Best Toy Guide for 4-5 Year Old Children

When you are assembling your character, you do not only focus on yourself, but on the world which you are going to be playing in. This is the age where we take our physical skills and our knowledge and start combining them to create complex cultural customs which form the basis of our society.

This means that now is the time to take the toys they have been playing with aged 1-3 and combine them. Although at ages 2-3 your child may have wanted to keep every game separate and adhere to their own set of rules, at this age they are eager to break the rules, mix and match games, and experiment. For this reason we need toys that are similar to their last toys, but that teach them about context and nuance.

At this age your child will suddenly want even more toys, and want toys that we can more obviously understand as brain puzzles. They are no longer thrilled by a new sound, shape, or color.

They don’t care so much what something looks like, but rather want to ask, and check out “What do they do?” They want toys that include new and exciting abstract concepts, such as words, letters, numbers, etc. And as they are developing their understanding of what things are and what they do, they will also begin to understand who people are and what people do.

This results in them starting to play make-believe. They have progressed beyond imitating their parents and now want to imitate people who are radically different to their parents. This is their way of checking what jobs are available in society and seeing what options they may want to take. They will fantasize about being police officers, teachers, firemen, astronauts, etc.

Do not be alarmed if they become really attached to one career idea and then change it a month later. This is perfectly normal. There are many different options in our society and your child wants to test them all.

You will know your child is at this stage if they are starting to move away from their parents with confidence and developing an interest in art, words, numbers, and fantasy worlds.

Toy 16: Dolls

What are they?

Baby doll for girlsDolls are simple toys representing people. They could be cartoon characters, everyday people, babies, or animals. They are different from simple stuffed toys in that a doll’s purpose is to play the part of a real living thing.

What do they do?

A doll acts as a friend surrogate. Your child will use their doll to rehearse social situations and practice for when they are making real human friends. Your child may also use dolls as a part of their make-believe worlds, and play that the doll is the child and they are the adult.

When will they grow out of this toy?

Children will not stop playing with dolls until close to their teenage years, when they shift their focus completely onto real people. This is not a sudden change, though. Doll use will decline and human interaction will increase slowly as they get better and better at socializing.

What features do I need to look for?

There is nothing in particular to look for. Just choose a doll that naturally appeals to your child, so they can be comfortable and happy using it for practicing being social.

Can I make one myself?

Yes, a homemade doll can easily play the part of your child’s imaginary friend, companion, or baby.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Nothing at all. Just make sure that dolls that are used often and carried places are kept clean.

Toy 17: Dress Up Costumes

What are they?

Outfits that are made to represent different people in different professions. A good dress up box will include a few professions, a few fantasy outfits, and a few of your child’s favorite cartoon characters.

What do they do?

Now that your child is learning about all the admirable professions that are available, and all the amazing fantasy worlds that exist, they are bound to want to try on a variety of roles for size. This serves as an educational tool to show them who these people are and what they do.

When will they grow out of this toy?

They will have a long phase of playing make-believe that will taper off around the age of eight to ten and be completely gone by puberty. The less they believe it, the less they play it.

What features do I need to look for?

Get outfits your child is actually interested in wearing. Whether it’s a princess costume, or a pirate outfit, a police uniform or a doctor’s scrubs, get them stuff they want to wear.

Can I make one myself?

Yes. You can sew your own outfits, or even assemble them from old clothes.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Make sure the clothes fit your child well and get rid of any they outgrow. Restrictive clothes can limit your child’s growth and breathing, and cause restricted blood flow, rashes, and discomfort.

Toy 18: Electronic Pet Toys

What are they?

Electronic pets are a step above dolls in that they need and respond to actual care. From Tamagotchis to Robo dogs, to Hatchimals, electronic pets that need caring, feeding, cleaning, and/or training have always thrilled young children.

What do they do?

These toys teach your child how to be responsible for something other than themselves. It is a great way of showing them the value of life and how to carry something through, without getting them a real pet which they are not ready for.

When will they grow out of this toy?

Your child will either completely lose interest or be ready for a real pet by the age of ten.

What features do I need to look for?

Look for something that requires plenty of care and is very interactive, so your child feels like they are doing something. But Make sure that it is also something that does not die if neglected too long, as this could really upset or disappoint your child.

Can I make one myself?

Not realistically.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Make sure their first electronic pet is an age-appropriate toy and that it does not die, as this can disappoint, upset, or even scar your child.

Toy 19: Modeling Clay

What is it?

Modeling clay comes in various forms, from the traditional play dough right up to kinetic sands, that mimic beach sands without as much mess, or any water.

What does it do?

Modeling clay is the perfect opportunity for your child to develop their finer motor skills, as well as their creative instincts. Handling it and creating things can keep them busy for hours.

When will they grow out of this toy?

Some children grow out of using modeling clays by the age of six or seven, whereas others will continue to be interested in using clays and develop it into a love of art.

What features do I need to look for?

Choose one that appeals to your child. Make sure you have a range of colors and that they have their own pots, so that the different clays are not mixed accidentally.

Can I make it myself?

There are recipes for child-friendly modeling clays available online.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Make sure your clay is safe for children. Despite being older and more mature, children this age may still on occasion eat clay.

Toy 20: Toy Vehicles

toy vehiclesWhat are they?

Plastic cars, trucks, planes, trains…pretty much every vehicle you can imagine comes in toy form and most of these toys are great fun for children at this developmental stage.

What do they do?

Much like they want to dress up as police officers, nurses, etc, your children want to act out the bigger part of the scene too. They want to present something as happening on a larger scale, such as a police chase, or an ambulance rescue.

When will they grow out of this toy?

Children grow out of playing with toy cars around the age of ten, though they may still collect and display them well into adulthood.

What features do I need to look for?

Look for vehicles that have detailed features, and preferably ones that include figurines and make the right sounds at the press of a button, or when rolled along.

Can I make one myself?

Not realistically.

Do I need to be cautious of anything?

Some vehicles are models, not toys, and some toys are for older kids and hard to handle. Choose something specially made for your child’s age range.

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