Are you looking for an amazing gift for a special four year old in your life? I’ve compiled a list of 4 year old gift ideas just for you! Whether you’re searching for the perfect birthday, Christmas, or other special gift, this list has what you’re looking for.
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All of these are toys, books, games and other items that my 4 year old absolutely loves. They are sure to be a hit with yours as well! Additionally, most of these can be used solo or with the family, so there are lots of options for play.
Best of all, there are options for every budget.
How to Select the Right Gift
Before you start looking for a gift, there are a few things you should consider. You want to be sure that this will be a used, beneficial gift. What you don’t want is something that will end up broken in a day or lost and forgotten at the bottom of the toy box. Or the absolute worst possibility, to spend a ton on something the kid doesn’t even like or have interest in.
First, consider their interests.
Choosing from a list of the best 4 year old gift ideas sounds like a super easy way to go about it. And that is completely why I made this list. However, not every gift is right for every 4 year old.
Some have zero interest in arts and crafts. Others are not at all intrigued by what they can build and therefore have no interest in using any sort of building toys.
This isn’t to say that they won’t be interested next year, but if they aren’t interested at least a little bit in those types of activities, hold off on those gifts until they express that interest.
Next, consider their abilities.
You definitely want to get something that will challenge the child and expand their capabilities. However, you don’t want something that is so challenging for them, that it is just frustrating and they lose interest.
Age ranges on toys are great, but they aren’t always accurate. I’ve found it’s best to really look at what the toy or game is asking of my son, and then determine if he’s already exhibiting those skills, or has started to.
For example, Zach has a circuit set we bought at an estate sale when he was about 1. The age suggestion on the box says “8-108.” We knew it would be a while before he could use it. But, his dad works with electrical components and pulled it out last year to show it to him.
At first, he just thought it was cool that Dad could do this stuff. But in the past few months, he’s really been trying to figure it out on his own, using what he remembered his dad showing him over and over.
We even picked up a second set, a “green energy” focused set, and he put together the solar battery set up almost completely by himself from the directions. There was just one area where he got confused and Dad had to step in and help. And he was SO PROUD of himself.
Technically, he’s still 4 years away from the youngest age in the range on the box. But we knew he had a skill and interest for trying to figure out how things work, and he latched on to this like nobody’s business!
When creating this list of 4 year old gift ideas, I took into account various skill levels. Some you’ll notice have a recommended starting age of 2 or 3. Others will start at ages higher than 4. Keep in mind that some of these have various levels or variety of play that can be made easier for younger kids.
Finally, think of the cost.
When I say think of the cost, I mean this in several capacities.
Consider what you can afford. Do not go overboard! It’s so easy to want to spend so much on little kids. I mean, I get it. It’s super fun. Especially if it’s our own kid, or one we see often, and we know we get to play with these toys, too. Because toys are fun, and sometimes it’s fun to take a break from adulting.
But you will not feel good spending more than you really can afford or want to. I suggest choosing a dollar amount before you look at gift ideas. Then commit to sticking to it, so that when you see an idea that’s double the cost you want to spend, you can stay strong!
You’ll also want to consider that if the gift is for someone else, spending too much may have an adverse effect on the parents. They might feel like they need to reciprocate for your children, and maybe they can’t afford it.
You also don’t want to go too cheap, either. Too inexpensive may mean low quality and you don’t want something to break. If you’re thinking, “But I can buy more things if I buy cheaper things,” don’t go that route. It’s better to buy one nice thing than five things that may be broken in a month. You want to get the best gift, not the most gifts. Quality over quantity. It’s a great lesson to teach kids, too!
Other parents may also take offense if they know it was a really expensive or really inexpensive gift. So consider the relationship you have with the family. Also think about how well you know them and they know you and your intentions. It might seem silly, but money is something so many people get upset about, so it’s worth taking a little extra time to think it through.
Don’t dwell too much on the cost, though. Just stick to your budget and get something the kid will love. Those are the most important parts. And I’m not above getting something I’m comfortable spending but maybe it’s too much for the parents and saying, “I got an AMAZING deal on it,” even if it isn’t true, just to fend off any . It’s about happiness and thinking about the child, not about what we spend.
This list of 4 year old gift ideas has a range of costs from $15 up to $60 (at the time of posting). So there truly is something for every budget.
Now that you know what to consider when choosing the best gift, on to the list of 4 year old gift ideas to help you choose one!
The Best 4 Year Old Gift Ideas
My son recently turned four, and before his birthday party I received endless questions about what to get him. What does he like? What does he already have? Does he need anything?
Unfortunately, he already had a LOT of stuff. As he’s the only young child on both sides of the family, everyone goes a little crazy with the gifts. So I didn’t know what to tell them!
This list contains items that Zach already had before he was four. But it was shortly before turning four, and ever since then, that I’ve really seen him grow into them. He loves all of these toys, books, and games so incredibly much.
Honestly, I think he could play with some of these all day.
There are also a few items on the list that he doesn’t have, but he uses ours (like cooking utensils and gardening supplies) and I know he would love it if he had a set to call his own. Four-year-olds love that sense of feeling like they’re grown up. We may get him his own sets for Christmas or his next birthday.
These are truly gifts that will last more than just a few months. They provide opportunity for imaginative play and creativity. They teach skills that will be useful in school and life. None of these are mindless little gadgets.
I know these are the best 4 year old gift ideas because my 4 year old has them and LOVES them. Not just likes, not just plays with a little. These are activities and toys that he returns to over and over again.
And I promise you, none of them will end up broken and in the trash due to being cheap little pieces of plastic. These are all quality toys, games, books and other play time items!
This may be number one on any list of 4 year old gift ideas. You just can’t go wrong with Legos. The standard building brick of virtually every childhood, these stand up to everything. Including being stepped on by Mom and Dad. And there are so many options.
We love the standard sets for the most creativity and some of the smaller sets for learning how to read and follow the directional diagrams. Here are a few that we have and love.
The standard classic sets
This is a great basic starter set with lots of pieces in different sizes and colors. Great for building creativity.
This one comes with gears for some extra fun creative building. We love building using these pieces.
A few sets we love
They’ll need help putting this together, but it’s such a fun set, and it’s one of the smaller ones. Really fun to pretend play with after it’s built in addition to the basic sets.
Another cute one that is a great value. Lots of pieces and so fun to play with. They’ll probably need help putting this one together too, though.
Zach has this exact set and LOVES it. It’s a folding Police/Fire Station. He plays with it all the time. He’s added tons of other pieces and characters to it and it is a permanent fixture in our living room. The wood is sturdy and it is good quality and it’s really nice sized.
Zach still loves this thing and he’s had it for two years. He loves to take photos and has gotten pretty good with it! There are also a few simple little games he thinks are pretty hilarious. The best thing is it is DURABLE. I cannot tell you how many times he has dropped it and it is still perfect. Available in more than one color!
I do not like kids playing video games all the time. However, the games made for this system has increased Zach’s interest and skills in reading letters and sounding words out, animals and their habitats and features (Dora and Diego games) and so much more. One got him interested in cooking (Princess & The Frog) and another helped him learn how to read grids (Wall-E). Totally worth it. Sidenote: He had seen none of these characters or movies previously and is now in love with all of them!
Doctor or Vet Playset
This is such a cute and comprehensive doctor AND dentist set. The pills actually open, some of the pieces light up, and the stethoscope makes a heartbeat sound. Zach gives checkups to us, the dogs, his stuffed Snoopy…
This has some of the same pieces as the doctor set, but comes with the kennel, Dalmatian, and a few pet specific pieces like a bowl and brush. You could get one or the other, or both. The pieces that are the same are still different enough that they both get used. Zach received both as gifts this past year for Christmas and Easter (Grandparents buy gifts for everything) and plays with them all the time!
These things are so cool! They’re a great place for kids to sit and relax when they need a quiet place to wind down or to look at books. Can be hung indoors or outdoors and over 100 lbs so the child can still use it at they grow.
Nothing too fancy, just something that’s just like mom and dad’s that they can call their own!
Zach got this two years ago for Christmas and he’s continuously used it since then. It started out as making us “breakfast” and coffee for the dog (apparently our dog has a coffee habit). It’s turned into running a restaurant. This set is priced comparably to others on the market but has all kinds of extra cool features like the window, clicking knobs, and a light-up & real sounds stove top! It also comes with a ton of pieces so all you need to purchase is food.
Now, this is not the bike Zach has. We ended up not buying him one because Nana found one at a rummage sale and it’s the perfect size. But we had been looking at Huffy 16″ bikes with removable training wheels as they seem to have great reviews, be durable, and are a reasonable price compared to others on the market. This is one of the basic colors, and not designed around a cartoon. But they have so many options!
These are the coolest! This is another go-to toy for Zach. They are see-through, so he loves playing with them on the living room floor where the light from the window hits them and bounces the colors onto the walls. He gets so excited out of trying to build different structures, shapes, and trying to replicate things he sees. They’re nice and strong; he’s jumped on them and the dog has knocked over towers and none are cracked. These are a cheaper brand than the pricier name-brand version.
Books: Humorous or discussing abstract concepts
If you haven’t yet heard of Elephant & Piggie, oh man are you missing out. Zach received this last Christmas from grandparents and he has loved it ever since. It’s still one of the favorites. Mo Willems has written some super simple, but hilarious characters that kids at this age can relate to. It’s also perfect for their developing sense of humor. And they all teach a little something in a fun way. This was the book that introduced us to our favorite Elephant and Pig.
Another favorite Elephant & Piggie book. This one teaches that sometimes waiting can be hard, but it can be worth it.
This one is kind of about sharing, but with a cute twist.
One more of our favorites. They’re all good, but these are some of the ones that make us all laugh the most and are read most frequently.
Kids around this age are starting to really question and understand concepts in the world. The three books in this “series” do a fantastic job of visually and explaining and breaking down concepts to young minds. And the artwork is beautiful, too.
The second of three books explaining life concepts. At a young age, kids are able to use books to learn a lot about the world that they can’t make sense of otherwise. These books are so helpful in that capacity.
The third book.
I LOVE this book. Zach absorbed it. Around this age, kids start to worry about all sorts of things. This book teaches them not to hide it or try to control it, but to share it and it will lose it’s power. So powerful.
Such a fun game! Kind of like Hi-Ho Cherrio, but a little more to it regarding colors and fine motor skills. Really well crafted, sturdy pieces and so cute.
A fun cooperative game! Feed the monster gross foods like feathery tacos and moldy macaroni. Different game levels to choose from for different skill levels!
We love this game. It’s another cooperative one, so everyone plays together and has the same goal. The goal in this one is to get all the little owls back home before the sun comes up (so essentially, you’re playing against the sun). There are two ways to play this one.
A super fun game that teaches kids to think about how things connect and go together. Each piece contains some combination of river, road, or railroad and you have to match up the pieces utilizing all that are on that card. It takes some time for little ones to get it, but it’s fun to watch them figure it out!
This is the original basic set we have. It has a bunch of pieces and a booklet filled with tons of cool “projects.”
This one has some really cool projects. The solar powered battery is pretty neat and Zach really got a kick out of using the sun as power!
We do not have this version, but this is a smaller, less expensive set. This might be a great option if you aren’t sure how this will go over with your 4 year old. It’s basically the same thing, just fewer pieces and projects.
Basic Cooking Utensils Set
This is a well reviewed set for measuring and food prep that is perfect for new little chefs and bakers.
This is the same well reviewed company and has over 1,000 equally positive reviews. This set is special knives that are safer, and easier to use, than traditional kitchen knives for young kids. (They’re still knives though, so they still need supervision!) The age recommendation is 5 and up, so proceed with caution. I know my son could handle these under supervision as we let him use some of the smaller knives at home for some things. I may have to pick up a set of these for him to use instead!
Which ones will your special 4 year old love?
Four is such a fun age to buy gifts for! There is such a wide range of 4 year old gift ideas because of their expanding minds, abilities, and interests!
They’re developing a defined sense of humor, for one. They’re also capable of taking on challenges to learn more difficult skills, both physically and mentally.
Learning games is becoming easier for them and they’re starting to love playing them, real or made-up, with you. Pretend play is also something they’re really starting to get into, even if they did it previously. There is a new dedication to the acting out portion of pretend play these days!
So think through the suggestions above on how to go about picking out the best gift for your situation. Then pick one or two that you think your four year old will absolutely love and go for it!