The 9 Best Educational Toys for 4-Year-Olds of 2021

Games and toys that will make learning fun

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Magna-Tiles 48-Piece Deluxe Set at Amazon

"Encouraging open-ended play, this set will engage young minds through math, science, creativity, and STEM exploration."

Best Science: Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Wildlife Camera at Amazon

"Perfect for animal-loving kids, the camera has two modes of play, over 120 fun facts, and 120 quiz questions."

Best Budget: Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wooden Block Set at Amazon

"The classic educational toy provides hours of hands-on play and learning with its wooden blocks, all at an affordable price."

Best Collaborative: Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Game at macys.com

"Suited for siblings or best friends to play together, no reading is required as players work to move the dinosaurs to safety."

Best Math: Learning Resources Mix and Measure Activity Kit at Amazon

"Explore and compare measurements in the bath with sand or while cooking with these durable and colorful measuring tools."

Best STEM: OSMO Little Genius Starter Kit at Amazon

"Budding STEM explorers will enjoy this hands-on toy, which requires an iPad, that teaches pre-drawing and letters."

Best Reading: ThinkFun Zingo! Sight Words Game at Amazon

"With space for up to six players, kiddos can also play on their own while practicing reading and having fun."

Best Tech: Shifu Orboot Interactive Globe at Amazon

"Learn geography, history, environmental science, and more with this tech-enhanced interactive globe that's accompanied by an app."

Best Montessori: Muyindo Preschool Math Number Counting Sticks at Amazon

"Little ones can visualize math concepts like addition, subtraction, and multiplication while developing hand-eye coordination."

By your child's fourth birthday, you'll be amazed by how much they have grown both physically and mentally. As their gross and fine motor skills improve and their interests develop, it'll become clear that it's time to add some fun educational toys to their collection. These toys will be so fun that they won't even realize that they are sharpening their essential skills.

Engage their minds with the best educational toys for your 4-year-old.

Best Overall: Magna-Tiles 48-Piece Deluxe Set

Magna-Tiles are well-loved 3D magnetic building blocks. Perfect for 4-year-olds, these toys will be played with for years to come, are easy to add on to, and are fun for solo or group play.

Encouraging open-ended play, this set will engage young minds through math, science, creativity, and STEM exploration. While not inexpensive, Magna Tiles are made to last for years of use and are appropriate for kids of all ages. 

Best Science: Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Wildlife Camera

Get ready for a safari adventure with this interactive talking toy. Perfect for animal-loving kids, simply look through the camera to view high-resolution images of animals while learning cool facts from Robert Irwin. Use the included map to virtually travel around the world while learning about animals from each region.

The camera has two modes of play, over 120 fun facts, and 120 quiz questions. For open-ended play, kids can remove the camera from the base and let their imaginations run wild.

Best Budget: Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wooden Block Set

This classic educational toy provides hours of hands-on play and learning, all at a budget-friendly price tag. Included are 100 durable wooden blocks in four colors and nine shapes.

Suitable alone or with a group, these versatile blocks can be stacked, lined up, built up, or combined with other toys, vehicles, or creatures for endless fun. Parent reviewers appreciate that the blocks all pack back into the box they came in.   

Best Collaborative: Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Game

Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Game

Courtesy of Walmart

Work together to move the dinosaurs around the board and get them to safety before the dangerous volcano erupts. No reading is required in this easy to learn, cooperative game that’s suited for two to four players.

A little luck and a little group strategy combine to make this a fun family game that's great for younger kids. Parents praise how easy this game is to learn and get playing and appreciate the two levels of gameplay to challenge older kids or seasoned players. 

Best Math: Learning Resources Mix and Measure Activity Kit

Explore and compare measurements in the bath, with sand, or while cooking with these durable and colorful measuring tools that are specially made for smaller hands. The set includes a scale, three self-standing spoons, and six uniquely designed measuring cups.

For families looking for activity guidance, the kit also includes recipe cards for mystery goo, puffy paint, slime, and more. Reviewers praise this thoughtful toy, also noting all the items last through hundreds of trips through the dishwasher. 

Best STEM: OSMO Little Genius Starter Kit

Change the way your little one interacts with an iPad with this hands-on learning toy. The Osmo Base, 38 silicone pieces, game playmat, cardboard costume pieces, and four in-game apps are all included and easily connect to your iPad (not included).

Parents love that wifi is not necessary to work this tangible toy that teaches subjects like letters, pre-drawing, and social-emotional skills. Geared toward kids 3 to 5 years old, if your child enjoys OSMO, there are add-on kits and other options as they age up. 

Best Reading: ThinkFun Zingo! Sight Words Game

Developed by educators, this award-winning game is like bingo, but with sight words. Appropriate for pre-readers through early readers, Zingo is easy to play and lots of fun. Fast-paced, the game can be played with up to six players.

Parent reviewers love that kids can play this game all on their own while practicing reading and having fun. If Zingo is a hit, there are lots of other versions including letters, numbers, words, and more. 

Best Tech: Shifu Orboot Interactive Globe

Learn geography, history, environmental science, and more with this tech-enhanced interactive globe. This toy includes a 10-inch globe, passport, stamps, country flag stickers, and a detailed guide. Kids download an iOS and Android compatible app that will help them explore and learn about hundreds of highlights and facts across six categories: cultures, monuments, inventions, animals, maps, and weather.

With play, puzzle, and activity mode, the globe will keep curious kids busy. Parents praise this as engaging, educational, and exciting and could be a great option to see the world even as families are traveling less these days. 

Best Montessori: Muyindo Preschool Math Number Counting Sticks

The goal of Montessori toys is to promote learning by helping kids experiment by holding, touching, and manipulating objects to develop fine motor skills and learn in an open-ended way. These wooden math toys do just that. Included in the set are 24 wooden number tiles and 48 colorful counting sticks.

Kids can visualize mathematical concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in a tactile manner focusing on hand-eye coordination and the concepts of colors and numbers. The budget-friendly price tag does correspond to the quality; the pieces are lightweight and may not last forever, but are helpful nonetheless. 

Final Verdict

The right educational toy depends on your child and the skill set you're trying to strengthen. For an all-in-one learning toy, the Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit (view on Amazon) is a great option. From phonics to STEM subjects, your little one can exercise all of their skills.

What to Look for When Buying Educational Toys for 4-Year-Olds

Skills

While many kids reach general milestones around the same time, every 4-year-old is different. Consider the skillset your child hasn't quite mastered yet and focus on the educational toys that will help them strengthen their knowledge in that category.

Interests

At this age, your little one is starting to develop their own well-defined interests. Whether they are obsessed with science or all about geography, choosing an educational toy that speaks to their budding interests will make learning even more fun.

Age-Appropriate

Most toy manufacturers include age ranges for their products to help guide buyers. Choose a toy that fits within a 3 to 5-year-old age range to ensure that it isn't too easy or hard for your child to play with and learn from.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year old daughter. Maya’s favorite toys for younger kids are easy to store, long-lasting, and can be played with by all three of her kids. For her crew, Magna-Tiles fit these criteria and are well-loved and frequently used in her house.

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