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Learning Toys for 4-Year-Olds

There is one thing that every parent buying toys for 4-year-olds, learns sooner or later. It’s that no matter how cute a toy is or how educational the toy is, if the child doesn’t like it, it’s just going to sit around collecting dust until the next yard sale. You may have also discovered that what one 4-year-old likes another may not. So how do you come up with a list of the best toys for 4-year-olds that children will love?

a boy laying on the floor with Legos all arounf him

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Learning Toys for 4-Year-Olds

When choosing toys for any age child, it’s important that toys be age appropriate so, let’s first take a quick look at a few characteristics of a 4-year-old:

  • 4-year-olds have a greater attention span than when they were younger.
  • As with all children, they learn through play.
  • They are now much more proficient at fine and gross motor skills, but they are still developing these skills
  • They’re learning to share and take turns and are able to play or work with others but at the same time, they’re becoming more independent and enjoy playing alone at times.
  • 4-year-olds have a wide range of interests and are constantly absorbing information around them.
  • They’ve acquired many new skills over the last few years, so they love trying new things to see what they can do with those skills.
  • They try hard to improve where needed. Sometimes that’s a matter of trial and error, so they need plenty of time and space to safely explore things they’re interested in.

It is with these character traits in mind that the following list has been compiled. Over the years, I have seen numerous 4-year-olds enjoying these toys both in a classroom and home setting. These toys are not reliant on the latest kid’s TV shows or popular fads. They have stood the test of time and are toys that you’ll even enjoy playing with your child.

Kinetic Sand is so cool! It can be molded into a ball and then expands ‘dripping’ through your fingers. The best part – there is no sand left on your hands to wipe off.

Klutz Discovery Bottles are great for hands-on science and sensory play. This kit comes with 2 leakproof bottles, items to get started and a 48-page instruction booklet so children can explore science concepts like creating a miniature tornado or seeing the effects of mixing water with oil.

Marble Run has been fascinating for children for decades. The tracks can be put together in endless combinations. This is a great way for preschoolers to build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. This version is a favorite because of the see-thru pieces that let little ones watch the marbles run through the track from start to finish.

Legos are another classic toy that children have loved for generations. Chances are you, your parents, and your grandparents have had the pleasure of playing with Legos. Now, in turn, your 4-year-old can enjoy using their imagination to build endless creations.

Learning Locks with Keys is a self-correcting toy that preschoolers can play with alone. This set teaches number recognition (numerals), counting, and reading number words. Beginners start with counting the dots on the lock and finding the key with that numeral. Eventually, they can match numerals to the number word.

Construction Engineering Building Blocks are an amazing toy for stimulating creativity and imagination. Little did I know when I was given a set what a huge hit these would be. Preschoolers absolutely love building with these. These are great for helping to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Magna Doodle lets kids explore their artistic side or even practice their writing skills. The sliding tool makes it easy to erase and create new pictures over and over again.

Foldable Felt Flannel Board

Flannelboards are fun for children to retell stories on which helps build vocabulary, memory, sequences, and oral language skills.

This Kids Play Mat is a great way for preschoolers to use their imagination as they ‘drive’ around the park on their way to go shopping or head down the highway on their way to the little church out in the country. This makes a fun way to explore the world of transportation.

Pattern Blocks are a fun math manipulative that helps children develop spatial awareness and problem-solving skills. This set comes with double-sided wooden boards, wooden pieces, and a wooden storage container. 4 year olds will feel like they are doing advanced puzzles ( which, actually – they are.)

Magna Tiles are an absolute must-have! There are so many ways your 4-year-old can play with these tiles. There is something intriguing about kids and magnets. Add colors and shapes to the mix and you have a HUGE hit. There are so many ways to play with these magnetic tiles, that I started collecting ideas on a Pinterest board named Magna-Tile Ideas.

Double-Sided Wooden Star Diner Restaurant Play Space (Melissa & Doug) This is an adorable way to spark your child’s imagination. One side is a replica of a 50’s dinner booth the other is the kitchen with a stove, refrigerator, soda dispenser, milkshake mixer, and plenty of storage space.

Looking for more fun ways to engage your 4-year-old? Check these out:

Debbie Brown Tothood 101

Hi! I’m Debbie Brown. I created Tothood 101 because I’m passionate about sharing preschool activity ideas, and resources I’ve gleaned from 20+ years of experience teaching preschoolers at home and in the classroom. My goal is to encourage, guide, and help inspire you to make learning SUPER FUN for your preschooler at home! Check out the ABOUT page to learn more.


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