The pre-school years can often be the most fun when it comes to toys because there is so much variety out there and so much opportunity to help 3 to 4 year old children develop their cognitive skills, their personalities and better appreciate the world around them. Because of this great choice, it can be difficult for family members to choose the ideal birthday gift for a growing 3 year old, which is where this guide comes in. Here we have taken thirteen highly recommended toys for boys and girls in this age range and divided them into different categories – ones for encouraging creativity, construction kits, modern versions of classics and educational toys, Hopefully this will help you with gift ideas and choose the best option.
Creative Toys for Pre-School Boys and Girls
Step2 All Around Easel for Two
Creative toys are always going to be a popular choice as a gift for kids aged around 3 years-4 years because they help them to build upon their skills and imagination through something fun and colorful.
The Step2 All Around Easel for Two is a great gift for boys and girls, and even siblings, because it has two surfaces of decent sizes for two children to work on at the same time – one at the magnetic whiteboard and the other at the chalkboard – as well as a strong construction in neutral primary colors and plenty of storage space for everything they need to get creative, without fighting over it. This set contains 94 magnetic foam letters so kids can work on their alphabet and writing skills as well as their drawing skills.
VTech KidiBeats Drum Set
Creativity can be seen through artistic ventures and working with letters but also through music and the VTech KidiBeats Drum Set offers parents the chance to buy their kids an early, preschool version of the drum kit they may ask for on a later birthday. This best seller in kids drums, is colorful, exaggerated and has lots of interesting features that ensures that kids will love playing with it for a long time.
There are nine melodies that kids are encouraged to play along with, using the drumsticks, and each drum and cymbal has separate sounds for greater authenticity. Following along and learning letters and numbers at the same time is great, but so is the light show offered in free play.
Kidzlane Piano Mat for Kids
Some musical toys, like the Kidzlane Piano Mat for Kids tread a finer line between music and play and this one is actually classed as an electronic dance mat. Essentially it is one of those mats seen in malls but on a smaller, more child-like scale. There are seventeen black and white piano keys to play a selection of notes, with an adjustable volume that will suit parents, and four modes of play where kids can mess around, record their efforts and play it back.
To make the mat even more versatile, it doesn’t just produce piano sounds as there are ten different instrument tones that can be created, ranging from string to brass sections. It is one big electronic orchestra on a 59×24” vinyl mat.
Construction Toys as Birthday Gifts for Young Kids
Magiformers Rainbow 30 Piece set
Much like toys in the creative section of a toy store, construction themed toys have a lot of potential when it comes to helping kids learn and develop their skills through something fun and limitless when it comes to imagination.
The Magiformers Rainbow 30 Piece set may not be completely limitless because there are only so many different combinations that can be made by connecting these 30 magnetic pieces together into different shapes but the simple process, the shapes of the pieces – 12 triangles and 18 squares – and the bright, almost neon colors mean that kids aged 3 years and up can have a lot of fun inventing new structures. It may be seen as the basic set but it makes an ideal starting point.
Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag
When discussing some of the most recommended construction-based toys for kids in this age group there has to be mention for the Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag because not only is it an impressively large set at 80 pieces is it highly rated by buyers and a best seller in toy building sets.
The concept in incredibly simple; give a toddler 80 large plastic bricks and let them put them together to form all kinds of creations. This award-winning toy has a shape that means that the pieces all fit together with ease – much like a simpler, safer version of LEGO – and also has the benefit of coming in bright, recognizable primary colors and a strong storage bag to carry it all around in.
Tegu Pocket Pouch Magnetic Wooden Block Set
Something similar, in that it involves blocks, but completely at the other end of scale in terms of materials and vibe is the Tegu Pocket Pouch Magnetic Wooden Block Set. This is one of those products that does as the name suggests; there are eight blocks of different colors that magnetically fit together for different patterns and shapes and come in a special pouch.
There is something a lot more adult about the muted secondary colors used and the message of ethics and sustainability in the materials but it is something that cries out to be touched and played with – “curiously attractive” according to the specification – and draws users in with its shapes, simplicity and potential for creating endless shapes and designs.
VTEch Go! GO! Smart wheels Deluxe Track
Also in this category in the VTEch Go! GO! Smart wheels Deluxe Track because while kids may think that this is all about racing cars and having fun, it is the construction aspect of building the track that makes this toy truly beneficial. The set of 30 brightly colored pieces includes different sizes, junctions and corners to create a wealth of interesting track designs for the cars and they are made to join together with ease. Once complete, 3 year and 4 year olds can take their Go! Go! Pull back vehicles (sold separately) and set it off around to course where it can connect with the three SmartPoints for additional music and sounds – a great reward for the creative effort of building the track.
Classic Toys Rrecommended for Kids Aged 3 Years and Up
Pressman Toy’s Let’s Go Fishin’
The purpose of Pressman Toy’s Let’s Go Fishin’ is a bit different to some of these creative, developmental toys because it seems to mainly be a fun, competitive game. As the name suggests, this is an old-fashioned fishing game brought up to date for modern preschoolers with the great board, 21 well designed fish with great colors and expressions and enough fishing rods for 4 players.
This fun, simple idea means that young boys and girls can get involved with family activities without getting left behind and the other reason that this compact game is so highly recommended by buyers is that it is the ideal travel game for trips away – minimal fuss and space required and hours of fun.
Hippity Hop Bouncing Toy
On the subject of classics, it seems that the Space Hopper is back with us in an updated form through the Hippity Hop Bouncing Toy. It doesn’t really look like the original to those of us that still remember it but the basic principle is still the same – a big bouncy ball, 45cm, with a handle on top that kids can bounce around the neighborhood on.
There is a pink one and a blue one, for birthday boys or girls, each has fun graphics and the handle is even textured for better grip. This is a great way of getting young kids active – this ball being recommended for kids aged 3 years and up – and parents can also appreciate the inclusion of a foot pump for when it starts to deflate.
TopFunKids Baseball Pitching Machine
The TopFunKids Baseball Pitching machine can be considered to be another classic because of the stereotypes of young boys learning to play ball like their heroes and this set-up does bring a recognizable machine, from the batting cages that their fathers might visit, to a kid’s back garden.
This machine is ideally modified for preschool boys – and girls if they are interested – because the adjustable angles and pitching speeds are designed for smaller, beginner users and the EVA foam balls are soft enough not to hurt them if they miss. Parents will also appreciate the fact that there are 5 of these balls and the 24inch long collapsible bat included in the box and that the machine is portable and easy to manage.
Some of the Best Educational Gifts for Pre-School Boys and Girls
Learning Journey Match IT!
The Learning Journey Match IT! Spelling set also has to come under the heading of a classic toy for preschool boys and girls because of the form of the puzzle pieces and simplicity of it all but the educational element is what makes it appealing to parents.
At 3 years old, kids are getting a better grasp of the world around them and this brilliant set allows then to develop their skills and learning in three crucial ways – the pictures enhance their recognition and vocabulary, the individual pieces per letter lets them spell the word out and there is also the problem solving element of fitting them all together. It is fun, attractive and can offer hours of enjoyment before they reach school.
Vtech Little Apps Tablet
When we look at educational toys for younger children the name VTech comes to mind and it is no surprise that their Little Apps Tablet, available in black or pink, is currently ranked as the #1 best seller in Preschool reading & writing learning on Amazon.com.
Toddler tablets are a great for kids aged 3 years to 4 years to develop their skills and copy the actions of their parents, such as playing with apps and using the pretend camera, and there are lots of programs and keys to interact with for educational games and activities. One of the stand out features for children is the character of Cody the Smart Cub who appears on the color changing screen to guide and encourage children with their development.
Fisher-Price Spinnyos Giant Yo-ller Coaster
Finally, there are some toys where there is a clear purpose to the design and then there are others like the Fisher-Price Spinnyos Giant Yo-ller Coaster where it isn’t initially clear what is going on, although children still seem to be having fun. This odd structure, with its curves and bright colors is currently listed on Amazon as the best seller in spinning tops and it is the use of the Spinnyo spinners that make it so fun and interactive for young boys and girls.
There are different tracks with different functions that are activated when the spinning top passes by and the best part for kids is that they are in control – they load up the launcher and pull the leavers to determine the direction.