If you have to come up with a gift for a 4-year-old and you’re stumped on what to get them, we’ve got some expert advice to help you.
The best gifts and toys for four-year-olds help their imaginations come alive. As they leave age 3 and turn 4, little ones are enthralled by storytelling, pretend play and exploration. They are also immersed with friends and start playing collaboratively instead of just playing side by side.
“They tend to have clear preferences on what they like or want to do,” said Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of “How Toddlers Thrive.”
Their pretend play is a little more complicated as they come to understand narratives and differentiate between fantasy and reality, said Marie Conti, the head of The Wetherill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and a board member of the American Montessori Society. Capes and dress-up props, as well as outdoor toys or science gadgets, allow them to explore their world.
This holiday season, we rounded up the best gifts for 4-year-olds that will keep their minds and their bodies moving.
Here are our faves!
Fat Brain Toys Squigz Starter Set
Made with high-quality silicone and innovative suction construction, these little suckers make bath time so much fun.
Lincoln Logs are back — there’s a reason they’re a classic.
Ooly Chunkies Paint Sticks
All the fun of painting with none of the mess.
LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box
“If you’re buying Legos, just buy regular Legos. Don’t feel like you have to buy pink ones because you have a girl,” Conti said.
If you need to organize your Legos, here are five brilliant (and mom-approved) hacks for keeping them tidy and out of your bare foot’s way.