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Gift Guide: Best Gifts For 4-Year-Olds

Dec 13 2015 - 11:09am

Your 4-year-old is quite the little kid now. She has favorite toys and characters and probably picked out what she wants for the holidays from the pile of catalogs that already arrived. That said, these fun finds — including arts and crafts projects, racing cars, and magnetic building tiles — are sure to be hits when your preschooler opens them!

Magna Tiles

Magna Tiles [1] ($52 for 32-piece set) allow tots to build up and out with pieces that feature magnets on every side.

Hot Wheels Ultimate Auto Garage

Think of this as the Barbie Dreamhouse for cars. The Hot Wheels Ultimate Auto Garage [2] ($100) not only stores 36 cars, it has spirals, tracks, and a gas station for play too — not to mention a helicopter that comes with the set!

Frozen MP3 Microphone

She'll be crooning out "Let It Go" regardless of what's in her toy box, so why not give her center stage? The Frozen MP3 Microphone [3] ($10, originally $17) serves as a real, functioning mic, comes preloaded with music from the movie, and can connect to any MP3 player.

42-Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set

Tegu's magnetic wooden pieces make building more fun than ever. The 42-Piece Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Set [4] ($110) comes with a variety of pieces in a number of different sizes, as well as wheels for creating the ultimate vehicles.

Frozen Olaf Snow Cone Maker

It's only appropriate that an Olaf Snow Cone Maker [5] ($23) exists, isn't it?! No batteries required, this takes some good old-fashioned elbow grease to crank out your icy treats.

Robot Turtles Game

Think your preschooler is too young to learn basic coding? Think again! Robot Turtles [6] ($18) has kids moving turtles across the gameboard in search of their matching jewel — to do so, they use basic programming commands, teaching them without them ever realizing it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 42 Inch Tall Secret Sewer Lair Playset with Sound

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back with a vengeance, and this Secret Sewer Lair Playset [7] ($95) is the perfect toy for a new fan. Probably taller than they are, the playset has everything kids need for pretend play with their favorite characters.

Janod Grow-with-Me Tool Bench

Set your little one up for some superconstructive fun with Janod's Grow-with-Me Tool Bench [8] ($130). The wooden set includes every tool tots will need and is magnetic — meaning a smaller chance of lost pieces!

Gobblet Gobblers

Blue Orange's wooden toys not only help the earth (it plants two trees for every toy sold), but games like Gobblet Gobblers [9] ($28) also help teach memory and strategy skills for young learners.

Furreal Friends Starlily Unicorn

Your little one's dream of having a real, live unicorn can almost come true with the Furreal Friends Starlily Unicorn [10] ($120). The unicorn responds to touch on its horn and chin and comes with a special strawberry that it likes to eat.

B Toys Symphony in B Orchestra

A virtual orchestra pit, B. Toys' Symphony in B [11] ($40) is preprogrammed with 15 songs and symphonies. It comes with 13 instruments that can be added one at a time to the "stage" to actually create the music. So if the tuba, piano, and violin are on stage, the song sounds different than it does if the sitar, cymbals, and clarinet are there. When Gisela Voss, chief toymaker at B. Toys, introduced me to it, I was mesmerized. I couldn't stop playing around with the pieces and seeing what the different combinations would make — and neither could my kids.

Gooey Louie

File this one under gross toys that kids love and parents just cringe at. Gooey Louie [12] ($32) has kids pick things out of Louie's nose in hopes of finding the right object. If the wrong one's picked, Louie goes a bit crazy!

The Land of Nod My Great Beanbag Toss

This adorable beanbag toss [13] ($39) was designed by artist Bianca Gómez exclusively for The Land of Nod. It comes with three beanbag birds and is easy to set up (and take down) in any doorway.

Matchbox Treasure Tracker Metal Detector Truck

You child will be put to work with the new Matchbox Treasure Tracker Metal Detector Truck [14] ($30). A real working metal detector, the truck is just waiting to alert it's owner that it's found some treasure in the sand box!

Star Wars Episode 7 Remote Control BB-8

The hottest movie of the year has a boatload of toys for kids of all ages. The remote control BB-8 [15] ($80) is perfectly sized for little hands and makes movie-influenced sounds as it moves.

Paw Patrol Paw Patroller

One of the hottest shows for preschoolers this year, Paw Patrol is a bonafide hit for tots. The Paw Patrol Paw Patroller [16] ($60) has a working elevator and a fully functional Command Center inside. It can transport three Paw Patrol vehicles or display up to six, making it the ultimate toy for your Ryder and Skye fans.

StoryCraft The Frog Prince

The Orb Factory's StoryCraft The Frog Prince [17] ($22) allows for creative storytelling as tots add shapes and jewels to a 10-page storybook about the Frog Prince fairy tale.

Seedling Create Your Own Designer Tutu

New Zealand-based Seedling has the most beautiful kids' craft kits, and it's new Design Your Own Tutu Kit [18] ($50) would be perfect for your crafty 4-year-old.

Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin' Sara

Your little one may not remember learning to eat solid food, but she certainly enjoys helping other tots do so. Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin' Sara [19]

($50) is the latest addition to the Baby Alive line, and watching the doll eat and then poop her Play-Doh-like food is sure to provide enjoyment for little ones.

Miles From Tomorrowland Stellosphere

Miles From Tomorrowland blasted into our kids' hearts this year and the new toy line makes our hearts grow fonder. They're sweet and fun, just like Miles himself. The Stellosphere [20] ($50) is actually thee toys in one — the Stellosphere, the Zip Ship, and the Mini StarJetter. Plus, it recites phrases from the show. How cute!

GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine

Not all fairy tales are about princesses, as GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine [21] ($30) proves. Part of a construction toy and book series for girls, GoldieBlox shows little ladies that engineering and fun aren't mutually exclusive. The story's star is a young inventor who fashions a belt drive out of pegs, axles, wheels, and ribbon, right alongside her readers.


The LeapReader [22] ($35) is designed to teach kids how to read and write all in one place. As a next-generation Tag — LeapFrog began phasing out the Tag system last Summer — the LeapReader continues to teach tots to sound out words and read sentences through its library of 150 or so books, while also teaching preschoolers how to write their numbers and letters through structured stroke lessons. Slimmer and easier to hold than the original Tag, the new system's reading experience feels exactly the same as the old version — place the stylus on the page, and it will sound out words, read whole words, or read entire sentences. Where the system excels is in the new writing experience and a listening experience that now includes music.

Sofia the First Magical Talking Castle

There's no denying the popularity of Princess Sofia — Disney's hottest princess among the preschool set. The Sofia the First Magical Talking Castle [23] ($90) is the ultimate playset for little girls who love the show's characters. Sofia and Clover the Rabbit each say 10 phrases from the show, and additional characters can be added to the set, speaking their phrases as well.

Hape Super Moose

Just how steady is your tot's hand? With Hape's Super Moose [24] ($50), kids test their dexterity and stability as they try to add antlers to the moose's head — without knocking down the wooden pieces!

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