Sometimes I get sick of seeing piles of toys in the corner or boxes. I think he has too many toys. But then I want to get him some that look quite educational yet fun at the same time. These, in my opinion, are the best kind of toys.
Which parent doesn’t like to see their child having FUN whilst LEARNING? Yes please…
So here are my top educational toys and books for a three year old.
Orchard Toys Snakes & Ladders and Ludo
Great for Counting & Number Recognition
Orchard Toys are an excellent company that makes quality board games, jigsaw puzzles and books. Many of their board games are very fun and educational at the same time.
The Snakes & Ladders and Ludo board game is a great one to introduce to your little one and is available in a pirate or fairy theme. They come in large, jigsaw pieces so the fun begins right from the start as your child will enjoy putting the pieces together to make up the board game.
Although on the box its recommended for children between 5-9, if your three year old can already count and is quite confident in doing so, then it is totally playable.
We started off with Snakes & Ladders as it is pretty easy. Our three year old soon managed to read the die and understand the mechanics of the game.
If your child only knows how to count to 10, this is a great way to teach them to count beyond.
Flip the board over and there’s Ludo which is another great game for counting but also adds the element of strategy. This game is a great progression from Snakes & Ladders.
Orchard Toys Shopping List
Great for Memory
They get to pick either a shopping trolley or basket. Then choose a list which contains all the items they need to collect.
Then you turn all the items face down and take turns to pick one.
If the one you pick is on your list, then you can pop it into your trolley/basket.
If not, you return it face down and its the next player’s turn.
The idea is to try to memorise where the items are so when its your turn again, you can try and find the item that’s on your list and the first one to have collected and filled in their trolley/basket wins.
Wipe Clean Books
Great for Practising Pencil Grip & Handwriting
I noticed my son beginning to use the pencil grip more (maybe he picked it up at nursery) so I encouraged it by bringing out these books I’d picked up on discount a while back.
He was really interested in these activity books that had mazes, spot the difference and other puzzles in. Trouble is, he soon finishes them and unless he’s used a lead pencil, you can’t do them over and over again.
Thats where these wipe clean books come in. Usborne do a great collection that cover dot to dot, numbers, letters and words.
My little one enjoyed doing it all over again once it had been wiped clean and the good thing is, if and when they do get bored of it, you can put it away and pass it along to their younger sibling, give it away or even re-sell.
Duplo & Lego
Great for Creativity & Problem Solving.
Duplo & Lego is a great educational toy for your little 3 year old as its engages them to follow instructions and replicate.
It also allows them to be creative as of course, they can make almost anything with the blocks.
Since they come in themed sets, it’s great to pick out something you know your little one likes. My son is vehicle mad so the My First Car Creations set is perfect for him.
He loves pulling out the cards to see which one he should build and I try to encourage him to do it by himself which at 3 years old, he now has the patience and concentration to do so!
I have some friends whose 3.5 year olds have progressed onto Lego already as some Lego sets start at 4+.
VTech Playtime Bus
Great for Learning Phonics & Letter Recognition
Truth be told, my son learned the alphabet and most of his phonics from watching Little Baby Bum. But I made sure after he watched those programs, we played with toys that reinforced it.
There are loads of the tablet/laptop looking ones that teach the alphabet and phonics, but he never really took to them and would lose interest very quickly. But because at one point he absolutely loved buses, this was perfect. It has buttons he could press that made sounds and music and wheels!
VTech do great educational toys and I think this one really helps engage them and make learning phonics fun.
Great for Observational Skills & Memory
Another great book by Usborne is this Lift-the-flap Word Book. This was given as a gift by a relative and was easily one of the favourite books in his little library.
Which kid doesn’t like lift-the-flap books? This one is lift-the-flap heaven as the whole book is filled with them.
On one page, it shows the object then when you lift the flap, it will show the word for the object.
On the other page, it will then test whether the child can remember the word for that object by placing the picture of the object under the flap.
I think its a bit challenging for a 3 year old at the beginning, but if your little one knows his alphabets and some phonics, he will be able to work it out.
Even if he doesn’t, its good for memory as instead of being able to read the word, he will use his memory to remember which object is under which flap.
Great for Problem Solving & Spatial Skills
Does you little one like doing jigsaw puzzles? Take it a step further by checking out these tangram puzzles. It’s like a jigsaw but by only using shapes you have to make pieces fit together to make a picture.
My son really loves shapes. He used to point out random objects in the house and say it looked like a trapeze. Honestly, I didn’t even know what a trapeze was until at least 7 years old! (I also attribute this to watching singalong cartoons on Youtube about shapes).
These tangram puzzles come in handy little sets so is actually great for when you’re travelling on a plane or train.