So, your baby has suddenly turned into a big kid. I can relate and I know how tricky it is when you need to find new activities for them. You want to teach them new things, expose them to this great big world, and keep the fun rolling. Here are all my favorite activities for 4 year olds!
Activities for You & Your 4 Year Old To Do Together
Build An Obstacle Course
Building an obstacle course together will be a lasting memory for your little one, plus it will definitely help to get some energy out! You can set a course up with things you have around the house. Whether you lay hula hoops across the floor to jump through, set up the couch cushions as barriers, or put pillows down and say the floor is lava. I also love to use my home workout gear, like jump ropes and an agility ladder, to set up an obstacle course.
Once you have it set up, always give some sort of end goal to help keep your little one focused. You can time each other or have a goal at the end to shoot a ball in. Explain the rules to your 4 year old and then go through the course yourself to show them!
Introduce the game of hide-n-seek to your child. You don’t need any props for this game and it is really easy to explain. I always set some ground rules about where my kids could and couldn’t hide when they were little just to keep it safe. For example, you can set the boundaries as just the living room or just downstairs. The added bonus is that when they are “it” they will have to count out loud before coming to find you, boosting their number skills.
You can include toys, too! If you want to extend the game, you can also hide some toys around the house that they have to find. We usually do stuffed animals.
Play a Board Game Together
Board games are actually really fun to play with your 4 year old because they are learning the concepts of following rules, taking turns, and reading directions. These are all incorporated in board games, so they will be excited to show off their skills.
Candy Land was always the most popular in our house. I love it because it is super easy to play and doesn’t really require any setup. Hi Ho! Cherry-O is also great and incorporates a lot of counting, but you need to make sure there are no younger siblings around the pieces are tiny.
Always wanted to hire a chef? Well, now you have a mini one of your own and you would be surprised by how much they can actually help in the kitchen. Of course, it might be a little messier than usual but that is all in good fun. It is good for your child to learn how to measure out different ingredients and mix them together to make something new.
After dinner, they can also help you with cleaning the dishes! This is a good lesson in responsibility, but they will also love playing in the suds. Just take out any potential safety hazards and have them wash the unbreakable kitchenware.
Instilling a love of reading in your child will benefit them greatly in the coming school years. They probably aren’t reading on their own entirely yet, but they will love to sit and hear you read out loud to them. Have them sit right next to you so that they can see the pages, too. You might be surprised by how quickly they pick up on putting words together. One of my kiddos learned to read Go, Dog. Go! right around four, so I recommend simple reads like this.
Arts & Crafts Activities for 4 Year Old
This may be one of the messiest activities your 4 year old will embark on, but you will end up with a beautiful masterpiece that they loved creating! Just put a big tarp or sheet down on the floor, lay a piece of paper out, squeeze some paint out on a paper plate and let them have at it!
We love Crayola washable finger paint and this set comes with all the colors you need, check it out.
Another way to let your 4 year old create a painting masterpiece is to collect different objects for them to stamp onto paper. This can really be anything from the bottom of a plastic water bottle to an old tennis ball or buttons and rubber bands. One of my favorites is an old makeup sponge. It is a great way to re-purpose some household items before tossing them and your child will love the chance for sensory play! Be prepared for this to get messy as well.
Like we’ve mentioned, your child is learning to follow directions at this age and will be proud of themselves when they can easily do so. A coloring book is a great way to let them follow directions while making art. I recommend looking for coloring books that have connect-the-dot pictures and lots of different options for them to color in.
Something like the “My First Big Book of Coloring” will last you for a while! Check it out here!
Make Playdough & Then Play With It
Your child has likely played with playdough by this age, but have they made playdough before? It actually is pretty simple and they will love being able to make it for themselves. They can help you to mix the ingredients, stir, and knead the finished product.
Here is an article with a video on how to make your own playdough! Check it out. I love her tip for adding a couple of drops of essential oil to make the dough smell yummy.
Outdoor Activities for Your 4 Year Old
Head to the Playground
Getting out of the house is essential for everyone, and since your child will probably be starting school in the coming year the playground is a wonderful place for them to practice socializing and playing with others. By four, your child probably knows the rules of the playground pretty well making this is a great way for YOU to get a break. Obviously, you still have to watch them but it takes a little pressure away from having to entertain them.
Playing catch is a great way to work on hand-eye coordination. There is something really peaceful about tossing the ball back and forth with each other once your little one really gets the hang of it. You definitely want to start out with a softer ball, though. Your four year old might not be ready for a baseball to be thrown their way quite yet. This is a great set to start with!
Go for an Observation Walk
Take your walk up a notch and turn it into a special observation walk. Bring a notebook along and have your child point out all the interesting things they see, like birds and different types of plants. You can also bring a little bag along to collect leaves and rocks in. Make it feel like a little exploratory science mission!
Learning Activities Your Child Will Actually Enjoy
There are all sorts of sorting activities you can have your 4 year old do, from the fun to the practical. You can mix things together in a jar like pompoms and marbles. Have them pull them out and sort them into two separate piles. You could do something similar to this with candies, having them sort them out by color. Of course, you will have to let them sneak a few yummy treats!
You can also have them sort out their toys into different baskets depending on the type or sort a pile of laundry by socks, pants, and shirts. These make for great beginning chores as well.
Shaving Cream Letters & Numbers
I bet you’ve played this before! In fact, I remember doing this in kindergarten myself. Get out a cookie sheet and cover it in shaving cream. Then, have your child draw different letters and numbers in the shaving cream with their fingers. You could also have them spell their own name or simple words.
Puzzles are a great way to keep your child entertained for an extended period of time, just make sure you get one that is appropriate for their skill set! This is a great way for them to learn problem-solving skills. This set from Melissa & Doug has a couple of different jigsaw puzzles for your little one to try out. Check it out!
I hope this list has helped you to think of some new, really fun activities to do with your 4 year old. It really is a special age, so soak it all up! With this list to conquer, you are sure to have some special memories ahead.
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