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There are lots of fun activities that you can do at home to keep your child busy and entertained as you do other stuff. Activities are also a great way to help your 4-year-old develop or reinforce important skills, learn to do things by themselves, and even deal with boredom.
Doing activities with your 4-year-old also helps strengthen your family bond.
Choosing appropriate activities
There are many activities for 4-year-olds that require minimal intervention or that they can do with the toys or objects that they already have at home.
Different activities help develop different skills. Proposing different things that help your child work on their sensory development, their creativity, their analytical skills, or skills such as their fine motor or gross motor skills are an easy way to ensure that they get to develop different skills.
The list below proposes activities that your 4-year-old will enjoy. Check it out and choose a few activities that you can do with the objects you already have at home, or those that you think your child will enjoy best. I’ve also tried to avoid the things you probably already do at home, such as building with lego bricks!
Also, do not hesitate to customize the activities and make them more relevant to your family environment or your toddler’s interests.
The best activities for 4-year-olds
1) Size sorting is an activity that will keep your 4-year-old busy for hours, and it’s also one of the easiest activities to set up. Just grab objects of different sizes (cups, tumblers, blocks) and have your child sort them from the biggest to the largest.
Tip: When my kids were growing up, we always kept boxes of all sizes and scotched them shut then let the kids play with them as they wished. Such boxes can be a great idea for size sorting.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, visual perception skills
2) Memory games is an activity that your child will enjoy playing alone or with you. You give them different cards, then they need to turn two cards – they win when they find two similar cards. These printable memory cards are great for 4-year-olds.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, memory
3) Simon says is a game that all kids love and it is one of the best games for preparing your child to join school. A group of researchers found that this is actually a very effective game in helping kids develop important skills that they need in the school setting.
The skills developed: Memory, listening to and following instructions.
4) Reading is an important activity for the development of your child’s language skills, but it is important to choose the right books for a 4-year-old. This article has suggestions for great books that your child will love.
5) What kid doesn’t love coloring? Your child will appreciate unleashing their creativity coloring anything and everything that they can imagine. Or if you’re worried about the mess or about letting your kids without having to set everything up (as I was), you’ll love the reusable paint mat.
The skills developed: Creativity, fine motor skills
6) My kids have always absolutely loved picture sudokus. I’m also a huge fan because they involve lots of cutting which helps them practice their scissor skills before they finally start working on figuring out how to complete their sudoku puzzles.
The best puzzles for this age group are 2 X 2 sudokus and you have different types to choose from here.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, critical thinking skills, concentration.
7) If you’re not yet playing board games with your child, you need to start now! Board games help them learn about winning and losing, about communicating, and about taking turns. They also help them develop important skills such as their critical thinking skills.
The skills developed: Strategy, critical thinking skills, social skills.
8) Hide and seek is an activity ALL 4-year-olds enjoy, and it’s also a great game that can be played both indoors and outdoors as a family or with siblings.
The skills developed: Critical thinking skills, social skills, gross motor skills.
9) Gardening is a great activity for 4-year-olds which helps them develop lots of skills. If you don’t have a garden, grab an empty egg carton, fill it with soil, and give your child a seed to grow and watch. Or you can try a herb garden.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills.
10) Give your child their very own chores! Science says that chores are one of the best things that you can do for your kid. Chores help them feel capable of success, improve brain function, and teach them many important skills.
That said, you need to choose the right chores for your 4-year-old to avoid frustrating them. This article has everything you need to know about giving kids chores.
The skills developed: Autonomy, fine motor skills, growth mindset.
11) Cereal threading is an easy activity that your 4 year old will love. Get them large-size pasta and threads and let them work their little fingers. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even let them paint their pasta before they begin threading.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination.
12) Scavenger hunts are one of the easiest activities to set up for 4-year-olds. Simply give them a basket or a bag and ask them to collect 5 green things, 4 red ones, and 3 yellow ones. Or you can ask them to collect 4 different leaves or 3 different types of pebbles… the possibilities are endless!
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, observation skills, sensory skills, counting skills.
13) Your 4-year old will love doing nature prints, and it’s a great way to get them outdoors and to take advantage of all that autumn has to offer. Ask them to collect different types of leaves and flowers, to paint them and then to use them to print different designs on a piece of paper.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, creativity, sensory skills.
14) Cooking together is a lovely bonding experience which will also help your child develop important skills. They will love using their child-friendly Montessori knife to help slice soft food stuffs, or help mixing food stuffs or kneading dough.
The skills developed: Fine motor skills, autonomy, sensory skills.
15) Mazes are activities your 4-year-old will enjoy, and they are also great for developing their memory and their problem solving skills. Here are printable age-appropriate mazes for children in this age group.
The skills developed: Memory, problem-solving, fine motor skills.
Final thoughts about activities for 4 year olds
There are lots of activities that your child probably already does that allow them to grow and learn every day: running around and playing, playing with friends, drawing, writing and cutting, and so on.
Ensuring that they get to practice different types of activities throughout the day is an easy way to help them develop new skills or strengthen those that they already have.
Remember that resources such as these ones are designed to help your child work on different skills and to help them develop important executive function skills.