best toys for 4 year olds

30 Toys for 4-Year-Olds

Looking for the best toys for a 4-year-old?

 

I have some amazing learning and play toy ideas that will be a HUGE hit! My little ones are currently 3 and 5, so I feel like I am an expert in the best toys out there for this age group.

 

It’s the best feeling to give gifts to kids that they will enjoy and use repeatedly. It drives me crazy when toys just sit on the shelves for months, and they don’t get played with. I promise you, with the toys on this list, that won’t happen!

 

Let’s get started with my list of The 30 BEST Toys for 4-Year-Olds!

 


Toy #1: Magnetiles

 

Magnetiles are one of the most popular open-ended toys on the market.

 

Kids can build many different structures with them, make patterns, create shapes, put them on the fridge, the list can go on and on.

 

magnetiles

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Ways to Play

 

1. Build structures- Build amazing structures with Magnetiles! Let your little one’s creative juices flow by allowing them to come with their own design ideas or help them come up with a plan. Create castles, a car garage for their vehicles, or a home for their toys!

 

2. Practice letter/number learning- Place some dot stickers on the tiles or write directly on it with a dry erase marker (don’t worry, it’ll wash off!). Practice number/alphabetical order, build letters/numbers or create a game to find the missing number/letter.

alphabetical order magnet tile

 

3. Make mazes- Create a maze with Magnetiles by standing them straight up, connecting them, and make two rows for an object to make it’s way through. We use cars to go through the maze whenever we do this, but you can use any toy!

 

These are just a few examples of how kids can play with Magnetiles! There is no specific way to play with this toy, which is why it makes it a great open-ended toy for kids!

 


Toy #2: Learning Puzzles

 

Practice lower case letter recognition, beginning sounds, phonics skills, and reading skills all with this one toy!

 

Melissa and Doug’s word puzzles are how I first introduced phonics and reading skills to my daughter. I started these skills at age 4 with her! It’s never too early to start talking to your little ones about reading.

 

 

learning phonics puzzles

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I am a huge fan of puzzles for learning. Kids really learn about by handling the letters and placing them in the correct spots. I’ve had a lot of success with both my little ones using puzzles!

 

Ways to Play:

 

1. Lower case letters– Practice lower case letter recognition by going through each of the letters with your child. You can have them place the letters in a spot in one of the puzzles, or you can just talk to them about the letters. Not all the letters are used in words for the puzzles.

 

2. Beginning sounds– Start by going over the beginning sounds of each of the words! Have them identify the picture and make the sound the letter makes to start the word off! Have them search for that letter and place it in the first place.

 

3. Building words- Work on building words with your child! They should say each letter they are looking for and then place it in the correct spot. Once they found all the letters for the word, have them make the sound for each letter. This way, they can sound out small words!

 

*Some words on here can’t be sounded out with the typically English language rules. Some blends will be too difficult for this age group, but that’s why this toy is great for kids to grow with!*

 

RELATED: The BEST Learning Toys for Toddlers

 


Toy #3: LEGO’s

 

LEGO’s have quickly become one of our favorite toys around here. We have both DUPLO sets, as well as smaller sets for my 5-year-old.

 

Both are fantastic! I am going to first talk to you about the DUPLO blocks! This is a great set because you can build a whole bunch of different things; it’s not a themed set.

 

Lego Duple blocks

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Ways to Play

 

1. Build structures- We buy LEGOs to build, right?! Let your kiddos go to town and build whatever structure they like. It doesn’t even have to be anything specific. My kids love to be creative and make their own buildings from video games they like to play, imaginary castles, etc.

 

2. Letter building- Play and learn by creating letters of the alphabet with my LEGO letter building worksheets! Letters A-Z are available!

 

LEGO Letters Mat

 

CLICK HERE TO GRAB THE LEGO BUILDING WORKSHEETS!

 

or… if you have older ones, you can practice

 

Word building- I love using LEGO blocks to work on spelling and sight word building with my 5-year-old. What a fun way to practice sight words, right? Write letters on the blocks with a dry erase marker to build specific words. You can write the full word on a bigger LEGO piece, and then they can use the blocks to match up the letters to create the word.

 

3. Bath time with blocks- You will thank me after this recommendation! Bring your LEGO blocks into the bath with your little ones. They will love filling them up with water and also creating things that can float in the water!

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #4: Crayola Color Chemistry Set

 

So there’s another term out there in education land called STEAM. The only difference between STEM and STEAM is the A for Art. 

 

The Crayola Color Chemistry Set focuses on both science and art with it’s 50 different experiments that you can try, including making your own colorful volcano, bouncing colored bubbles glow in the dark worms, and of course, slime!

crayola chemistry set

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Age Level: This toy does say that it’s for 7+, but my daughter was doing the experiments with us at age starting at age 3.

 

Adult supervision is needed for them to do these safely and correctly!

 

I will advise that some of these activities can be quite messy! Place an art tray down to help with the cleanup.

How this toy can help your child learn:

 

a. This toy helps your children learn about mixing colors to create a new color! Kids can discover how to combine two colors to make a new color.

 

b. By doing experiments like the erupting volcano, your child will learn how mixing certain elements can cause a chemical reaction.

 

 

 


Toy #5: Insect Lore’s Butterfly Garden

 

Every Spring, my kids ask me several times a week if it’s time to get the butterflies and ladybugs for our habitats!

 

These kits have been something we look forward to getting every year. The kids get to learn about each insect’s lifecycles and learn how to take care of each one to be able to set them free outdoors when they are ready!

 

Insect Lore Butterfly Garden STEM toy

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The picture you see above is what the kit comes with and the caterpillars in their chrysalis! 

 

How your child can learn from this toy:

 

a. They will get to the life cycle of a butterfly see up close! How cool is that? They will learn how a live caterpillar turns into a chrysalis and then transforms into a beautiful butterfly!

 

b. Your child will be able to take care of butterflies by providing them with nourishment.

 

c. They will learn why it’s important to let the butterflies go in their natural habitat, and they can also learn about flowers that could provide them with nourishment outdoors!

 

RELATED: 20 Proven Plants that Attract Butterflies (2019)

 


Toy #6: STEM Building Blocks

 

STEM building blocks are TOO much fun!

 

There are so many different objects that you can build and create with these blocks. What I love most about these is that toddlers can even use the tools to make designs! My 3 year old helps me build what he wants, and he is always very eager to do it himself.

 

STEM building blocks

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Ways to Play

 

1. Create objects in the booklet- There are 42 designs provided in this booklet for you and your little one to create. There are things like animals, cars, letters, and numbers. What a fun way to practice letter and number learning! These are varied levels of designs for a variety of ages.

STEM building blocks

 

2. Race vehicles- Create two types of cars and race them around the house. You can even make a painter’s tape track like the one you see below to make the race more realistic!

 

3. Design your own ideas- One of my favorite things to do with these blocks is to let kids create whatever they want. Often, we end up creating homes or vehicles for their toys to ride or play in!

 

RELATED: STEM Toys For Kids

 


Toy #7: Marble Run

 

Some open-ended toys are excellent because they teach children how to use problem-solving skills.

 

Marble run is a fun toy for kids! It challenges them to build structures to allow the marble to go through the tubes to make it to the bottom. However, kids need to use critical thinking skills to create the structure, so it stands and allows the marble to make it through the towers.

 

marble run

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Ways to Play

 

1. Ideas from the book- There is a booklet that shows different designs that you can create for the marbles to go through. These designs can be helpful in the beginning when learning how to work with the blocks with this toy.

 

2. Create your own- Most of the time, we create our own marble track. What I love about this is that there are a lot of fails in the design. I stated earlier that this is a great toy to practice problem-solving skills. Have your kiddos try to figure out how to fix any issues.

 

Marble Run STEM engineering toy

 

3. Marble races with two towers- Create two separate towers; they can be the same or different, and see which marble can make it to the bottom first! The kids will go WILD for this activity. They won’t want to stop doing it :).

 


Toy #8: Me Reader

 

We’ve had our Me Reader for about 3 years. In the beginning, my daughter just listened to the stories; now, she is actually reading the stories without the Me Reader.

 

These stories have been her favorite ones to read lately! She is so proud of herself for reading these books, and I am proud of her too!

 

me reader books

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Ways to Play:

 

1. Listening– The Me Reader is designed for your little one to flip the book’s pages and click on the shape that matches the page to hear the story. If your little one is too little to do this, you can do this part for them.

 

2. Looking at the pages– Looking and imagining what’s happening in the story is an excellent activity for kids. They will create ideas about the story, discover different characters, and learn about different settings.

 

3. Reading– Once your child gets old enough, they can start reading the books on their own without the Me Reader. Even if they have memorized the words to the book, this is still helpful because they see the words on the page and recognize them.

 

RELATED: Engaging Sight Words Activities For Kids

 


Toy #9: Doll Houses

 

We use our dollhouse for an unbelievable amount of play scenarios!

 

My kids just come up with new ways to play with different figures/dolls each time we play.

 

doll houses

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I know there are a ton of different dollhouses out there. What I like about this one is that there is SO much room to place the dolls and play. Some of the houses are too small, and the kids can’t actually play with their Barbies or other figures!

Ways to Play

 

1. Free play- Let the kids have fun playing with the toys included with the house and their toys. They will have so much fun just playing out a variety of different play scenarios on their own! My kids just love lining up their toys in a row on our dollhouse.

 

2. Play games about things that happen at home- Play bedtime routine, dinner, practice talking about the potty, etc. These real-life situations that occur at home are so much fun to play out with their little toys.

 

3. Add something new into play- Bring in some other toys for different types of play with the dollhouse. For example, you can bring in a tea set, doctor’s kit, or animal toys to engage with the dolls to bring new play experiences in.

 


Toy #10: TOOB Toys

 

I keep on purchasing more and more of these TOOB toys by Safari LTD. There are so many different options to choose from. They have animals, insects, cars and so many more options!

 

These figures are small, which is fantastic because you can use them in so many different ways.

 

toob toys

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Ways to Play

 

1. Sensory play– My kids LOVE these little animals or figures in sensory bins that I create! They also really love covering them in play-doh or slime. They are perfect for creating small world set-ups! Check out this one I did this fall season using our farm toys.

fall sensory play

 

2. Painting– Kids love creating process art! It’s so fun to watch them create projects and be as creative as they want. We have used these small animals when painting by doing dinosaur footprints and bug prints. The possibilities are endless, and it’s a blast!

 

3. Sorting activities– We have a large collection of these toys. There are times that I dump them out, and we sort the animals by category. For example, they find water animals, insects, and artic animals and separate them.

 


Toy #11: Coding Caterpillar

 

Coding activities are engaging for kids, and they are jam-packed with learning. Coding is something that kids are exposed to now as well at school! This toy is a great way to get them excited to learn more about how coding works!

 

Coding requires kids to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are skills your little ones will need for the rest of their lives! Allowing them to start building these skills early on is wonderful for your child’s education.

 

Twist Code a Pillar STEM toy

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It comes with 5 segments that stay attached. There are different arrows and music switches on each segment, so kids can learn how to program the caterpillar to go in a specific direction!

 

How your child can learn with this toy:

 

1. Your child will have to choose the right sequence of arrows to arrange on the caterpillar to try to get it to find the correct path to the finish point (which works on sequencing, critical thinking, and problem-solving). The old version came with two dots for a way for it to follow, so that maybe something you want to try with your kids!

 

2. Your child will learn about different directions (straight, left, and right) and why those specific arrows are important to coding the caterpillar to reach the target destination.

 


Toy #12: Doctor Kit

 

It’s so funny because when it’s actually time to head to the doctors, my kids are NOT excited most of the time. But, when it comes to playing doctor, well, that’s a completely different story.

 

We love to play doctor at our house. We have these fun toys that we use on each other to play and also our other toys!

 

 

doctor kit for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Stuffed animal check-ups– Bring in the toys for a check-up! Use their favorite toys to go to the doctor’s office to feel better again!

 

2. Play dentist– There are also some dentist tools inside this doctor’s kit! Pretend like one of you are the patient, and one is the dentist. Talk about the importance of keeping our teeth clean by flossing and brushing!

 

3. Talk about health– Talk about ways to keep your body healthy when playing along with these toys. Discuss with your little ones why people go to the doctors to get well checks, and when they are sick. Also, talk to them about the importance of taking medicine to feel bad if they are sick (we struggle with this sometimes because they are scared to take medicine), so if you role play it, it might be easier!

 

To go along with this toy, I also have a packet on community helpers! Talk about what community helpers are and what they do for a job.

 

community helpers prints

 

Click here to check out my Community Helpers Learning Packet!

*14 pages with 3 different activities included.*

 

Activity #1: Color in the community helper and circle which career they have. Then color in the pictures at the bottom that go along with that community helper!

 

Activity #2: Community helper match-up: Draw a line from the community helper to the correct supply.

 

Activity #3: Community helper puzzle cards- Cut out both the community helper and the description. Match up the community helper to the right description!

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #13: Play-Doh

 

Play-Doh is a HUGE hit around here! Do your kids love Play-Doh as much mine? My kids could play with it for hours when we pull all the pieces and parts out.

 

I wish this were around when I bought all my Play-Doh supplies! This is amazing that shapes, numbers, tools, and animal cut-outs are all together in one pack!

 

 

play-doh set for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Number and shape recognition- Included in this pack are number stamps and shape cut-outs. Play-doh is an excellent sensory activity for kids and a hands-on learning experience. Kids will learn to recognize shapes and numbers through this fun way of learning because it will create a fun memory.

 

2. Play-Doh tray play- I enjoy creating tray play activities for my kids; it gets my creative juices flowing.

 

You need some loose parts (pom-poms, sequins, feathers, googly eyes, popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners). You place these in an organizational tray and let the kids use their imaginations to create something with the objects you placed in front of them. Here is an example of the Toy Story themed Play-Doh tray I did.

 

toy story play-doh tray play

 

3. Practice fine motor skills- When kids use the Play-Doh tools, they use fine motor skills. I love Play-Doh accessories, too, because they are safe for kids to use! There is a roller cutter, a small plastic knife, and scissors. Using these tools will help them develop small muscles in their hands to build their fine motor skills!

 


Toy #14: Kinetic Sand

 

Kinetic sand is one of my favorite sensory bin fillers! I use it for letter and number learning sensory activities.

 

Not only is it great for learning, but it feels AMAZING! Every time I have it out for my kids and my husband is around, I always catch him playing with it too!

 

kinetic sand for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Building with sand toys- Included in the pack are a few sand toys that your kids can use to build castles in the sand. Building castles is easy for even toddlers to do with this type of sand! You can also use sand toys that you play with outside too! The kids also enjoy hiding toys inside the castles we make to search for them with the tools.

 

2. Sight word sensory bin- I created a construction themed sensory bin for both my kids to play with. My younger one (2 yo) worked on alphabet recognition with the stones, while my older one (5yo) worked on sight word building. I have FREE sight word cards available for download! This was such a hit with both kids. Along with the kinetic sand, there are small stones and construction vehicles in this bin.

 

FREE Sight Word Cards

construction sensory sight word bin

 

3. Shape puzzle- Create a shape puzzle by putting shape blocks inside the kinetic sand! Use shapes from a shape puzzle to create the design of each puzzle piece into the sand. Pick up the pieces and have your kids try to match up the shapes in the correct spot.

 

RELATED: The BEST 22 Sensory Bins For Kids

 


Toy #15: Easel

 

Do you have a child who loves art? Easels are a perfect toy for kids to work on a bunch of different art projects!

 

The best part about having an easel is the giant paper. Having the large butcher paper is great for your kids to do art projects on the easel, and I also use the paper for different projects, not on the easel.

easel for kids art

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Ways to Play

 

1. Free Draw- Let your little one draw, paint, or color with different supplies! Let them create whatever they want! This is an excellent way for kids to show their creativity and imagination!

 

2. Draw/paint the season- This is one of my favorite activities on BIG paper! Write the season at the top of the page. Brainstorm with your little one what objects, foods, weather, clothing, etc. remind them of the season that it is.  We used our watercolor set to paint for this activity. This is an excellent homeschooling activity for preschoolers!

season water color art

 

3. Spray the letters/numbers- There is a chalkboard on the other side of the easel! How awesome is that, right? Write the letters of the alphabet or numbers that you want to work on with chalk. Fill a spray bottle with water and ask your child to squirt a specific number/letter!

 

RELATED: 23 SIMPLE Number Recognition Activities

 


Toy #16: Moonlight Stories

 

Do you do a bedtime story with your kids at night?

 

The Moonlight Story set is a different way to tell stories. Turn off the light and watch the story unfold by listening and watching the pictures appear on the wall!

 

moonlight stories

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There aren’t a whole bunch of different ways to play with this toy; I just had to include it on my list because it’s such a neat spin on reading!

 

I can’t wait to see her face when we turn off the lights and start listening to the story at bedtime!

 

 


Toy #17: Cash Register

 

Looking for a fun way to introduce the concept of money to your little ones?

 

A toy cash register can be used for so many different play scenarios to show your child about the different coins, dollars, and how to give change.

 

toy cash register

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Ways to Play

 

1. Coin sorting- Coin sorting activities are a great way to introduce the concept of money to your kids. I have a Money Learning Packet available for you to work on these skills with your kids. Use the coins and the dollars to bring these worksheet activities to life to help your kids learn about money.

coin sort worksheet

CLICK HERE to grab your FREE Money Learning Packet

 

2. Play store- This can be any type of store! The grocery, ice cream shop, restaurant, Starbucks, Target are some of our favorite pretend scenarios. Have your child ring up the items, type it in the cash register, and then return change if needed! This is a play-based learning strategy that will help teach the concept of money.

 

3. Add money- While playing store, switch roles, and have them be the person who buys the products. Work together with your child to add the money to see if they have enough to buy each item. Inside the Money Learning Packet, there are also activities to add pennies, dimes, quarters, and dollars, along with this fun who has more activity! 

 

adding money

 

RELATED: Teaching Resources

 


Toy #18: Jumbo Droppers

 

I just got these for us to use at home, and we are LOVING them!

 

The kids enjoy their colors, and they know when they get brought out that they are doing a fun art or science project.

jumbo droppers for kids

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Ways to Play

 

1. Mixing colors- Kids loving creating their own “potions” by combining colors with these droppers. The best thing about this is that it’s super simple to set up. You need a few clear cups, depending on what colors you want to use, food coloring, and a larger clear jar our cup to create the potion in. Put some water and a few drops of food coloring in each small cup. Place the color droppers inside the cups with the food coloring. Let your little one choose which ones they want to add into the larger jar, and let the fun begin!

 

2. Rainbow cloud experiment- This is one of my favorite experiments to do with my kids! In a clear glass, fill it 3/4 of the way full with water. Then, squirt a thin layer of men’s foam shaving cream on the top. Drop a few drops of food coloring on the top of the shaving cream, and voila! Check out this beautiful rainbow in a glass! Your kids will love watching the colors in the glass.

 

 

3. Dropper learning- Break a longer piece of paper towel off and write a few numbers or letters with different colors scattered all over it. In a few separate cups, fill the cup 1/2 full of water with a few drops of food coloring, depending on what colors you want to use! Call out a number or letter you want your little one to find. With the dropper, they will squeeze up the color liquid and squirt it on the paper towel! This is a fun and great way to practice recognition skills.

 

dropper number activity

RELATED: How to Teach Toddler Colors (9 SIMPLE strategies)

 


Toy #19: Slime Kit

 

Are your kids obsessed with slime as much as mine? The Nickelodeon slime kit is the best! I don’t know why this isn’t actually at the top of my list!

 

My kids play with this slime kit almost daily! Slime is just a blast to play with! 

 

slime kit for kids

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*There are some parts in this toy, so make sure to have a parent watching children who are younger playing with this toy.*

When playing with slime, I also suggest grabbing an art smock. This way, your little ones’ clothes won’t get slime all over it when they are playing!

art smock

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Ways to play

 

1. Create blends– There are SO many different colors to choose from in this set. Mix colors to see what they would change into! See if you mix the colors if they would make a new color!

 

2. Add in the extras– You get some little foam balls, pom-poms, and sequins to add in the same. This will change the consistency. This is a great sensory activity for the kids to explore!

 

3. Cover toys– Grab those TOOB toys or other small figures and cover them with the slime! My kids love doing this activity the most. They love pretending and imagining by doing this activity.

 


Toy #20: Osmo

 

When I talk to teachers that have Osmo in their classrooms, every one of them has said GREAT things about it!  This is currently on my list of things that I want to purchase as well.

 

Osmo is an interactive gaming system for learning! Say what?!

 

Yes, kids love Osmo because they are playing games. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel too badly about some screen time when it engages my kids in learning.

 

osmo

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When children play with Osmo, they are doing hands-on learning games that involve math, science, and art! The tablet doesn’t come along with the Osmo; a piece goes on top of your tablet.

 

Want to learn more about Osmo? Take a look at the following review!

 

 


Toy #21: Sports balls

 

Yes, that simple, a ball!

 

There are ENDLESS amounts of gross activities that can be done with a ball for kids. I am a physical education teacher, and one of the must-haves in my gym is a bunch of playground balls.

 

 

sports balls

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Ways to Play

 

1. Throw and catch- Practice throwing and catching skills with the football and basketball! Show your child the correct way to throw the ball underhand and overhand. These are critical gross motor skills that will help them later when playing sports and games at school with their friends. Make sure to have them step with one foot towards their target, throw with one hand, and aim for their partner’s hands!

 

RELATED: 14 PROVEN Basketball Drills For 5-Year-Olds

 

2. Kick and trap- Soccer is one of the best games for little ones because it’s all about running and kicking! Also, work on trapping and passing skills by passing back and forth with this soft soccer ball!

 

5 year old soccer spot shot

 

RELATED: 26 Soccer Activities for 5-Year-Olds

 

3. Aiming skills- With the soccer ball, practice how to kick the ball to a target like a soccer goal or in-between cones. If you also have a smaller basketball hoop, you can practice aiming skills in the basket! Your kiddo will be a step above the rest if they start practicing these gross motor skills at a young age. Plus, it’ll boost their confidence if they practice these skills! They will be more willing to play in the future if they know some skills already.

 


Toy #22: Letter Learning Locks

 

Most children’s toys focus on upper case letters, which is excellent. However, if kids only know uppercase letters, they will be lost when it comes time to reading.

 

That’s why kids must learn both upper and lower case letters!

 

Learning locks upper and lower case alphabet

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These letter locks connect which upper case and lower case letters go together by putting the correct key in the lock! The lock won’t open unless the right key is placed inside.

 

How to help your child learn with this toy:

 

A. For younger children, pick 3 letter locks and put them in a line. Ask your child to find a specific letter if they know their letters already.

 

B. Explain to them that there are upper case and lower case letters. They may see either of them when you read stories to them. Even though they may look different or smaller, they are still the same letter.

 

C. Show them the lower case letter key for whatever letter lock you are asking them to find. Talk to them about what letter it is and how they can unlock the lock with the key!

 

E. Repeat and show once more the upper and lower case letters before moving onto the next letter.

 

RELATED: FUN Fine Motor Activities

 


Toy #23: Tricycle

 

We love getting outside as a family to take bike rides! It’s so nice that my daughter can ride her tricycle on her own now!

 

Learning how to ride a bike is something all children learn how to do! Building their skills by getting a tricycle is a critical step in learning how to ride a bike! This is how they learn how to steer, keep balance, and use those legs to move the pedals.

 

tricycle

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Ways to Play:

 

Materials to extend learning: sidewalk chalk and toddler’s helmet

 

1. Start slow- Whenever you introduce a new concept, have your little ones start slow. Show them how to use the tricycle correctly. Also, show them the importance of putting on a helmet correctly whenever using the tricycle.

 

2. Practice on a flat wide surface- I’d recommend starting in your driveway or a wide-open area. This way, they won’t steer themselves right into the grass. Once they get the hang of learning how to steer, they can go to narrow areas like the sidewalk.

 

3. Hills– Once they get more confident riding, have them try to ride up some small hills. This will challenge them a bit more and get them a little more exercise!

 

RELATED: Outdoor Toys for Toddlers

 


Toy #24: Vtech Write and Learn Creative Center

 

I am always looking for fun ways for my kids to learn! Children are more likely to engage in a learning activity for a more extended time if they are enjoying themselves.

 

When it comes to writing, it’s a little more complicated because kids need the chance to practice with worksheets. However, there are a few toys out there that are great for early writing skills!

 

Vtech Writing Creative Center Toy

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This writing center has 6 activity modes to practice upper and lower case letters. It also has fun stamps and stencils so kids can practice making shapes and different objects as well.

 

How to help your child learn with this toy:

 

A. Show your child how to hold a pencil before they begin!

 

B. Have your child choose which letter they want to practice writing so they can see what it’s supposed to look like on the screen above the writing center.

 

C. If they are just beginners, have them hold the pencil along with you to get a better understanding of how the letter is made.

 

D. Have them practice writing the upper case and lower case letters on the writing center together to start connecting that they are the same letters even though they look different.

 

E. You can also practice writing numbers, their name, and making shapes! 

 

RELATED: FUN Handwriting Activities For Preschoolers

 


Toy #25: Recordable Storybook

 

This recordable book is a memory and a gift that will last a lifetime. We made recordable books for both our kids with my voice and my husband’s. I know that they will love and keep these forever.

 

If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or just a friend to a child, this is the perfect present. You can record your voice telling the story for them to listen to.

 

 

recordable storybook

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There are several options available for different stories you can choose from. We did Christmas books for my kids for presents in past years. However, this book could be used all year round.

 

I know I would have loved a present like this of my grandmother’s voice before she passed away. It would have been something so special to be able to hear her voice whenever I wanted to. This is a must-have on your lists for a little one in your life!

 


Toy #26: Sensory Table

One of the most beloved toys that we use outdoors is our sand table. I especially love the one that is shown below because there is a space for sand and water!

 

My kids always want me to add water to our sand table because we don’t have a special area for water like this one. This is the one I would get if I were to do it all over again.

 

sensory table

 

Ways to Play:

 

Materials to extend play: magnetic letters/numbers

 

1. Sand handwriting- Have your kids practice upper and lower case letters, numbers, and writing their own name in the sand! Grab my FREE letter and number traceable, so they can look at each letter or number’s shape so they can recreate it in the sand. 

 

Upper Case Traceable Letter Cards

Lower Case Letter Traceable Cards

 

Traceable Number Cards

 

2. Alphabet search– Do your kids love to play searching games? Hide some letters or numbers in the sand. When they come across one, have them tell you which one they found! You can also use my FREE Alphabet sheet so they can match it up like a puzzle.

 

3. Bury toys– This is kind of the same concept but with toys that they love! We hid our play bugs in the sand, and my son wanted to do this over and over again. Find some toys that won’t get ruined if you put them in the sand and see if your kids can find them all! They can also count the items they found to add some learning into play.

 

RELATED: FUN Handwriting Activities For Preschoolers

 


Toy #27: Preschooler Trampoline

 

Does your child have a lot of energy that they need to burn off positively?

 

Look no further! Toddlers can jump their little hearts out in a safe way since this trampoline has netting around it to keep them inside the trampoline while they play!

 

 

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Ways to Play:

 

Materials to enhance play: mini basketballs and inflatable pool basketball hoop.

 

1. Free play- Let your kiddo jump their little hearts out! They will love just getting the chance to explore the trampoline and see what fun tricks they can do on it! They will burn off some energy and get some great exercise by using the trampoline.

 

2. Basketball play- Set up the inflatable pool hoop on the trampoline. Your little one will LOVE jumping and shooting it into the hoop. They can work on aiming skills from farther away as well!

 

3. Practice types of jumps- Practicing jumping skills develop gross motor skills! Here is a list of jumps to practice: straight, tuck, straddle, half turns, whole turns, and frog jumps!

 

RELATED: 20 AWESOME Exercises for Kids

 


Toy #28: Arts and Crafts Kit

 

If you have a little one who loves arts and crafts, this set is AMAZING!

 

This art set has everything you could want when making crafts, art projects, or just creating whatever they want!

 

 

arts and craft set

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Ways to Play:

 

1. Threading– There are a bunch of bright colored pipe cleaners and beads in this kit. Practice some fine motor skills by threading the beads on the pipe cleaners! You can even have them find the letters of their name and put them in order on the pipe cleaner.

 

2. Popsicle stick crafts– Popsicle stick crafts are so fun to make and simple! Create fun faces using the googly eyes and pom-poms! These are some that we made during Halloween time. They were so fun to make!

 

popsicle stick crafts

 

3. Get creative– Put all the pieces and parts out and let them go to town and create whatever they want to make! Having a kit like this will be exciting for the kids to experiment with new supplies!

 


Toy #29: Kids Camera

 

I asked my Instagram community what gifts they were thinking about getting their little ones and a kid’s camera was one of the responses that I heard the most!

 

This way they won’t take your phone to take photos, am I right?!

 

kids camera

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We have this camera, and it has been a major hit with my daughter! She can take as many pictures as she wants! It’s really heavy-duty too, which is nice in case it gets dropped.

 

Ways to Play

 

1. Take photos– The main reason you want the camera is for the kids to take photos! Upload their pictures to the computer if you want to save any.

 

2. Add fun backgrounds– Kids have the ability to add on some fun backgrounds or silly pictures into their photos. They can have fun adding their face into the backgrounds!

 

3. Games– There are a few games that they can play on the camera. 3-year-olds may struggle to play some of the games, but it’s nice that they can use it for years to come, and they will get better at it.

 


#30: Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet

While this is not really a “toy,” this tablet has educational games and hundreds of FREE books!

 

We have this tablet for our kids, and it is perfect for young children to use. You can also link your Amazon account to the table so all the items you download from your account will show up on the Fire!

 

amazon fire

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Ways to Play:

 

1. Play educational games– There are tons of educational games that your little ones can play. When you choose to do screen time, it always feels better when they are learning, doesn’t it?

 

My favorite learning games

 

a. ABC Mouse- you have to have a monthly subscription for this program, but it has 100’s of educational age-appropriate games for your kids.

 

b. Teach Your Monster To Read- this is a phonics and reading game!

 

c. 123 Numbers- Trace and counting game

 

2. Read books– My favorite part about having the Amazon Fire is having access to an incredible amount of FREE books. It’s fun to look through them and read them with your little ones.

 

3. Watch shows– Going on a road trip or plane ride? We use this tablet for the kids to be able to watch shows when we are traveling. We don’t like to use it the entire time, but it is nice to have something for them to do when they are just sitting there for a while.

 


Toy #31: Candy Land Board Game

 

The first game that we introduced by daughter at 4 years old was Candy Land!

 

I also remember playing this around that age when I was little too! Isn’t that amazing? It’s been around for so long, but it’s just a classic that is fun for kids to learn how to play board games!

 

candy land board game

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How this game involves learning:

 

1. Color recognition– If you have never played this game before, there are colored squares on each card. They will flip over the card on their turn and move to the color it shows. This will help with color recognition and matching skills on the board!

 

2. Counting– On the card, there will be one or two colored squares; they will have to move their player the correct amount of times on the board! It is challenging in the beginning because they have to learn how the board works with the twists and turns it has on it.

 

3. Taking turns- Half the reason I love playing board games with the kids is that it teaches them how to take turns! This is an important skill they will need for the rest of their lives.

 

4. Following rules– They have to follow the game rules and learn they can’t cheat to win! They need to understand that they can’t take extra turns or move their player to different spots on the board to get ahead.

 

RELATED: Kindergarten Activities For Kids

 


Final Thoughts and Conclusion

 

There are so many toys out there; it feels overwhelming to choose the right gift for kids!

 

All of the gifts that I mention in this article are open-ended toys. That means that if you choose to give one of these as gifts, it can be used in an endless amount of ways. These won’t sit in a closet for a year; I can promise you that!

 

I hope this list of The 30 BEST Toys for 3-Year-Olds helped you narrow down your choices! Do you have any toy recommendations for 3-year-olds that you didn’t see on this list that you think should be added? I’d love to hear about them! Please share your ideas with our community by commenting below!

 

Happy Toy Shopping!

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