15 best toys for 4 year olds


by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

Now that your little one is even more grown up, you’re probably keen to find the best toys to suit their age. After all, as your child grows, so do their interests and idea of ‘fun’, so you’ll want to buy the best toys for four year olds that are set to intrigue, entertain and educate them.

By four years old your child will have reached many emotional and social milestones. They’re now more empathetic and you may find them always wanting to help you, or notice that they’re a lot more attuned to other people’s feelings. They’re more likely to want to play with other children their age too. Role play games are often popular with children this age, where they pretend to be something else, like an adult, animal or superhero.

Best at a glance:

  • Best overall toy for four-year olds: Leapfrog Count Along Till, £22.99

  • Best four-year old toy for imaginative play: B. Toys Pet Vet Clinic, £27.95

  • Best four-year old toy for construction: Marble Mania 162 Piece Marble Run, £23.99

  • Best four-year old to for environmental science: PlayShifu Orboot Earth, £39.99

Their motor skills will have developed a great deal too. Your child can now hold a pen or pencil between their finger and thumb and draw shapes, which means toys like colouring pencils, pens and books are more suitable for them. Also, we can’t forget the fact your not-so-little child will soon be starting school, so any toys that can help develop their learning will be hugely beneficial.

Before jumping straight into our buying guide of the best toys for four-year-old girls and four-year-old boys, we’ve listed the key things to look out for when shopping for these new toys.

What to look for when buying the best toys for a 4 year old:

Age range: Always check the age range of the toy before you buy, as this is important for your child's safety. Four is a very tricky age as they aren’t a toddler anymore, but also aren’t old enough for a lot of child toys, therefore make sure you’re buying something appropriate that they’ll love.

Educational value: They’ll soon be old enough for school, so any toys that can develop their knowledge of words, numbers, geography and other school subjects will start to get them excited for learning and they’ll be a hit with parents too.

Current trends: Do they have a favourite film that has just come out? Or have you noticed them wearing the same character on their t-shirts recently? Whether it’s the best Frozen toy or best Spiderman toy, current trends will always be a hit with toys.

Multiple player toys: It’s not just their knowledge of numbers and words you can improve through a toy, but their all-important social skills too. That’s why a toy that can be played with other children is such a good choice as it will help develop their communication skills.

Creative toys: Their creative side is just as important as their academic side at school, so arts and crafts toys are great for developing their creative skills and imagination.

Two pre-school girls playing with marble run indoors in nursery, Montessori education.

The best toys for 4 year olds

Best 4 year old toy for interacting

Best toy for building numeracy skills
Leapfrog Count Along Till
Price: $21.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$34.97View offer

Age suitability: 2+ | Batteries: 3 x AAA (included) | Size: 13.97 x 22.35 x 18.92 cm

Leap Frog are always creating toys to inspire a love of learning. There's nothing kids love more than pretending to scan items and take payment before giving people change. This is a great toy for encouraging them to develop their number and counting skills ahead of school, as well as learning about food and having great imaginative play!

One parent review said: "Such a great buy! I got this for my daughter, and she loves it! It comes with coins and food which you can beep at the till! Top tip for parents: it has a quiet and loud setting. As you put the coins in it, counts, and it’s great for helping children count in their play. Has buttons on the screen which say things, and they sing too. Such a great value for money!"

Pros

  • Comes with eight pretend food items to role play with
  • Plays sing-along counting songs to help develop maths skills

Cons

  • Sticking too many coins can jam the draw

Best 4 year old toy for imaginative play

Best toy for animal lovers
B. Toys Pet Vet Clinic
Price: $26.95
Alternative retailers
Walmart$34.88View offer

Age suitability: 2—6years | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ 31.75 x 10.16 x 29.21 cm

Does your little one love animals? This mini vet set is brilliant for providing hours of imaginative play, either on their own or with the help of a sibling. Featuring all the tools they'll need to nurse the animals back to health, this set makes a great gift. Everything can be stored inside the clinic, so you don't need to worry about pieces getting lost or stepped on.
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One parent review said**: "A well designed and sturdy learning toy. Good value for money. It keeps
the toddler interested for some time, and she keeps going back to it. A good purchase would recommend."

Pros

  • Eye-catching
  • Pieces can all be stored away in the clinic cage

Cons

  • Plastic is prone to scratch easily

Best 4 year old toy for construction

Best toy for hours of fun

Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ 44.5 x 23.1 x 22.6 cm

Who knew watching marbles roll down a run could be so fun. Your child will not only have fun assembling this wacky marble run, but they can play for hours watching the marbles roll through. Get them problem-solving and creating constructions with these easy-to-fit building pieces — with so many combinations, the possibilities are endless.

One parent review said: "This is absolutely amazing! One of the best construction toys we’ve ever purchased (and I work with children for a living). My children 4 and 6 have played with it for HOURS! The first thing they‘ve asked for this morning. Not had the TV on for 3 hours already! Well worth the money. I would recommend this one cause it comes with a good box and two helpful trays to catch the marbles. We also have a 2-year-old, and so I restrict the number of marbles out so I can keep an eye on them! Using two at the moment instead of the 68 provided! But if you have older children, they are less likely to eat them."

Pros

  • Great for developing problem solving skill
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • A little fiddly to put together

Best 4 year old toy for environmental science

Best toy for geography skill building
PlayShifu Orboot Earth
Price: $54.99

Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎25.91 x 25.91 x 34.29 cm

Long gone are the days of a basic, light-up globe to learn about the world. When used alongside the app, this fun and interactive globe take tots on a journey around the world, with over 400 highlights and more than 1000 cool facts across six categories — cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps — so they'll be a mini geography whizz in no time.

One parent review said: "My daughter LOVES it. For someone that is anti-tech, Orboot has proven me wrong. The app is jam-packed with information and really helps children (and me) learn more about the world - landmarks, animals, flags etc. It is something we can enjoy and use for many years. Highly recommend!!"

Pros

  • App includes over 1000 fun facts, interactive games and quizzes
  • Comes with a passport and stickers for your child to track their travels

Cons

  • Pricey

Best 4 year old toy for the whole family

Best whole family game

Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎5 x 5 x 5 cm

A classic board game for kids that never gets old, Crocodile Dentist is a fun game for the whole family that'll challenge your little one to cure the crocs' toothache before he chops down on their hand. It's super easy to set up, will develop their fine motor skills and best of all, requires no batteries.

One parent review said: "I chose this crocodile game, even though it was more expensive than others, because reading reviews of the cheaper games, people were not happy. This game is sturdy, and I look forward to playing it with my two-year-old grandchild."

Pros

  • Great to play as a group and therefore develops social skills
  • Creates excitement and has an intriguing design

Cons

  • Minimum of two players needed

Best 4 year old toy for arts and crafts

Best toy for creativity
Crayola Colour and Create Tub
Price: $42.77

Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎5 x 5 x 5 cm

Help your little one explore their creative side with this huge set from Crayola. This set includes a colour and sticker pad, 24 assorted crayons, 12 super tips, 12 coloured chalk, 12 coloured pencils, 12 twistable crayons and eight multi-coloured modelling clay. Great for rainy day play or for some fun chalk drawings on the garden wall, or path.

One parent review said: "These are very good. We bought three for our children. One had an animal colouring sticker book, and two had an activity book, so contents appear to vary slightly. Very good equality box; just add extra paper and you're all set. The box will take A4 sized paper."

Pros

  • A toy with longevity
  • Great value for money and comes in a sturdy box to keep everything tidy
  • Develops fine motor skills, visual senses and creativity

Cons

  • Risk of pen not staying on the paper

Best 4 year old toy for building

Best construction toy
LEGO 10698 Classic Large Creative Brick Box Construction Set
Price: $71.67
Alternative retailers
Walmart$71.01View offer

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Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎‎37 x 18 x 26.2 cm

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Construction set toys are always a hit and LEGO is popular with all age groups. This playset will provide hours of fun and contains 790 colourful pieces, including eight different types of windows and doors, with eight different frames, so they can construct their own buildings and more. Let their imagination run wild.

One parent review said: "Bought this as a starter set for our 4-year-old, and he has hardly stopped playing with it since it arrived. Plenty of pieces for him to get started with, handy ideas for the first few projects and links to online demos. Great value for money. I would say, given the number of pieces and a good gift. You need to buy the big mats separately, but other than that, it’s hours of fun."

Pros

  • Develops problem solving skills and imagination
  • Can be played alone or with friends

Cons

  • Pricey but you get a lot of LEGO, so it's worth it

Best 4 year old toy for creating memories

Best camera for 4-year-olds
VTech
Price: $119.33

Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries: 4 x AA (included) | Size:‎ ‎‎4 x 11.4 x 8.5 cm

Does your little one fancy themselves as a budding photographer? This is the ideal first camera to help them learn more about taking the perfect photo with both front and rear-facing cameras, movie recording features and fun editing tools to get their creative juices flowing. They can capture their favourite days out and memories to share with family and friends.

One parent review said: "My twins love their cameras. Great toy. You can put a limit on the amount of time they can play the games, which is great for parents. The only downside is the batteries don’t last long. It’s costing me a fortune replacing them all the time."

Pros

  • Can connect camera to computer and print pictures
  • Also records video

Cons

  • No rechargeable lead, battery operated only

Best 4 year old toy for music

Best musical toy
Electric guitar
Price: $73.98
Alternative retailers
Walmart$77.99View offer

Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries: 3 x AA (not included) | Size:‎ ‎‎20 x 4 x 56 cm; 660 g

Musical toys are ideal for further developing fine motor skills, encourage curiosity and co-ordination. This toy guitar looks like the real deal, with its cool design and strap, but for parents sakes it isn'. It has four fun modes to choose from — Play with the Band, Solo Jam, Free Play — or you can sync it with any Bluetooth enabled device and play along to your favourite songs. A great interactive toy and a good introduction to instruments.

One parent review said: "This is a decent guitar aimed at kids, the acoustic sounds reasonable and the functions are good. I particularly like the Bluetooth feature, you can connect the guitar with and Bluetooth enabled source and play along with your favourite song. Everything feels well made and the packaging case doubles up as a proper case to transport or store the guitar."

Pros

  • Looks realistic
  • Packaging can be reused as a guitar case
  • Can play along to your favourite songs via Bluetooth

Cons

  • Isn't a real guitar

Best 4 year old toy for creativity

Best toy for messy play

Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎‎‎28.7 x 19.7 x 7.6 cm (package dimension)

Ideal for messier play, this clay kit comes with 24 different colours of clay to model into any shape you like. It also comes with tools and accessories to decorate your creations, as well as containers to store clay, so that it doesn't dry up when they get bored. If they want to keep their creations, the clay air dries in 24 hours.

One parent review said: "Marvellous. It bounces when ball shape. Colours amazing, smiles and giggles all round will top up. When it gradually gets used, and bits mislaid, well done better than play dough, not all over the floor. Nanny loves it too. Very therapeutic. Thank you all."

Pros

  • Great range of coloured clays
  • Good for a rainy day
  • Little to no mess

Cons

  • Clay dries very quickly

Best 4 year old toy for multilingual audio

Best for little scientists
Geo Safari Junior Talking Microscope

Rrp: $54.99

Price: $34.49
Alternative retailers
Target$34.49View offer
Walmart$34.49View offer
Kohl's$54.99View offer
Macy's$54.99View offer

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Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎‎‎25.7 x 20.6 x 14.2 cm

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The best STEM toyswill encourage your child to learn about these subjects through fun and practical play. They've certainly become more popular over the years and this fun and educational microscope with fuel your child's love for nature. With 20 pre-prepared slides featuring 60 images, it'll help kids learn all about different wildlife species while taking a look at them close up. But the fun doesn't stop there, as this microscope even talks and has over 100 fascinating science and nature facts to share, voiced by Bindi Irwin.

One parent review said: "Really interesting learning tool, having simple, straightforward facts commentary helped my little one enjoy the slides and held her interest. Highly recommended."

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Features two learning modes: facts and quiz
  • Brilliant for curious little minds

Cons

  • Can't be used as a normal microscope, only with the slides provided

Best 4 year old toy for its ice cream play set

Best play food toy

**

Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries: none needed | Size:‎ ‎‎‎34cm x 22cm x 20cm (packed)

**

Who needs a play kitchen when you can have an ice cream parlour instead? This beautiful set from Melissa and Doug is beautifully designed and will instantly get your child excited and ready to play. It comes with 20 different pieces, including an all-important ice-cream scooper, six assorted toppings, different flavoured ice creams and much more. We love that it's a wooden toy too, as not only is it more sustainable, but wood also has anti-bacterial properties.

One parent review said: "We gave this to our 4 yr old for her birthday and she absolutely loves playing with it. Helps her learning too with remembering peoples orders and number of scoops etc. Lots of family fun."

Pros

  • Beautiful design and eye-catching
  • Compact — everything can be neatly stored inside the ice cream counter

Cons

  • A little pricey

Best 4 year old toy for fine motor skills

Best outdoor toy

**

Age suitability: 2—5 years | Batteries: none needed | Weight: 2.1kg‎ ‎‎‎

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Garden and outdoor toys are a great way to get your child out of the house and playing in the fresh air. We don't think they'll need much convincing with this super cool scooter though. Not only is it available to choose from in four bright colours, but it has a one button folding system too, for easy carrying and storage (don't worry, it's super light). It also has a grippy footplace, adjustable handlebars and three wheels to help with balance before moving onto a big two wheel scooter.

One parent review said:"Great little scooter that is durable and fun (plus it folds which is great for transporting and storing)."

Pros

  • Great colour selection
  • Folding mechanism makes it easy to store

Cons

  • Slightly pricey

Best 4 year old toy for batman fans

**

Age suitability: 4—6 years | Batteries: none needed | Dimensions: N/A

**

Children's superhero costumes are great for imaginative play and this Batman one looks very realistic with a detachable cape, mask and full padded chest. There's also a Wonder Woman costume, just incase your child doesn't fancy being Batman.

One parent review said: "Bought for our 5 year old grandson who loved dressing up as Batman along with his little brother in the smaller version. Lots of fun for both of them. Would recommend."

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Pros

  • Great for role play
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Can't be put in the tumble dryer

Best 4 year old toy fo nature

Best craft toy for 4-year-olds

**Age suitability: 4+ | Batteries: none needed | Dimensions: N/A
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Arts and crafts are always great for keeping little one's occupied and this uncorn craft set is easy to create. Simply match the stickers to the number key and place them on the see-through design template for the look of leaded glass. This is great for spending creative time with your little one, and have this masterpiece hanging somewhere in the kitchen or living room.

One parent review said: "Great item, purchased for my 4 year old and she loved matching the shapes correctly and making a lovely window display."

Pros

  • Comes in handy jar to keep everything tidy (can also be reused)
  • Develop fine motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination

Cons

  • We can't think of any

FAQs

Are sustainable toys better for my child?

Eco-friendly toys made from recyclable materials will, of course, help reduce your households plastic consumption, which is important for the planet. Plus, it can also be a good opportunity to introduce your child to the topics of sustainability. However, wooden toys will be more durable and therefore will last your child longer and are less likely to get broken. They’re also more unlikely to contain chemical additives found in plastic toys, which give them specific levels of hardness and elasticity. Wood toys also have anti-bacterial properties, so they don't have to be cleaned as often.

Should my four-year-old’s toys be educational?

You don’t want to present a child’s toy as something that’s purely ‘educational’, after all, when your child is playing they want to have fun. Some toys may not have an obvious educational tie to them, such as a doll or a toy car. However, skills are still nurtured with these toys, such as social skills and developing their imagination. The most important thing to remember is that children learn by having fun and exploring. Don’t get too bogged down in whether or not your child's toy is strictly educational, fun things are essential for their development too.

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