The 13 best toys for a 4-year-old


by Mother & Baby |

As your baby grows up and they’re not so little anymore (*sobs*), their interests and ideas of fun will begin to change. And as they reach the 4-year mark, you’ll not only be asking yourself where all that time went, but what on earth can I buy them for their birthday?

The best toys for 4-year-olds

With so many brilliant fun and educational toys out there to choose from, we’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up the best toys for 4-year-olds that they will love.

Leapfrog Count Along Till

Leapfrog Count Along Till
Amazon

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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!

Ages 2+

Review: "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!"

B. Toys Pet Vet Clinic

B. Toys Pet Vet Clinic
Amazon

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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.

Ages 2+

Review: "A well designed and sturdy learning toy. Good value for money. Keeps the toddler interested for some time, and she keeps going back to it. A good purchase would recommend."

Marble Mania 162 Piece Marble Run

Marble Mania 162 Piece Marble Run
Amazon

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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!

Ages 4+

Review: "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."

PlayShifu Orboot Earth

PlayShifu Orboot Earth
Amazon

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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 six categories - cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps - so they'll be a mini geography whizz in no time.

Ages 4+

Review: "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!!"

Crocodile Dentist Game

Crocodile Dentist Game
Amazon

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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!

Ages 4+

Review: "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."

Related: The best children's card games that the whole family can play

Crayola Colour and Create Tub

Crayola Colour and Create Tub
Amazon

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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.

Ages 3+

Review: "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."

LEGO 10698 Classic Large Creative Brick Box Construction Set

LEGO 10698 Classic Large Creative Brick Box Construction Set
Amazon

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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!

Ages 4+

Review: "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."

VTech 507153 Kidizoom Duo 5.0, Pink

VTech 507153 Kidizoom Duo 5.0, Pink
Amazon

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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.

Ages 3+

Review: "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."

EXTSUD Piano Music Dance Mat,

EXTSUD Piano Music Dance Mat,
Amazon

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Best musical toy

If you've seen the movie, Big, you'll know exactly how much fun one of these can be. With eight musical instrument sounds to choose from, including piano, violin, trumpet, vibraphone, obe, guitar or flute. Your toddler will have hours of fun playing with this toy. While they might be distracted, we can't promise any peace and quiet!

Ages 3+

Review: Great kids piano mat. I really think it is a brilliant idea. It helps to develop child's musical skills and the sounds it makes are lovely - do not annoy as other toys. Great fun for kids."

Related: The best musical toys for toddlers

Modeling Clay Kit

Modeling Clay Kit
Amazon

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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.

Ages 3+

Review: "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."

Geo Safari Junior Talking Microscope

Geo Safari Junior Talking Microscope
Amazon

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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.

Ages 4+

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

LeapFrog Scoop u0026 Learn Ice Cream Cart

LeapFrog Scoop u0026amp; Learn Ice Cream Cart
Amazon

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Best play food toy

Bronze winner for Toddler Toy at the 2019 Motheru0026Baby 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.

Ages 2+
Our tester mum Aimee, said:
"I would recommend this to a friend because it is safe for children to play with and keeps them entertained for quite some time. I think it's great value for money. Not only is it a great toy for the children to play with, it is also a great tool for learning colours and numbers The colours are really bright and engaging too."

Read our tried and tested reviews from real mums here.

Micro Mini Scooter

Micro Mini Scooter

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Best active play toy

Gold winner for Toddler Toy at the 2016 Motheru0026Baby 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.

Ages 3+

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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