The thing about 4 years olds is this: it’s all a balancing act. (Isn’t everything in childhood?)
At this age, little ones are full of energy, curiosity and creativity. Their understanding of the world around them continues to grow, and at times it seems like they’re soaking in every word you say. At other times, however, it seems like they’re ignoring every word you say as they’re getting their first taste of independence by testing boundaries.
Longer, more involved stories, games and activities may be appealing to a 4-year old; also simple puzzles, make-believe toys and activities that test their gross motor skills. In a nutshell, look for a gift that offers both entertainment and educational enrichment. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started.
Zingo! by Thinkfun always shows up on “best of” lists for younger children. Like Bingo, it’s easy to master and fun for all ages to play, even as young as 4. No need to read or write, rather little ones just spot the picture, match with the plastic Zingo piece, and aim for 3 in a row.
Safari Ltd Animal Figures (below, Morgan Mare) are a great option for a variety of ages. These animals, mythical creatures and dinosaurs are perfect for make-believe play and storytelling, for creating habitats, and so much more.
You’ll find Squigz by Fat Brain Toys in many preschool classrooms, as it’s a perfect age to fall in love with these. 4-year-olds are mastering their fine motor skills, and these plastic pieces easily stick together to build any shape and size structure they can imagine.
Memory is a game we can all remember and appreciate, so that’s why we love Chronicle Books’ Missing Socks Matching Game, which is perfect for 4-year-olds. Kids will love uncovering the missing socks while building memory, concentration, and matching skills.
We couldn’t resist including the adorable Janod Cooker Reverso Wooden Kids Kitchen Playset (available via Crate and Barrel) in our list, as 4-year-olds are mastering the art of creative play. This means playsets with cooking utensils, tool benches, and costumes are sure to please. For a lower cost option, check out our Supermarket Grocery Set or Fruity Blender from Tender Leaf Toys.
PicassoTiles are a parent’s and teacher’s best friend. These amazing magnetic tiles offer endless hours of screen-free fun for kids. Watch them build amazing structures with ease.
Indoor play tents, like My Very Own Playhouse (via Pottery Barn), are also a favorite of 4-year-olds. There are lots of options out there, but these play tents are just the beginning of their imagination.
Kids Hopscotch Rug found at Crate and Barrel is perfect for indoor play. At this age, there’s a lot of energy to burn, so this will make their parents proud.
Children can decorate scenes of sweet animals being cared for at the vets with this Pet Hospital Magnetic Play Scene from Petit Collage.
And there’s nothing like a great, big stuffed animal for little ones to cuddle. Topping our list is the adorable Puffernutter Puppy by Mary Meyer.
Top photo credit: iStock.com_puhimec