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Best Toys for a Three Year Old

posted on July 01 2017

What to Buy a Three Year Old Toy Guide 

Matching the right toys to the development stage of a three year old is no easy feat. In this blog series Sarah Sutcliffe, former childminder, mother of three and LCB staff member shares some recommendations. 

So your little one is suddenly not so little anymore huh? Where did your baby go-- your furniture cruising one year old? Occasionally tricky but truly terrific two year old? Here's some play ideas for the crazy world of the thriving three year old. 

imagination and play

A three year old has a newfound better understanding of the world around them, self and others and will be interacting in different and more sophisticated ways. They will have acquired memories by this stage and may start to notice and challenge inaccuracies. Three year olds will also be exploring with hands rather than mouths and will be able to spend more time on concentrated activities, particularly in a role play or creative context. Even games! Their imaginations are by now positively riotous and their observations can be often both astute and laugh out loud funny. 

So this list of suggestions offers age appropriate variety whilst working to develop and enhance many of the their key development stages. Some are based around the concept of encouraging shared behaviours whilst others are about the gentle introduction of maths concepts. Others are about inspiring greater creativity and confidence whilst focusing on what can only be described as their truly extraordinary imaginations. Here goes:


Experts say that it's never too early to introduce children to simple maths concepts but tell the Tiger mom inside you to chill-- these toys are primarily fun!

Here at LCB we are super fans of these award winning Magna-Tiles. They are a truly successful fusion of maths, science and creative opportunities and offer huge scope for open ended play; they are also the perfect thing for developing fine motor skills as well as being an effective problem solving prop. But kids LOVE them, they love playing with all the different combinations. No two creations are ever the same.

The tiles come in various shapes and sizes and are so robust that not only will your children get years of play and fun out of them, but likely their children too. We love that these can be played with both independently and with others and the fact that we have customers coming back for more and more of them is a true testament to their exceptional value.

Get some Magna Tiles style: 

Magna tiles for fun and maths for three year olds clear magna tiles for 3 year oldsmagna tiles extension pack for hours more fun


Pre schoolers are quick to take on pretend roles and situations and our Lemonade Stand is the perfect open ended platform for children to imagine, interact, buy, sell and create. Children at this age are learning to understand the world around them by replicating and role playing it, and this is a super lovely, simple play concept which allows for a whole host of possible outcomes. 
The perfect way to add different dimensions to role play is with the introduction of puppets and here at LCB we treasure this very special range by Moulin Roty.
There's no better way to fire up the imagination than by adding a little voice to this little puppet They really do make for hours and hours of developmental fun and are perfectly sized for little hands. 

Act it out: 

lemonade role play  role playing for childrens development Alluring Damne Moulin Roty Puppet


Between the age of three and four children will begin to learn letters by sight and to comprehend how letters and words are formed. Crucially, they are taking the first steps to understanding that writing is an exciting, yet still curious system of communication. This fabulous collection of magnetic letters from Grimms offers a simple, low tech way of learning letters. Beautifully crafted and wonderful to handle, these colourful letters come in a handy box allowing for easy storage and transportation from fridge, to easel to Granny's house for the weekend. They are genuinely great for travel and holidays too and offer children a real sense of satisfaction as they start to piece together the letters to create names, words and messages. 

lets get stuck on magnets:

magnetic wooden blocks for travel play magnetic blocks by grimms are great travel toys  magnetic letters by djeco


These exceptional balance bikes start as a tricycle allowing for children as young as one to get some use out of them whilst growing in confidence in an outside environment. Adjusting to two wheels then allows your child to coast with control whilst developing their balancing and co-ordination skills without the distraction of pedals. Balance bikes enable children to move flawlessly into bike riding without the use of stabilizers and are a really excellent way of encouraging road safety awareness. 
recycled balance bike is perfect for 1-6 year olds  
Moving seamlessly on, may we introduce you to our Crazy Safety helmets. Designed for children between the ages of three and eight, these helmets are not only real head turners but also a feat of engineering. Brilliantly designed in Denmark, they weigh and unbelievable 270 grammes, have a dial adjust system for size, ear and chin straps and an LED light on the back. They are everything that we love here at LCB; fun, cool, safe, durable, full of progressive design elements and talking pieces to boot!

Be safe in style: 

safety first with these awesome helmets  helmets to match your littles ones personalities


Children can usually sit for a bit longer now so it's a great time to introduce them to the wonderful world of jigsaw puzzles. These are a fabulous and fun way of building up memory and problem solving skills whilst learning more about similarities and differences. They can be an enjoyable, gentle family activity and are hugely gratifying for children as they get better and quicker each time they do it. This 24 piece tiger jigsaw puzzle by Djeco is beautifully illustrated and is bound to quickly become a firm family favourite, but also makes for a wonderful and unique gift. \

Pick up the pieces: 

Djeco jigsaw for three year olds number jigsaws for three year olds creative little jigsaws by djeco


This fabulous Red Indian style canvas teepee has been designed by the indomitable Nathalie L'ete and offers children not only the chance for some all important 'me' time but also for extensive imaginative play. Let them eat their lunch inside or put it at the bottom of the garden, cover it in cushions and read them a bed time story in their pjs. It would be hard for this teepee not to become a firm favourite and we think it's just the sort of thing to inspire nostalgia for happy childhood days long after your child has outgrown it.

Look for a nook: 

Teepee is perfect for children me time red tent for children to play in and be safe  teepee tent for three year olds


So you've had a long day and your three year old still wants to play play play. 'Will you play with me Mummy' has got to be one of the most precious phrases ever, even though you've had a busy day and you're to do list is now way longer than your arm. The beauty of playing doctors is that it gives you the opportunity to have a little lie down on the sofa whilst your consultation takes place and our particular surgery at home allows you to have a cup of tea at the same time. Before you know it, you've combined some precious play time with a rest which has given you a new zest for life....preparing dinner and bed time become a breeze whilst the allure of a glass of wine gets ever closer. We love this doctors bag by Djeco which children will adore carrying around with them. Filled with the usual paraphernalia (stethoscope, thermometer, bandages, plaster and note book) your little one is bound to get hours and hours worth of interactive fun from this kit, whilst gently learning more about how to care for others. 

Take care with this kit: 

doctors kit for 3 year old


So it's raining outside, or your child is poorly and off school / nursery. You're waiting for your visitors to arrive and have already been asked 'when are they coming' just over 3,500 times. It is, without doubt, time to get the Play Doh out. Colourful, tactile, sensory and opened ended, we can't think of anything else that offers so much scope in each little stackable (an added bonus!) pot. Break out the Play Doh and introduce a mini rolling pin and biscuit cutter or two and you'll be amazed at how quickly tummy aches are forgotten and the thought of pending visitors gets parked for a while. Play Doh is also a great, malleable way to work with fine motor skills whilst discussing different sizes, shapes, colours and weights. 

Dough know, do care: 

dough for three year olds bubble blower for summer fun  soft ball for 3 year olds

We really hope you have found these suggestions useful. Please do get in touch if you have any thoughts or suggestions and we'll be back with a whole host of other exciting introductions very soon. In the mean time, keep playing with those gorgeous offspring of's better for us adults than we realise, it's without doubt very constructive for our little ones and it goes by all too fast. In a heart beat as it were. Better get that doctors bag back out.


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