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

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.

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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.

— Update: 05-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 65+ Fun Activities for 4 Year Olds from the website viewsfromastepstool.com for the keyword fun things to do with 4 year olds.

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These activities for 4 year olds provide for tons of learning and self-expression through play. 4 year olds are inquisitive and independent, and are learning at a rapid pace. From grasping numbers and letters to developing deep relationships with peers, learning is fun at this age, and experiencing all of this through play is ideal.

Below are plenty of ideas for learning activities for 4 year olds to do at home or in school! 

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

What are 4 Year Olds Learning?

Four year olds are learning so much! Learning activities for 4 year olds include counting, pre-reading, emotional development and more. This age group is learning:

  • how to count objects
  • counting by memory
  • understanding size and spatial relationships
  • expanding vocabulary by using new words
  • coordinating movement to jump, spin, skip and more
  • learning letter sounds 
  • making inferences and predictions about what will happen
  • beginning to form letters in writing

How to Play with a 4 Year Old

There are so many really fun ways to play with this age group. As an older preschooler, 4 year olds are able to engage in dramatic and fantasy play, and love exploring creative thinking. Some really fun ways to play are by:

  • acting out favorite stories
  • playing ‘house’
  • opening a pretend restaurant
  • have races outside
  • play board or card games
  • have a dance party
  • play Red Light, Green Light or Simon Says
  • dig for worms
  • plant vegetables

Read more  65+ Fun Activities for 4 Year Olds

Fun Activities for 4 Year Olds 

Below are categories for 4 year old activities, including: learning activities, arts and crafts, sensory play, and games. 

These are fun activities to do at home to learn through play and bond together, or to do in the classroom. 

Learning Activities for 4 Year Olds


Pre-reading activities help children learn that which is essential to have in their toolbox before any formal reading education. These activities help children identify letters and make their sounds through play and hands-on activities.

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

Story Stones for Kids

Snowball Sight Words on a Sticky Table (pictured)

See and Spell with Toy Train Cars (pictured)

Beginning Sounds Match // You’ve Got this Math (pictured)

Free Dinosaur Printables // Living Montessori Now (pictured)

We’re Going on a Word Hunt // Walking by the Way (pictured)

DIY Tile Letter Magnets // Artsy Momma

Sight Word Splat // Views From a Step Stool

Valentines Day Literacy Activity // Sparkling Buds


Pre-handwriting activities engage the fine motor skills necessary to hold a pencil. Pincer grasp can be developed without holding a pen or pencil at all! These activities might include threading or stringing, pinching playdough, sorting with tweezers, and more! 

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

Button Practice Felt Flowers // Twitchetts (pictured)

Teddy Bear Bread // Messy Little Monster (pictured)

Felt Rocket Name Puzzle // Teach Me Mommy (pictured)

Color Matching for Kids with Pom Pom Flowers // The Moments at Home (pictured)

Kids Fun Fine Motor Weaving // J Daniel 4’s Mom (pictured)

Sandbox Writing // Walking by the Way (pictured)

Fine Motor Skills: Rainbow Rice in a Jar // KC Edventures (pictured)

DIY Twig Art // Twitchetts (pictured)

Simple Sewing Busy Bag // The Chaos and The Clutter

Google Eye Envelope Alien Busy Bag // Crafty Kids at Home

Coin Sorting // Rhythms of Play

STEM Activities for 4 Year Olds

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. These STEM activities for 4 year olds will encourage children to make inferences and think critically, and to sort, count and organize materials while having fun! 

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

DIY Worm Farm (pictured)

Fizzing Fireworks Painting (pictured)

Basic Math with Fall Leaves (pictured)

Acorn Fine Motor Counting (pictured)

Monster Truck Counting Printables // Artsy Momma (pictured)

Making Friendship Ice Cream // Mama Smiles

Popsicle Stick Shape Building Magnets // Planning Playtime

Counting Raindrops: 1-10 Math Printable // Schooltime Snippets

Love Heart Number Line // Adventures and Play

STEM Activity for Kids: Valentine Tower // Preschool Powol Packets

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

Build Magnetic Robots // Adventure in a Box (pictured)

Pete the Cat Math Game // Buggy and Buddy (pictured)

Counting with Marbles and Bath Mats // Creative Playhouse (pictured)

Pipes and Water Play // Moms and Crafters (pictured)

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Montessori Nature Tray // Living Montessori Now (pictured)

Math Busy Bag // The Chaos and The Clutter (pictured)

Penguin Dice Addition Game // Adventures and Play

Exploring Colors with Baking Soda and Vinegar // Buggy and Buddy

Counting With Playdough // Creative Playhouse

How to Put Together a Portable Tinker Box // Little Worlds Big Adventures

Counting Caterpillar Busy Bag // Powerful Mothering

Sensory Activities for 4 Year Olds

Sensory play is essential to early learning. Sensory activities develop the vocabulary as children describe their experiences. It develops fine motor skills that are essential to early handwriting. Is is calming and can help regulate emotions. Sensory play is wonderful for busy 4 year olds eager to explore their environment! 

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

Ultimate Collection of Sensory Bins for Kids

Arctic Small World Play (pictured)

Shark Week Sensory Play (pictured)

Dinosaur Swamp Sensory Bin // Mommy’s Bundle (pictured)

Jump and Wash! Dinosaur Sensory Play // Little Worlds Big Adventures (pictured)

Soft Sheep Sensory and Science Discovery // Simple at Home

Letter Sensory Bin // Views From a Step Stool

Flower Arranging Montessori Practical Life Kids Activity  // Rhythms of Play

Arts & Craft Activities for 4 Year Olds

Arts and craft activities for 4 year olds help encourage self-expression. Children are able to express their creativity and their individualism while developing scissor skills, color mixing, cause and effect and more!

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

Clothespin and Cottonball Cloud Painting (pictured)

Coffee Filter Butterfly Magnets (pictured)

Superhero Puppet Craft // Messy Little Monster (pictured)

Exploring Symmetry with Art // Crafty Kids at Home (pictured)

Easy Bubble Art Activity // Mommy’s Bundle

Draw the Missing Half // Adventure in a Box

Cut it Out! Art Inspired by Ohara // Homebound But Hopeful

Busy Bee Headband Craft // Simple at Home

Painting with Hexbugs


4 year olds love to play games! At this age, teamwork is attainable and gross motor activities are important for engaging in daily activities. This list includes indoor activities for 4 year olds as well as outdoor fun with this age group. 

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

Fun and Free Printable Board Games for Kids

Butterfly File Folder Games Printable (pictured)

Pretend Play Busy Bags // Lalymom (pictured)

Cup Twisting Fine Motor Games // Lalymom (pictured)

DIY Car Magnets Craft // Moms and Crafters (pictured)

Spiderweb Obstacle Course // Mama Smiles (pictured)

Hit the Cardboard Road // Non Toy Gifts (pictured)

DIY Cardboard Car Wash // Non Toy Gifts (pictured)

DIY Cardboard Car Track // Planning Playtime

Playground Scavenger Hunt // KC Edventures

I Spy in Ice // Sparkling Buds

A Pox on Your House // Homebound But Hopeful

Shapes, Counting and Colors Busy Bag // Powerful Mothering

Have so much fun playing and learning with your 4 year old! These activities will be sure to help kids learn through play, and fun!

Fun things to do with 4 year olds

More Activity Lists for 4 Year Olds

  1. Fun Games for 4 Year Olds
  2. 10 Fun Play Ideas for 4 Year Olds

Want ideas for other ages?


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About the Author: Tung Chi