What to get for a very bright four year old girl?
July 23, 2011 12:24 PM   Subscribe

What to get for a very bright four year old girl?

She's very smart and I was thinking something interactive would be great, but I'm not sure she's at the age where she'll want to follow the rules of a game yet.

She also likes princesses and her family does have a Wii, but those don't have to be involved in the gift.

$50 is probably about what I want to spend, but I could go up to $100 for something awesome that she'd get use out of for a while.

Thank you
posted by cali59 to Shopping (18 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have a four year old niece who's very smart too!

Her FAVORITE game is Zingo. She loves it so much that she sometimes doesn't want to share it with friends when they come over because she's afraid it will get broken or lost.
posted by LizzyBee at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

As the daddy of someone soon to be four, I assure you that you can't go wrong with jigsaw puzzles. 50 pieces or so max.
posted by dmt at 12:47 PM on July 23, 2011

My very bright kids loved art supplies at that age. If she doesn't have her own easel that could be a really great gift, along with some new crayons and a great big roll of paper. If her parents are the laid back kind some finger paints and a smock would be awesome. Play-doh is also a huge hit.

There are lots of art kits for littler kids too. Something where she could make her own jewelry might go over really well for a girl who likes to dress up.

This might seem stupid, but my kids really love the Signing Time videos. My daughter is partially hearing impaired so I got them for my kids to help them learn ASL but they really love the videos. If this little girl is bright and inquisitive she might get a real kick out of learning a new language.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:51 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Both of my children loved getting special books as "treasures". They learned to read early (before 4 yoa) and as adults still love and value not only their special gifts from childhood, but books in general.
posted by txmon at 1:04 PM on July 23, 2011

Best answer: Try to get her something no one else would buy her - something that might stretch her brain a bit. (just by asking the question I suspect this is your goal...)

Set is a great card game for a smart child.

A magnetic dry erase board is also loads of fun...to either hang on the wall at a child height if it's larger or to place on the floor and draw if it's smaller. (Larger is always better IMO)...
posted by NoDef at 1:14 PM on July 23, 2011

Best answer: How about a book? The Eleventh Hour is beautifully illustrated, a great story, and a mystery to solve. A lot of details will go over her head, but there are still plenty of clues to pick up on throughout the book, and if she's anything like me, she'll come back to it for years trying to find everything.
posted by phunniemee at 1:22 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you want to spend an hour or so at a store, a huge batch of unusual art supplies from a craft shop like Michael's can be really fun. Get stuff like glittery markers and glitter glue, paper, scissors, pipe cleaners, google-y eyes, stickers (they will certainly have lots of pink/princess options), and colorful paper, and put it all in a pretty box that she can use as a self-contained craft kit. Maybe add a big cloth or something to put on top of a table (or maybe that can be a separate present for Mom and Dad?).

My kids always love this kind of stuff, especially because we might usually buy one or two things at at a time, and getting a whole bunch at once is really exciting. Really you can't go wrong with art supplies at this age unless you are absolutely sure her house is already loaded with this stuff.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:43 PM on July 23, 2011

1. Books, and lots of 'em.

2. Things that they have to add imagination to. Costume pieces are good for this: a rainbow clown wig, a feather boa, some fairy wings.

3. I can't recommend Hearthsong enough. They have great toys that you don't see anywhere else.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:50 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Adults and kids alike love this interactive book about songbirds. Really fun to play with and learn from.
posted by wowbobwow at 1:54 PM on July 23, 2011


'Nuff said.
posted by pla at 2:24 PM on July 23, 2011

If she doesn't have a costume chest, and you're up for a bit of hunting to assemble the various components, that might be a welcome addition. At four, my friends and I (both male and female) occupied ourselves for hours playing dress-up, which evolved later on into acting out novels and plays, and then to writing our own. Nothing really has to be new, or sized for kids; they'll make it work.
From Goodwill or the equivalent:
Outdated-but-colorful clothing, especially long gowns from the sixties and seventies if you can find them.
Costume jewelry, like ropes of plastic pearls or anything outrageous and sparkly.
From a fabric store:
A couple of yards each of different discount fabrics, polyester velvet and sheer veiling and maybe some gold or silver lamé, for improvised costumes.
Some rope or satin braid from the trim section will be useful for tying things on.
From the internet:
A glitter wand is not precisely mandatory, but encouraged. Ditto party-store crowns, paper fans, and the like.
The jackpot for costumes occurs when any nearby ballet or theatre company has a costume sale. Outfits priced by the bag, in some cases. Great especially for interesting male clothing; I had a few velvet doublets that saw heavy use whenever we did Shakespeare.
Tuck it all into one of those pretty patterned large paper boxes you can usually find at Walmart or other discount stores (or make your own if you're crafty), and you're set.

Or, if you don't have the discount shopping gene, maybe The Young Folks' Shelf of Books, if she's starting to read. A similar anthology could work, too, but I had this one from the age of three, and they stoked my love of reading and myths and history like nothing else.
posted by notquitemaryann at 2:39 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

My daughter is 6 now but here are a few things that still get a lot of play at my house:

Dress up costumes of all kinds: princesses, fancy skirts, doctor, dentist, superhero, cat ears, dog ears, etc

A really good doctors kit: I have the standard toy doctors kit with a few extras: dr's prescription pad, empty vitamin bottles, fancy band-aids, and the item most in demand--a medical wrap that the kids use to pretend they have a broken arm/leg, etc

Spin art set


dancing wings
posted by hellochula at 3:30 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I came in to suggest dress-up clothes as well, which work well for a creative child inclined to make their own thing up. And not the realistic "educational" kind, but things like capes and costume jewelry.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:06 PM on July 23, 2011

Her parents may hate you, but there is nothing more "interactive" for many kids than a musical instrument. Get her a recorder, a toy piano, or a ukulele.
posted by paulsc at 5:51 PM on July 23, 2011

I like what NoDef said about getting something no one else would. Even the best parents often have tunnel vision about their own kids and tend to buy things in the same old categories. Usually it's either "Oh this is what she likes" or "This is what I liked when I was her age". Go outside the box. Buy something that might be a little more "boy-ish" or "book-ish" or whatever she's not already encouraged to be. Or a guilty pleasure sort of present that's the last thing on earth her good responsible parents would ever buy her. Because kids need grownups in their lives that teach them how to make fart noises and guess-what-chicken-butt.

And four is definitely not too young for games. My 3-yr-old gets the whole taking turns thing. He doesn't like it, but he understands it. Crazy Eights and Guess Who are two current faves.
posted by wallaby at 6:10 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Four excellent games that my 4 y.o. has been able to fully enjoy, yet don't make adults want to put a bolt in their brain on the three thousandth replay:
Rivers Roads and Rails
Kids of Carcassone
Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It!

Gulo Gulo and Kids of Carcassone are games where one player wins, Busytown is co-operative (all players work together to beat the game), and I don't know anyone who plays Rivers Roads and Rails as a game (tho it is possible to do so) -- just playing with the pieces and assembling them as a puzzle is awesomely fun.
posted by apparently at 6:46 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ok, I just went and looked at my own link (Hearthsong), because I haven't been there in a while. How cool are these?
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:48 PM on July 23, 2011

I was reading at an 11yr old level when I was three, but I still liked books for children - the Narnia series, Five Children and It, The Little Princess, and particularly Little Women at her age. If she's not reading fluently yet, how about a really nice edition of a children's classic like Alice in Wonderland with good illustrations, or House at Pooh Corner? (If you only know Winnie The Pooh through the Disney version, you're missing out.) The original illustrators for Carroll and Milne did a great job and I used to love looking at these in my childhood copies.

I liked art generally as a kid - if you have a museum near you, see if they have any books about art for kids, and package it with some art supplies so she can have a go herself. Something like this? I find kids are more receptive to modern art, and poetry, because they haven't got ideas yet on what things ought to be and just enjoy the sounds or the colours.
posted by mippy at 1:57 PM on August 14, 2011

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