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What's the best toy for 3+?

  • train set

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  • musical instruments

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  • arts and crafts materials

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>For my 3 yo, I am considering a wooden, non-electronic generic train set (100 pcs), a xylophone that can be tuned (and as such is a real musical instrument more than a toy), or wikistix (sp).  She loves train sets at other kids' houses and in sch.  She doesn't do much with the musical instruments we have, but I think they are too babyish for her.  Re wikistix, she is constantly bending straws into letters, shapes, etc., and she seems to love arts and craftsy stuff, whereas i am not big on the cleanup aspect of that, so this would be a way to meet in the middle.  Assume due to $ we are getting only one of these.  Which do you think would provide the longest-lasting play value and be most developmentally appropriate; why?</p>
 

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<p>We're getting our three year old magna tiles (the big set).  She plays with them for hours at a time when given the chance.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If I had to choose between your choices I would go with the wikistix or arts and crafts stuff.</p>
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>thanks.  she got the big set of magnatiles for her 3rd bday.  a big hit.  we could use more but somehow more of the same doesn't feel like a big present? </p>
 

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My ds never really plays with musical instrument. Sometimes it is just temperament. I choose trains. But I wouldn't personally choose the huge set. I think at this age the fun is the ability to build and rebuild and the lots of things that need to go in a specific place for it to work can kill that. That being said we do have a lot of accessories now.<br><br>
You didn't mention duplo? Does she have them? Awesome open ended toys.<br><br>
I think a single art supply would be limiting. A three year old should be able to assist with cleanup. We'd move from one art project or toy until the next one is cleaned up.
 

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<p>I don't think I can vote for one over the others.  My 3 yr old would adore any of those choices.  That said (and this is coming from a professional musician who's house is filled with musical instruments for kids and adults alike), I might wait a year or two on the xylophone.  At this age she may or may not get a lot out of it, and if it's to be the only/main gift it's a bit chancy.  I don't think you can go wrong with craft supplies.  I'm not sure what wikistix are, but they sound like something you bend, and build with (???), and that sounds like something my 3 yr old would like anyway.</p>
 

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<p>My 2.5 y/o loves his big train set.  This year he is getting a Remo Gathering Drum - that might be more age appropriate for your daughter.  We are very musical in our family and have a large variety of instruments and we thought the gathering drum would be the perfect addition.</p>
 

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<p>I *thought* I edited my post earlier, but obviously it didn't "take" (grrrr).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I had forgotten in my earlier post to address the wooden train set idea.  It sounds like a good one to me.  My ds (3yo) likes playing with his (though it is more of a "rainy day" kind of activity for him).  But the fact that your dd loves playing with train sets at other peoples' houses makes me think that it would be a good "big" present for her.  I wanted to suggest that you check out the IKEA train sets.  They're a lot less expensive than the other wooden sets, but fit with them.  What we did was buy the basic IKEA set and the two expansion sets that they have, and then bought a few choice "cool" add-ons made by the more expensive companies (Brio and the like).  The great thing about the wooden train sets, is that, if your dd ends up liking hers, you can buy all kinds of cool pieces, train cars, buildings, etc for future b-days, etc.  I love finding good play value toys like that (Lego, Playmobil, dollhouses, etc) that you can add to throughout the years.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Thanks for the thoughts.  Keep 'em coming!  I love the Remo gathering drum, but we live in an apt. and space is an issue...  Found a good deal on the train set if that's what we decide on.  <span><img alt="thumb.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="width:23px;height:18px;"></span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>She has lots of duplo handed down from my little brother. </p>
 

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<p>I saw other suggestions for this but I cannot tell enough people how awesome the Magnatiles are. I understand about not wanting more plastic in the world but maybe you can find them second hand? I have never purchased a more functional and engrossing creative toy. My daughter  is older now and still loves them, I teach toddlers and once they figure them out they love them too.  Do I sound crazy? It's true though, they are great.</p>
 

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<p>Wikki stix are very fun, and they sound like they fit well with your DD's personality. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My kids (2 and 4) like Wikki stix although they don't build with them much themselves - my 2yo makes balls out of them and my 4yo will make a tunnel or two and ask me to make people/a swing/etc. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I think we'd personally get more mileage out of them with my 4yo if I printed off some simple shapes to trace with the stix and laminated them, so if you go with that gift I suggest you do that.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Trains - my kids like those and I have chosen to add a few pieces to the set now for Christmas here.  Since she likes them other places she will probably also like them at home. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Tjej</p>
 

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<p>I have two 2-1/2 year olds and the wooden train set is definitely one of their favorites.  It's a mix and match from a few different manufacturers.  They do love the arts and crafts stuff but it doesn't stay contained very well and unless I'm directly supervising it just turns into a huge mess.  Other favorites are duplo, play kitchen and dolls.</p>
 

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It would have been different for each of my kids. DS would have loved the musical instruments. DD2 would have been more into the train. And DD1 is all about the arts and crafts. So I wasn't sure how to vote-- although I do think that for most kids, the train would be the longest-lasting fun.
 

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<p>We got DS1 a huge train set for xmas last year and he loves it. My dad got him/us a train/play table which honestly is mostly used for other stuff.... we tend to end up building hte trains on the floor :p  But, thats OK. The table is super useful as a toybox/play area/coffee table!! :p</p>
 

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I voted train set, but the arts and crafts were a close 2nd.<br>
Ds1 loved loved loved his wooden train set for years.
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>JudiAU</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283985/best-present-for-a-3-yo#post_16098508"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
My ds never really plays with musical instrument. Sometimes it is just temperament. I choose trains. But I wouldn't personally choose the huge set. I think at this age the fun is the ability to build and rebuild and the lots of things that need to go in a specific place for it to work can kill that. That being said we do have a lot of accessories now.<br><br>
You didn't mention duplo? Does she have them? Awesome open ended toys.<br><br>
I think a single art supply would be limiting. A three year old should be able to assist with cleanup. We'd move from one art project or toy until the next one is cleaned up.</div>
</div>
<p><br>
This is just funny, because I was going to say the exact same thing ("My kids never played with them") about the train set, but we have accumulated quite a few percussion instruments over the past several years (shakers, bells, toy xylophone, hand drum, et cetera), and we bought my son a ukulele for his 5th birthday, and the instruments get used on a pretty regular basis by my younger two (age 4 and 15 months) and occasionally by my son (5.5).  We keep them in the piano bench, and the ukulele hangs on the wall right next to the piano, and then get into them all the time, especially when someone is playing the piano. =)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We have a really nice Plan Toys wooden train set and the kids are *not* interested.  It's been put away for a while; I'll eventually sell it when I get around to it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I voted arts and crafts, though--mostly because it sounds like she'd really enjoy the wiki-stix, you can spend as much or as little money as you want to, and while it may not have the "long term" value you mentioned, it doesn't necessarily need to (because it isn't as big an investment in the first place).  </p>
 
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