Which toys are most worth your time and money?

Essential Toy Box for 4 & 5 Year Olds

We believe these toys are essential members of your family's toy box. Our extensive toy experience (over a decade!) plus years of customer feedback inform this no fluff guide to the very best.  Explore consistent favourites that build essential life skills like creativity, emotional intelligence, problem solving and grit. 

Browse the collection below for our customers' favourites or keep scrolling for a deeper dive into which toys are best at this age and why.

What Do 4 & 5 Year Olds Need Out of Their Toys?

Your kiddo is at the sweet peak of imagination. The imaginary world can be so powerful at this age, the line between magic and reality is blurry. How incredible is that? Support this richly creative time with open ended imaginative play toys (basically anything that helps a child “make believe”). 

Your 4 and 5 year old is developing emotional intelligence (empathy, expressing emotions and a desire to help and nurture others) as well as their brains, so look for toys that support all aspects of developing into a whole, happy human. 

Top Considerations

Open Ended Imaginative Play. Toys that are fueled by your child’s imagination (not batteries) help develop creativity, problem solving skills, language skills, emotional intelligence and more, making them awesomely educational. 

“Open Ended Imaginative play” just means it’s a toy that needs a child’s imagination to breathe life into them and can be used in many ways. For example, blocks can be a castle one moment and a set of animal enclosures the next, and rubble for a toy excavator to move around tomorrow. 

Lots of possibilities means lots of learning opportunities. These kinds of toys have amazing play value, as they can be played with for many years. 

Emotional Intelligence. Our kids need just as much focus on developing their hearts as their brains to live a full, rewarding life. Choose toys that encourage nurturing play (like dolls, cooperative games and stuffed animals) Or, help your child learn about the spectrum of emotions humans have with books that show a variety of characters and points of view.

Top Picks for 4 & 5 Year Olds

Maileg

Ignite your child’s imagination with these adorable mice with heartwarming personalities! It's a busy world - lots of lights, noises and flashy gadgets competing for (and diluting) our attention and focus. Bring storybook whimsy to everyday moments with your child with these toys designed specifically to help children explore the pure and simple joy of imagination. 

Maileg toys invite boundless imaginative play, whether it’s a mouse tea party, tucking baby mice in teeny beds or going on a wild camping adventure,. 

Maileg toys are an excellent choice for supporting creativity and emotional intelligence development in your kiddo. Most kids instantly gravitate to imaginative and nurturing play with Maileg toys.

Top Picks for 4 & 5 Year Olds

Building & Construction Toys

The ultimate educational toy!  This is our desert island / if you could only ever have one toy pick. 

Blocks and construction toys fuel creativity with endless imaginative play possibilities. What will your child build? A fairyland? A parking garage? A castle? An animal hospital? It could be anything. 

Construction play builds problem solving skills (how can I make my tower more stable?), creativity (what can I create next?) and spatial awareness (how can I make the picture in my mind a 3D reality?). Play figures and vehicles make excellent additions to blocks and can really bring the whole scene to vibrant life. 

Top Picks for 4 & 5 Year Olds

Stuffies & Dolls

Bring comfort to your child, boost imaginative play and develop emotional intelligence. These toys are awesome for building creativity - kids love to dream up wild adventures for their stuffies and dolls from tea parties to imaginary quests. 

And watching your child tenderly kiss their favourite stuffie or doll’s boo boos all better is one of the most heartwarming things you’ll ever see (and an incredible way for them to practice nurturing).

top picks for 4 & 5 year olds

Dollhouses & Play Structures

A great dollhouse can spark your kiddo’s imagination for years of play and nurtures everything from creative thinking to emotional intelligence to language development. Whether acting out everyday scenarios like cooking and putting the kids to bed or being transported to a magical forest land, playing with these toys will help your child act out their dreams, feelings and fears and create a miniature world all their own.  

What stories will your child tell? 

Top picks for 4 & 5 year olds

Small World Play

Boost your child’s creativity, imagination, language skills, fine motor skills and problem solving abilities with small world play. There are so many benefits to small world play we have a separate blog post all about it! Bottom line - small world play develops the brain and the heart, making it an all star in our books. 

Most kids love small world play for many years, making these toys great value. Small world play simply means imagining and acting out stories with miniature scenes (either from real life or imagined) in a mini play scene created with small figures, toys and household or found objects.

top picks for 4 & 5 year olds

Houseplay

Creativity, emotional intelligence, language skills, problem solving - you name it, house play does it! Practicing being an adult is super important kiddo work. When your child makes a soup for you with play food, fixes the book shelf with their pretend tools or hosts a tea party for their stuffies and dolls, they are developing a tonne of skills. 

When your child dreams up a new recipe (sushi soup anyone?) they are building their creative skills. When they blow on that soup to cool it down for you, they're practicing their nurturing skills. When they’re fixing that shelf, they’ll try out some new words they overheard a few days ago. When they realize they don’t have enough tea cups for everyone at the party, they’ll problem solve by having their guests share.