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Toys for 3 and 4 Year Olds

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Toys for 3 Year Olds and 4 Year Olds Buying Guide

Toys for Three and Four Year Olds

Your preschooler turns everything into play! By three years old, he has a full year of imagining under his belt and is able to invent his own simple stories and games. He understands that other people have thoughts and feelings that are separate from his. Role playing and make-believe are ways to express his emotions and creativity while learning about others.

Preschoolers have more sustained energy than two year olds and have learned how to climb on playground equipment and nearly everything else! Your child loves to be active and show off all of the things he is learning to do. Take time to play actively together outdoors.

3 and 4 Year Olds

Growing Developments

  • Your child is painting and drawing with a plan, but he may have trouble implementing it
  • He might talk and share strong emotions with an imaginary friend
  • He enjoys role-playing and make-believe activities
  • Your child can climb ladders, trees and playground equipment
  • He can pedal and steer ride on toys while avoiding obstacles
  • He enjoys building with blocks

Guide to Toys

  • Add open-ended toys that can be used in multiple ways, to encourage play and imagination
  • Introduce short games that don't involve strategy, reading or many rules
  • Choose clay, dough and easy to manipulate craft supplies that add fun for three and four-year-olds
  • Develop motor control with bead threading activities
  • Look for simple stories or activities that give an understanding of how things work
  • Begin to add early learning alphabet and reading toys to play time

Top Toys for 3 and 4 Year Old Boys

Best Play Value Toys for Ages 3 and 4

  • Dress up outfits for girls and boys make pretend play even more exciting
  • Tricycles
  • Early learning alphabet toys
  • Science kits for young children
  • Musical Toys

Top Brands for Ages 3 and 4

  • Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics Projects
  • Lauri Toys
  • Corolle Les Dollies Dolls
  • Melissa and Doug
  • Plan Toys
  • Kid Galaxy Toys
  • Beka Wooden Construction Toys

Choosing Toys for 3 and 4 Year Old Girls and Boys

When shopping for toys, it's alright to ignore stereotypes. All kids can benefit from logical toys, creative toys or dramatic toys! It's more important to follow the child's interests, but if you're in need of some inspiration, shopping by gender can narrow down the options.

Popular toys for 3 and 4 year old boys include preschool building sets and building blocks in addition to chunky trucks and vehicles. Toys for 3 and 4 year old girls include pretend play kitchens, play food sets, dollhouses and dollhouse accessories. Preschoolers are interested in all of these activities, so don't be afraid to mix things up if a truck set looks fun for your girl or your boy shows an interest in a dollhouse.

You can also view our best selling toys for girls or boys by selecting the gender and “most popular” from the drop down menu on the green bar in the center of the page.

Top Toys for 3 and 4 Year Old Girls

Ways to Play

Your child is experiencing the world through play. He blows bubbles in his drink, splashes in the bathroom sink and conducts simple experiments to understand physical laws. "Can I make this clay thin enough to float like paper?" he thinks. "Will the cat land on its feet if I nudge it off the stairs?" he wonders before testing it out. He is beginning to think methodically and creatively when solving problems.

His vocabulary is growing, and he is starting to understand the uses of reading and writing. He knows that written words represent spoken ones and may begin to add letters to his drawings and ask adults to take dictation for him. These new play interests indicate a perfect time to play with alphabet puzzles and begin teaching him simple words!

He is also becoming quite the conversationalist. He can speak about personal experiences and answer questions when prompted. Make sure to spend lots of time talking and reading together as you play. You can even incorporate the alphabet into pretend play by making characters out of the letters. Maybe the letter "A" is on a quest for some APPLES but the letter "E" has already EATEN them all.

Three and four-year-olds can play outdoors for hours. And while your child is outdoors, he's learning with all of his sense! Kids need unstructured playtime to explore their environment on their own terms. He'll love to show you all his new outdoor skills, as he learns to climb, run, ride a tricycle and pump a swing. Active play is just as important for his mental and emotional development as time spent learning to read and write.

Singing and dancing are great ways to work on language development and memorization. Combining hand motions and actions with his favorite songs will help him develop coordination and self confidence. You can even turn singing and dancing into a game! Create a simple action for him to repeat, like jumping or shaking his hips. Then let him add his own movement to the routine. Continue repeating what's been done previously and adding to the dance to make the game gradually more challenging and fun!