We’ve rounded up the best gifts and toys for 4 year olds to make buying presents for little ones of this age a breeze.
From educational toys recommended by experts to help kids get ready for the big milestone of starting school, to games and gifts that they can enjoy with their friends, these toys and gifts are all parent approved and loved by children aged four and up.
What are the best toys for 4 year olds?
At the age of four, most children begin to develop a stronger sense of self. You may notice that little ones of this age need more privacy or time to themselves to play without adult supervision or help.
The best toys for 4 year olds are designed so that they can be played with independently or with friends. Much like the best toys for three year olds, these toys will also encourage imaginative and ‘open ended’ play.
At the age of four your child may also be starting pre-school. They will have started to work out the link between letters and sounds and words and pictures – the foundation of learning to read and write. This big milestone changes the types of toys four years will engage with.
‘Early Years foundation skills like fine motor skills, balance and coordination will be vastly improved in a preschool setting’ notes Heather Welch, International Brand Manager for Edx Education. So the toys your children play with at home should reflect this.
Heather also suggests that the best toys for children of this age will help continue: ‘to teach children to share and communicate’. Plus, they will help your child practice, ‘quiet as well as active play’.
What games do 4 year olds like to play?
At this age, children should be getting more to grips with following instructions. They will also be continuing to learn to share toys and take turns. Don’t worry, it’s natural for this to take some time! Four year olds love to play games with others. However, you may need to continue to encourage the concept of sharing and ‘playing nicely’.
Games and toys for four years olds start to become more advanced than the sensory toys they may have played with when they were younger. You may notice that the imaginary games they play are more elaborate, too.
Child development expert and psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer explained that buying toys for four year olds and playing games that encourage turn taking and communication, as well as playing with other children, can have a beneficial impact on their development and success in school later down the line:
‘A strong predictor of exam grades at the end of secondary is the social development of children as they start school. So, focusing on playing with other children, games that encourage sharing and turn taking, as well as developing communication skills, are all great ways of helping your child prepare for the start of school.
‘Simple board games and toys that increase children’s confidence with numbers and letters are also helpful.’
By the age of four, you will also find your child is showing preferences to the types of games they like to play. So let them use their new found communication skills to tell you and show you what these are.
‘Allow children to make their own minds up whether they like dolls or drawing, cars or castanets,’ Heather advises.
The best gifts and toys for 4 year olds
Scroll down to see our pick of the best gifts and toys for 4 year olds in 2020.
LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box
Age suitability: 4+ years| Batteries required: None | Price: £24.99
A classic that just doesn’t seem to age, Lego is an educational toy that has been inspiring children for generations. Dig your old box of lego out of the attic to pass down to your kids or get them started with this epic set of coloured blocks that come in a handy storage box.
Lunii-1-EN My Fabulous Storyteller
Age suitability: 4+ years | Batteries required: 1 Lithium ion (included) | Price: £69.90
This mysterious looking box is actually a storytelling radio for kids that puts them directly into the adventure! Children craft their own story but picking who the hero is, the setting, the supporting character and more. Great for listening and attention skills, kids will love hearing an exciting story with their ideas brought to life.
Learning Resources LER3089 Coding Critters Bopper
Age suitability: 4+ years | Batteries required: 3x AAA (not included) | Price: £39.49
Young kids can learn coding concepts with cute bunny Coding Critters Bopper, Hip & Hop. Children code along with Bopper’s storybook adventure, taking part in coding challenges involving the fun pet play set.
Dessineo ‘Learn to Paint Easel’
Age suitability: 4+ years | Batteries required: 3x AAA (not included) | Price: £31.28
This easel teaches children to paint in a fun and simple step-by-step way. By the age of four they can hold pencils and paint brushes, so this toy is a great way to introduce them to creating art and pictures beyond colouring in.
Orchard Toys Match and Spell Game
Age suitability: 4+ years | Batteries required: None | Price: £7.50
A best selling, first reading and spelling activity game where children take turns to find letters and spell words, this fun single player activity or multiplayer game has two levels of difficulty. Young children can learn letter recognition, phonetic word building and matching pictures to words by using this early learning literacy game.
Le Toy Van – Wooden Educational Pirates Ship
Age suitability: 4+ years | Batteries required: None | Price: £49.90
Ahoy there! Swashbuckling kids of all ages who are fascinated by pirates will love this wooden pirate ship. Complete with fabric sails, a spring loaded firing cannon with cannonballs, a wind-up anchor, a deck trap-door, a helm, a Barbarossa figurehead and a rear opening stern for many a pirate adventure on the ‘open seas’.
Personalised Tenderleaf Wooden Tool Bench Toy
Age suitability: 4+ years | Batteries required: None | Price: £85
This wooden tool bench is designed to allow little ones to play independently, provide them with the opportunity to role-play and ‘fix’ things themselves. Complete with nuts, bolts and tool, this wooden toy bench can be personalised, making it the perfect gift.