Ask-Design-Mom Question:
Hi Gabrielle! Love your blog. I thought you would be the perfect person to ask. My nephew is turning three next week. He has *everything* an almost three year old could want or need. And not plastic stuff. Cool stuff — cause he lives in Brooklyn, and his parents are hip and all that. What is a good gift to get for him — got any ideas or websites or stores to visit? Andrea Birch

Design Mom Answer:
Great question, Andrea! And perfect timing what with my son’s three year old birthday happening just last Saturday. Here are some of the things Oscar loved receiving.

Banana Monkey Car.
I have no idea where my friend picked this up, but I am in love with it. And Oscar was possessive about it from the moment it appeared. So great! I’ve left a message for my friend asking about the source — I’ll update as soon as I hear anything. This just in: she picked this lovely item up at Wisteria. Apparently no longer available :(


Doctor Kit with Wooden Accessories.
The same friend also gave Oscar a little German doctor kit that Oscar has carried from room to room since his party.


A Colorful Clock.
From age 3 kids start learning more and more about the concept of time. Tomorrow. Yesterday. In a minute. We picked up this Monkey faced clock at the holiday fair in Grand Central. When the alarm goes off it makes monkey sounds. You can find 5 different animal sound clocks at Streamline.

Cariboo & Bloom Puzzle.
These are both made by the Cranium company and I am a fan of every thing I’ve seen this company produce. Smart thinking and good design. We own 4 of their boardgames and love them dearly. 3-year-olds can’t get enough of Cariboo. Your nephew will want to play it 10 times every day.

Bloom is a new-to-me Cranium product line and sure enough, it’s another hit. You put together a puzzle and then use the little flip books they provide to spot things on the puzzle and circle them with erasable marker. Oscar loves it!


We picked this up at Target for $7. It’s just the right size for a 3 year old to try out. And it’s small enough that I don’t mind him using it in the house (it’s so cold outside!).

Wood Puzzles.
It’s hard to own too many good wood puzzles. Your nephew probably already has some, but he’s probably also tired of them. Oscar (and Betty) both love wood puzzles. Melissa & Doug is one good source. Their puzzles are sold all over the place.


Play Dough & Art Supplies.
Since the parents of the nephew are “hip and all that”, they’ll appreciate homemade jello playdough in lieu of the electric-colored commercial stuff. (Although kids love both kinds!). Put it in a good looking container and include a dino or doggie or car shaped cookie cutter and it will provide hours of fun. And the jello makes it smell really good too.

This is an appropriate time to mention art supplies as well. Kids go through markers, paper, glue and pipe cleaners faster than you might expect. They are always a welcome gift.


Sporting Equipment.
A few trips to the park and whatever sporting equipment your nephew has will be either thrashed or lost. My kids are always delighted to receive baseballs and bats, kickballs, bouncy balls, hockey sets, soccer balls, all of it. I love this beautiful leather basketball that Oscar received. (Couldn’t find the link but I believe it’s from Pottery Barn.)

What about you Design Mom Readers? What do you like to give for 3-year-old gifts?