Best Educational Toys and Gifts for Three and Four Year Olds Under $35
Our 4 year old has a very long Christmas list already, as well as a lengthy birthday list (his birthday isn’t until April. Keep me in your thoughts, okay?) It’s been my job to sort through the list, figuring out which toys are actually something he would play with for more than a couple of hours. The ones that I’m putting at the top of the list are educational toys and games that keep learning fun.
In this post, I’m share my favorite educational toys and gifts for three and four year old boys and girls. Bonus: they’re all under $35!
I’m also including a free downloadable coupon book. You can use it to create coupons for experiences like having a friend spend the night or letting your child pick tonight’s dinner. It’s perfect as a bonus gift or stocking stuffer because it won’t cost you a thing, and helps your family value experiences over stuff.
For more educational toys and gift ideas, take a look at 11 children’s companies that are changing the world and toy and gift ideas for kids who love dinosaurs.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to my Amazon Associates account, as well as links to my Barefoot Books storefront. If you purchase items through these links, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Best Educational Toys and Games for Three and Four Year Olds Under $35
Into Space Puzzle and Coin Bank + Space Song Rocket Ride singalong
My little guy loves this 64 piece outer space puzzle, which comes in a sturdy metal coin bank. To round out your gift, add a copy of the adventurous singalong book + CD: Space Song Rocket Ride. It includes bonus illustrated educational notes that teach kids about the international space station, the planets, and interesting features in space such as black holes and asteroids.
Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden Kit
I love educational toys that help kids experience gardening and nature. Children can grow their own miniature fairy land with the Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden Kit. It includes a garden dish, fairy house, a flower fairy, toadstools, gravel, stones, seeds, “fairy dust,” paints for decorating, and decoration ideas. This is a great way to learn about gardening, while inspiring some pretend play too.
ExploreOne Child’s Binoculars
There are so many ways a child can use binoculars to explore. ExploreOne Child’s Binoculars are sturdy, shock proof, and come in a carrying case so children can keep up with them themselves. Use for bird-watching, exploring your neighborhood, or on a trip to a safari park.
Yoga Planet + Kids Yoga Mat
I love the way yoga encourages our little one to settle into his body and become more calm. Yoga Planet is a set of 40 sturdy laminated cards, each with a yoga pose, breath, activity for green living, or mindfulness game. One you teach your child how to use a particular card, she’ll likely be able to do the pose or activity on her own by following the pictures. You can learn more about Yoga Planet and see some sample activities in this blog post.
Every little yogi needs a mat of their own! Pair Yoga Planet cards with one of these cute yoga mats for kids, which comes in a variety of prints.
Melissa and Doug Chef Costume Set
Nothing encourages imaginative play quite like dressing up! This adorable Melissa and Doug Chef Costume Set includes a chef’s jacket, hat, wooden utensils, plastic measuring cups, and name tag. It is machine washable for any kitchen accidents your little chef might have.
Plan Toys Creative Peg Board for Preschoolers
Children can use this wooden peg board set from Plan Toys for for learning about colors, sorting, and patterns. It comes with an activity guide to encourage pattern making. We also love Plan Toys for their eco-conscious methods of producing their educational toys. This does include small pieces, so it’s not recommended for children under age 3.
Children of the World Book and Memory Game Set
My 4 year old loves exploring The Barefoot Book of Children and playing with his Children of the World memory game. The book is incredibly diverse and inclusive, and the hand-painted illustrations are stunning. The book includes many thoughtful questions that give children the chance to reflect on what’s important to them. It includes 16 pages of illustrated endnotes that help parents unpack the book with children. You can read my full review of The Barefoot Book of Children here.
We also frequently play the Children of the World Memory game, in which kids match up a boy-girl pair from 36 countries, learning how to say “hello” in each language.
I SPY Preschool Game
Children can play the I SPY Preschool Game in several different ways with various levels of difficulty. It can be used for simple matching, for finding an object, for finding similar objects, and color matching. These types of games are great for building a young child’s concentration.
BAIVYLE Balancing Cactus
This Balancing Cactus is an educational toy designed to help children develop their fine motor skills. Children must figure out how to add the leaves to the cactus plant in a way that won’t tip it over. This could also be used as a cooperative game, with children taking turns putting on the leaves.
Friends and Neighbors: The Helping Game
All of Peaceable Kingdom’s games encourage children to work together to achieve a goal, rather than competing against each other. In Friends and Neighbors: The Helping Game, preschoolers learn to identify feelings and practice compassion and empathy as they match ways to help with friends who have a problem.
Marble Genius 60 Piece Marble Run
Encourage your little one’s engineering and problem solving skills with this 60 Piece Marble Run set. The pieces are translucent so that you can watch the marbles go from top to bottom. The set is recommended for ages 4+, and a 4 year old may need some assistance from an adult or older child in building a run that will not tip over.
Mystery in the Forest Create a Story Cards + Puzzle
Our 4 year old loves coming up with imaginative stories. Storytelling builds children’s literacy skills, including sequencing and vocabulary. These Create a Story Cards, some of which have recurring characters, can be used in several ways. You can have a child select several to put in the order of a story. The child can pick out cards for you to tell a story from. They can also be used to create a silly round robin story, in which a group of children take turns selecting cards and continuing the story.
For a child who is at least 4 years old (or a younger puzzle whiz!) pair the story cards with this 42 piece puzzle, featuring all the characters from the card set.
Squigz Starter Set Building Toys
Little builders will love experimenting and using their imaginations with this Squigz Starter Set of Building Toys. Made of silicone rubber, these educational toys can be used on tabletops, windows, bathtubs, and more. Your child is probably also likely to enjoy the POP noise they make when taken apart from each other.
Ocean Life Floor Puzzle
This colorful 24 piece ocean life floor puzzle is simple enough for three and four year olds to put together themselves, building their confidence and increasing their problem-solving skills.
Melissa and Doug See and Spell puzzles
This See and Spell puzzle set includes 16 puzzles (double-sided on 8 boards) and 72 letters. Our son is sometimes reluctant to work on letter recognition, but he loves puzzles, so that this is a great activity to sneak in letter practice.
Free download for you: DIY Children’s Coupon Book
If you’re anything like me, you buy the big presents first, and when it comes to stocking stuffers, your budget is stretched thin. I also don’t like to overwhelm our child with too many things all at once. Enter my Coupon Book, which you can download for free here!
It includes passes for things like staying up 15 minutes past bedtime, a family game night, choosing what’s for dinner, and more. I’ve also included several blank coupons for you to fill out if there’s something else you’d like to include. Finally if your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and you’d like to give this as a gift, note that the graphics are blue snowflakes, and nothing is specifically said about Christmas.
What are your favorite educational gifts for 3 and 4 year olds? Share in the comments!