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38 Expert-Approved Toys and Gifts for 4-Year-Old Boys
These unique and unusual picks have something for every 4-year-old.
Once you've got a 4-year-old on your hands, you've left toddlerhood behind and are entering preschool age, but that doesn't mean there aren't a slew of cool toys to entertain them with. Your little ones will be eager to learn, experiment, try new things and understand more about the world around them. Now's the time to encourage them to look into new interests and incorporate learning with play.
Most 4-year-olds are eager to try their hand at problem solving or experiment with new tasks that require a greater attention span that will keep them occupied for longer than the usual 15 minutes. They're also going to being questioning more about the world around them, explains Rebecca Parlakian, M.A., E.D., a parenting expert from Zero to Three, an organization that focuses on kid development during the early years. Tasks that require planning ahead and better motor skills will keep them interested and occupied and help exercise their new abilities and interests.
"The best toys at this age include construction toys that allow them to build and problem-solve — think about plastic interlocking blocks, gear toys, domino runs, magnet tiles and other similar choices," Parlakian recommends. "If your child already has wooden blocks, consider expanding the set with new block types like turrets, arches and cylinders to spark their building play. Pretend play props, like costumes, a tea set or construction tools encourage role-playing. With more control over their fine motor skills, art supplies like paints and brushes, markers and other similar items can also be a big hit. And finally, simple board games and activities like dominoes and memory cards are also fun for preschoolers."
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Luckily, when it comes to these types of toys, the Good Housekeeping Institute has no shortage of expert favorites and award-winning products that will keep your little ones engaged while exercising their brain. To find the very best gifts for kids (including Good Housekeeping Best Toy Award winners), scientists evaluate the toys for safety and durability, then hand them over to our kid testers who make sure these toys are fun to play with. Our list of the best toys and gifts for 4-year-old boys is made up of the hottest new toys on the market, including winners of our 2022 Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards, former Toy Award winners, best-sellers and editors' picks. These are the best toys and gifts for 4-year-old boys in 2022:
Before including our favorite picks in an article, the Good Housekeeping Institute does rigorous toy testing to ensure we're recommending only the best. Many of our choices come from our yearly Toy Awards, where we test each item based on the following criteria:
✔️Safety: Our engineers and analysts make sure that each toy reaches all safety standards. They also assess things like pinch points and make sure toys won’t shatter into small pieces to pose a potential choking hazard.
✔️Ease of Use: We look at each toy to evaluate how simple it is to assemble, how well it’s constructed and how durable it is during play.
✔️Kid Approval: Aside from testing each toy for skill-building attributes, like how well it develops social-emotional skills, all our final decisions come from more than 100 children, ages 1 to 15, who assess the fun factor!
For decades, the Good Housekeeping Institute has provided expert reviews and advice on everything parents and children love, including STEM toys, educational toys, sensory toys and more.
Much of the toy testing for this article was overseen by Rachel Rothman, the Good Housekeeping Institute's chief technologist and director of engineering, with the help of Marisa LaScala, Good Housekeeping's senior parenting and relationships editor. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about parenting products. Plus, as a mom to three kids under 5, she has plenty of first-hand experience.
Marisa has covered all aspects of the world of parenting, from the postpartum years through the empty nests, since 2015, and she's pitched in with Good Housekeeping's toy coverage since 2018. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter, who are both avid toy collectors.
Looking for more great gifts for kids? Let the experts do all the hard work for you!
- Top-tested items: See what toys, gifts and books ranked the very highest in our Lab tests with our 2022 Good Housekeeping Best Toy Awards and our 2022 Good Housekeeping Best Kids’ Book Awards.
- Tech for kids: Our lab experts are often asked for recommendations for digital devices for kids, and we've tested kids' phones, game consoles and kids' tablets to see which ones held up the best for families.
- Great learning toys: While all toys can be helpful vehicles for supporting developmental growth, we love to spotlight notably exceptional educational Toys and STEM toys as well as ones that can support social-emotional growth, like those included in our lists of the best sensory toys, pop fidget toys and autism toys. Some of our favorite also landed in our lists of Hot Toys for 2022 and The 50+ Best Toys for Kids of Every Age.
- Gifts for babies: Please the newest members on your gift list (and their parents) with these useful baby registry items, as well as gifts for babies, gifts for baby girls and gifts for baby boys. Of course, you might want to get something for new parents to help them through the hectic newborn stage.
- Gifts for toddlers: The coolest new toys in this space pull double-duty, whether it's social-emotional learning combined with motor skills, or creative play combined with language, as you can see in our gift guides for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds and all toddlers, as well as our stocking stuffers for toddlers.
- Gifts for preschoolers: As they begin to explore the world around them on a deeper level, help them explore with STEM sets, art kits, creative toys and toys that inspire their imaginations. Find our favorites in our gifts for 3-year-old boys, gifts for 3-year-old girls, gifts for 4-year-old girls, gifts for 5-year-old boys and gifts for 5-year-old girls.
- Gifts for big kids: By these ages, they've developed their own interests. Help them dive deeper into the subjects that most interest them, from coding to art to cartooning to history and geography, with these gifts for 6-year-old boys, gifts for 6-year-old girls, gifts for 7-year-old boys, gifts for 7-year-old girls, gifts for 8-year-old boys, gifts for 8-year-old girls, gifts for 9-year-old boys, and gifts for 9-year-old girls. It's also fun to shop for some of our best-reviewed and top-selling stocking stuffers for kids.
- Gifts for tweens: Sure, once they get old enough for an iPad or gaming console you might be at a loss of what to get them. We have you covered with engaging picks for gifts for 10-year-old boys, gifts for 10-year-old girls, gifts for 11-year-old boys, 11-year-old girls and gifts for 12-year-olds, or see what's trending with boys or tween girls as a whole.
- Gifts for teens: We decode what's on the lists for this picky age group, from the hottest accessories to the most-wanted tech gifts, with gifts for 13-year-old boys, gifts for 13-year-old girls, gifts for 14-year-olds, gifts for teen girls, gifts for teen boys and even fun stocking stuffers for teens.