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Birthday Gift Ideas for 3 Year Old Girls - Outside The Box

Birthday Gift Ideas for 3 Year Old Girls

Birthday gifts for 3 year old girls

**NOTE – Due to popular demand I have also posted a second list of popular gift ideas for three year old girls! 

Well it happened, our little girl received her first birthday party invitation for someone outside of the family.  It would have been nice to have more than 5 days notice but at least I am pretty confident that we can find a suitable present for a three year old girl since our little princess is almost there herself.

Now I realize every kid is different, has different interests, different skills levels so what appeals to one may not appeal to another.  But I think there are some gifts that have a pretty broad appeal to girls at this age.   Here are the current favorites at our house (many of these might be a good fit for boys too):

Cinderella Barbie
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Cinderella Barbie (and Barbie in general)

Our daughter is obsessed with Cinderella right now so just about anything Cinderella is on her wish list but combine Cinderella with the universal appeal of Barbie and we have a hit.  She also has 2 or 3 “regular” Barbies and loves playing dress up with them as well.  I know there are Barbie haters out there.  I’m not one of them.  Dolls are great for little imaginations. Barbie’s are also a great gift idea because you can find one for pretty much every budget.

doctor kit
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Doctor Kit

This is another favorite right now. She loves playing doctor with mommy, daddy and even doing checkups on  her dolls. Kids this age love role playing. Another affordable gift!

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Disney Princess Magiclip Dolls

We don’t have this full kit but I bought our little one a couple of smaller packs (they come in individual packs as well) to play with on the plane and in the hotel for a recent trip.  I love these.  There aren’t a bunch of small parts to step on or get lost. I see this kit has some smaller accessories (I would just put those away) but ours didn’t, it’s just the dolls and the clip on dresses.  These are great for little ones because you just give the dress a squeeze to get it off and on. Very easy for little hands. These start around $10 (you can often find them on sale for less).

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Cardboard Castle

This isn’t the exact same one that we have but it’s very similiar.  I’ve also seen cardboard spaceships.  Kids can color on them, put stickers on them, etc.  They are pretty durable (at least the one we have) and the great part is once they have outgrown it you simply take it apart and recycle it. It’s great for fostering imagination and I prefer it to those fabric tents that just break withing weeks.  These are quite affordable at around $25.

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Lucky Ducks Sesame Street Edition

This is an awesome “board” game for kids this age. The object is to be the first one to find the ducks with the matching shape to your place on the board.  It’s simple and doesn’t take long so the little ones don’t get bored half way through.  This sells for around $20.

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Leapfrog LeapPad2

This is a little bit on the pricier side so probably a gift for your own little one or grandkid.  We are big fans of Leapfrog in this house and this is another favorite.  It’s very intuitive for the preschool set and is loaded with lots of cool features, applications, videos and games.  Another thing I love about the LeapPad is that it grows with the kids.  There are activities and games for kids ages 3-9 so, although it’s a little bit more money I know it’s going to be used for quite a while. It also has a built in camera and video camera for your budding photographer.


Like most kids, our almost three year old has a passion for books.  I can’t say that she has a favorite book or author right now – she likes all kinds.  Fairy tales, Dr. Suess, anything with a princess in it.  You just really can’t go wrong with books for this age.

Stickers, coloring books and other crafty items

Another sure fire winner for this age group.  We have a “craft drawer”, one of those rolling carts with 4 or 5 drawers in it and she is constantly dragging things out of it to make crafts.  It’s well stocked with just about every crafty item you can think of!

Building blocks

Age appropriate blocks like Duplo and Mega Bloks are another excellent choice for the preschool age child. Molly drags her box of blocks out to build castles all the time.


Our little girl loves playing tools with daddy.  She has a little tool bench equipped with all of the essentials. Much like the doctor bag, any set that let’s them role play is a good fit for three year olds.

Musical instruments

We have a little keyboard, a tambourine, a little guitar, maracas and the dreaded recorder.  There’s nothing our little one (and a lot of kids her age) loves better than singing and dancing and I absolutely adore watching and listening to her perform.

Cars, trains, etc.

Molly has a few little play vehicles and her favorite ones by far are the ones that she can actually put things or people in – like her Elmo school bus or the little wooden train that has open carts for animals, etc.  She’s not all that interested in just pushing a car around the house but if she can load it up and take someone for a ride she loves it.

Ride on toys

Whether it’s a tricycle, the slick looking Plasmacar, the Cozy Coupe or the $20 plastic ride on car that I bought at Walmart when she was still learning to walk (which is still her favorite), ride on toys are, and probably always will be another hit.

Anything with hair

At this age many little girls love to do hair.  Barbies, My Little Ponies or any other doll or figure with long hair that they can brush and put pony tails in are popular.

Dress up

We have a “tickle trunk” filled with a pretty broad selection of customs and accessories; princess, clown, fireman, etc. Some of them were gifts from grandma and grandpa and I always raid the clearance racks right after Halloween to add to the collection.

Baby dolls and accessories

At this age many little girls love playing mommy.  Changing diapers, feeding, pushing the babies around in their little stroller or shopping cart, the little one spends a lot of time taking care of her babies.


Being a photographer I often have a camera in my hands and my little one always loves to go grab her camera when she sees mommy snapping pictures.  They do make camera’s that are designed for kids but for the most part I would steer clear of them.  My experience has been that they are big and clunky and, as expected, take horrible pictures and eat batteries like the Cookie Monster eats cookies.  There may be exceptions to that, I certainly haven’t looked at them all, but just at this age just an ordinary point and shoot camera is probably your best bet.  Again this is a “toy” that will grow with them and they will grow into and be able to use for years.

Playsets with “characters”

Dollhouses, farm yards, garages – any play sets that have a cast of characters for the little ones to move about and direct is sure to be a winner.  We currently have the Disney Little People Song Palace, which is a castle and Little People princesses (basically a dollhouse) and it gets lots of attention.

Outdoor toys

With spring on the way (oh I sure hope it comes soon) gifts that are good for outdoor play are a great idea.  Sidewalk chalk, large balls, bubbles, sand box toys, little garden tools, swim rings,etc. are sure to be a hit.

Due to popular demand I have also posted a second list of popular gift ideas for three year old girls!

Do your kids have a current favorite toy, game etc.? 

This article has 7 comments

  1. You're right Theresa, Molly adores her play kitchen too 🙂

  2. We got our daughter a ceramic tea set for her third birthday. Yes, we have glued the handles back on a couple of times but the space for quality together time that it creates is priceless…
    My recent post the way we sing to our children becomes their inner song

  3. do u have any ideas for 2 year olds?

  4. Great list! My best friend just got her 2 year old a Nubi for her bday and she LOVES it!

  5. What a great list. I have grandkids in the 3 year old range and I can attest that your list is right-on. They especially love dress up!

  6. I absolutely love this list and many of these are still great (even though this is a couple years old). I just got my 3 year old the 'code-a-pillar' and she absolutely loves it!
    My recent post 20 Best Mattresses for Children

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