Is there a rambunctious 4 year old boy in your life that needs a toy? Are you looking to find the best toys to set them up for developmental success? Then you’ve come to the right page. We’ve researched hundreds of options and collected the 10 best toys that are not only lots of fun but also critical to helping 4 year old boys reach developmental milestones. If you’re in a hurry, skip to top toys list below. Otherwise, read on to learn about the critical skills 4 year olds are expected to learn that factored into this list.
4 Year Old Developmental Milestones
Physically, 4 year olds are growing fast and toys that strengthen their fine and gross motor skills are important. Their bodies can grow up to 4 inches taller in this one year. 4 year olds have a lot more control over their body then their toddler selves. They can jump, climb, go around obstacles while running, roll, do somersaults, throw and bounce balls, and even pedal and steer bicycles.
They’re becoming better artists as their fine motor skills improve. They can draw basic shapes and use scissors. With practice they can recognize letters, write some of them, and even write their own names.
Cognitively, 4 year olds develop longer attention spans, and start to understand things they can’t see or touch. They can distinguish between what’s real and fake and can make comparisons between objects and sort them. They can stack towers at least 10 blocks high, and count to 10 too. They start thinking in logical steps. Many can pay attention to one activity for 10 to 15 minutes by the end of the year.
From 4 to 5, children’s vocabularies explode, often learning over 1,000 words. Toys that enrich their vocabulary are key. 4 year olds are curious and begin using who, what, why, when and where questions. They develop more independent personalities and can sing silly songs, make up goofy words, follow directions, and pronounce most sounds.
4 year olds are talkative story tellers. They may tell you everything they’re thinking. Some will have imaginary friends and play imaginary games all day. Many are also becoming increasingly social. Toys that teach them to share and take turns are important. Sometimes 4 year olds will tell small lies to get out of trouble, and have to learn from those mistakes. It’s natural to make mistakes as they explore their independence.
10 Best Toys for 4 Year Old Boys Reviewed
You may want to have your camera recording when you hand a 4 year old boy this 12 pack of beautifully colored, large, soft plastic dinosaurs. They will freak out! These toys will bring them hours of joyful play they will cherish forever. What makes these dinosaur toys great developmental tools is not only that they encourage imagineering, but also that they promote social play and sharing. Get these toys for your child’s next playdate. They’ll be a big hit.
Note: there are many good dinosaur toy sets out there, all with different pro’s and cons. We’ve picked the Boley 12 pack for the following reasons.
- Bright, fun colors promote happier play.
- Soft plastic makes the toys safer and quieter when smashed together.
- Large size.
- Dinosaur names are written on each toy’s belly.
- No flying dinosaur! Kids love those. Pick one up individually at Walmart for $1.
- They tend to arrive with a plasticy smell and need to be washed and aired out before play.
4 year old boys can stretch their creativity, problem solving, and spatial reasoning skills, as well as improve their fine motor control with this 56 piece magnetic building blocks set. Children can play with these blocks alone, or with friends, and inspire a love of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
This wonderful writing toy helps children develop fine motor skills while learning to write their ABCs and 123s. Children trace letters and numbers made of small lights with a toy stylus. The tool has two modes, one where children are guided to trace one stroke at a time, and another mode where the goal is to trace the entire letter at once without lifting the stylus.
Note: if your 4 year old finds this toy too difficult, get them the VTech Write & Learn Creative Center instead. It’s a more traditional writing and drawing tool, but doesn’t offer the direct constructive feedback of the LeapFrog Scribble and Write.
This activity book contains over 160 pages of exercises involve cutting, tracing, glueing, coloring, solving puzzles, and more. Children build fine motor skills and strengthen their problem solving abilities as they complete the diverse exercises. Make sure to also give your child a good set of safety scissors.
The more tools your child has to promote reading and writing skills the better. This wipe-clean workbook helps them learn the alphabet, practice spelling, writing, math, and more. Every 4 year old deserves an activity book of this quality to help them grow.
This kid-friendly tablet is packed with 12 developmental activities with progressive learning levels. It’s so good it’s also on our list of the best toys for 3 year old boys and can be used through the age of 5.
This little tool teaches kids the alphabet, numbers (1-10), spelling, counting, math, and reading. There are many children’s toys that only do a fraction of this toy’s functions for the same price.
Help your 4 year old develop familiarity with letters and their sounds using spelling toy. It comes with 16 three and four word spelling puzzles. These puzzles help children develop a critical sight-reading vocabulary while also practicing fine motor control. This is a great tool to move your child forward on the path to literacy.
Inspire curiosity and a love of the outdoors in your 4 year old with this great adventure toy set. Boys love using the binoculars and magnifying glass to explore objects near and far. The flashlight is a great toy on its own. It has a crank to produce light and doesn’t require charging. The compass can be used to start teaching your child about direction. This is a great toy set to get your 4 year old active and exploring.
Developmental toys don’t have to be boring. Case in point: this squishy playfoam, or floam. It’s made of lots of squishy foam covered in a sticky material that doesn’t leave residue on your hands, but allows the playfoam to be sculpted. This party pack of playfoam promotes creativity, sharing, and cooperation, and is great as a birthday present for your own child or a friend’s.
Nurture your child’s creativity, hand-eye coordination, matching, patterning, and problem-solving skills with this design and drill set.
Children drill kid-sized screws into a board to create beautiful designs with a real electric drill. They can build one of 20 design cards that come with the box, or build their own masterpiece. This is a great way to get your kids learning while developing fine motor skills.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list. While we don’t suggest that these are the only toys your child will ever need, we do think this list of top 10 developmental toys is a great start. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please reach out to us.
Toys for Other Age Ranges
- Best toys for 1 year old boys
- Best toys for 2 year old boys
- Best toys for 3 year old boys
- Best toys for 5 year old boys
- Best toys for 6 year old boys
- Best toys for 7 year old boys
- Best toys for 8 year old boys
- Best toys for 9 year old boys
- Best toys for 10 year old boys
- Best toys for 11 year old boys
- Best toys for 12 year old boys
Criteria for Placement
While listing the best educational resources is never an exact science, we’ve done our best find products that rank highly on the following criteria:
- Developmental impact: Many toys out there like plush dolls are somewhat limited in their developmental impact. We’ve critically evaluated the toys on this list for their impact on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
- Safety: All toys on this list are safe to use, free of toxic compounds like lead and BPA
- Durability: Toddlers love to throw, sit on, and hit everything in site. The toys on this list are fit to withstand the bumps and hard landings.
- Price: Parenting doesn’t need to be outrageously expensive. We looked for the cheapest products that still meet our developmental and quality requirements.
- Developmental milestones for typical 4 year olds – understood.org