Great Gifts for 4 Year Old Kids
Shopping for a four year-old? Don’t expect much help from the little one! Many preschool-age kids don’t know what to ask for (especially if they are not watching TV and seeing commercials). I’ll never forget our family visit to “Santa” when Warren was three – Warren asked Santa for a turkey sandwich! The next year he asked for immortality, but that’s a subject for another day!
I tried looking for gift ideas for my preschoolers online. I googled “best gift ideas for four year old kid,” and found that most of the suggestion lists were composed by retailers to highlight (read, sell) that year’s offerings. I highly doubt the list authors had seen the items in person, much less seen a four year-old respond to them. Thank goodness for my sister-in-law, who will always be two years ahead of me in finding truly awesome toys and other gifts for her children! For those of you who can’t call Aunt Joy for advice, read on for our tried-and-tested gift ideas for four year-olds.
- Light-up Slippers. These were a Christmas present from Aunt Joy, and were a big hit! They come in cute animal shapes, are soft, and light up when the kid walks around. We’ve even thrown them in the washing machine on occasion without compromising the light-up feature.
2. Froggy Toss and Grip game. Violet and Jasper like to play catch outside, usually with a soft Nerf football or a beach ball. I let them play catch in the house if they are using this set, since the ball is soft and the rate of actual catches is pretty high when Velcro is involved.
3. Animal Suitcase. Another Aunt Joy idea. We have three animal suitcases that Warren, Jasper and Violet use for all road trips and flights as their personal carry-ons. They are large enough to fit a few books and activities, a water bottle and a snack. I store the suitcases on a high shelf at home because the kids love packing them as part of their pretend travels, and then grumble about unpacking and putting away. Our oldest suitcase is about three years old, and still holding up pretty well.
4. Stuffies. Most of my kids’ stuffed animals seem to be fungible… they are interchangeable extras trotted out for stroller rides and pretend play. The stuffies seem to be different. They have each been named and are generally the animal of choice for bedtime, road trips, etc. Stuffies are basically stuffed animals that have small compartments in which tiny things can be secreted away. Calico Critters? Check. Tiny notepad and crayon? Check. Lollipop for the plane? Check. (Pictured is Violet’s stuffy, the non-eponymous “Donkey.”)
5. CDs for the car. I go hoarse after a full day of holding three separate, running conversations, especially when we are in the car. So for long-ish car rides, I let the kids pick out books on CD for part of the ride. They love hearing someone other than their parents reading their favorite stories. Some favorites thus far include:
6.Classic card games. We got into these during a rainy summer vacation, particularly Old Maid, Go Fish and Uno. The kids got so excited about Old Maid that we actually wore out the Old Maid card, making it rather distinguishable. Solution? We stuck a fish sticker on an extra card and the game is now known as “Old Fish” in our family
7. Kids’ cooking supplies (e.g., knives, peelers, egg slicers and aprons). While not exactly a time-saver yet, Warren, Jasper and Violet love to help in the kitchen. By age 4, they were ready to help with peeling vegetables and chopping of soft things. When they put on their aprons and get out their special kids’ knives, they are so excited that I almost don’t mind the mess generated by my helpers.
8. Park ranger game. We have a lot of board games. Some are classics like chutes and ladders, and many are well-intentioned but seldom-played gifts. Violet and Jasper both seem to pick Rangerland with regularity, which is essentially candyland with an educational twist. Players move through national parks, collecting cards with interesting facts about wildlife and other features of the park. I love that the person who gets to the finish line first doesn’t necessarily win… it’s all about what you see along your way.
9. Mini micro scooter. I would have thought that the kids would lose interest in these after learning to ride bikes without training wheels, but no… these have been a hit for years!
10. Art table. This is a nice gift for a parent of a four year-old – a place for art that is not the dining room table! Ours has held up to glitter, glue, stickers and playdoh for three years and running. The benches have been used for pretend airplanes, spaceships and who knows what else.