By three years old your tot might actually be more excited about what’s in the box instead of the box itself when it comes time for that gift-opening flurry. We’ve rounded up some of the hottest new toys for three-year-olds to help you fill those boxes with gifts they’ll be excited to play with all year round.

Fingerlings HUGS

Those adorable interactive monkeys that were the most coveted toy of the last holiday season are back in a new cuddlier version. The newly released Fingerlings HUGS are available as plush versions of the original Bella and Boris Fingerling Baby Monkeys. Just like the tiny ones, these plushes interact with over 40 different animations, but they also feature two new additions. When you press your Fingerlings HUGS' mouth to your skin, you'll get a kiss, and when you push a button in its ear and say something, it will repeat what you said.

Available at target.com, $29.99.

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BRIO World Smart Engine Set with Action Tunnels

Old school fun meets modern tech with the new BRIO World Smart Tech line. The Smart Engine Set comes with trains, tracks and tunnels that all feature interactive elements. Based on which element of the track or stop points the train interacts with, it will honk, flash its lights or stop among other actions. Despite the interactive elements, no apps are needed to control the toy which makes it perfect for toddlers. This gift is definitely a splurge, but it will continue to be fun for several years.

Available on amazon.com, $89.99.

photo: Just Play

PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket

Blast off for adventure with your three-year-old's favorite masked superheroes. The newest addition to the PJ Masks toy line is the HQ Rocket that takes the PJ-wearing heroes all the way to the moon for a showdown with Luna Girl. Fans of the show will have hours of fun with this new play set that includes a Gekko action figure and lunar rover vehicle.

Available on amazon.com, $39.95.

Precious Ponies Playset

Little cowpokes will have lots of fun caring for their ponies in this easy to take along playset. Complete with two horses, jumping gates, grooming brush and feeding trough, kids will have everything they need to play with and care for their ponies in their very own stable. All of the pieces easily fit inside making it an easy toy to tote along for a visit to the grandparents.

Available at lakeshorelearning.com, $39.99.

Scribble Scrubbie Pets!

If your three-year-old likes to color everywhere except on paper, now you can let him. Crayola's new Scribble Scrubbie Pets allows kids to color six different plastic pet toys which can be easily washed and then decorated all over again. Besides the six different furry pets and washable markers, the kits come with a tiny Scrub Tub where your kid can give her colorful pet a bath.

Available from shop.crayola.com, $19.99.

photo: Petit Collage

Magnetic Play Scene Outer Space

Your little explorers can imagine they're blasting off for an adventure to discover a new planet with this colorful magnetic playset. The box set comes with two different backgrounds and over 50 different magnetic pieces, including planets, astronauts and space vehicles, allowing for endless open play.

Available at petitcollage.com, $24. 

photo: Spin Master

Croc n' Roll

This fun twist on musical chairs is the perfect family game to keep your wiggly three-year-old moving. As the Croc starts rocking and rolling around the floor, players have to jump from one lily pad to the next to stay safe. If they step on the wrong lily pad or go out of bounds, one lily pad gets taken away. The game continues until there is one player left standing in a lily pad. This is a fun, fast-paced game that lets young kids get involved in a family game night.

Available on amazon.com, $19.99.

Snap and Design Monster Trucks

Playtime with cars gets a little more imaginative with this set of customizable Monster Trucks. The set comes with oversized truck bodies, chassis with monster-sized wheels and accessories all of which allow young engineers to piece together their own vehicles in dozens of different combinations.

Available at lakeshorelearning.com, $29.99.

Sago Mini Mix-and-Match Aqua Puzzle

If it's time to give your tub play and upgrade from the baby toys to something a little more exciting, your three-year-old will love these new Aqua Puzzle sets. Available in a Boat Builder set and Island Adventure, little bathers can use the interchangeable pieces to build a seaworthy vessel or an island to explore. The pieces also stick to the tub and tiles to create play scenes. The sets even come with a netted bag for easy clean-up.

Available on amazon.com, $19.99.

Color Wonder Scented Light Up Stamper

Let your little artists get creative with colorful stamps without worrying about the mess. Crayola's Color Wonder Scented Light Up Stamper set comes with several animal stamps and Color Wonder inks that are both scented and magical because they won't work on skin, furniture, walls or any surface other than the special Color Wonder paper. The inks appear invisible until they touch the special paper, but the stamper handle will light up with the color in use.

Available from crayola.com, $19.99.

Playskool Heroes Chomp Squad Troopersaurus and Bobby Badge

Fans of the hit YouTube series Chomp Squad will love getting in on the dino rescue action with this awesome playset from Hasbro. The set includes Bobby badge and Troopersaurus who are ready to help anyone in danger. Even if your tots haven't seen the show, they will have hours of fun combining imaginative dinosaur and hero play.

Available on amazon.com, $27.14.

Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer

Little chefs can get creative in the kitchen with this new set that lets you stamp out colorful cookies and frosting topped cupcakes using Play-Doh. The mixer comes with different stamp attachments and tools to create designs and pretend candies for toppings.

Available on amazon.com, $11.19.

Transforming Princess Knight Nella

Fans of Nickelodeon's Nella the Princess Knight will love having their own epic adventures with this hot new toy. With the push of a button, she transforms from a knight back to a gown-clad princess. Nella can sing her theme song and says several phrases from the popular show. She also comes with a hairbrush and a sword.

Available at target.com, $34.99.

Doodle and Draw Elephant

This wooden magic drawing board in the shape of an elephant is the perfect gift for creative young minds. They can spend hours drawing pictures and pretending to write, then simply slide the bar to erase and start again. Unlike other magnetic drawing boards, this one is multicolored with four different color quadrants for more vivid art.

Available from petitcollage.com, $35.

Antsy Pants Gym

Got a little gymnast at home? Then Antsy Pants newest items are just what she'll want Santa to deliver. We love everything from this creative line that is known for its easy to build play kits, but the latest items, which include a mini balance beam, tumbling mat and inflatable tires, are a great way to outfit tykes who like to move and tumble.

Available at target.com, starting at $19.99. 

Super Monsters Collectible Figures

If your mini monster loves watching the spooktacular preschool adventures of the Netflix original series Super Monsters, then he'll be howling with joy when he finds these new toys wrapped up in a gift box. The new collection features four-inch versions of the magical monsters that attend Super Monster preschool, including Cleo Graves, Super Monsters Frankie Mash, Katya Spelling, Drac Shadows, Zoe Walker and Lobo Howler. The Super Monsters Grrrbus is also available now for more fun pretend play.

Available from hasbrotoyshop.com, starting at $7.99.

photo: Pop-Oh-Ver

Pop-Oh-Ver Stove and Kitchen Counter

Play kitchens can be a great way to encourage imaginative play, but they also take up a lot of floor space. If you want to inspire your junior chefs without crowding your living room, check out the awesome Pop-Oh-Ver Stove and Kitchen Counter. The fabric coverings drape perfectly over a chair for play time and can be folded and put away when it's time to clean up.

Available at popohover.com, $39.95.

HeroDrive Power Pals Plush

Superheros and cars?! Sounds like a in three-year-old heaven. HERODRIVE DC Superfriends Power Pals Plush vehicles are superheroes and super soft, perfect for tot hands to grab and scoot around. Each character vehicle, available in Batman and Superman, has its own sounds and music.

Available on amazon.com, $29.99.

photo: Ravensburger

Five Little Fish

This fun fishing-themed game tests your tots memory skills and dexterity. Using the fishing poles, they can go fish for one of four fish to see if their tails match the color on the lily pad cards. 

Available on amazon.com, $19.99.

ALEX Pretend Melody Mixer Piano

Your mini musicians can create their own dance beat with this awesome floor piano you can play with your feet. Besides the classic piano key sounds that you can use to channel Tom Hanks in Big, the keyboard also features four animal sounds. Young maestros can compose and record their own tracks by adding and layering notes and they can also jam to four pre-recorded songs.

Available on Amazon, $35.

Melissa and Doug Animal Alphabet Coloring Pad

This jumbo-sized coloring from Melissa and Doug offers the perfect canvas for your little artist to get creative while they learn. Each one of the 26 pages in the 11 x 14-inch pad features a different animal and letter of the alphabet to discover. The pages are printed in bond paper making them strong enough for crayons, markers or paint. At just three bucks this gift is such a steal you might want to pick up the other jumbo Dinosaur Alphabet Coloring Pad.

Available at melissaanddoug.com, $2.99.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Courtesy of Petit Collage

All images courtesy retailers.

Editor’s note: At the time of publication, all items were available for purchase.

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