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26 of the best toys for 3-year-olds, according to experts

At 3 years old, children enter a new world of imaginative and pretend play, and the selection of toys to inspire their play is virtually endless. If you’re shopping for a 3-year-old this holiday season, we’ve narrowed down your options after talking to two toy experts and a developmental psychologist: Jim Silver, CEO of TTPM, Maddie Michalik, senior editor of The Toy Insider, and Bronwyn Charlton, PhD, developmental psychologist and cofounder of Seedlingsgroup.

All of our experts emphasized the importance of considering a 3-year-old’s interests when buying them a gift, whether that’s their favorite activity or TV show. Silver also said that 2020 is not the year to wait to buy the most popular toys. If you have your eye on a “hot” toy, buy it now, as it could very well sell out.

With experts’ advice in mind and our own research and testing, we’ve compiled a list of 26 of the best toys for 3-year-olds. From active toys to art projects and everything in between, we found something that’s bound to delight a child on your shopping list.

A World Together book cover - "A World Together featured on INSIDER article: 26 of the best toys for 3-year-olds

“A World Together,” from $16.19, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

This new book was written by Sonia Manzano of “Sesame Street” to spread the message that although all of our lives look different, we’re really all the same. This message is beautifully illustrated through real photographs of people around the world. The pictures are sure to spark conversation about different cultures with curious kids.

Recommended ages: preschool to grade 2