during playtime not only strengthens the parent-child relationship but also allows parents to actively participate in their child’s learning journey.

    Overall, toys ideal for 3-year-olds are instrumental in supporting their holistic development, fostering essential skills, and preparing them for future academic and social success.

    They provide a stimulating and enjoyable way for children to explore, engage in imaginative play, learn, and grow during this critical stage of their development.

    Best Educational Toys for 3 Year Olds 

    We did our research and came up with the 5 best toys for 3-year-olds in 2023 that your kids will love and lead from. 

    Bath Letters and Numbers

    These colorful numbers and letters float on the bath and stick to the walls when wet. They come off easily when dry, do not leave any residue, and are mess-free.

    It is a fun way for toddlers to learn and master the alphabet and counting. It has pieces that are easy to handle for the kid’s little hands and they also come in different colors to improve their color recognition.

    These toys are designed specifically for use during bath time.

    They typically consist of foam or plastic pieces in the shape of letters and numbers that can be stuck to the bathtub walls when wet.

    Bath toys provide a tactile and sensory experience for children. The foam or plastic materials used in these toys are usually soft and safe for children to touch and manipulate.

    They can explore the texture, shape, and weight of the letters and numbers, enhancing their sensory development.

    Incorporating instructional toys into bath time can also serve as an opportunity to reinforce water safety awareness.

    Parents or caregivers can discuss water-related concepts, such as water temperature, water play rules, and safe behaviors in the bath.

    Nevertheless, it is a fun and creative way of incorporating learning into a daily activity.

    Rhyming Words Match and Learn Puzzle

    This is a great educational toy for 3-year-olds because it has self-correcting puzzles that have real-life pictures with matching colors and the associated word underneath.

    Rhyming word puzzles help children recognize and understand the concept of rhyming, which is an important aspect of phonemic awareness.

    By identifying words that have similar ending sounds, children develop their ability to recognize and manipulate sounds in spoken language.

    The set comes with pictures or words that represent different objects or concepts.

    As children engage with the puzzle, they are exposed to new vocabulary and learn to associate the words with their corresponding images, thereby expanding their vocabulary.

    Completing a rhyming word puzzle requires cognitive skills such as problem-solving, visual discrimination, and logical thinking.

    Children have to analyze the sounds and patterns of words, compare and match the puzzle pieces, and make connections between the rhyming pairs.

    Further, this toy be used both independently and in a social setting.

    Children as early as age 3 can explore and solve the puzzle on their own, fostering independence and self-directed learning.

    Additionally, working on the puzzle with others can encourage social interaction, collaboration, and language exchange as they discuss the rhyming pairs.

    It is also a fun game to play with you, other family members, and friends. It enhances their social interaction skills.

    Not only this, these types of toys can also be the best gifts for 3-year-olds!

    Wooden Latches Board

    The wooden latches board has fun pictures behind each numbered door. Kids will have to undo locks and open latches to open the doors and see the pictures.

    It is a fun activity to keep your child occupied. It is an activity that they can do independently or together with you and their friends.

    This toy helps:

    • Introduce colors and numbers
    • Develop problem-solving skills
    • Promote independence and confidence
    • Improve fine motor skills
    • Develop autonomy through self-help skills and practical skills

    Many wooden latches and board set includes different textures and materials, such as smooth surfaces, knobs, magnet, and metal locks.

    Children can explore these tactile sensations as they interact with the board, enhancing their sensory development and tactile discrimination.

    The latches board can simulate real-life activities, such as opening and closing doors or unlocking mechanisms.

    Children may earn essential life skills, such as using keys or operating latches, which may contribute to their independence and practical problem-solving abilities.

    Wooden latches boards are generally considered safe for children to use under proper supervision.

    However, it’s important to ensure that the latches and small parts are securely attached and do not pose a choking hazard.

    Regular inspection and adherence to age recommendations are essential for maintaining safety.

    Moreover, a wooden latches board offers a hands-on and interactive learning experience that engages children’s fine motor skills, cognitive abilities, and problem-solving skills.

    This building toy also provides a satisfying and engaging way for children to explore and master the mechanics of locks, latches, and doors, all while promoting their overall development.

    Magnetic Daily Calendar

    Magnetic calendars are fun and easy to use. It allows 3-year-olds to set their schedule and establish a routine. It teaches them about time and dates. It teaches them good time management skills.

    Having their own calendar gives them a greater sense of independence and control, self-reliance, responsibility, and autonomy.

    It also provides visual facilitation for conversations about their activities, plans, special events, weather, and emotional awareness.

    The magnetic daily calendar introduces children to concepts of time and date.

    By being able to sort the magnetic pieces to display the current day, month, and year, children develop an understanding of the chronological order and the passage of time.

    The calendar provides opportunities for language development and vocabulary expansion.

    Children can discuss and describe the weather, seasons, days of the week, months, and daily activities, enhancing their language skills and expressive communication.

    The small magnetic pieces make it easy for the kids’ little hands to grip the pieces.

    Through this, children develop their dexterity and finger control as they handle the magnetic pieces and place them in the designated spaces.

    The magnetic daily calendar can be a tool for family engagement and communication as well.

    Family members can discuss and plan together, encouraging meaningful conversations and shared decision-making regarding daily activities and schedules.

    This toy also serves as an interactive and educational tool that supports children’s understanding of time, dates, weather, and routines.

    It offers a hands-on and visual learning experience that promotes cognitive skills, language development, organization, and a sense of time management for young kids.


    One of the best toys for 3-year-olds 2023 would probably have to be inchimals.

    Inchimals introduce math concepts like numbers, measurements, addition, subtraction, and pre-algebra.

    It serves as a building block for kids at this age to develop their math skills.

    It is a set of 12 blocks. Each block features a different animal with inch line segments, numbers, and dots that correspond to the height of the blocks.

    It comes with a book with a write-on write-off feature and introduces pre-algebra concepts and balancing equations.

    Here are some features and benefits of Inchimals:

    • Measurement Understanding: Inchimals help children develop an understanding of measurement by associating lengths with numerical values. The blocks are marked with inch measurements, allowing children to visually and tactilely grasp the concept of different lengths and how they relate to numbers.
    • Number Sense: The animal blocks in Inchimals are numbered from one to twelve, helping children develop number recognition, counting skills, and number sequencing. By arranging the blocks in order, children can practice counting and understanding the numerical sequence.
    • Hands-on Exploration: Inchimals encourage hands-on exploration and manipulation. Children can physically handle the wooden blocks, arrange them in different configurations, compare their lengths, and engage in sensory learning experiences.
    • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking: Inchimals present opportunities for problem-solving and critical thinking. Children can engage in activities such as ordering the blocks from shortest to longest, matching blocks to specific measurements or exploring relationships between different lengths.
    • Vocabulary and Language Development: As children interact with Inchimals, they can learn and practice measurement-related vocabulary, such as “inch,” “longer,” “shorter,” and “measurement.” This supports language development, vocabulary expansion, and the ability to express and describe size and length.
    • STEM Learning: Inchimals introduces foundational concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. It promotes mathematical thinking, spatial reasoning, and logical reasoning, laying the groundwork for more advanced mathematical concepts in the future.
    • Creative Play: Inchimals allow for open-ended and creative play. Children can incorporate the animal blocks into imaginative play scenarios, combining mathematical learning with storytelling and creativity.
    • Durability and Longevity: The wooden construction of Inchimals ensures durability, making it a long-lasting instructional toy that can be enjoyed by multiple children or passed down through generations.
    • Teacher and Parent Resource: Inchimals can be used as a teaching resource by parents, caregivers, or educators to facilitate math lessons or activities related to measurement. The toy provides a hands-on and visual representation of measurement concepts, making it a valuable tool for teaching and learning.

    Inchimals offer a unique and engaging way for children to explore measurement and numbers through play.

    It promotes mathematical thinking, problem-solving skills, and vocabulary development while providing a fun and interactive learning experience.

    This toy requires the active participation of your child and your assistance and guidance.

    It is simple but needs your facilitation at first. It is great for forming a strong bond between you and your 3-year-old.

    Safety Tips

    Three-year-olds are only starting to understand the concept of safety. They know that they are not supposed to put things in their mouths but they still do it at times. Always keep an eye on them and be available when they are playing.

    Make sure that the small parts are not easily detached. Always remind them not to eat their toys or remove certain parts.

    You can give your child some alone time or independent uninterrupted play but it does not mean you leave them on their own. Always be around to observe and guide.


    What do I do if my child is not interested in the toys I give them? Find out why. There is a reason why children ignore certain toys and are obsessed with others. Most of the time, the reason they don’t play with the toys you give them is that it does not interest them. Start with toys that are within their interest and are developmentally appropriate. Children will learn naturally when they like the instructional toy or activity. Encourage them and demonstrate how to use the toy. Make it look fun and hopefully, they will start playing with it.

    Are there affordable, inexpensive educational toys? Quality and safety usually mean it is not cheap. There are affordable instructional toys available. You just need to research and make sure that the cheap toy really is educational as it claims to be. Check reviews and ask experts or other parents. Lastly, do not put a lot of emphasis on the price of the top but on the benefits, your child will gain.

    Are educational toys necessary? Yes, because play is how young children learn. You need to provide them with the tools for their development and milestones. You can opt for lesser toys and focus on more practical educational activities if cost is an issue. You can use house items or make DIY toys.


    The best educational toys for 3-year-olds are toys that help them improve and master their developmental milestones and achieve new ones.

    Educational toys should teach toddlers a lesson or a skill. Educational toys have a purpose. They are simple and interactive.

    They promote social interaction. Educational toys teach simple academics, and practical life skills, and develop good character traits, and social skills.