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15 activities for 4-year-olds to educate and entertain

Here are several fun things to do with curious 4-year-olds who always want to try something new.

Nature hikes are a fun activity for 4-year olds.

If you’re the parent or nanny of a 4-year old, it’s no surprise children this age have a short attention span and always seem to be in search of something to do. They’re also curious to discover new things and constantly learning. Here are several activity ideas for 4-year-olds that can both entertain and engage them.

Outdoor play

1. Sidewalk chalk

Using the sidewalk as a canvas inspires them to think big. Sidewalk chalk can also be used for hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, tracing out a roadway for toy cars or even making life-size game boards, which is the perfect combination of creativity and physical play.

2. Nature walk

A great way to make fresh air educational is a nature walk. Collecting leaves, interesting rocks or acorns can be a great way for kids to learn about their environment. Be sure to supervise that what they’re touching is not something harmful like poison ivy.

3. Sandbox

Adding a few plastic dinosaurs to your child’s sandbox for a dinosaur dig or even coins for a treasure hunt can make sand really exciting and ignite a hunger for exploration and discovery. Sand can also be one of the best activities for 4-year-olds who love building and construction.

Independent play

4. Book exploration

Letting your 4-year-old explore books is an important activity as she develops the skills necessary to read. Looking at pictures, imagining their own stories and reading aloud are all invaluable.

5. Dry erase boards

Your child can practice new writing skills or draw a picture from his imagination. Without a lot of different materials to confuse or overwhelm him, this simple activity is perfect to entertain.

6. Stickers

Letting your child play with stickers is a great way for her to manipulate materials, develop fine motor skills and control the progress of the activity.

Creative play

7. Dough

Manipulating clay or modeling compound is an open-ended way for kids to create and express their imagination with the benefit of developing their fine motor skills.

8. Dramatic play

A few costumes or props are all that your 4-year-old needs to act out different roles such as pretending to be mommy or daddy, a chef, farmer, ice princess or whatever his growing imagination thinks of. This type of play helps him to learn about other people in the community and is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words.

9. Art

Paint, crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, tissue paper — the supplies and possibilities are endless. Providing an opportunity for your children to express themselves, their ideas and their emotions helps them develop valuable communication skills that they will use for sharing with others their entire lives.

Water play

10. Laboratory

Use a few bottles of colored water to allow your children to mix and create new colors. You can also let them add dish soap or mud so they can experiment with materials and their results when added to water.

11. Washing

Let your child wash things with a bin of water, some soap and a rag or scrub brush, or even let her wash a few dishes. Although this cleaning activity could get messy, she will take great pride in the chore.

12. Ice dig

Plan ahead and freeze a few small plastic toys in water, and then let your kids dig and chip the toys out. Ice is an exciting substance to discover, and because it melts, the fun lasts for a long time.

Physical play

13. Playground

Visiting the playground in your community is a great way for your 4-year-old to socialize with other kids as well as get a little exercise to burn off some of that extra energy he has.

14. Obstacle course

For more substantial physical activity, try creating an obstacle course with a variety of different activities like balancing, hopping and running throughout your yard or local park.

15. Sports

Whatever your 4-year-old’s favorite sport might be, sports equipment is a great way for her to be more involved in the activities that she loves. Sports can also be a way to teach sportsmanship, gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.