Re: Educational toys for a 4 yo?
We got DS a wooden marble run for christmas. It's great for hand eye coordination and for learning shapes like prisms, cubes, cylinders, etc. He's loving finding new ways to set it up. It's the imaginarium one from TRU, not sure if it is still available. He was also given a play money set to use for learning money and he opens pretend stores. It's good for counting, but he isn't quite ready for counting in 5/10/25 increments just yet. But it's helping him to be ready.
It really depends on your child. Artsy? Builder? Explorer? In the past, I asked for a treasure chest. We were given one that is about 1.5 feet wide and about a foot tall. We add cool things to the box. Gears from a broken clock. Or maybe packaging material that looks neat. All different things to use for pretend play or art projects. Then DS uses them to make space ships or castles, etc. Every few days, we go to the box and we each pick a few things and make up stories for them. A scrap of fabric goes from a super hero cape to a table cloth to a parachute. Metal gears are keys to a fantastic world or DS will look through the hole in the middle and pretend he sees pirates in the distance. Every month I go through the chest and take out some things and put in new things. It was one of the best gifts we ever got and it's made better by the fact that we change it all the time.