Our Top Picks
"Everyone loves to play Bingo, and this alphabet version takes the class favorite up a notch."
"Little animal lovers will love playing doctor to their furry friends with this sweet pet vet set."
"Instill a love of nature from a young age with this cool outdoor set for kids."
"Teach your kid about the days of the week while also giving them a daily routine they can see."
"Bath time has never been such a blast!"
"Hidden in each sealed bag is a cuddly stuffed animal wrapped in a soft blanket that's meant to look like a burrito."
"Help them work on their STEM skills as they build and build."
"Twist these toys into jewelry for a unique toy experience."
"It's suitable for children up to 44 pounds, and the three-wheel profile and low, flexible deck help kids feel stable."
"comes with 360 pieces in a rainbow of colors, two light-up LED cars, two balls, a suspension bridge, gas station, and road signs."
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Peaceable Kingdom Alphabet Bingo!
Everyone loves to play Bingo, and this alphabet version takes the class favorite up a notch. 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. The set comes with six game boards and 72 chips for marking the matches, so there’s enough for the whole family to get in on the action.
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B. Pet Vet
Little animal lovers will love playing doctor to their furry friends with this sweet pet vet set. It comes with everything they need to make sure they’re well taken care of 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 roof lifts up to store all of the vet’s tools, and the handle on top makes it easy to take on the road for house calls.
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Outdoor Exploration 10 Piece Kit
Instill a love of nature from a young age with this cool outdoor set for kids. This 10-piece set includes a compass, whistle, magnifying glass, pretend bug, compact bug collector case, hand crank flashlight (no batteries required), and easy-to-focus binoculars with a neck strap. From hiking to insect spotting and bird watching, they will have all the tools they need to explore every facet of the great outdoors. The exploration kit also comes with a carrier bag to take along all of their gear wherever the road may lead them.
Whether they’re at the beach, out on a hike, or just in their own backyard, this set will encourage them to look a little closer at their surroundings. Who knows what they may find?
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Melissa & Doug My Magnetic Daily Calendar
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 emotional stability and flexibility during the day. Some reviewers remark that it is lacking in the activity magnets, but many agree it is a great starter calendar.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Yookidoo Submarine Spray Station
Rub a dub dub, kids will want to stay in the tub with this fun bath toy. At this age, the longer you keep them in the tub, the better, and 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. Kids will also have fun spraying themselves and other toys as well. Bath time has never been such a blast!
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Kids can't get enough of unwrappable mystery toys, and the Cuteitos 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 in Series 3 include Chihuahito, Catito, Puppito, Sealito, Pigito, Walrusito, and more. Each one also comes with a collector's card listing its name, birthday, and species.
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Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Solid Colors Set
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. While these tiles are obviously fun for your child they also help hone their STEM skills.
Want to read more? Check out our guide to the best STEM toys.
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Twisty Petz are the ideal gift for 4-year-old girls who love both jewelry and toys because as the name suggests, with a few twists, they can easily transform a tou into a piece of jewelry.
This set comes with a family of five unicorns—the babies can be flipped into rings, while the parents can be maneuvered into bracelets. The animals can also be connected to create larger pieces like necklaces.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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Micro Mini Original
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.
Want to read more reviews? Check out our guide to the best outdoor toys for 4-year-olds.
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USA Toyz Glow Race Tracks
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.
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Constructive Playthings Mobilo Large Set
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.
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Zingo, aimed at helping kids with matching skills and sight-word recognition, is based on bingo but with a fun twist. There's 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 with 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.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart
This fun ice cream cart will serve up hours of fun, imaginative play. 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 and three flavors of syrup.
Six order cards are enclosed for kids to follow, and a magic scooper lets them know if they’re getting the orders right. 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. There are also seven games kids can play as they serve up the treats that help them develop memory, counting and color skills. This is one seriously cool toy!
Take a peek at some of the other best kitchen sets to buy for kids.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought four top-rated toys for 4-year-old boys and our reviewers tested them for around 40 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these toys, from their durability to their entertainment value. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Toy for a 4-Year-Old
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.
Test Results: B. Pet Vet (Best Overall)
What We Like
Helps fine motor skills
Promotes imaginative play
Great storage case
What We Don't Like
Difficult to open
Only comes with two animals
Tough to fit animals in various rooms
One of our testers liked this toy because it builds fine motor skills and encourages imaginative play: “Younger toddlers can develop fine motor skills with the different tools,” she said. “For example, they can match the color- and shape-coded keys to the corresponding rooms to work on their dexterity and hand-eye coordination. And, for children who are a little more advanced and looking for a playful escape, the vet carry case encourages role play and creative storytelling.”
One reviewer also liked that the carry case “can store all the items that it comes with, which is great to keep things tidy and to avoid having anything go missing.” However, on the other end of the spectrum, our testers felt that the toy’s packaging was very difficult to open. One reviewer also wished it came with more than two animals and noted that it was tough to fit those animals in the toy’s various rooms: “You have to really push them in, which can be difficult for toddlers to do (especially if they have to simultaneously turn the key to keep the door closed),” she said.
Test Results: Outdoor Exploration 10 Piece Kit (Best Nature)
What We Like
Teaches a love for nature
What We Don't Like
Some pieces are cheaply made
Storage bag hard for kids to carry
“This toy instills a love for nature,” declared one of our testers, “Through STEM learning, kids learn scientific observation, navigation, and problem-solving skills. This is a great first step to understanding the world around them.” Our reviewers also thought it “stimulated creative thinking” and liked that it was affordable: “The binocular gift set includes a lot of different pieces and is a great price point for the hours spent exploring outside,” she said. The downsides? According to one tester, some of the pieces felt “cheaply made.” Also, one reviewer observed that the kit’s carrying bag was tough for kids to use: “The bag's strings are too long for little ones,” she said. “Although the bag is nice to keep everything in one place, it's hard for them to carry because the strings are way too long for their little backs!”
Test Results: Peaceable Kingdom Alphabet Bingo! (Best Game)
What We Like
Teaches kids how to lose
What We Don't Like
Letter recognition is slightly confusing
No separate bag for letter tokens
One reason our testers liked this toy was because it had educational value: “This bingo set helps your little one recognize uppercase letters in an entertaining way,” she explained, “so your children won't know they’re actually ‘working’ on a new skill!” Also, one reviewer said it was fun for her kids while teaching them how to win and lose: “Since this is a game you play with other people, children have to wait for their turn or have to learn to share some of the responsibilities (like drawing and calling out the letters),” she said. “And since there's only one winner, they'll eventually have to learn to lose with grace.”
In terms of negatives, one tester felt that the letter recognition was confusing: “Some letters are represented by words with consonant blends,” she said. “For example, G is represented by a picture of a grape. The ‘Gr’ sounds can be confusing to those who are just getting started with letter recognition.” One reviewer also pointed out that the game could use a separate bag for letter tokens: “The set only includes one drawstring bag,” she said, “where you have to put both the plastic chips and the letter tokens. It’d be nice to be able to separate them for less tedious prep.”
Test Results: Paw Patrol – My Size Lookout Tower (Best TV Show)
What We Like
Height is great for toddlers
What We Don't Like
Not attractive to look at
Slide doesn’t work very well
This toy was a hit with one of our testers because it's interactive and entertaining: “There are enough exciting features for my son to want to continue playing with it for a while,” she said. Another plus, according to one reviewer, was that it was a great height for toddlers. On the other hand, one tester felt it was “not pretty to look at” and that it was a little too big: “It takes a lot of space and can't really be stored or disassembled,” she noted. One of our reviewers also felt that its slide didn’t work that well: “The patrollers don't slide down the ramp very easily,” she explained, “and the flip feature doesn't work as well as the manufacturer claims.”