10 Developmental Toys That 4-Year-Olds Will Love

Preschool-aged children are becoming more independent, creative, imaginative, and curious. It is important for parents, grandparents, daycares, and preschools curate high-quality toys that stimulate children’s natural sense of wonder. A four-year-old’s natural play environment should engage physical, cognitive, and social-emotional domains of early-childhood development and learning. Even the simplest toys can engage children’s imaginations as they explore their world.

1. Fat Brain Toys Squigz – $25 – $50

squigz

squigz

(Image: Fat Brain Toys)

Squigz are an open play toy that sucks kids and adults into creativity. The colorful pieces are just the right size for small hands. There are eight different shapes, and each one consists of 1 to 6 suction cups protruding from a small, central ball. These flexible, silicon suction toys stick to most surfaces, including each other. Apply pressure and the air rushes out leaving the Squigz stuck to walls, floors, bathtubs, windows, doors, and more. It takes a little bit of pull to pop them apart after they are stuck, and they leave no residue behind. With a little bit of imagination and design, squigz can become anything you want. The starter set comes with 24 pieces, the deluxe set comes with 50 pieces.

Squigz encourage cognitive, fine motor, and social play. Children stretch their imaginations, creativity, and spacial reasoning. Playing with Squigz helps strengthen hand muscles for fine motor skills. It takes a bit of manipulation to get them to stick together and a good tug to separate them. They also provide relaxation and sensory stimulation. These make great cooperative play toys as children work together to build something amazing. Also, your preschooler can just relax, have fun, and enjoy pressing them together and popping them apart.

Why We Recommend:

  • Encourages creativity
  • Supports fine motor skills
  • Playful experimentation
  • Sensory stimulation

2. B.Dazzle Scramble Squares Planets – $14

(Image Source: Amazon)

This puzzle’s creator calls it “easy to play, but hard to solve.” Children need to manipulate the squares to make nine matching designs. This is a great opportunity to build on learning, starting with two or three pieces and expanding from there. The nine beautifully illustrated square pieces come together to form a full 12-inch square. This product features a space-themed design with a pattern of Earth, Saturn, Jupiter, the Sun, and a telescope scattered over a background of stars. This brain-teaser is meant to stimulate the mind of people ages 4 to adult and makes a great family game.

This puzzle expands cognitive, fine motor, and social-emotional domains. Children learn to manipulate puzzle pieces and reassess previous conclusions. They grow in spacial awareness concepts by moving and turning various pieces. Working this puzzle exercises logical reasoning and critical thinking skills. The back of the cards contain space-related trivia and quizzes. Children and adults can play together and discuss the questions. Children engage fine motor skills when manipulating and moving the pieces around.

Why We Recommend:

  • Supports cooperative play
  • Encourages asking questions
  • Logical reasoning
  • Spacial reasoning
  • Critical thinking
  • Fine motor skills

3. Melissa and Doug ABC’s & Spelling See & Spell Learning Toy – $20

(Image Source: Melissa and Doug)

With this well-crafted wooden puzzle, your 4-year-old can complete a puzzle to spell a word. The letter pieces can be used for stenciling and many different learning games. This box contains over 60 colorful wooden letters that fit into cutout boards which are two-sided for a total of sixteen three- and four-letter words. The whole thing fits neatly into a compact wooden storage case.

Preschoolers work on fine motor and spacial reasoning skills while they fit the small letters into the cut-out boards. Children become familiar with letters and their sound as they develop their sight word vocabulary

Why We Recommend:

  • Supports fine motor
  • Spacial reasoning
  • Basic letter recognition
  • Spelling
  • Literacy
  • Sight words vocabulary

4. Play-Doh Starter Set – $10

(Image Source: Hasbro Toys)

The Play-Doh Starter Kit comes with everything you need to jump start your imagination. The creativity kit comes in a reusable storage tote for traveling on the go. Inside there are 4 separate containers of play-doh, each in its own color. Nine different plastic molding tools add to the fun, letting children roll and cut the doh.

Squeezing, molding, and shaping the Play-Doh modeling compound helps strengthen the muscles in little hands and boost fine motor skills. This kit also exposes children to various shapes and colors which creates an opportunity to learn oval, circle, square, and triangle.

Why We Recommend:

  • Supports fine motor development
  • Promotes creativity
  • Teache shapes and colors
  • 4 colors of play-doh
  • 4 shape cutters
  • Comes with knife, pizza cutter, rolling pin, scissors, scoop
  • Convenient carrying case

5. LEGO DUPLO Deluxe Box of Fun -$41

(Image Source: LEGO)

DUPLO are the precursor to smaller LEGO and are developmentally appropriate for four-year-olds. This set makes a great introduction to LEGO building blocks. Preschoolers will love the vibrant colors. This 95-piece set contains classic style DUPLO bricks as well as some unique pieces to inspire dramatic play and building construction.

These snap-together building blocks are just the right size for little hands that are still developing their fine motor capabilities. They can also boost cognitive development as children explore their spacial awareness of how things fit together. The DUPOL people can encourage cooperative and imaginative play—developing social-emotional skills.

Why We Recommend:

  • Supports fine motor skills
  • Creative and imaginative play
  • Comes with 95 Pieces
  • Includes classic bricks, wagon base, numbered bricks, windows and doors
  • 2 DUPLO people
  • DUPLO animals

6. Lakeshore Little Chef’s Fruit & Vegetable Cut-Ups – $17

(Image Source: Lakeshore Learning)

Let your children craft creative cuisine with the Lakeshore Fruit & Vegetable Cut-Ups.Children can “cut” the food a part and simply press it back together using the hook and loop fasteners for endless culinary play. The set contains a toy chef’s knife, cutting board, and plastic fruits and vegetables.

This set exposes children to examples of healthy food options in imaginative play environments. Children can develop fine motor skills while these hands-on slicing toys. They can also exercise their social and practical living skills with preparing food as part of dramatic play.

Why We Recommend:

  • Encourages dramatic play
  • Exposure to healthy food choices
  • Vibrant colors
  • Durable plastic
  • Lightweight
  • Hook and loop fasteners

7. KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen Set With Lights & Sounds -$230

(Image Source: KidKraft)

Little chefs will love cooking in the KidKraft Ultimate Corner Kitchen Set. Lights, sound, and interactive features make engaging with this play kitchen fun and stimulating for preschool-aged children. The innovative design fit efficiently into corner spaces. This play kitchen sports a smart, sturdy wood construction and ships with detailed assembly instructions.

A play kitchen is a great way for four-year-olds to engage in dramatic play. It is a creative, fun way for kids to imitate the domestic life skills they encounter every day at home. Become whoever they want during pretend play boosts children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and communication development. Children develop an understanding of what it’s like to cook in a kitchen. Dramatic play also presents problem-solving and role-play situations. This is a great opportunity for cooperative play and engaging with peers.

Why We Recommend:

  • Burners and ice makers with realistic lights and sounds
  • Functional Shelving
  • Hanging pegs
  • Cordless phone
  • Oven knobs turn and click
  • Doors open and close
  • Microwave, cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, washer
  • Widow with curtain
  • Removable sink

8. Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike – $120

(Image Sources: Stride Bikes, fliker)

Can your four-year-old can learn to balance a bike without training wheels? Strider balance bikes are made without pedals or training wheels. The elegantly simple design teaches young children to steer and balance on two wheels. The child propels the bike by pushing off the ground. Learning the fundamentals of balance make transitioning to traditional, peddled bikes easier. The low seat and handlebars are perfect for little riders. The Sport includes puncture-proof tires and a durable steel frame. You can quickly adjust the seat and handlebars without tools as your child grows. The Sport model has a seat height range from 11-19″, fitting children win an inseam 12-20″.

Learning to balance and steer a bike is such an important skill in a young person’s life. The Strider Balance Bike is great for improving a child’s gross motor skills. Large muscle movements strengthen the legs and arms while the child learns coordination and balance.

Why We Recommend:

  • Lightweight (6.7 pounds)
  • Low seat height (18 months to 5 years)
  • No tool adjustment for seat and handlebars
  • No flat tires
  • Padded handlebars
  • Padded seat
  • Small grips for little hands
  • Assorted Colors

9. Little Tykes Easy Store 3-ft Trampoline – $70

a href=”http://www.littletikes.com/item/642265/easy-store-3ft-trampoline/1.html” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>

(Image Source: Little Tykes)

Bouncing on this trampoline is a fun way for preschoolers to get exercise and burn of energy in a safe, indoor environment. The Little Tikes 3-foot Trampoline is a great size for indoor bouncing fun. The safety bar folds down flush with the bounce surface for easy storing. This product is designed for one child at a time with a maximum weight of 55 pounds. Jumping on a trampoline promotes gross motor development and makes exercise fun. Jumping and bouncing strengthens large muscles in the legs and core. Holding on to the safety bar strengthen the child’s arms and grip.

Why We Recommend:

  • Gross motor development
  • Safety Bar
  • Padded sides
  • Low to the ground
  • One child at a time
  • Indoor use

10. Melissa and Doug Wooden Project Solid Wood Workbench -$100

(Image Source: Melissa & Doug)

Little builders can keep busy with this sturdy workbench that’s the perfect size for preschool-aged children. This wooden set is durable and easy to assemble. The product boasts functioning tools for building and creativity. A workbench is a great way to encourage fine motor, cognitive, and social growth. Four-year-olds can practice manipulating screws, nuts, and bolts to strengthen hand muscles and improve fine motor coordination. Kids have fun learning how things fit together in creative ways. This toy is large enough to encourage playing with others and working together to build something incredible.

Why We Recommend:

  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Logic and STEM skills
  • Includes nuts and bolts, vice, tool rack
  • Comes with wooden tools, wooden hardware, storage shelf
  • Ideas to spark imagination

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