If you’re in need of screen-free, outdoor and STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) gift ideas for for 4 year olds, you’ve come to the right place. I know that it can be so challenging to know what to buy for kids of a certain age if you don’t have or aren’t around kids that age often. Gosh, I have a 4-year-old and I still lean on other moms, teachers, social media and online research when it comes to choosing birthday and holiday gifts for my son.
Recently, I was looking for gift ideas for the holiday season and I turned to my Instagram community for inspiration. The outpouring of amazing gift ideas was so awesome that I knew I had to turn it into a resource for others!
What you’ll find in this post is a mix of the gift ideas for 4 year olds that I received from moms and teachers on Instagram, along with some of my son’s personal favorites. Please note, this post does contain affiliate links.
STEAM-FOCUSED + OUTDOOR GIFT IDEAS FOR 4 YEAR OLDS
1. MAGNA-TILES – this was the most recommended gift by a landslide…and for good reason! Magnatiles are amazing! If you’re not familiar with them, they are plastic tiles that snap together magnetically. They come in different shapes and sizes and kids can use them to build various geometric structures. My son loves to use his Magna-Tiles to build garages for his Hot Wheels cars. Many moms said their 4 year olds love Magna-Tiles and that their older kids still play with them frequently as well! We only have one small set of basic Magna-Tiles so I’m definitely going to be adding to his collection this holiday season. I’ve got my eye on the Dino World set.
- Original 100 Piece Set
- Metropolis 110 Piece Set
- Dino World XL 50 Piece Set
- Builder 32 Piece Set
- Safari 25 Piece Set
*Picasso Tiles are highly recommended for a more budget-friendly option.
2. SLACK LINE KIT WITH MONKEY BARS, GYM RINGS AND CLIMBING LADDER – we all know that most little kids love to climb, swing, hang and explore so why not turn your own back yard into a ninja obstacle course? I’ve seen quite a few of these set up around my neighborhood and the Amazon reviews for this one are saying that 4 and 5 year olds love it!
3. MARBLE RUN – marble tracks/runs were recommended by several different people on Instagram. I have no doubt that my son would play with this for hours. This set from National Geographic comes with a learning guide that teaches about the physics of motion and aerodynamics. It also includes marble run construction experiments.
4. BRISTLE BLOCKS – these blocks feature soft, interlocking bristles that can be built into countless different shapes and creations. The blocks stick together at any angle, helping to reduce frustration. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this Bristle Block set – 110 pieces for $12 on Amazon (price at time of post publishing).
5. KIWI CRATE/SUBSCRIPTION – KiwiCo is a monthly subscription box that inspires kids to see themselves as makers, engineering and creating their own innovative designs and outcomes. They offer STEM kits for kids ages 3-16. They are delivered monthly by mail and each “crate” explores a new concept in science, technology or engineering. The crates feature a hands-on project with high-quality materials and kid-friendly instructions along with explore! Magazine.
6. HOT WHEELS CITY – oh my gosh, we live in the land of Hot Wheels in our house. I think my son has over 100 cars easily but I don’t mind because he plays with them endlessly. This Hot Wheels City garage is their tallest play set so far. It offers endless opportunities for play and parking for 100 vehicles (see why we need this – haha). There is also a Robocalls T-Rex, two car elevator and tracks to race on. You can also connect this to other Hot Wheels tracks. Craziness!
7. TONIEBOX – I was absolutely delighted to learn about the Toniebox! It is an imagination-building, screen-free digital listening experience that plays stories, songs and more. I think I am going to start my son with the Disney Pixar bundle. It’s soft and squishablea nd you can easily swap stories and themes by connecting your favorite Tonie character at the top of the box.
8. BOUNCE HOUSE – not sure I need to sell anyone on the magic of the bounce house but these things tend to attract little kids to them like honey. My son is obsessed with bounce houses and I can only imagine his excitement if we had one of our own. Here’s a highly-rated budget friendly option or you can go all out with this one.
9. KINETIC SAND – Kinetic sand is play sand that is super soft but also holds its shape when squeezed or pressed. Kinetic Sand is regular sand, but instead of being coated in water (like wet sand), it is coated with Silicone Oil. The sand always feels wet and never dries out. This makes it fun to play with and shape into different things. Another great thing is that kinetic sand doesn’t stick to anything other than itself – VERY unlike regular sand! We love these folding sand boxes for easy storage and more contained play.
10. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIGHT UP TERRARIUM DINOSAUR HABITAT – this indoor activity set allows kids to easily grow a mini indoor garden where they plant and water the seeds and watch their dinosaur habitat flourish. Everything they need is included – chia and ryegrass seeds, a peat pellet, spray bottle, colored pebbles, rock and fossil specimens, river stone, faux succulent, two dinosaur figurines, a reversible laminated backdrop and a USB-powered light.
11. SOCCER GOAL – I think it’s great to have various sports equipment for 4 year olds to start to play around with so that they can enjoy being active outside while improving motor skills. We have a mini basketball goal and a T-ball set and I’d love to add a soccer goal! (Flaming soccer ball sold separately, ha!)
12. LINCOLN LOGS 150 PIECE SET – it made my heart happy to learn that Lincoln Logs are still a popular toy with kids. I have such fond memories of playing with these as a child. My son will definitely be getting a set soon!
13. TOY ROAD 24 PIECE PLAYSET – here’s another toy for the car lovers but the fun in this one is building the road layouts. The set comes with 24 chunky, interchangeable road pieces that allow kids to design endless road layouts.
14. TOMYOU BUILDING BLOCKS – these colorful building blocks were recommended by a kindergarten teacher. This set includes over 200 pieces of colorful building blocks that can be combined into shapes like flowers, animals, cars, buildings and more. There are abundant options for creative and imaginative thinking with these blocks. They come with a plastic storage box.
15. NUGGET KIDS PLAY COUCH – I’m sure I don’t have to introduce you to the Nugget but parents seem to really love them for their kids! This play couch comes with four foam pieces – base, cushion and two triangle pillows – that kids can use their imagination to turn into everything from loungers to tents to forts. Unfortunately, I just don’t have space for a Nugget in my home but I know my son would love one if I did. We are very much in the fort building stage at this time!
The infinitely configurable play couch made up of four foam pieces (base, cushion, and two triangle pillows), covered in a washable fabric cover in the color of your choice.
16. KID’S CAMERA – this camera is under $40 and has over 20,000 almost 5-star reviews on Amazon! It’s comes with auto-focus, 8 mega pixels and shoots 1080P video. Kids can take photos of family, friends and pets or switch to selfies. There is a portable lanyard hang for easy carrying and moving and it includes video and voice recording for more ways to play. The fully charged battery lasts for 1-2 hours of continuous photo taking. It holds an SD card for storing photos!
17. MEGLADON AMPHIBIOUS MONSTER TRUCK – this remote controlled RC truck handles any terrain with power and speed. You can race on snow, mud, rocks, grass and more.
18. YOUNG WILD AND FRIEDMAN SENSORY KITS – offers a fun variety of themed sensory kits featuring their all-natural, non-toxic sensory dough. You can order individual themed kits or subscribe to receive a monthly box. I have no doubt that my little 4 year old Play-Doh fanatic would go crazy over these kits and LOVE a monthly subscription.
19. TOY CASH REGISTER – encourage children to learn basic math and money skills with this working cash register. It’s solar powered so you don’t need batteries and it makes real register sounds. The cash register includes pretend bills, coins, a credit card and activity guide.
20. SPIDER WEB/SAUCER SWINGS – I see these webbed swings all over our neighborhood. I actually bought one for my son for his birthday but we haven’t hung it yet because all of our available tree branches are so high that I need a tree service to do it. (You can also hang them from a swing set so I need to explore that.) Most of these swings are big and sturdy enough to accommodate multiple children or an adult.
21. YOTO MINI SCREEN-FREE AUDIO PLAYER – this YOTO audio player is in the same vein as the Tonie Box above. It’s designed for kids ages 3-12. They can insert content cards into the speaker for hours of entertainment and learning. Large dials make it easy for little people to navigate the controls. It’s been tested for durability and ease of setup.
22. MICRO MINI KICKBOARD SCOOTER – I got this scooter for my son when he turned three but he didn’t really start using it until he was four. I know plenty of parents whose kids were scooting around as young as two but that wasn’t our timeline. My son uses this scooter almost every single day. It’s small and lightweight so easy to take along on a walk or load into the car.
23. REMOTE CONTROL GEAR BOT – this is a real moving robot that kids can design themselves. They connect any combination of gears, claws, heads and more to a motorized base and use the remote to direct their robots. It also sets all the gears in motion – which my child is always fascinated by. The set comes with 149 pieces and the remote control.
24. COLOR CHANGE CARS – Never did I ever think these cars would be such a hit. My son got his first color changer car when he was two years old and he has consistently played with them for the last two years. They change colors when placed in hot water and cold water. My son loves to sit at the counter and change colors and we also often bring a bowl of ice water into the bath or shower so he can play in there too! We love the Pixar Cars Color Changers and the Hot Wheels Color Shifters.
25. LEGO TABLE – Legos were probably the second most recommended toy for 4 year olds after Magna-Tiles. Here’s a link to recommended Lego sets for 4-5 year olds and you’re going to need a Lego table to contain these things. While Legos seem to be a toy that has stood the test of time as a favorite with kids, they sure do make a mess!
I hope that you’ve found this round up of gift ideas for 4 year olds to be helpful! I know all children are a little different in their interests and preferences but I think there are some really cool gift ideas here. And I just love knowing they’ve all been vetted by other parents and teachers. I would love to hear if you have anything to add to the list!
Are your kids into Legos?
What toys have your children played with more than anything else? (Like my son and his color changing cars.)
Do you have any gift ideas for 4 year olds to add to the list?