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- New toys become available for 4-year-olds with their advanced motor skills.
- They’re more empathetic as this age and toys that are collaborative are a great choice.
It’s always a great idea to foster children’s curiosity and creativity with educational toys that combine learning with fun and play at any age. At 4, it’s especially pivotal, since they can start to understand more complicated ideas and the goals of educational play are different.
How to choose educational toys for 4 year olds
While every child develops in their own way and has their own interests and experience of the world, you can choose toys and play activities that are especially relevant during this special time in a child’s life.
Toys for 4-year-olds should be both engaging and challenging; fun enough that they want to do it, but also not so simple that they aren’t learning new things along the way.
- Take advantage of their improved motor skills. At this age, they are better able to pour liquids, trace drawings, and fit pieces together. Building toys, art toys, and science toys challenge and refine these motor skills while boosting creativity and cognition.
- Look for social toys. Kids at four years old are more emotional, empathetic, and talkative. They are emotionally ready to practice social skills like sharing, collaborating, and communicating, so toys that foster shared or group activities will help develop these abilities.
- Choose open-ended toys. Toys that don’t have a set script, goal, or structure are great for fostering independent creativity and problem-solving in kids of this age. They have vivid imaginations, so choose toys that allow them to create their own adventures and work toward their personal goals.
- Work toward scholastic achievements. Children at four years old should be given ample opportunities to play with letters, words, and numbers as they build the skills that will be useful in school. Choose toys that motivate them toward that end, like an interesting toy that has instructions they need to read, or puzzles that double as math problems.
- Help them set goals. Even for open-ended and educational toys, you can ask goal-based questions like “What are you going to do?”. Encourage them to articulate a goal, even if it’s a simple one, and pursue it.
Educational toys for 4-year-olds should foster this “age of exploration,” and give kids an opportunity to socialize, explore, set goals, and celebrate their creativity. Here are some of our top picks for the best ones on the market:
- Magnetic tiles click together quickly and separate easily, so children can have fun learning while building and stacking, even from a young age.
- This set includes 24 triangle pieces, 32 quadrangle pieces, a booklet, and a storage bag to make cleanup fast and easy.
- Each piece is made of non-toxic, sturdy ABS plastic, and unified plastic frames with smooth edges, so they are safe for children.
- Magnets may be too weak to build very tall structures
The big mushroom-shaped pegs of the AMOSTING Color Matching Mosaic Pegboard are irresistible even to young children, who are attracted to the bright colors and fun shape. The pegs snap into the included pegboards to make fun and exciting images,
- The kit comes with 46 buttons, 10 different pictures, a pegboard, and a convenient storage tray to put everything away neatly
- Kids naturally learn motor skills and color matching as they make the patterns, but they can also get creative and create their own designs and patterns.
- The buttons are large enough to be safe for even small children.
- Buttons may be difficult for young children to snap into place
The award-winning PicassoTiles 100 Piece Set offers children infinite ways to learn and play while they build incredible, creative, 2D and 3D structures with the magnetic tiles. Build motor skills and boost creativity with this fun magnet tileset.
- These large, colorful tiles snap together easily and come apart quickly, with rounded edges and durable construction that is safe and fun for children.
- This 100 piece set includes 8 large squares, 46 small squares, 20 small triangles, 12 medium triangles, and 14 tall triangles so that children can build animals, buildings, patterns, and shapes of all kinds.
- Tiles are not very durable and may break open
The IQ BUILDER Building Toy Set is designed to give children an early head start on STEM learning, developing concepts of geometry, physics, and mathematics.
- The set enables almost any configuration or construction, from simple shapes to complex structures, while building motor coordination
- This set includes 40 connecting balls, 5 wheels and wheel connectors, 88 different lengths of ball connectors, and 24 cover plates. It also contains 3 different instructional eBooks for learners of all ages and abilities
- It comes with a convenient storage box to make cleanup easy
- These pieces have been independently tested by a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved lab in the USA and found to be BPA-FREE, LEAD-FREE, and PHTHALATE-FREE, and clean up with just water
- This single set doesn’t include all the pieces necessary to make everything described in the eBook instructions
The Brickyard Building Blocks STEM Construction Engineering Kit is designed to promote hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, improve logical thinking, and develop problem-solving skills.
- This set allows up to 6 children to play at the same time, promoting social and teamwork skills while learning and building together
- This massive set includes all the pieces necessary to make 42 different designs, complete with movable wheels, blocks, nuts, and bolts, along with 6 different building tools
- The parts are certified phthalate-, cadmium-, lead-, and BPA-free, and easy to wash
- The giant set also comes with a convenient storage box for fast cleanup
- This single set doesn’t include all the pieces necessary to make all the objects pictured.
Help your child develop early reading and spelling skills with the Melissa & Doug See & Spell Wooden Educational Toy while building motor skills and shape-matching at the same time.
- The set includes over 60 colorful wooden letters, and 8 two-sided cutout boards, which all fit together into a compact and durable storage case.
- The letter shapes can also be used independently as toys, and to advance early language learning.
- Product inconsistencies mean that the word spelled out isn’t always accurate to the accompanying images.
The fun and entertaining 101 Piece Educational Construction Engineering Building Blocks Set from ETI Toys is designed to promote motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity, with enough potential and building options to grow with your child for years.
- This set includes two dual-purpose wrenches, so two children can play at once, building social skills and enhancing teamwork while they learn and explore.
- The set has everything needed to make 12 different toy designs, as described in the accompanying e-book, and a convenient storage bin to make cleanup fast and simple.
- The pieces are all independently third-party lab tested and certified non-toxic and BPA-safe, lead-safe, and phthalate-safe.
- No negatives
The Gamenote Large Magnetic Drawing Board not only promotes creativity, coordination, and exploration, but it’s also a great way to entertain kids outdoors or on the road. This large magnetic drawing board is a great way to explore fun, freestyle drawing, but also comes with stencils and templates for even more ways to express themselves.
- The pen and stamps are large and friendly for small fingers, and the board wipes clean with a swipe
- The set comes with a large magnetic drawing board, 5 fruit stamps, 6 copy cards, 2 stickers, and even a second drawing pen, so two kids can collaborate together
- Portable and durable, good for car trips and plane rides
The 9-in-1 Outdoor Exploration Kit for Young Kids is a fantastic way to cultivate an interest in nature and get kids playing outdoors. With this kit, you get practical tools and instruments that will nurture the budding explorer in your child. This kit is a great way to help kids learn about nature and science, and have fun exploring the outdoors.
- Includes binoculars, a magnifying glass, a self-energizing flashlight that never needs batteries, a handheld fan, and a 5 function multi-tool with a compass, thermometer, flashlight, magnifying glass, and a whistle.
- Everything is child-safe, functional, and packs into the included sturdy tin carrying case.
- It even comes with the necessary batteries included
- The hand-crank flashlight may not be very durable
This Interblox set from Jarrby STEM allows kids to create a huge range of 3D shapes and puzzles and is designed to grow with your child. With endless connections and interlocking points, it will keep kids busy for hours, and kids can build social skills by building together. It’s a great way to foster an early interest in STEM while promoting imagination and creativity, and these products have garnered rave reviews from the media.
- The pieces are non-toxic, lead-free, BPA-free, phthalate free, and have a large size and smooth edges making them safe for young kids
- The pieces are even easily washable
- The set comes with a travel and storage backpack, an idea sheet and downloadable eBook, and has 50 construction pieces.
- A top product, no negatives at this stage
- The set includes a beaker, magnifying glass, eyedropper, funnel, tweezers, flask, goggles, 2 small test tubes with lids and stands, a large test tube with lid and stand, and 10 activity cards
- All the pieces are durable, rounded, and safe for kids to use as they mix, stir, and explore the principles of science
- Most of the activities involve common household ingredients, including things like food coloring, vinegar, dish soap, etc.
- The included experiments may require household items that you don’t have on hand
Any of the educational toys above should help 4-year-olds learn valuable physical, mental, and even social skills as they begin to explore and interact with the world around them.
For More Ideas:
- These Are The Best Interactive Books That Will Excite Kids
- 25 Best Open Ended Toys That Inspire Kids To Create
- 21 Genius Math Books For Kids That Will Educate And Inspire
What do you think? Leave me a comment!