The Ultimate Gift Guide: Best Toys for Kids (3-4 Years Old)

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It’s that time of the year when we are fast approaching the holiday season. My last gift guide for toddlers ages 2-3 has been a big hit so I figured I would compile my next ultimate gift guide: the best toys for kids, ages 3 to 4 years old.

You’ll see a lot of the same toys I listed in my previous guide as the best toys are the ones that are not easily outgrown.

As always, I only list toys that I have personal experience with or are on my wish list. (I never recommend toys I wouldn’t spend my own money on.) Keep in mind that this list is geared more towards non-electric and/or educational type toys. I’ve found that I naturally gravitate towards STEM toys or the ones that inspire creative play. 🙂

Low Budget Toys – Under $25

Mudpuppy Jigsaw Puzzles – We absolutely love Mudpuppy Puzzles in our household! (You can read my review for this brand here.) They are better quality than your regular jigsaw puzzles. We are currently on the 42 and 63-piece sets but if your kid hasn’t been exposed to puzzles before, the 25-piece sets are also great!

ultimate-gift-guide-best-birthday-and-holiday-gifts-and-toys-for-toddlers-2-3-years-old-zingoZingo – This is one of Max’s favorite board games. It is an awesome starter board game because it has simple rules for a kid to learn. Max asks us to play this game with him all the time and it has only gotten more fun as he gets older.

Spot it! – This is probably MY favorite game to play with Max. It’s more challenging than Zingo because it requires a larger vocabulary set and higher concentration. However, Max has no trouble keeping up with us now (it’s all about practice) when playing this game. (We did start with the easier versions – Spot it Jr.! Animals and Spot it! Alphabet but the original is more fun!)


Butterfly Garden – Even as an adult, I learned so much about caterpillars and butterflies with this kit. Seeing them grow and metamorphose was fascinating for the entire family. We also really enjoyed releasing the beautiful butterflies when all was said and done.


Kinetic Sand – I think the best gifts for kids are the ones that adults enjoy playing with as well. I, for one, really love playing with kinetic sand. There is something very therapeutic and mesmerizing about having it ooze through your fingers. Of course, our kids love it too.


Educational Insights My First Microscope – This is a great toy for the budding scientist. Max loves inspecting things under the lenses to see how different objects look under higher magnification. And it is sturdy enough to be (mis)handled by a kid.


Fisher Price Magnetic Drawing Board – Max and Alexa love drawing on this magnetic board. We purchased it for a plane trip which it’s great for because you never run out of paper to draw on.

Play-Doh Super Molding Mania – I didn’t include Play-Doh in my last guide and for the life of me I don’t know why. It’s a toy that’s regularly requested by both my kids. (I store it out of reach.) Actually, it’s probably because I secretly cringe every time they play with it since it makes such a mess. I always end up with little Play-Doh bits left over that I can’t get out of crevices. But it is great for sensory play.

Medium Budget Toys – $25-$75


Lego Duplo – I loved Legos growing up and still remember spending endless hours playing with them. However, Legos are tiny and hard to manipulate for small fingers. Duplos are the child-sized version of Legos and the next best thing. Max loves his Duplos and it has turned out to be the most versatile toy we own.

VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix – This toy won’t take the most amazing pictures – similar to the picture quality of first generation camera phones, if you’re old enough to remember those – but kids don’t care about that. The camera is easy for Max to use and I love that he’s learning the basics of framing and lighting for photos. The best part is that the camera is extra sturdy in case it gets tossed around.


Learning Resources Pretend & Play Learning Cash Register – At this age, the talking (i.e., teaching) portion is too advanced for us but it still makes a great cash register for pretend play.


Plasma Car – We finally got a plasma car (it was a wish list item before) and it’s as amazing as I thought it would be. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to ride it nearly as much as I’d like. Neither does Alexa. Also, don’t get a plasma car without these wheels.


Keva Planks – If you’ve ever visited a children’s museum, you’ve probably come across Keva planks. Children and adults alike can build the most amazing architectural structures with these planks. The ones in the museums are usually made from maple but these Pine planks are perfectly fine for the home. And cheaper!


Plan Toys Parking Garage – I can’t tell you the endless hours Max has spent playing with his cars and his parking garage. It is literally the only toy that he freaks out about Alexa playing with. I hate to say boys and their cars but really… boys and their cars because it seems like he can never have too many!

ApplesauceLLC Superhero Cape – Imaginative play is when kids are most carefree. I love seeing my children playing superheroes and fighting bad guys. This is a very well made superhero cape that can be completely customized. (You can read my review for it here.)

High Budget Toys – $75-$150

LEGO Duplo Early Simple Machines for Kindergarten STEM – Duplos are so beloved in our home it makes an appearance twice. This educational STEM set is a great complement to any Duplo set. It includes placards with pictorial instructions to build machines with levers, pulleys, axles, gears. Max recently built his first robot without any guidance from me and it was a proud moment.


Micro Mini Kick Scooter – This must be the best brand of scooters because almost every single kid I’ve seen on a scooter has been riding a Micro Mini. Some kids do great on scooters. Others, like Max, not so much. But I do think they make excellent gifts.


Magna-Tiles – I will be the first to admit that I purchased Magna-Tiles more for myself. I first saw them when we were at a local children’s museum and I just had to have it. They are magnetic tiles that can stack on any side to build 3D structures. A really cool bonus is that I’ve used it to teach Max the concept of mixing primary colors. When you stack two different primary color tiles and hold them up to the light, you can see what new color it creates.


KidKraft Play Kitchen – This play kitchen receives a lot of activity in our home. (You can read my review for it here.) It’s good for side-by-side play and this specific kitchen has held up well through the years. Also, don’t forget to buy kitchen accessories!


Hape Modern Doll House – I love this modern dollhouse. It is very solid and well-made and has magnetic furniture to make it completely customizable. Max and Alexa enjoy playing with this dollhouse. We don’t do boy/girl-only toys in our household and I’m glad I was able to find a gender-neutral dollhouse. The best part is that Hape has a doll figurine that I think Max can actually relate to.

Teepee Joy Teepee – I love our teepee tent from Teepee Joy! (You can read my review for it here.) It is a beautifully handcrafted teepee that provides my kids with their own little private space.

No Budget Limit Toys – $$$$

Primo Toys Cubetto – Coding is such an invaluable skill for the 21st century. (This is coming from someone who struggled to teach herself basic HTML and CSS codes for the sake of this site.) As such, I’m excited to introduce the concept of coding at an early age. Cubetto is one of the best introductory coding toys I’ve seen for younger children. It’s a hands-on and, ironically, low-tech way to learn about coding. Unfortunately, this is still a wish list item but it’s definitely on my shortlist of toys to purchase.


Community Playthings Wooden Maple Blocks – Call me super crazy but I researched and purchased this block set before Max was even born. Community Playthings makes the highest quality maple blocks I’ve found – classroom quality. The blocks are beautifully crafted, solid, and HEAVY. Max has started building impressive structures with these blocks.


Brio Train Set – A wish list toy. I’ve been eyeing this train set forever. It’s on the pricier side so I’m waiting for an occasion to justify the purchase. A train set doesn’t have to be expensive though. We were gifted a simpler IKEA train set that Max has loved playing with.

Kiwi Co Koala Crate – This is my all-time favorite subscription box for kids! (You can read one of my reviews here.) My kids love doing the projects and learning about the theme of the month. As a parent, I love that I can enrich their day, with STEAM-based concepts, in a fun and engaging way. Kiwi Co has five lines geared towards different age groups. I’ve found that the Koala line is perfect for three years+ but even Alexa, who is almost 2 1/2 years old, is able to enjoy and appreciate the crate.

Well, there you have it. These are all toys that would make great gifts for either boys or girls. And the best thing about these toys is that even though you can gift them to kids at an early age, these toys have longevity so that they can enjoy playing with them for many years to come.

If you’ve made it this far, you might be interested in also checking out my post about the best non-toxic toy brands.

What are your thoughts on the toys in my guide? What’s your kid’s favorite toy?

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