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Fun learning ideas for 4-year-olds

There are lots of games and activities you can do with your child to have fun together and get them developing speaking and listening skills, building vocabulary, counting and other early literacy and numeracy skills. Most important of all, these ideas are great fun!

Games and activities

1. Read books together

  • Read books of all kinds to your child: picture, words and pictures, pop up, information and poetry.
  • Why not choose a free eBook from our library to share on-screen together?
  • What child doesn’t love hearing a good story? Visit our storyteller page to watch videos of storytellers reading favourite traditional stories.

2. Go to the library

Visiting the library is a great way to explore books together. The library gives your child the chance to discover, flick through and choose from a wide range of different types of books, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Many libraries have singing or rhyming sessions for pre-school children. Best of all, it’s somewhere fun to escape to on a rainy day!

3. Sing counting songs

Singing helps children to develop their speaking and listening skills and to have fun with words. Counting songs, like ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5 … Once I caught a fish alive’, can help your child to have fun with numbers.

Other songs such as ‘Ten Green Bottles’ or ‘Three Little Frogs’ progress in reverse order, which can be especially helpful when young children start thinking about adding and taking away. Using fingers as counters can be a useful way to make a visual link between numbers and quantity.

4. Cut and paste

Using scissors is a useful skill and is a great way to develop co-ordination, control and build strength. Many children find scissors tricky to master so they need lots of practice.

Make paper chains together or ask them to find particular photos in magazines and catalogues (by colour or other categories) to cut out and then stick them into their own pictures.

5. Dressing up

Dressing up and role play are great opportunities for talking and listening and for imaginative play. On a practical level, a fun dressing up session can help your child to practise getting themselves dressed. You can fit in a sneaky bit of training with those tricky zips, armholes and buttons.

6. Play maths games

Try these fun games with your child to practise maths skills and help to build your child’s confidence. Most children love playing games and it’s an easy way to support their learning.

What’s Inside?

What's inside

It’s present time! Link the wrapped present to what’s inside by matching the shapes.

Match the Shape

Match the shape

Look at the picture and find all the hidden shapes.

Visit our fun maths activities page for a selection of activities and resources designed to help you enjoy maths with your child.

7. Cook together

Cooking with your child is not only fun but it’s an excellent way to begin to talk about maths – counting eggs for a cake recipe, more or fewer toppings for a pizza. Let them pour liquids or spoon flour to develop eye-hand co-ordination and control. Best of all, you both get to enjoy a tasty treat at the end!

Why not try our banana bread and fruit smoothies recipes?

Video: Cooking with kids

Develop your child’s early maths skills, mathematical language and make maths fun by counting, measuring and estimating while cooking and baking.