Quiet Time Activities For Four Year Olds

Encouraging low-key activities during quiet time helps children develop independent play skills.

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.

Healthy Foods Collage


Level of instruction: Moderate

When: Quiet time

Time recommendation: 20 minutes

Participants: One-on-one

Learning Domain: Physical Development and Health

Learning Standards: Identifies healthy and non-healthy foods, Develops an awareness of healthy eating habits

Materials: Paper plate or sheets of construction paper, scissors, glue, grocery store advertisements, pictures of healthy and unhealthy foods from magazines or the Internet

Ask your child to think about which foods would be included on a healthy plate. Talk about how those foods make us feel. Talk about the foods that don’t provide a lot of nutrition and how those foods might make one feel tired and less energetic. Invite your child to look through each of the grocery store circulars (or printed pictures from the Internet). Encourage him or her to cut out pictures of the healthy foods and paste them on to the paper plate or construction paper. Discuss the pictures that your child has chosen for his or her collage.

Is your child able to identify the healthy and non-healthy foods?


Design a Cereal Box

Level of instruction:Easy

When: Quiet time, Playtime

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?


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

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.


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.


Design and Build a Nest

Level of instruction: Moderate

When: Playtime, Outdoor, Quiet time

Time recommendation: 20 minutes

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

Learning Domain: STEM

Learning Standards: Applies problem-solving strategies

Materials: Variety of materials to create a nest: straw, raffia, shredded paper, sticks, toothpicks, glue, feathers, cotton balls, etc.; pictures or videos about bird nests (may be found on the Internet or in books)

Show your child pictures of different kinds of bird nests. Invite him or her to watch a video about bird nests. Discuss how the nests are created, and what purpose they serve for birds (shelter and safety).
Show your child the different materials you have gathered. Invite him or her to explore the materials and discuss a plan for using the materials to make a nest.

Observe whether your child uses the materials creatively. Is your child able to problem-solve independently or does he or she ask for help?

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 : Make sure your child’s time spent playing is filled with opportunities to learn.
  • Mealtime: Learning can happen any time – even while eating.

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