The 8 Best Educational Toys for 4-Year-Olds of 2019

Keep them educated and entertained with these games

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set at Amazon

“Helps kids learn shapes, colors, and how things work together.”

Best Budget: VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set at Amazon

“They can bang along to nine different songs or jam out freestyle.”

Best for STEM: Kids First Robot Engineer Kit and Storybook at Amazon

“They can build cool bots with moving parts, gears, and wheels.”

Best for Computer Skills: LeapFrog My Own Leaptop at Amazon

“Comes with four learning modes that help her learn the alphabet.”

Best for Math Skills: ThinkFun Zingo 1-2-3 Number Bingo at Amazon

“A fun way to learn to identify numbers, count, add, and more.”

Best for Reading Skills: Melissa & Doug® See & Spell at Amazon

“The bright colors draw kids in and keep them interested.”

Best Science Toy: Outdoor Exploration 10 Piece Kit at Amazon

“They can get up close and personal with nature and explore all its wonders.”

Best Board Game: Chutes and Ladders Board Game at Amazon

“Kids learn about how to be a good sport when they fall down.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set

There are no numbers or letters, no beeping or blinking lights, but these basic wooden blocks from Melissa & Doug are full of educational potential. They help kids learn shapes, colors, and how things work together. Most importantly, they let them use their imagination to create things while having fun. They’ve been a staple in playrooms for decades for good reason.

Made of solid wood, they’re sturdy and safe with none of the safety concerns that often accompany plastic toys. There are 100 blocks in all that come in nine different shapes and four colors.

Looking for ideas for the whole family? Check out the best family toys for active play.

Best Budget: VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set

For a rocking good time, kids love this drum set from VTech. They can bang along to nine different songs, including rock, pop, and dance tunes or jam out freestyle. There are also modes that help them learn numbers, letters and more. It comes with two drumsticks and demo batteries, but you’ll need to purchase 3 AA batteries for regular use. And don’t worry parents, there’s a volume control. 

Best STEM: Kids First Robot Engineer Kit and Storybook

Kids who love bots will flip for this robot kit. It comes with a story book that details the journey of two kids, Ty and Karlie, who are on an automated candy factory adventure. As your child reads about them and the robots they encounter, they can also build-along and bring to life cool bots from the pages with moving parts, gears, and wheels.

The pieces are large and colorful, which is perfect for little learners, and they can build up to 10 different robots from the story with them. From reading comprehension to STEM skills, they’ll be learning as they go too.

Best for Computer Skills: LeapFrog My Own Leaptop

Your child be just like mom and dad tapping away on their own keyboard with this little laptop from LeapFrog, only theirs is a lot more fun. It comes with four learning modes that help her learn the alphabet, how to spell her name, and more. Plus, there are game and music modes for a rockin’ good time.

It comes in both pink and green. When it’s time to call it a day, it folds up, and there’s a take-along handle so it can go wherever he goes.

Looking for options for a younger sibling? Check out our article on the best developmental toys for babies.

Best for Math Skills: ThinkFun Zingo 1-2-3 Number Bingo

Think of the traditional game Bingo with a fun twist for kids, and you get Zingo. In this numbers focused version, each player takes a turn sliding the Zinger to reveal two tiles that display numbers. If they have a match on their card, which is illustrated with figures they have to count, they place the tile on their card. The first one to cover their card and yell “Zingo!” wins. This game is a fun way to learn to identify numbers, count, and add.

Have a gifted child on your hands? Take a look at the best advanced toddler toys.

Best for Reading Skills: Melissa & Doug® See & Spell

Bright and colorful, these spelling boards form Melissa & Doug will help little learners recognize letters and begin spelling words—a significant milestone for 4-year-olds. Dual-sided, the eight boards help them build 16 basic words in all. Beyond that, they can use the 64 letters to spell other words as their skills develop further. They all fit into a wooden storage case too, so you can take it along for fun and learning on the go.

The pieces are solid wood and sturdy, and you don’t have to worry about them containing harmful chemicals like some plastic toys. Parents find that they're well made and that the bright colors draw kids in and keep them interested.

Best Science Toy: Outdoor Exploration 10 Piece Kit

Feed their science bug early with this 10-piece outdoor education kit. It contains everything they need to play outside and explore including binoculars, a flashlight, compass, whistle, bug collecting case, and more. All of it fits into the drawstring backpack that's included, so it’s easy to take on the go. They can get up close and personal with nature and explore all its wonders. Recommended for kids ages 3 and up, it’s sturdy and designed with little hands in mind.

Best Board Game: Chutes and Ladders Board Game

Chutes and Ladders has been a classic long before family game night was even a “thing.” The first one to 100 wins as players spin to see how many spots they move. It’s not that easy though, as the pesky chutes can send you backward. 

Designed for kids ages 3 and up, it teaches them to count, take turns, and learn about how to be a good sport when they fall down one of those long chutes. Up to four players can play at a time, and customers say it’s fun for the whole family.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the best educational toys for 4-year-olds on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different toys to buy overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the toys themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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