Playtime Activities For Four Year Olds

Make sure your child’s time spent playing is filled with opportunities to learn.

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

The Farmer’s Market

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime

Time recommendation: 30 minutes or as interest continues

Participants: One-one-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Creative Arts

Learning Standards: Displays creativity and imagination while acting out roles

Materials: Plastic fruits and vegetables, shelves, construction paper, markers, scissors, pictures of farmer’s markets (from the Internet), play money, calculator, hats

Together use the construction paper and markers to create fruit and vegetable labels, price tags and play money. Show your child the pictures of several different farmer’s markets. Discuss with your child the differences between a farmer’s marker and a grocery store produce department. Discuss where the produce comes from at the market. Discuss how a market is set up with price tags. Invite your child to set up a farmer’s market and pretend to sell produce in the market. Encourage him or her to use play money to buy and sell goods. Alternate the roles of the farmer and the customer with your child.

Does your child engage in cooperative play and pretend to take on different roles?

Design a Cereal Box

Level of instruction:Easy

When: Quiet time, Mealtime

Time recommendation: 20 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, child-led/alone

Learning Domain: Creative Arts

Learning Standards: Creates two-dimensional art using crayons and markers

Materials: Several colors of construction paper, crayons, markers, stickers, empty cereal boxes, pictures of different cereal boxes (from the Internet)

Show your child pictures of several different cereal boxes. Discuss what all of the boxes have in common, such as the name of the cereal, the manufacturer, a picture and possibly something about the nutrition. Invite your child to design an original cereal box. Encourage him or her to think of a name for the cereal. Brainstorm some possible names together, if your child is struggling to think of one. Encourage your child to draw a picture, on the construction paper, of his or her cereal or a scene that he or she would like to use on the box. Encourage your child to write the name of the cereal as well.

Is your child able to explain what is depicted in his or her drawing?

Grow Like a Plant

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Getting ready for the day, Outdoor, Bedtime, Playtime

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one

Learning Domain: Physical Development

Learning Standards: Moves with balance, control and coordination

Materials: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle (or search for an online version of the story)

Read the story, The Tiny Seed. Talk about the steps the seed took to grow into a plant. Invite your child to pretend to grow like a plant. Encourage your child to crouch down low to be a seed. Invite him or her to act out the seed’s story as you describe its transformation into a plant. Pretend to sprinkle rain water on your child and blow air to represent the wind.

What movements does your child choose to do to demonstrate the different parts of the story?

If You Scratch My Back…

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Quiet Time, Bedtime, Bath time

Time recommendation: 10 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Language and Literacy

Learning Standards: Produces letter-like shapes, Recognizes and matches uppercase and lowercase letter symbols to their names

Materials: None

Sit with your child, with his or her back facing you. Use your finger to draw a letter on your child’s back. Encourage your child to guess which letter was drawn. Repeat the process several times, and then switch roles with your child. Encourage your child to play the game with a sibling.

Is your child able to identify the letters he or she feels? Observe whether your child can form the letters on your back.

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.

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