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When it comes to picking out the perfect toy for the 4-year-old in your life, look for something that will keep them engaged and help them learn an essential skill such as communication or coordination.
Here, the best toys for any 4-year-old on your list:
This is Bingo, but with a twist. Instead of a caller shouting out numbers, players reach into a bag and pull out a letter. If the letters are on their card, they mark them. Once someone gets four in a row, they should “Bingo!” and win.
Each space on the cards has a picture of something that starts with the letter. For example “F” has a flower and “O” has an owl, so not only is the game great for teaching letter recognition, but it helps with letter sounds as well.
"By playing with friends and family, preschoolers practice cooperation, sharing, and taking turns (aka patience). It took some time, but our 4-year-old eventually understood that he had to wait for everyone to identify their letters before drawing another token, and he eventually shared the responsibility of calling out letters."—Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester
This pet vet set comes with pretty much everything, including a stethoscope, syringe, thermometer, scale, x-rays, and their very own clinic.
The clinic is equipped with a fold-out exam table and four rooms for the patients. Kids get their own set of keys for locking and unlocking the rooms as necessary, and there’s a wise owl in the chimney that pops in and out. Two adorable plush patients—a cat and a dog—are included as well, but kids will be sure to find plenty more patients in their toybox.
"The way kids interact with the clinic will likely depend on their age. For example, our 4-year-old son used the scale and thermometer to fix up imaginary ouchies and boo-boos, while our 18-month-old used them to work on his dexterity and coordination."—Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis, Product Tester
If you are looking for one of the best educational toys for a 4-year-old look no further than this magnetic calendar. Here your child will learn more about the days of the week, seasons, months, holidays, temperature, and more. Besides being a fun way to teach your child, it also helps set up a daily routine for them which can lead to better stability and flexibility during the day.
This submarine spray station will have them begging to stay in for some serious splashing fun. The battery-operated toy (four AA batteries are required but not included) attaches to the tub. Water comes in through the submarine and is circulated up through the diver shower head, which can then be sprayed into two funnels that produce fun, mesmerizing effects with spinning wheels, fountains and googly eyes.
Playing with building blocks is a pretty standard part of childhood. But these blocks are different. The soft foam makes them easy on hands and they're also magnetic. They snap together and even rotate 360 degrees. Kids can build away with the blocks that are easy for little hands to grip.
Even if you can't physically take your little one camping, this play set will kinda make it feel like the real thing. The set includes a vehicle, camper, two chairs, and a toy figure. The camper door opens and closes and the awning is even detachable.
Kids can play ice cream scooper as they serve up delicious treats for their friends, family, and stuffed animals. It comes with four flavors of ice cream, three toppings, three flavors of syrup, and six order cards. There’s even a bell to let people know they’re coming or that their order is up. The cart also plays music and features more than 200 fun phrases.
Kids can't get enough of mystery toys, and the Cutetitos are yet another example of the trend. Hidden in each sealed bag is a cuddly stuffed animal wrapped in a soft blanket that's meant to look like—you guessed it—a burrito. The 12 animals include Chihuahito, Catito, Puppito, Sealito, Pigito, Walrusito, and more. Each one also comes with a collector's card listing its name, birthday, and species.
These transparent, multi-color magnetic building tiles are something your children will likely play with well into the tween years, with the structures getting increasingly complicated. The 32-piece set comes with a mix of two sizes of squares and three types of triangles, but you'll likely want to spring for an additional set to cut down on sibling squabbles and increase the design possibilities.
Some classics are, well, classics for a reason. They're just forever timeless. And that's why Llama Llama is a great read. The book revolves around Baby Llama who just needs mama's reassurance during bedtime. Kids will love the illustrations all while learning about comfort and patience.
This lightweight, durable scooter has a "lean-to steer" design, meaning that kids will intuitively learn to shift their weight right or left into turns, thus improving balance and coordination. It's suitable for children up to 44 pounds, and the three-wheel profile and low, flexible deck help kids feel stable from that first push-off.
The only thing cooler than a race track is a race track that also glows in the dark. This one comes with 360 pieces in a rainbow of colors, two light-up LED cars, two balls (they can get pushed by the cars during races), and fun touches like a suspension bridge, gas station, and road signs.
Many preschool teachers love to use German-made Mobilo sets in their classrooms. With pieces like wheels, axles, geometric shapes, and faces, these open-ended sets encourage kids to construct buildings, vehicles, and people. The colorful pieces snap together using flexible connectors and are easy for little hands to grasp and manipulate.
Zingo features a "Zinger" box that kids can take turns pushing, and when they do, two tiles pop out. The tiles all have familiar words like "shoe" or "clock," with corresponding pictures for the kids who can't read yet.
Each child gets a bingo-like card with nine squares, and as the tiles show up, they can grab one if it matches a square on their board. As with bingo, the kid who fills their card first wins. Playing games also teach children important life skills like waiting their turn, compromising, and learning to act like a graceful winner or loser.
This is a fun game of matching and learning to spell small words. It includes one tray, 30 cards, and letter cubes. Kids learn letter recognition and it's the perfect parent-child toy. The tray comes in a few different colors, including green and pink, but the educational aspect remains the same.
Age range Four-year-olds are at a tricky age, as they’ve officially graduated past the “toddler” stage, yet they might not be ready for big-kid toys. It’s important to check the age rating on the toys you’re considering, as these will help you purchase one that’s appropriate for their level of development.
Educational value Soon 4-year-olds will be headed to school (if they haven’t already), so it’s always beneficial to get them toys that reinforce the important skills they’re learning. You might consider getting them toys that teach basic counting or reading skills or games that help them practice taking turns.
Current obsessions At this age, many children start to develop strong opinions and likes. For instance, it seems like just about every 4-year-old absolutely loved Frozen a few years ago. Ask the 4-year-old in your life what they like, and let their answer guide you to the perfect toy to fit their interests.