My 3 year old son likes "Mighty Machines" (construction equipment. He calls'em that because it's the name of a kids show he watches, about them).
I like to make each kid a gift each year. Homemade stuff is far more "in the spirit" than the latest Chinese blow-molded Wally-World special.
We were watching an ancient (Pre-war?) Disney Christmas special the other night, and out of Santa's sack crawled a wooden steam shovel. Inspired, to the basement I went.
This one's in pine with maple boom and bucket, mostly doweled construction. Two levers protrude from the house roof, one controls the boom, the other the dipper stick/bucket. The bucket bottom has a brass spring-latch to allow the load to be dumped. The levers will lock in the "up" position, by way of cutouts in their tracks.
bucket spring catch
Took 2 full days of work. Finished in raw linseed oil.