Mealtime Activities For Four Year Olds

Learning can happen any time – even while eating. 

Are you looking fun activities to do with your four-year-old at home? Our team of early childhood curriculum experts thoughtfully curated these activities from our proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum to help your family Learn On® at home. Whether it’s during mealtime, playtime, clean up time, bath time or bedtime – our at-home curriculum is built so you can easily integrate learning opportunities in seamless, easy and fun ways.

Creating Shapes

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Quiet time, Outdoors, Mealtime

Time recommendation: 10-15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Child-led, Siblings

Learning Domain: Cognitive Development

Learning Standards: Names, draws and constructs two- and three-dimensional shapes

Materials: Toothpicks, small sticks, grapes or marshmallows, rope or string, paper, markers

Instructions

Show your child the sticks and toothpicks. Challenge him or her to use them to create simple shapes. Add the grapes or marshmallows and invite him or her to create more shapes using the toothpicks as straight sides, and the grapes for the corners or angles. Encourage your child to explore the materials and create shapes with varying numbers of sides. Encourage your child to identify the shapes he or she made.

Ask your child to think of shapes that have curved sides. Show him or her the rope. Invite your child to use the rope to create curved shapes. Challenge him or her to make circles, ovals or figure eights.
Further challenge your child to see what shapes he or she can create using straight and curved sides together. Encourage him or her to draw the new shapes on paper.

Observe if your child is able to identify and create different shapes. Ask open-ended questions as he or she works, such as: Could you make curved shapes with straws? Why does string work better to make curved shapes? What other materials would work to make shapes?


A Food Diary


Level of instruction: Moderate

When: Quiet time, Mealtime

Time recommendation: 20 minutes

Participants: One-on-one

Learning Domain: Language and Literacy

Learning Standards:
Produces scribbles or letter-like shapes to convey meaning, Describes the intended meaning of drawings and writings

Materials: Paper, stapler, crayons, colored pencils, pencils

Instructions

Ask your child to recall what he or she had for breakfast. Discuss the variety of choices that are available for breakfast foods. Be sure to include healthy food options. Explain to your child that often times people keep track of everything that they eat by creating a food diary. Explain that a food diary contains information about everything that has been eaten at each meal and for snacks. Encourage your child to create a food diary. Invite your child to draw pictures of foods he or she has for meals and snack. Encourage him or her to label the pictures by sounding out words and writing the sounds he or she hears.

Does your child attempt to label the pictures? Does he or she write one or two letters, such as M or MK for milk? Children learn to write at different stages. Provide lots of opportunities such as this to encourage your child’s development.

Looking for more activities for you and your four-year-old?

  • Getting Ready for the Day: Turn routine activities at the beginning of your child’s day into learning moments.
  • Playtime : Playtime is a great way to teach your baby without it even feeling like learning.
  • Mealtime: Learning can happen any time – even while eating.
  • Quiet time: Encouraging low-key activities during quiet time helps children develop independent play skills.

Or return to the Life Essentials® At Home page to find activities to explore with other age groups.