Four year olds are the masters of “let me do it”. Their independent, inquisitive nature comes on the heels of the toddler years, and it demands toys and games that offer more complex cognitive stimulation and encourage important social behavior. Looking for the perfect gifts for 4 year old boys? Check out our list of winners, loaded with picks that will engage their creativity and drive to learn.

The Winners

#1

Waterproof RC Vehicle

Best Overall

This zippy little Waterproof RC Vehicle pick has a cool body and remarkable functionality. The rugged black and green body and monster truck styled tires make it look like a big kid toy, but it’s totally safe for your little dude. The waterproof body features a sealed ring within the chassis that keeps water from damaging essential motorized parts of the toy. The huge wheels flip the car 360 degrees when it hits obstacles, and it just keeps right on going thanks to its awesome stunt car design. It comes with rechargeable batteries and a cool trigger control mechanism, and the 60 meter control range lets them achieve satisfying distances without roaming too far.

Developmental & Play Insights Waterproof RC Vehicle

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#2

AmScope  Dual Light Microscope

UPGRADE CHOICE

Easy to use, age appropriate science tools are a great way to give kids a chance to explore their world more closely. Great for both academics and fun, the AmScope  Dual Light Microscope is monocular, which means that like most basic scopes for kids, it only has one eyepiece. They’ll be able to view objects from 40x – 1000x zoom thanks to a 6-hole disc diaphragm. Varying object sizes are just fine with this pick thanks to the dual light source, which is powered by your choice of an outlet or 3 AA batteries, conveniently included. This pick will stay beneficial for years, and a USB camera, sold separately, can be clipped on easily to capture images of specimens.

Developmental & Play Insights AmScope  Dual Light Microscope

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#3

Melissa & Doug Wood Building Blocks

Best Budget Buy

Wooden building blocks are a childhood classic, and the Melissa & Doug Wood Building Blocks are a fun and stylish addition that kids continue to enjoy as they grow. A large wooden storage crate makes putting away these engaging blocks a simple process. Kids will love building towers, castles, walls and moats with their durable set. Melissa & Doug are experts at building screen free childhood toys that offer plenty of room for imagination to run wild, and these blocks are the perfect example of their ethos. They’re universally a blast to play with, but every child will exercise their unique creativity in building with them during playtime.

Developmental & Play Insights Melissa & Doug Wood Building Blocks

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#4

Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes

Kids will be amazed at what they can do with no fuel or batteries when playing with this fun set of Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes, each of which has unique abilities that make playtime engaging and exciting. The Looper makes huge, satisfying loops that are tons of fun to watch. The Wildcat can do cool tricks, giving kids incentive to master their stomp strategy. Finally, there’s the Glider. It soars to impressive heights of about 100 ft, offering high flying action they’ll want to trigger again and again. Kids can adjust their launch angle with the sturdy adjustable stand, and will love mastering different launch and flight styles.

Developmental & Play Insights Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#5

Hasbro Don't Step In It

The Hasbro Don’t Step In It is fun, silly obstacle dodging game which features a long, green mat that’s styled as grass. There, kids must wear blindfolds and dodge obstacles in the form of piles of… were you hoping we’d say money? Alas, that wouldn’t be nearly as funny as the faux dog poop that your kids will have a blast avoiding. Kids can mold the enclosed (non-scented!) material into fake poo piles, and it can be reformed after the game. They can play with friends or siblings, or they can challenge their own high scores! They’ll build balance and coordination with this fun social pick.

Developmental & Play Insights Hasbro Don't Step In It

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#6

Kid K’NEX Group Building Set

An awesome pick for playtime with a group, the Kid K’NEX Group Building Set has plenty of pieces to keep kids ocupied. K’NEX are known for making sturdy building sets that take craftsmanship to new dimensions, letting kids build unique creations they’ll love. 131 big, chunky, colorful pieces are safe for younger kids and have a durable, high quality construction that holds up to repeated play. 10 pairs of big, friendly eyes are great addition to their creations, and a set of fun ears can also double as wings for their creative creatures. The pieces snap and bend easily to make rounded builds and form corners. The set accommodates up to eight kids, and there are instructions for constructing a dog, butterfly, spider and other familiar picks. This set stores right in the bucket it comes in, so cleanup is super easy.

Developmental & Play Insights Kid K’NEX Group Building Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#7

Dr. Seuss My Book About Me

Dr. Seuss has been bringing joy to parents and kids for generations, but My Book About Me offers a different twist. It gives your special five year old boy a chance to help tell his own story, filled with information they can add that’s unique to each child. It’s great for helping him discover personal information like his weight, height, how many teeth he has and the color of his eyes. Likewise, it’s a good tool for teaching kids about their address and phone number, which is important for them to know and be able to recite. Long after kids have finished enjoying this sweet book, parents will treasure the keepsake of a special moment in time that the pages have captured.

Developmental & Play Insights Dr. Seuss My Book About Me

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#8

Magnetic Building Blocks Set

A super fun twist on building blocks, this sturdy and powerful Magnetic Building Blocks Set features bright, cheerful colors like teal, magenta, orange, purple, yellow, blue and green. The semi-translucent pieces come in both squares and triangles, and they’re great for building exciting 3D creations. Bases for cars and windows for houses give kids a head start on creative ideas, and the possibilities are limitless. This block set is both easy to construct and quick to put away, as pieces gather together quite simply. They’ll have a blast making their own architectural and wheeled creations, all of which snap together easily with no force.

Developmental & Play Insights Magnetic Building Blocks Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#9

Kinetic Sand Box Set

Kinetic sand is a toy that offers kids plenty of sensory engagement. The cool play tray that’s included with this Kinetic Sand Box Set will give kids a space to play while also limiting any potential mess. The vivid purple sand included with this set can be packed, pulled and squeezed for a great time that may offer some agitated children a good opportunity to self-soothe. The kinetic sand can also be sculpted using one of the four enclosed molds, which include a fish, a seahorse, a turtle and a castle. There’s enough sand and molds to share with a friend, and they’ll have a blast experimenting with other potential molds- try old funnels and ice cube trays!

Developmental & Play Insights Kinetic Sand Box Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#10

Nat Geo Little Kids First Big Book of Why

Kids love to ask questions. In this pick, Nat Geo Little Kids First Big Book of Why, the experts at National Geographic offer some easy to parse answers to some of childhood’s most common questions, while also tackling some queries kids didn’t yet know they had. Information about what makes cars go forward, what makes dough turn into a cookie when it is baked and other simple but pertinent inquiries is featured, accompanied by large, full color photos and illustrations that help kids understand concepts. Reading offers kids a massive cognitive boost, and five year olds are especially excited to memorize and share new information, so they’ll have a blast regaling friends and family with what they’ve learned.

Developmental & Play Insights Nat Geo Little Kids First Big Book of Why

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#11

Zoomer Dino

RC drone pals can be a lot of fun, and the Spin Master Zoomer Dino offers more one on one engagement than a lot of other remote controlled toys. Zoomer can sense where kids are and what they’re doing. He uses True Balance Technology to carefully navigate your home while remaining fully upright. When kids pull his tail, it makes him angry. They can also train him to dance, chase them around the house, chomp his dino jaws and let out a ferocious roar. Zoomer’s remote is powered by 3 AAA batteries, and he charges easily via USB, so charging after playing ensures he’ll be ready to go for next time.

Developmental & Play Insights Zoomer Dino

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#12

Aeromax Jr. Fire Fighter Bunker Gear

Upgrade Choice

A fantastic pick for creative roleplay, a theme day, Halloween or a costume party, the Aeromax Jr. Fire Fighter Bunker Gear looks just like the real thing. It’s a great way to teach kids about fire fighters and what they do to help and protect us every day. It’s also a good teaching tool for important household fire safety hazards, precautions that should be taken and things to do in the event of a fire or emergency. It’s a rugged costume, so they’ll be comfortable and safe both inside and out. The set comes with a jacket that features real reflective stripes and elbow patches as well as overalls with knee patches and adjustable suspenders.

Developmental & Play Insights Aeromax Jr. Fire Fighter Bunker Gear

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#13

Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track Set

Hot Wheels are the definitive experts when it comes to cool cars and tracks for kids, and this Corkscrew Crash Track Set is a unique pick that challenges their abilities. The large and unusual course features three loops, three crash zones and three high speed boosters which can power Hot Wheels or other small toy cars at top speed. Kids will love perfecting their launches until they’re able to complete the loops without crashing. This course connects easily to other Hot Wheels sets, so if they’re collectors, it can be a fun part of a really expansive setup. It’s a little more skill based than other toy car sets, plus it offers chances to develop logic and engage socially, working together to perfect launches.

Developmental & Play Insights Hot Wheels Corkscrew Crash Track Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#14

Aeromax Youth Astronaut Helmet

Pretend play is an important favorite of five year olds, and an imaginary lunar mission or journey to Mars just wouldn’t be complete (or, let’s face it, safe) without a helmet. This sturdy, high quality Aeromax Youth Astronaut Helmet looks just like the real thing, featuring a tinted amber visor that can be lifted easily. A USA flag icon stands proudly on one side, and NASA’s famous logo is emblazoned on the other, both touches of realism that are seen on the uniforms of real astronauts. It’s great for creative play, plus it makes a very cool addition to a Halloween costume or a theme day at school.

Developmental & Play Insights Aeromax Youth Astronaut Helmet

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#15

Brio World Deluxe Railway Set

The folks at Brio are experts at train toys, and this awesome starter railway is no exception. The Brio World Deluxe Railway Set features a fun harbor and metropolitan setting that gives home to passenger trains, freight trains, stations, cranes, bridges and more. Batteries are included, so all automated features work right out of the box. The simple assembly is just challenging enough to be a rewarding task for a four year old engineer, and the splinter-free wood railway set is compatible with most wooden railway track sets.

Developmental & Play Insights Brio World Deluxe Railway Set

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

How to Pick the Perfect Gift for a Five-year-old Boy

Consider Their Developmental Stage

When choosing gifts and toys for kids of any age, always think about their developmental stage first. Knowing more about where they are in their growth will help you make a pick that’s safe, fun and helps them learn and develop.

At five, kids are generally well on their way past toddler behaviors. Acting and feeling like a big kid is important to them now, and typical behavior will see them striving to follow the rules and receive positive reactions from adults and peers. They’re more able to sit and listen at length, which is why age five is the perfect time to start formal education. They’re able to eat more neatly and dress themselves more effectively, and their overall coordination has improved significantly over the past 18 months.

They’re more able than ever to articulate their emotions and exhibit empathy, but they’re still learning to regulate their emotions, so temper tantrums will still happen. Their separation anxiety will be minimal, and they’ll have an easier time bonding with peers, typically making two to three close friends in a school or activity setting.

Some of the best toys for 5 year old boys include balls, bikes, age appropriate sporting equipment, more detailed books, phonics and word games, tablet games that prompt reading and writing, games about feelings and emotional regulation, art supplies, building sets and age appropriate science kits.

Entertainment vs. Education

When kids reach age five, they’re typically beginning their school years. They’re refining their reading and writing abilities and starting to learn very basic math, and meeting adult-set goals, like the ones set in school, is likely to be important to them. Games that incorporate elements of reading and writing are excellent picks now, as they’ll give kids plenty of practice while they’re having fun. They’re also more able to build with kits and do simple science experiments now, so educational playtime can become more dynamic.

Entertainment is always important to their mental well being, and the best fun toys for five year olds are the ones that keep them outside and active. It’s important to develop a love of physical activity early, and providing balls, bikes, scooters and safe sporting equipment will encourage them to stay healthy and work out energy and aggression.

Physical vs. Cognitive vs. Social

Physical play is important for all kids, but five year olds are past the age of needing to directly focus on motor skill improvement. It’s important that they have a healthy balance of toys that keep them active and outside, but it’s not the most essential developmental process happening for them right now.

Cognitively, five year olds are more able to read, write, count and focus than they were on their last birthday. They’re more able to learn in school, and they’ll be interested in pursuing the skills they learn there. Having toys and games that engage kids mentally will keep them prepared for education, perhaps even giving them an edge in skills and knowledge.

Socially, sharing and empathizing are important to kids now. They’re beginning to understand the social values of sharing and making other people happy, and they’re likely starting to make real friends that they talk about by name. Group games with simple instructions that encourage sharing are awesome picks for five year old boys, who will relish the opportunity to play with pals.

Digital vs. Manual

In the digital vs. manual debate, we stand firm on our stance that good screen time exists both in style and duration. At five, using educational tablet games or interactive stories during downtime is actually a great way for them to stay engaged.

It’s less important for them to refine small motor skills now, so manual toys aren’t as pertinent, but they’re still great. Building sets and science kits can be a lot more hands on and memorable than electronic games, so keep that in mind. Sporting toys that get them up and moving their whole body remain important, because those activities keep kids healthy and developing good habits.

Wrapping Up

Five year old boys are making friends, learning new things and growing up quickly. The right toys and games can give your special guy a chance at important skill boosts while also offering plenty of fun, and it’s even better if he can share with his pals. Now that you’re an expert, it’s time to go pick a gift he’ll love!

Quick Decision

Waterproof RC Vehicle​ – Best Overall
This zippy little Waterproof RC Vehicle pick has a cool body and remarkable functionality.

KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table – Upgrade Choice
Easy to use, age appropriate science tools are a great way to give kids a chance to explore their world more closely.

Prextex Pack of 2 Cartoon R/C Cars – Best Budget Buy
This pick is a childhood classic fun and stylish addition that kids continue to enjoy as they grow.

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Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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