What kind of present should you give a newly minted three-year-old? Whether you're celebrating the birthday of your own child or a friend's, these ten creative and affordable gift ideas for three-year-olds are sure to wow the preschoolers in your life.
With kids getting into technology at younger and younger ages, many parents choose educational technology gifts for three-year-olds. Contrary to what you might think, there's no need to break the bank on electronic learning toys. Kimberly W. got her daughter a mini-computer with 30 pre-programmed learning games for about $50. You can find similar products by several brands, including Leap Frog and V-Tech, at multiple online retailers.
Nicole's W. daughter is obsessed with cameras, so she's getting a Fisher-Price camera for kids, available on eBay for as little as $25. They are practically indestructible, and you can even download and print your child's images.
Your child may already know his way around an iPad, but nothing delights like old-fashioned simplicity. Julie H. is getting her son a goldfish as a gift! He recently visited SeaWorld, and Julie wants to continue to teach him about animals, nature, and responsibility.
Elizabeth is going the same back-to-basics route by getting her daughter an art easel for her birthday. She loves to draw, and this gift will both encourage her and give her a larger palette on which to explore her creativity. You can find these at your local art-supply store, or online at prices that range from $30-$100.
Meghan's daughter loves to help her parents cook, so she is getting her a play kitchen, a gift I can vouch for. My son's grandparents got him a play kitchen more than a year ago, and even though he goes in and out of playing with it every day, he always returns to it to "bake a cake" for me or "wash some vegetables."
Musical instruments are also a good choice in this category; you can find real flutes, drums, and other percussion instruments at very inexpensive prices.
Nicole chose a multifaceted approach: she wrapped up several smaller, inexpensive gifts that are educational and that emphasize different aspects of her son's development: play dough, matching games, and puzzles.
Other great choices that encourage development and exploration include art supplies like crayons, sidewalk chalk, scissors, and construction paper.
Another classic? Books, of course. We tend to check books out of the library, but we keep a small rotating collection of special books that our son likes to read over and over again, as well as books we loved as children.
Most three-year-olds are little balls of infinite energy, making outdoor-activity toys excellent gifts. Many parents, like Elizabeth C., are going with the classic gift: the bike. Outdoor toys can get expensive, so Amanda C. recommends checking at a high-quality used-toy store for a good deal on a kid's bike. I got my own son a new balance bike when he was two-and-a-half, and he only used it for about six months before graduating to a pedal bike, so a used one would've been a smarter option.
Whatever you decide to go with, keep your choices aligned with the child's own interests and your gifts will be sure to please!
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