August 10, 2023

Ellie Inspired Birthday Gift Ideas (3 Years Old)

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Ellie and I are celebrating our birthdays on Saturday! She’ll be 3 and I’ll be 31. Her birth story and testimony to the Lord’s goodness will always be such a cherished story of ours (I shared it HERE). It was my favorite birthday of all time, that’s for sure.

A bit of a vulnerable moment: I always have full intent of making birthdays and holidays a really big deal in our family. It’s actually something we talked about recently around the desires for our “family culture”. My mom always managed to make them so fun no matter how incredibly busy my parents were. I want that for my own family but I have to admit, I haven’t done much in the very early years of Ellie’s life for our birthday because I’ve either let things get in the way until the last minute when I’m like “Oh biscuits! I need to throw stuff together!!!” or I just didn’t put a ton of energy into it because I knew she wouldn’t remember it anyway. The nursery/first/second birthday/etc. is more for the parents than it is for the child, am I right? I’m realizing that probably sounds cold but it sure as heck doesn’t mean I love her any less than the mama that goes big from day one! I think that is just the truth (you can let me know how much you disagree with me in the comments 😉)!

All of that to say, I wanted to be more on top of it this year so I started brainstorming ideas for gifts and a little birthday celebration a couple of months ago. I’d keep a note in my phone and any time I thought of a gift idea, realized she was outgrowing something, or was in need of something, I’d add it to the list. It was helpful to have this compiled so that whenever family and friends ask what to get her, I’d have ideas (in previous years I’ve always drawn a blank at this question!).

Gifts can be so fun but the amount of stuff can also become overwhelming so we tend to stick to a “want, need, wear, read” format from Stephen and I and we have a good amount of “needs” on the list for grandparents and beyond. If you are on the hunt for what to buy an adventurous, very hands-on, outdoorsy, Bluey + Trash Truck loving three year old girl, here are some ideas:

  • Bluey magnet set – We impulsively bought this on a trip up to Virginia when we stopped at a Cracker Barrel to use the restroom and she played with it for 4+ hours straight and for the entire rest of the week. Unfortunately, with the wedding craziness for my brother at my parents house, we somehow managed to lose it and can’t find it anywhere (probably lost in the woods somewhere!). She kept asking for it, it was so sad. We bought her another one when it was on a great sale. She is going to be THRILLED! This is her “want”.
  • Backpack – She’s at the age now where she can start carrying her own activities/water/extra clothes to friends or on trips to free up some diaper bag space and she’ll love the idea of having her own customized bag.
  • Non-toxic watercolors – My mom got her these because she loves coloring so much. I love that they’re non toxic!
  • Hat – Ellie LOVES hats! If either of us are wearing one, she asks for hers. I love the color options and simplicity of this one.
  • Goggles – Her swim teacher gives her these at lessons and Ellie loves them. They’re great for younger kids especially because they’re super easy to adjust in the back.
  • Helmet – Ellie has outgrown her infant helmet so we got her this one so we can pass the other one down to Sophie. This was her “need”.
  • Sneakers – We have a shoe capsule for the kids. A pair of these sneakers, moccasins, and rain boots. She’s starting to need the next size up in shoes again. These are pretty much always on the birthday/Christmas list as a need. This company sells ones like what we used to buy but from what we’ve seen, they more closely align with our values so we prefer to put our money here! This is her “wear”.
  • Watercolor brushes – These go with the watercolor set!
  • Moccasins – We’ve bought multiple pairs of these in various sizes so we can continue passing them down kid by kid. This is what the girls wear to church (and beyond). They’re great because they let their toes splay, they have a lifetime warranty, they’re affordable, and we love supporting a family owned business.
  • Rain boots – Rain boots are a must! She’ll be wearing these practically every day in the fall and winter (we just pair with thick wool socks!). I loved that this color is different than what she’s had so far but also gender neutral to pass down.
  • Rolling pin – My mom got this for her for Play Dough and baking alongside me in the kitchen! She will get a ton of use out of it.
  • Chicken dress – Ellie’s Aunt McKenna bought her this dress last year for her birthday and she asks for it every day. She LOVES it and it’s so soft.
  • Lacing beads – We try to keep only “Montessori style” toys in the home because they keep the kids occupied for longer and more imaginative so my mom got her this and I guarantee she’ll spend an hour+ playing with this alone.
  • Trash truck book – Ellie is a big TT fan thanks to my brother. We got this for her as her “read”. She’s going to love it.
  • Vegetable/fruit slicer – Another gift from my mom so Ellie can chop veggies alongside me!
  • Apron – Since we encourage the kids to cook/bake alongside us as much as we can, I want to get all of the kids their own colored aprons eventually. These linen ones are so cute and have great reviews and I love all of the different color options!

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with joy
jordan jean


  1. […] so grateful. I started putting a little gift list together for her on my phone (you can find her gift guide here!) and then started my own because I tend to get a bunch of eye rolls when I say “I […]

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