17 Captivating And Enjoyable Games For 4-Year-Olds

17 Captivating And Enjoyable Games For 4-Year-Olds

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They jump, run, hop, and skip. They kick balls. They make shapes with clay and sand. They laugh and play with others their age.

We are talking about the four-year-olds everywhere.

Children aged 4 are active and have loads of energy. And that energy needs to be channeled in a way that is less destructive and disruptive. That is why, MomJunction brings you a list of best games for four-year-olds, along with a few activities at the end, which will teach them a thing or two.

So are you ready for playtime?

Exciting And Fun Games For Four-Year-Old Kids

Children aged four can pay attention to activities for up to 15 minutes, or lesser if it is something that they do every day (1). Considering that, we have compiled a list of easy games for four-year-old kids.

1. What’s hiding in the jelly?

What’s hiding in the jelly

Image: iStock

Jelly is not just for eating. You can also use it for fun time.

You will need:

  • Edible jelly crystals of different colors
  • 1-2 large trays
  • Plastic containers of different shapes
  • Plastic numbers, small toys and wooden beads, and anything else that can be put inside a cup of jelly

How to:

  1. You will need to prepare the jelly cups before starting the game.
  2. Arrange the plastic cups or bowls in a tray and put one plastic number, letter, toy, or bead in each.
  3. Give each child a few minutes to explore the jelly and guess what’s inside without looking.

If they cannot guess, let them look and say what they found! Either way, they learn about the sense of touch and feel.

2. Drinking straws and pom poms

This is a fun indoor game that you can play with even one kid, provided you have the accessories ready.

Drinking straws and pom poms

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • Colorful scotch tape – at least three colors are good
  • 5-6 1-inch pompoms
  • Drinking straws

How to:

  1. Create a maze or a path using scotch tape, by sticking it on the floor. Pick whatever design you like. But just don’t have straight lines (what fun is that!). Mark the start and end points on the paths.
  2. Give the kids a drinking straw each.
  3. Put the pompoms in a basket.
  4. On ‘go’, the child has to pick a pompom from the basket, put it on the taped lines on the floor, and blow air using the straws to move it along the lines.
  5. They have to go from start to end to complete the game. The kid who finishes the race in the shortest time is the winner.

[ Read: Best Conversation Games For Kids ]

3. Rock, paper, scissors

Whether you have a lot of time on your hands or need help choosing whose turn it is first at something, you play rock, paper, scissors.

Rock, paper, scissors

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • Space and time to playtime

How to:

  1. Give the kids clear instructions about the game.
  2. Rock means a “fist”, paper is to place the hand palm down, with the fingers stretched out, and scissors are to use two fingers to look like a pair of scissors.
  3. Rock can break the scissors, the scissors can cut the paper, and the paper can cover the rock. So rock is stronger than scissors, scissors is stronger than paper, and paper is stronger than rock.
  4. The game is usually played by two people, who stand facing each other with their left palm facing up and the right hand clenched like a fist.
  5. The kids hit the fist on the palm twice, and the third time they can keep it as a rock, or change it to paper or scissors.

One with the stronger weapon wins.

4. ABC Maze

The ABC maze is an innovative way to teach your child the alphabet. The game is physically and mentally stimulating.

ABC Maze

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • Sheet of paper
  • Pen or sketch
  • Space to play
  • A small toy car or animal

How to:

  1. Cut the sheets or paper into longs strips and create a maze. Make a medium-sized maze in such a way that it is easy to navigate from the starting point to the end.
  2. Write the letters of the alphabet in order on the maze, so that the child can move from one letter to another in the right order.
  3. Give the child the toy car or animal and ask him to move from one letter to the other, until he completes the alphabet.

Video Games and Board Games For Four-Year-Olds

Board games are a great way to get your four-year-old child to interact with other people. Video games can make them imaginative but should be played in moderation.

5. Hoot Owl Hoot

Hoot Owl Hoot

Hoot Owl Hoot is one of the most popular board games for four-year-olds. Developed by Peaceable Kingdom, this game has colored codes and encourages cooperative play.

What we like about it: This game is easy to play and has a simple strategy that encourages kids to work as a team. The game aims to help the owls fly back to their nest before sunset. It helps in developing the kids’ social interaction skills and instills the idea that when we work in a team, everyone wins.

Why the kids love it: There is no loser in this game. There are just winners if the kids succeed in moving the owls back to their nests. Also, there is no reading or writing involved, just thinking and executing!

Buy Hoot Owl Hoot now.

[ Read: Fun Communication Games For Kids ]

6. Cat In The Hat, I Can Do That!

This is an interesting board game based on Dr. Seuss’ book, The Cat in the Hat.

Cat In The Hat, I Can Do That!

What we like about it: The name of the game itself says it – I Can Do That! This game lets the kids find out different things they can do for fun. The game can surprise your child and let them discover their latent talents. The game is designed to bring families and friends together.

Why the kids love it: Cat In The Hat, I Can Do That lets the children enjoy the book by Dr. Suess in a different yet entertaining, way. The game helps children better understand their abilities and helps build their confidence. Every time the kids say “I can do that” and complete a task, they are pushing their levels of confidence further up!

Buy Cat In The Hat, I Can Do That game now.

7. World of Zoo

There are several zoo simulator games, but none gets close to being as creative as this one.

World of Zoo

What we like about it: Simulation games are always better than mindless video games with violence and action. World of Zoo is a zoo simulation game that teaches your children how to interact and build a relationship with the animal world. The game introduces the children to different animals, their natural habitat and their food habits. What’s best is that the game comes with National Geographic animal fact cards.

Why the kids love it: World of Zoo is a colorful video game that can be played on a PC as well. The animal editor feature lets the children interact with different animals and also lets them change their colors, patterns, and features to some extent, to create a unique animal.

Buy the World of Zoo PC game now.

[ Read: Family Games For Kids ]

8. My Lovely Farm

A colorful board game, My Lovely Farm takes your children to the world of farming, growing vegetables, and taking care of animals.

My Lovely Farm

What we like about it: The game is more than just setting up a farm. There are three activities that the kids can indulge in – building the farm, creating puppets, and using fact cards to learn about farming, farm animals, benefits of vegetables, and so on. The kids can switch from one activity to the other if they are bored, and engage in imaginative play for hours.

Why the kids love it: Besides being able to build a farm of their own, the kids will also be able to color the animal cutouts, make puppets and have their own puppet shows with Mrs. Cow and Ms. Chicken as the hosts! Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Play with your kid, and we guarantee he’ll agree as well.

Buy My Lovely Farm now.

9. Hi-Ho Cherry-O

Hi-Ho Cherry-O

Which parent wouldn’t want an educational game for their four-year-old kid? Well if you do, then here is one that could interest you.

What we like about it: Hi-Ho Cherry-O is a fun way to teach your little one basic math skills. The game is about picking cherries and putting them in the bucket. The more cherries they pick, the faster they can fill the bucket and win. As they play, children will be adding and subtracting numbers to count fruits and fill their buckets.

Why the kids love it: The game has an arrow-based spinner, four fruit baskets, a 9-piece puzzle, and ten fruit pieces each of blueberry, cherries, apples, and oranges. The game can be competitive and allows kids to have fun picking fruits and putting them in their tiny fruit baskets. The spinner, which is used in place of a pair of dice, is perhaps the most exciting component of the game.

[ Read: Balloon Games For Kids ]

Eight Simple Activities For Four-Year-Olds

This is the list of activities that will keep your four-year-olds busy and you happy.

10. Number rolling game

Rolling on the floor is silly, but it is fun when you are a four-year-old. Wondering what we are talking about? Keep reading.

Number rolling game

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • Post-it notes
  • Pen
  • Lots of space to play
  • A clear wall or board

How to:

  1. Clear some space in your living room or your child’s bedroom.
  2. Take around 20 self-adhesive post-it notes and write a number each on them. Pick numbers between one and 20 and do not repeat a number.
  3. Put the post-it notes on the floor, with the sticky side up.
  4. As your girl to get the notes from the floor, without using her hands or feet. She can only get them with her body, which means she has to roll on the floor to get all the notes to stick to her.
  5. Ask her to arrange the numbers on the wall, in the proper order.

Doesn’t it sound like a math lesson disguised as a fun activity? Well, it is!

[ Read: Classroom Games For Kids ]

11. Play acting

Play acting is an excellent way to teach children about different people or professionals they will come across. Think about a few pretend play options you can try with your kids. Some examples are:

Play acting

Image: iStock

  • Going to the supermarket
  • Seeing a doctor
  • At school
  • At the airport
  • On the road
  • Visiting a friend’s house
  • Cruising on a ship

Another great idea for play acting or make-believe skits is to act out a storybook. Let your child pick a storybook and the character he wants to be. Let the other kids or adults be the other characters (you can play multiple characters if there aren’t enough people).

The idea of playacting can be used to teach kids how to behave and how not to behave in different situations and spaces. You can also think about other scenarios besides the ones mentioned above, if you think it is relevant for your child’s age and temperament.

12. Book exploration

Book exploration is an excellent activity that we think can make reading a more interesting activity for a child. So how do you do this?

Book exploration

Image: iStock

  • Take the child to a library and show them how it works. Be sure to tell them the thumb rule before entering the library: silence.
  • Or go to a bookstore and let them explore different books there. You could sit and read for a bit and maybe buy a book for them too.
  • Attend a book reading or storytelling session for children and let them experience the wonders of fiction and fantasy.

Make bedtime story reading a habit. When you read to them, they will develop an interest in books as well.

[ Read: Team Building Activities For Kids ]

13. Nature walks

Nature walks

Image: iStock

A walk or hike in the woods is perhaps the best outdoor activities that you can indulge your child in. If you have a park or a national park nearby, make it a point to take your child there at least once a month or two. Some of the things you can try during such walks include:

  • Bird watching
  • Nature photography
  • Drawing or sketching the landscapes

Your four-year-old may not be able to do much with a camera or paintbrush. At such times, you could just teach the little one to experience and enjoy the sounds of nature.

14. Touch and feel – sensory bag

Kids are so focused on seeing things, sometimes hearing, that they do not use their sense of touch for anything. This game focuses on just that – their sense of touch. You can use this game to help them identify objects by their shape, texture, and how soft or hard it is.

Touch and feel – sensory bag

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • A tote bag
  • Objects of different shapes, size, and texture
  • Blindfold cloth

How to:

  • Pick objects such as a ball, comb, a pen, fruit, vegetable, toy, key, so on, and put them inside the bag.
  • Blindfold the child and ask him to pick an object from the bag. The child has to use his hands to touch and feel the object and guess what it is. The other kids can give the child some clues about the object is and help them guess.
  • Now ask the children to put their hand inside the bag, one at a time.
  • If the kid guesses it right, he gets a point. Otherwise, he gets another chance to guess another object. The objects don’t go back into the bag once they are out.

Kids can take turns to play this game at parties, in classrooms and other community events.

15. Shadow tracing

A unique idea that can keep your child busy for hours, shadow tracing lets you use the everyday objects to create some art.

Shadow tracing

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • Toilet paper rolls, tins or cardboard figures
  • Glue
  • Chart or drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Space on the floor for the project

How to:

For this activity, you would need light, natural or otherwise, to create a shadow. Sunlight can be tricky, for you will need to trace the object faster, before the light moves and changes the angle.

  1. Spread the drawing paper or chart paper flat on the floor, somewhere close to a window, where there is light.
  2. Stack the toilet paper rolls to form the shape of a castle.
  3. Using a pencil, trace the shadow of the toilet paper castle on the chart or drawing sheet.
  4. Once done, replace the stack with some other object such as a tin can, a teddy bear, or anything else that can be traced clearly on the paper, solely by its shadow.

You can create as many such sketches as you want, in different sizes depending on the placement of the object and how far or close it is to the light.

Fun tip: Instead of inanimate objects, you can have people stand in the light and trace their shadow. So your child can trace you, your spouse or partner, or even a pet.

[ Read: Trust Building Activities For Kids ]

16. Drawing upside down

In this activity, the drawing is not going to be upside down. The artist will be! Wondering how that will work? Just keep reading, and we will tell you how.

Drawing upside down

Image: Shutterstock

You will need:

  • Drawing sheets
  • Sketches or crayons
  • Drawing pencils
  • High chairs or dining table chairs

How to:

  1. Cut the chart or drawing sheets into squares that fit under the seat of the chair.
  2. You can outline the design on the sheet and stick them to make it easier for the kid.
  3. Place a mat on the floor and give the kid some crayons or sketches.
  4. Ask the kid to crawl under the chair, such that he or she is facing the drawing paper stuck to the bottom of the chair.
  5. Use the crayons to draw or paint anything you want while looking upside down!

This is a fun activity and is best indulged in less often when your child is having one of the bad moods and needs a timeout.

17. Painting with wheels

Painting and art are creative activities that boost your child’s imagination. This activity indulges in painting with car wheels and not brushes.

Painting with wheels

Image: iStock

You will need:

  • 3-5 drawing sheets or chart sheets
  • Toy cars, small ones
  • Washable, organic paints
  • Large bowls for mixing colors

How to:

  1. Mix the paints on a large plate or tray. You can also use a big bowl if your cars are small enough.
  2. Dip the tires of the toy car or truck in the paints and let you child move them along the drawing sheet or the floor, if you are okay with that.
  3. Your children can just draw straight lines or can create designs with the tires.

This is a fun activity that the children can indulge in from time to time if you don’t mind the cleaning afterward.

The games and activities in this article were picked keeping in mind the developmental milestones of a four-year-old child (2). However, some games may seem too simple, and some may seem a bit complicated for some kids. In such a case, you can modify the game or activity to suit your convenience and your child’s abilities. But whatever you do, ensure that it is fun for you and for them.

[ Read: Indoor Games For Kids ]

Have any ideas for engaging four-year-olds productively? Share the details of the game or activity in our comments section.

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Sagari Gongala

Sagari is a math graduate and studied counseling psychology in postgraduate college, which she uses to understand people better. This skill also helps her write better articles about kids and their behavior. She is meticulous in her research and gives you information that could be the ultimate help you’ll need in times of need. An animal lover, vegan, and coffee addict, Sagari puts her mind and soul into whatever she does. During her free time, you'll find her either rescuing a sick/injured animal with a friend, or glued to her couch watching Sons Of Anarchy on Netflix.
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