A 4-year-old is growing by leaps and bounds. Physically, but also emotionally. Their range of emotions is expanding, and their newfound independence is startling to some. Cognitively, toddlers this age are speaking more, concentrating longer on activities, applying ideas to the real world, and using their imagination much more. These amazing developments can open up the doors for some great gift ideas; gifts will entertain little ones and reinforce these important developmental milestones.
Here are 15 gift ideas that’s sure to please any 4-year-old.
Alain Grée Animals Matching Game
Memory games are endless fun for all ages, but particularly for 4 year olds. In this version, large, sturdy cards are ideal for preschoolers, and the game play of discovering 18 different animals builds memory, concentration, and matching skills. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
Magna-Tiles offer hours of imaginative, hands-on play for kids. Even the most basic set of these magnetic, transparent plastic tiles will have your child building structures, exploring shapes and colors, and so much more. It’s truly hard to go wrong with Magna-Tiles. Shop at Magna-Tiles.
Alphabet Pictures Puzzle
Around this age, children begin to work on pre-reading skills like letter forms, storytelling, and spacing, among other things, which is why we love Tender Leaf Toys’ wooden letter puzzle for a gift idea. Three-dimensional letters lift up to reveal corresponding pictures and words below. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
Cradream RC Robot for Kids
If there are older siblings, there’s bound to be some envy over remote controlled cars. But remote controlled toys are often too advanced for 4-year-olds, which winds up causing frustration. Cradream RC Robot is perfect for younger children, however. The robot responds with simple movements, plays music and dances, and talks. It’s easy to control and is rechargeable, too. Shop at Amazon.
Candylab Toys Cars & Trucks
Little ones love to play with cars and trucks, and Candylab Toys wooden vehicles make a perfect gift. Their simple, minimalist design opens up the imagination, and their collectability makes them appealing to children as they get older, too. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
Lego Classic Medium Creative Brick Box
Lego’s have staying power, and it’s no mystery why. They encourage creativity and teach problem-solving skills, but they’re also just plain fun. Many of today’s kits have instructions that can be difficult for little ones to follow, so consider a kit of basic blocks (remember how they used to be?) for the ultimate creative building experience. Shop at Amazon.
Unicorn Castle Secret Pictures Puzzle
Puzzles can be great fun for all ages, and they make great gifts. They’re also quiet, thought-provoking, and they play a critical role in a child’s development. For 4 year olds, we love MudPuppy’s 42-piece Unicorn Castle Secret Pictures Puzzle, because it’s like two activities in one. Beyond the colorful illustration of unicorns at the royal castle that you'll see once assembled, the puzzle also comes with a revealing wand to place over parts of the puzzle images to view secret images. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
Fun Fan Fryer
Children learn through creative play, and Hape’s Fun Fan Fryer is just this. It’s an adorable, small-sized wooden stove with frying pan (great for small spaces!). Best of all, a built-in fan makes the felt food turn in the pan like it's bubbling, sizzling or frying. It comes with the spatula and salt-and-pepper set. (Batteries required.) Shop at Hape.
Chunkies Neon Paint Sticks
Perhaps the best way to describe OOLY Chunkies Paint Sticks is painting with a crayon (and without the mess!). No brushes needed, just pop the cap, twist, and start painting – a perfect gift for 4 year olds. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
This soft, moldable sand-like substance offers endless options for play. It feels like sand, but little ones can mold it, build it, sculpt it, squeeze it, and spend the entire morning with their hands in the stuff and it never dries out. If you’re gifting this, consider pairing it with scoopers or sand molds, too. Shop at Kinetic Sand.
Children this age are starting to use their imagination in different ways, which is why Tender Leaf Toy’s brightly colored mix-and-match robot set makes our list. Each robot comes apart easily so that they can be reconstructed in a variety of ways for creative play. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
Tea Time Set
Little ones will love serving up tea and cakes with Green Toy’s Tea Set, which is also made from 100% recycled materials. This 17-piece set includes tea pot and lid, sugar bowl with lid, creamer, four cups, four saucers, and four spoons. Shop at Green Toys.
Older toddlers and preschoolers will love catching, observing, and discovering insects all around with Smartlab Toys' Bug Playground. It comes with a fact-packed activity booklet, but little ones will love the pint-sized playground for bugs with a crawling tube, a curly slide, climbing wall, and jungle gym. Shop at Bicycle Pie.
Light the Sky in Navy Kids Teepee
Children love forts, and we stumbled upon these adorable made-to-order child teepees in navy blue with polka dots from Teepee Joy. Made from 100% cotton, with cute peek-a-book windows, there’s even an option to add a mat, pillows, or pouf. Shop at Teepee Joy.
GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope
This beginner’s microscope from Educational Insights is a fun way to encourage curiosity and STEM learning in little ones. It’s a fully functional microscope that comes with 12 prepared slides and a storage box. (Batteries required.) Shop at Amazon.
Photo credit: iStock.com/kali9