The best toys for 4-year-olds
Best toy for building numeracy skills
Who didn't love a toy till as a child? 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!
Best toy for animal lovers
Does your tot 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.
Best toy for hours of fun
Who knew watching marbles roll down a run could be so fun. Your tot will not only have fun assembling a fun and wacky marble run, but kids 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!
Best toy for geography skill building
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 takes tots on a journey around the world, with over 400 highlights and more than 1000 cool facts across 6 categories - cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps - so they'll be a mini geography whizz in no time.
Best whole family game
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!
Related: The best children's card games that the whole family can play
Best toy for creativity
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 Twistables crayons and 8 multi-coloured modelling clay. Great for rainy day play or for some fun chalk drawings on the garden wall or path.
Best construction toy
Super stuck on what to buy them? LEGO is always a winner and this play set will provide hours of fun, containing 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!
Best camera for 4-year-olds
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 feature 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.
Best musical toy
If you've seen the movie, Big, you'll know exactly how much fun one of these can be. With 8 musical instrument sounds to choose from, including Piano, Saxophone, Violin, Clarinet, Trumpet, Banjo, Xylophone, Guitar, this keyboard allows you to record and playback the tunes you compose. There are 100 plus sounds to make and your tot can learn about musical instruments as they go. While they might be distracted, we can't promise any peace and quiet!
Related: The best musical toys for toddlers
Best toy for messy play
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.
Best for little scientists
Fuel your little scientist's love for nature with this fun and educational microscope. With 20 pre-prepared slides featuring 60 images, it'll help kids learn all about different species while taking a look at them close up.
Best play food toy
Bronze winner for Toddler Toy at the 2019 M&B Awards
Another toy that will develop your child's imagination and pretend play skills, this Ice Cream Cart will help them learn more about colours and numbers while improving their memory skills with all the ice cream orders they'll be getting! There's an ice cream scoop, 18 'flavours' of ice cream, 3 different toppings and 6 hungry character cards that provide hours of open-ended play.
Read our tried and tested reviews from real mums here
Best active play toy
Gold winner for Toddler Toy at the 2016 M&B Awards
If your tot is always on the go, they'll love zooming around the garden on this scooter! With 3 wheels, the Mini Micro T-Bar Scooter delivers extra stablity and is ideal for 4-year-olds - easy to get to grips with. Our tester dad Martin said, "This scooter is so easy for my child to use, it’s become a replacement for walking or the board on the back of the push chair. He loves it to the point that we can't leave the house without it now. I would totally recommend it for local trips and especially when a young child needs to keep up with bigger, faster kids."
Read our full review from real parent testers here
What to look out for when buying a toy for a 4-year-old
Age range: Always check the age range of the toy before you buy. Not only is this important for kid safety, but 4 is a very tricky age as they aren’t a toddler any more but they aren’t old enough for a lot of child toys, so you want to be 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. Read these 11 teachers tips for parents with kids starting school.
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? Current trends will always be a hit with toys, whether it’s a castle inspired by Frozen or a doll from their favourite TV show.
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. Read more about toddler development and milestones here.
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