Best Toy Purchase for Your 3 to 5 Year Old

Updated on May 22, 2012
R.S. asks from Chicago, IL
19 answers

Hi there,

I'm about to put in a big order on Amazon for several good quality toys that are hard for us to find where we're currently living overseas (and if we do find them they're usually double the price as in the US). Having said that, I'm interested in knowing of any really, really, really great purchases you made for your little one that have provided hours of fun playtime. I posted this before and got some great ideas...thank I'm really just asking one last time before I place the order. I have Dulplo legos, Playmobil, Wedgits, Magnatiles and a Melissa and Doug dollhouse. Any last minute suggestions? Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

Gears! Gears! Gears! Super set along with the power motor assembly. Lincoln logs. Board games such as memory, candyland, chutes and ladders. Recently discovered Aquaplay sets which my kids have been playing with often outside. All can be found on amazon. Hope this helps.



answers from New York on

The best "toy" my kids ever had was actually a huge cardboard box that the new washing machine was delivered in. They played all kinds of things with that box. The box was a fort, a house, a car, a bus, and so much more. After that wonderful experience I made it my mission to get the kids a huge box every three months and let their imaginations go wild.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

Tablets of paper and crayons!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My daughter(4) loves her train table (imaginarium - toy r us), Wooden Blocks (melissa and doug), and the cardboard box from our water heater.

The toy stroller / pack n play / highachir -swing set is also worth its weight in gold. My daughter takes her baby doll out int he stroller for wals and to the store. The set I have was licensed to use the Graco name, which thrilled her becuase she know that was who had made her stroller etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Clarksville on

My boys age 3 and 5 love the Leapsters. They play them all the time and get sad when their batteries have to recharge.


answers from Milwaukee on

Our fave toy here are the magnatiles so that's a great purchase.



answers from Seattle on

One of my son's favorites is his outdoor water table. We live in an apt. and only have a balcony - so its perfect. You could also fill it with sand etc. Anyway, literally hours of playtime, He loves to dump the water and he has a collection of bugs/frogs that go swimming in it. He is 3.


answers from Rochester on

Favorites in our house...

Legos, Duplos, Quatros. Blocks always get used. They also like wooden blocks.

Little People. They especially love the barn and the big car ramp/parking garage.

Marble race. Like, a big plastic structure you build and then drop marbles in the top and watch them go down all these different gadgets...that thing has seen a TON of play time.

Mine personally didn't love their dollhouse. A very nice dollhouse, tons of really nice furniture and fun accessories (all old style, not Melissa and Doug, the phone actually looks like a little phone, there's a little knitting basket with tiny needles, a toaster made of stainless steel that really pops up tiny tiny pieces of toast, mahogany looking REAL looking furniture...) and they don't play with it!!! I played with my dollhouse a children don't. Oh well.

Lincoln Logs.



answers from Los Angeles on

Our train table and sandbox are solid hits in our house but for longevity it has been the play kitchens. We have Melissa and Doug and also a step 2 kitchen. If you have the room I think you will find it really allows for so many creative games not just cooking. have fun!!



answers from Dallas on

Beyblades! and Lots of them



answers from Sacramento on

Any of the age appropriate Leap Frog toys or videos. My kids really learned phonitic sounding from the Leap Frog Video and we even had a board game to go with it.


answers from Dallas on

Big Wheels. Razor scooters. Best toys ever. They were Christmas gifts at 3, the kids still play with them regularly at 6.


answers from Dallas on

Anything from Melissa and Doug! My DD has the wooden/magnetic dress-up dolls, the lacing beads, the pattern tiles,and the 4-in-one wooden puzzles.


answers from Denver on

I kiddos love the hand held games. For some reason my 5 almost 6 yr old loves tetris. My 4 and 5 yr old both love the computer games from Vtech as well.



answers from Dallas on

Best toy purchase was a V-Tech 3-in-1 guitar that also has a keyboarrd on it. It's about $20, and it's a toy she still plays with 1 1/2 yrs after buying it. Her friends all love to play with it too.

A babydoll that just looks like a normal babydoll (baby, takes a bottle, cries, etc) from Target Cirro Brand...for some reason, a good babydoll is hard to find. Again, about $20

A baby buggy, not a stroller, but the pram type that folds flat for transport or storage.. Again she loves to play with it 1 1/2 yrs later, and other kids all ask to pllay with it too. I think it was about. $15-20 at Walmart. They can be hard to find sometimews but a great toy.


answers from Bloomington on

The best toy in our house is the Magnadoodle. My oldest is 14 and youngest is 4. We have 2 at all times, every Chrstmas they receive a new one. As much as they use them, they wear out. My kids have learned to write letters, I use it for shape drawing and counting with them. My older kids use it for a million creative ideas. Drawing contests, pictionary, bubble letters, signs for shows they put on. Seriously, it is the BEST open-ended toy and inexpensive too!



answers from Chicago on

Magnatiles. Hands down, girl or boy, magnatiles.
After magnatiles I would say Playmobil.
Magnatiles are amazing building things, generics do not cut it. I run a daycare and the kids aged 2 and up to 10, well, even the 12 and 13 yr olds play with them when they visit, will play with them in creative ways for hours and hours. I have to take pics of the sculptures cause they don't want to destroy them. But after we take the pic, then they crash it down and start again. Each building is unique. I own about 4 sets of them now... they are that good.
Playmobil I don't let the daycare kids play with, but my own kids will play for hours with it. My girls are 9 1/2 and 13 and they still play with it for hours. And all their friends come over and play for hours too. Yep, 13 yr olds playing just like they did at 5 yrs old.

Both of these options are using their brains and creativity,. (trains don't honestly, they go round and round and that's about it) Both are durable and have lasted 10 years so far with my kids and are still going strong. Both are toys that you can build on and that are long term toys.



answers from Sacramento on

Train set! Our oldest used to be into Thomas and at five or so, we packed up his train set because he was over it. Well, our five-year-old daughter has been using a train set at our library and asked us to get it out. We got it out this weekend and even our nine-year-old is playing with it again! We're talking hours at a time playtime for both kids. We had some other kids over this weekend (ages five to eight) and they went crazy over it. Definitely got our money's worth.



answers from Minneapolis on

Train table (Nilo brand which can be used as a regular table too) and Thomas the Train wooden set playsets

Our outdoor wooden climber playset with swings and clubhouse (if you're going to be living at your home for a while to make the investment worthwhile - they play on their for hours!)

Bicycles and trikes


Matchbox Mega Rigz

All of the B. Toyline sold at Target (formally Parents) My kids especially loved the cell phone that calls you back and that you can leave voice messages on, the Hound Dog guitar, the Kitty Piano, the Wooden Puzzle block with bead mazes and other games

Go to these sites if you like educational and hard to find toys:

The following school supply store is a great place to buy Lego and Playmobil people in bulk. If you like Lego City for instance, you can get the same sets (packaged differently but the same stuff as the police, fire, etc.) for a fraction of the cost. They have great playmobil too. (just type in brand names and the pages will come up. This site is too big to just page through)

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