Buying a Computer for a Three Year Old

Updated on March 25, 2010
G.C. asks from Seal Beach, CA
21 answers

I want to purchase a computer for my three year old grandson. I want it to be fun and appealing and a learning tool. I would love to have input on what to purchase. Thanks. G.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I think 3 is too young for a computer - and it's quite an investment. By the time he is old enough to actually benefit from a computer, it will be outdated. I would suggest buying a LeapFrog system. We have the console that hooks up to the TV and the handheld. The game cartridges go in either, so he would be able to play at home or on the road. Game cartridges have LOTS of fun games that include learning as well - colors, numbers, counting, alphabet, etc! Good luck!



answers from San Diego on

Not at this age. And only a play computer at about age 5 or 6. Did you mean a real computer? That shouldn't be until way way later.

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answers from Los Angeles on

The VTech Tote 'N Go Laptop Plus is inexpensive and can be found at Target.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have a four year old and an 18 month old and truly see no reason for a three year old to have an actual computer.

Last Christmas, Santa gave my four year old a "laptop" but it's one of the play kind and it's great. My son loves playing on it like he's working like Mommy and Daddy and there are educational tools on it too. We got one of the V-Tech ones that has a normal keyboard like computers do rather than a keyboard that is just A-Z alpahbetically. It has a mouse so he can learn to use that and lots of other keys that are normal to a real computer. It cost me about $40.

You can also hook it up to a computer and download other things online.

I really suggest going that route. A real computer at three is just a waste and by the time your grandchild is able to really use it, it will be painfully out of date.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You can check out the vtech computers for kids. They have a really good line for ages 6 mo and up. There are different models as well and they are all pretty inexpensive. These make great starters. I bought one for my daughter, and she loves it. It has a lot of learning activities, etc.



answers from Nashville on

Check this out!

It's the V.Smile PC Pal. We purchased it for our daughter when she was 3 and now our 3 1/2yr old son loves it! It hooks up to any computer monitor or television. It's geared towards their little hands and is extremely educational and FUN! =0) Just an idea. We love ours.



answers from San Diego on

I have to agree with Sherri S., and offer my opinion that three is way too young for a computer. Not that a three year old isn't capable, but I think that at that age they get a lot more out of other activities.
There will be plenty of screen time to come later and he won't be "behind" if he doesn't have a computer now. I think that we should let them run and play and read books and interact with people while they have the freedom to do so!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi G.,

What about a leap pad? Or leapster?


answers from Norfolk on

Vtech use to have some really cute play lap top computers that my son loved to carry around with him every where.



answers from Reno on

I have 3 kids and have bought them all play laptops. They all have a different kind, but they all would rather play with the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn one. I don't think they have it any more since we got it 2 years ago, but have a newer version, I think it's "Learn 4 Fun" or something like that.
I wouldn't recommend any that can be bi-lingual unless your family is bi-lingual. Your grandson can accidentally switch it to a language he doesn't understand and get frustrated. That's what happened with my daughter a lot. My youngest (3) has the Thomas the train laptop and he likes that one too. They still all try to grab the Fisher Price on though.



answers from Los Angeles on

my son started using my old mac around 3.. i bought Kid Pix for him and another one with thinking skills ...going to go to the mac store soon and find more ...he is already super advanced now at 4 on the computer.. i just bought him Leapfrog ..that's another option..its a little game for $69 at Target..
i would maybe go into Best Buy and not spend too much on a computer for a 3 year son did mess up the mac and it cost me around $200 to fix it.



answers from Las Vegas on

hi i would get a computer for his age to make it fun and not so easy to tear up i am grandmother my first grandson and he is 2 months old and i cant wait to he turn 2 to 3 years old so i can shop to i drop. because right now he have everythings he need so good luck with that.


hi this is me again i forgot to mention what kind of computer to get your grandson. you can get him a vech tech i think thats the way how you spell is for his age walmarts have it toys r us targets kmart try these stores and i hope you have some luck so once again good luck with that hope you find something.



answers from San Francisco on


Visit a few daycare centers and see what they are doing. Personally, I think he is a little young for a computer of his own. Is he close enough where you can spend some quality time, going to parks, zoos, children's museums etc.



answers from Dallas on

I bought a V-tech laptop style for my daughter when she was 3. It was "just like daddy's" and she loved that computer.

She is 15 now....I still have it (1 of her favorite toys) and IT STILL WORKS...No joke.


answers from Phoenix on

I agree with Sherri. My kids are 10 and 7 and don't have a computer. Try to get him the "Leapster" or "Leap pad" sets. My kids love them and they are like computers and teach them in a fun way. Good luck.



answers from Tulsa on

Hi, we have computers for the kids, a MAC, it's old, a 9.something and an XP. The MAC is very user friendly and has great games installed for the kids. But a Windows computer has many more options now for learning games like Dora and Sesame Street. So, any computer that is avail. at Wal-Mart or Staples is fine for kids.

I will tell you our policy. The computer is in the main living area, where it can be seen from everywhere, no way of turning the screen so it can't be seen, anything like that. We also have a picture by Greg Olsen over the monitor of Christ and also a huge picture of the kids. Our 6 yr old can go online and play dress up games on the Barbie website, she can play some online games at several websites. But the controls on her personal page are very strict. And again, everyone in the family is sitting right there.

The 3 yr. old is usually sitting in my lap or my husbands if he is playing anything online, like at Fisher Price or Nick, or Disney. They have really fun games and I think it's okay because we are right there and they can't go anywhere we haven't pre-selected.

Here's a link to anyone wanting awesome prints with religious themes.



answers from Washington DC on

My son has the Fisher Price Fun2Learn computer. This plugs into your home computer and you can buy different discs for it. He really likes this and it is educational.

I agree, 3 is too young for a "real" computer. Any toy store should have a variety of fun keyboards and programs that use a USB port. Most run around $50-$100.



answers from San Diego on

Go with an apple mac mini if you can ( and the extended warranty is will worth it not only if you have problems but the support calls are invaluBle for any questions about anything both instore or over phone). A basic system will cost around $600 but the safety, ease of use and reliabilty are priceless. Both our kids have been using our mini and my iMac for years and our daughter, now 4 yrs has had her own account on them dice she was 2. It helped her learn to type and write her name and she is already reading above kindergarten levels. You can set up parental controls for their user account and they can only have access to the sites you put in for the or the programs/ software you approve. There are many preschool free sites ( PBS kids, nickjr playhouse Disney, funschool or google search preschool sites for more) and I bookmark their sites on the bookmark toolbar so they can go directly to them easily.
There is a little learning curve if you are only used to windows machines but Macs are a far superior operating system ( not only my opinion but my husband has well over 10 yrs in complex computing, networking and security) and it is very easy to learn and a much more intuitive setup. More importanlty it is very very very very difficult to get any kind of virus on macs! We switched our house to mostly macs 6 yrs ago and will not go back to windows except for ones my husband has to work with occasionally.
Hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

My parents bought my son a Leap Frog Click Start computer when he turned three. He is 4 1/2 and he still plays it frequently. The games have different levels, so he has not outgrown it yet. All of the games teach letter recognition/ reading skills or math skills. And they have definitely been a good teaching tool. His favorite characters are in the games - Dora, Diego, Cars, Toy Story, etc. After a few lessons he was able to play it completely independently, without my assistance. It hooks up to a tv, so my parents also gave him a 13 inch tv that they no longer used to be his "monitor" (we won't allow him tv or movies in his room, so as far as he is concerned it is a computer monitor) so he can leave it set up in his room.



answers from Chicago on

G., you didn't ask this but I am going to offer it anyway. A 3 yr old is young for a computer. They learn early enough to sit on their butts rather than playing outside and reading etc. I wouldn't buy one just yet. wait until he is older and needs it for school. just my opinion.



answers from Honolulu on

Are you meaning a real computer, or a toy look alike computer?
Big difference.

Something that is fun and educational for kids, is the "Leapster." Its a hand-held game/learning device... with lots of games for toddlers.
My son has been using it since he was 2 years old, and my daughter too.
It grows with the child and teaches them a lot. My kids love it. It is a great learning tool.
You can go to to see it and read the reviews.

good luck,

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