Best Toys & Gifts for 4 Year Old Boys (a VERY picky 2021 list)

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 22nd, 2021

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Searching for the ideal gift or toy for a 4 year old boy? We’ve got it covered! As parents and research nerds, we hunted for toys that would suit his social, cognitive and emotional development. We have rounded them up for you in this awesome top-10.

Your 4 year old is entering a new phase of self-discovery. Sometimes this can be expressed through defiance and downright bossiness. Don’t worry though – it’s natural. On the bright side, he has strong language skills, the ability to reason and solve puzzles, and he loves to play with others. So let’s focus on the good stuff, and try to nurture it with some appropriate toys.

#1

Our opinion

For those parents not yet in the know, BRIO, a Swedish company, has been making these beautiful, quality, easy-to-use wooden train sets for over 50 years. Accept no imitations because the true BRIO train sets are made from gorgeously crafted wood and are very high quality. In fact, I recently passed the very train set that I played with as a child down to my 4-year-old. It goes to show how long they last!

Now, this BRIO Deluxe Railway Set (check price on Amazon) isn’t cheap but it is amaaaazing! It has tons of pieces which means your boy will be able to create a huge network of train tracks straight away. And it will actually save money you in the long run  – normally families build up their collection over time which adds up to more in the end.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll have hours of fun creating vast worlds of trains and tracks and each one will be  completely different.

#2

Our opinion

This all-encompassing outdoor explorer set (check price on Amazon) is perfect for introducing your boy to the world of science. He’ll be able to work on many skills, such as learning direction and reading maps.

The binoculars feature a 4X magnification, and the eyepieces are rubber lined for comfort.

When playtime is finished, everything packs away in a little knapsack for safe keeping

Why He’ll Love It: Whether you are camping or exploring your own backyard, your son will have lots to investigate with these fun tools.

#3

Our opinion

The classic little red wagon (check price on Amazon) is a staple of childhood for most. While this product is on the expensive side, it has big wheels to conquer any terrain and a controlled turning radius to keep it from tipping over. The handle folds under for easy storage and the wood bumpers prevent your boy from falling out when he rides. It is built with the quality you expect from Radio Flyer.

Why He’ll Love It: Your child will love going for little journeys in this wagon. He can also use it to pull things around the yard; maybe you can even get him to help with some yard work!

#4

Our opinion

With a weight limit of 110lbs, this is a great outdoor toy. Your little guy can dig holes in loose sand, snow, or dirt to his heart’s content. You can choose between the stationary model or the version with wheels; both will be great at encouraging spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and creative play.

The Big Dig Crane (check price on Amazon) has a seat which rotates 360° and the handlebars pivot so that he can make holes and piles almost anywhere, making it an awesome ride-on toy. You just might want to put your two cents in as to where those holes are being created, though.

Why He’ll Love It: Your son will love pretending to be a construction worker as he scoops, lifts, and dumps out material in this little excavator.

#5

Our opinion

The Star Wars Chewie interactive plush toy (check price on Amazon) will get your little one giggling with its sounds and motions. As a Star Wars fan, they will recognize him as an authentic Wookiee. If you talk to him in Wookiee talk, he responds back in Wookiee talk. He reacts whenever he is in motion by raising his arms and making facial expressions. He also comes with a satchel and bandolier to complete his ensemble.

Why He’ll Love It: Your four-year-old will love carrying the Wookiee around and using his imagination to create his own intergalactic adventures. Your son will keep his new companion close by his side as he goes on all his escapades.

#6

Our opinion

The EzyRoller Classic (check price on Amazonin lime green will get your boy outside for hours. It’s patented mechanism doesn’t use pedals but instead is propelled forward by left-to-right foot motions which can give it some serious speed as it weaves forward. (Imagine the motion of a salmon swimming!)

The seat is ergonomic and removes the strain and pressure from your kids back. This means that it will provide fun exercise without the aches and pains. The EzyRoller is great for kids from ages 4 to 14 (or those who weigh under 150 pounds), and with it’s extension bars, it will grow as your child does.

Why He’ll Love It: He will have a fast yet silky smooth riding experience as he traverses the sidewalk or drive. Just don’t expect him to come in when you call for dinner!

#7

Our opinion

The PAW Patrol Fire Truck (check price on Amazonhas a two-foot-tall ladder and a mini fire cart. Lights and sounds will bring your boys games to life as he sends the truck on action-packed missions.

And then there is the water cannon! This can be launched from either the front or back of the truck. Other features are the openable lookout cab on top of the ladder and the extendable claw, all perfect for complex rescue attempts.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll soon be dreaming of firefighting before waking up and setting up yet another rescue mission.

#8

Our opinion

You and your son can create whole worlds with these puppets. The Jim Henson Company’s partnership with Manhattan Toys really shines with this product, and Fraggle Rock (check price on Amazon) is just one character in a cast of many. This toy is an excellent way to encourage imaginative thinking and bond with your little guy during playtime.

Why He’ll Love It: Your son will love playing on his own and will really enjoy group play with this puppet.

#9

Our opinion

Your boy can have fun while pretending to be a pirate in search of treasure in this tent (check price on Amazon). The fabric is a cotton-polyester blend and contains no fire retardants. Some parents have found it tricky to put up, but it’s made with quality materials and can withstand plenty of play. It also folds down for easy storage.

Why He’ll Love It: With two portholes, your little guy will enjoy keeping watch as he pretends to sail over the deep blue sea.

#10

Our opinion

This set comes packed with little action figures and accessories. Between the dragon and the knight, your son can create a fantasy world in his own home. Plus, when you play with him, it’s an excellent opportunity to teach him about history. Some of the pieces are on the small side, so supervise him well, and watch where you step.

Why He’ll Love It: Anything that comes with its own armored dragon will instantly appeal to the average four-year-old. Your boy will love making up his own stories and acting them out with this kit.

#11

Our opinion

Wow, we love this awesome toy! The John Deere Tractor Engine (check price on Amazon) elevates mechanical based “fixing toys” to the next level. Your little mechanic gets an entire tractor engine to fix, based upon the real thing. It has more than 12 removable and fixable parts, including repairable headlights, replaceable glow plugs, and checkable oil.

It’s worth a mention parent opinion has been divided. Most parents are raving about it but some comlained about the build quality.

Why He’ll Love It: The John Deer Tractor Engine has sounds and lights and comes with a toolkit. He’ll get to take the engine apart and rebuild it again. (Just make sure that Dad doesn’t muscle in and try to fix it all!)

#12

Our opinion

This 167 Piece set (check price on Amazon) is a fun way to introduce your little guy to math. It comes with three double-sided activity cards, and some of the LEGO pieces have numbers printed on them. You and your son will have plenty to talk about as you transport the LEGO cargo over the track.

Why He’ll Love It: Along with being great for organized learning, this is a fun free-play kit. Your boy can assemble the train track and have his LEGO men load it up.

#13

Our opinion

Ravensburger famously makes some of the highest quality puzzles around. This dinosaur jigsaw (check price on Amazon) is no exception and has durable pieces clearly intending for younger children.

A captivating picture is slowly revealed to the child as he puts this puzzle together. Whilst he works on his fine motor skills he is also enjoying the benefits of delayed gratification.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll feel a real sense of achievement once he’s completed this puzzle. It’s a lovely picture that can be framed and hung on the wall as a reminder that patience and persistence can lead to something beautiful.

#14

Our opinion

This charming Vet Play Set (check price on Amazon) is a must-have for little animal lovers. It comes with 23 pieces, including a plush dog and cat. The pretend medical equipment is perfect for treating sick stuffed animals. The kit includes everything from reusable bandages to an ear scope. It fosters screen-free dramatic play. In a world of overly indulgent toys, we eagerly accept products that teach altruism and empathy.

Why He’ll Love It: Your 4-year-old will love running medical tests on his favorite stuffed animals. There’s no better way to teach a child about the importance of bedside manners.

#15

Our opinion

Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Rocket (check price on Amazon) will help your preschooler discover the magic of physics. There’s no need to purchase batteries; these rockets are 100% kid-powered. Children can stomp on the launch pad to send the rockets high flying. The foam vessels pose no risk to your child’s safety. What’s more, the rockets’ glow-in-the-dark tips make it much easier to track them down after precarious landings.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll love using his feet to launch rockets to the moon and back! While these foam vessels aren’t capable of leaving the atmosphere, they will travel far enough to spark your 4-year-old’s imagination.

#16

Our opinion

The gorgeous Golden Age’s Wooden Block Marble Run (check price on Sears) fosters engineering skills and creativity. The blocks offer infinite marble run possibilities. The rich New Zealand pine is complimented by glistening glass marbles. Each time your child completes a structure, they can test out its ability to transfer a marble to its intended endpoint. This makes for hours of entertainment for the entire family.

Why He’ll Love It: Gold Age’s marble run kit is like wooden blocks on steroids. They’re gorgeous, durable, and super engaging.

#17

Our opinion

This interactive LCD drawing pad (check price on Amazon) lets your little guy color without paper or a writing utensil. That means no mess and no need for replacement paper. The tablet never needs to be charged, and there are no batteries to replace. Children can use the device to play tic-tac-toe, draw pictures, or practice sight words. It’s perfect for keeping children occupied during travel or extensive waiting periods.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll never want to leave home without his trusty drawing pad. He can draw, write, and restart to his little heart’s delight. Mom and dad will love that they don’t need to worry about markings on car seats and walls.

#18

Our opinion

The iPlay, iLearn Golf Set (check price on eBay) is perfect for kiddos that are too young for a real course. The ball feeder places balls directly on the tee. Your little putter can alternate between the two different club heads.

He can practice long and short shots while working on his stamina and balance. These educational golf clubs are extendable. As such, this kit suitable for children 4 to 12 years of age.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll be ready for the country club after a few sessions with this pint-sized golf set. The forgiving materials make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor practice.

#19

Our opinion

The Little Tikes 3′ Trampoline (check price on Target) is the perfect place for your energetic preschoolers to burn off some energy. It’s small enough that you can put it in a basement or child’s bedroom. Still, it offers plenty of jumping surface as well as a handlebar for stability. Jumping sessions will also help him develop balance and coordination.

Why He’ll Love It: No kid can resist the urge to jump on a trampoline! This nifty little play device enables little ones to release their pent-up energy regardless of the weather. Did you know that trampolines can even strengthen the skeletal and immune systems?

#20

Our opinion

Just Jump It Set of EZ Steppers (check price on Walmart) are the ultimate agility test for your preschooler. The durable plastic buckets have a thick lip that prevents them from collapsing. The cups are also equipped with adjustable balance ropes. Your kiddo can pull on the ropes to secure the buckets against the bottom of his feet. Then, he’ll be able to travel in any direction.

He’ll love exploring the world at a new height. Not to mention, he’ll find the colorful bucket stilts to be an excellent source of indoor and outdoor entertainment. We like to think of this simple toy as a lawn game and circus stunt. Unlike most modern toys, the EZ steppers don’t require screens, cords, or batteries.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll love traipsing around on these hollow buckets. He may even see them as an opportunity to wow guests. With a little practice, we may even secure himself a future in show business.

What to expect from your 4 year old boy

Your 4 year old boy is becoming increasingly social and ever more capable of sophisticated reasoning. Expect some surprisingly clever back-chat!

Here’s an insight into some of the things you might see between the ages of 4 and 5 (source):

Body, hand and finger skills

  • Copies and draws simple geometric shapes;
  • Begins to write some letters;
  • Gets dressed by himself;
  • Uses cutlery at the dinner table;
  • Runs fast and capably;
  • May start riding a bicycle;
  • Cuts with scissors

Emotional development

  • Wants to please friends;
  • Tries to be like his friends;
  • Sings, dances and does theatrics;
  • Better at knowing reality from fantasy;
  • More independent. May even stay overnight with a friend;
  • Flip flops between very demanding and very helpful;
  • Emerging sense of humor

Cognitive development

  • Asks the dreaded “why?” questions (often repeatedly);
  • Counting increases up to 10 or 20;
  • Can identify numerous colors;
  • Begins to learn the concept of time;
  • Loves longer stories;
  • Likes to dress up;
  • Starts to understand about everyday things such as money, food and vehicles

Wrapping up

Your 4 year old boy is becoming an independent person. He is much more aware of himself and complex concepts. Notice how he becomes more social, usually loving to play with others. We hope that your child loves the toys we’ve picked out, they are all highly appropriate for a 4 year old and have been tried, tested and approved by thousands of parents.

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 22nd, 2021

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4 Year Old Boy Plays with Toys
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