How They Play

4 to 5 Years

There’s a tremendous explosion in learning ability at this age, and it’s a good time to introduce interactive educational toys that teach math and verbal skills, such as phonics boards or mini computers. “Choose toys that say positive things like ‘Good job. Let’s try again’ instead of ones that make negative beeping noises whenever kids get an answer wrong,” suggests Marianne Szymanski, president of Kids are now able to imagine that they’re someone else and may fantasize about being airplane pilots, police officers, doctors, or teachers.

Top toys

  • Art supplies and craft kits
  • Blocks of different shapes
  • Electronic phonics toys
  • Construction sets with large pieces, such as Legos or Lincoln Logs
  • Puzzles of greater complexity
  • Action figures
  • Barbies
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Transportation toys, such as parking garages, airports, and train stations
  • Board games that don't require reading, such as Hungry Hungry Hippos, Yahtzee Jr.,or Candyland
  • Soccer balls and basketballs
  • Bicycles with training wheels

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