Gifts for 3 year olds

By the time they’re three you might well be approaching peak superhero/vehicle/dinosaur. So alongside that, we’ve got some ideas for other imaginary play scenarios. Worth noting also that the things they’re working out pretending to be super heroes (power relationships for example) are the same as playing families and schools. And dressing up is fun, whoever you pretend to be.

Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too)

Is that superhero obsession kicking in? This gorgeous book shows that even the toughest men have feelings of sadness, frustration, loneliness and love.

Tough Guys hardback  £11.68 Amazon


Dolls’ House

Boys love playing small world as much as girls do - it’s just they often have to do it with the much less interesting forums of the carpark or garage. A dolls’ house lets kids experiment with different personas and situations, and is a great way to learn to compromise and play together. This one also can be reconfigured inside.

Plan Toys chalet doll house  £145  Amazon


Fox Applique Top

Boden is a repeat offender for hiding some of their best (completely unisex as far as I can tell) designs under girl/boy headings. Don't be afraid to shop both sections to find the winning piece. Like this excellent fox, who is neither baring teeth nor showing claws.

Woodland patchwork fox top  £18  Boden

Nesting Dolls

These lovely animals are great for playing 'babies in tummies'. Also, they're excellent to build fine motor skills, for matching and stacking, and are lovely out on display by themselves too. 

OMM Design nesting animals  £19  Retro Kids


Alfie Gives a Hand

Alfie is nervous of going to a birthday party by himself. He’s also kind and caring and looks after his friends. Shirley Hughes’s illustrations are, as always, completely perfect.

Alfie Gives a Hand paperback  £6.99  Amazon

Elsa dress

Nearly all children we know have had a Frozen obsession at some point. Taking on the persona of a strong woman, who has been told to hide her feelings and learns that letting people in makes things feel better sounds ok to us. There are loads of Elsa dresses - this one comes with a bracelet that projects magical snowflakes. (Added bonus: the Church of England has recently endorsed boys in  princess dresses.)

Elsa costume   £30  The Disney Store

Play kitchen

Clean Scandi design and a light up hotplate. Yes, you have to put it together yourself, but it is completely customisable (see Pinterest). And literally years of having to eat a mushroom pineapple cucumber hot pot await you.

Duktig kitchen  £59  Ikea

Ballerino Sweater

Ever wondered what a male ballet dancer was called? Well now, you know. Thanks Hugo Loves Tiki for this reminder that ballet is for anyone who wants to do it.

Hugo Loves Tiki sweatshirt  £37 Bon Tot


Browse the 2017 Gift Guide