The days of coloring books and potato stamps are long gone. It is time to get creative with kids and help them explore the world in new ways. At 4 years old, kids start to learn more about numbers and letters, some start to write their names, they know all about colors, and show tons of curiosity about everything around them.
Indulge them in activities that promote sensory play, get them to ask questions, and add literacy to their playtime in a fun and engaging way. Here are 45 preschool activities for 4-year-olds that will keep them busy and help them learn.
1. Sprinkle Sensory Bag
This simple activity has endless possibilities and is tons of fun with all the colors and textures in the bag. Add some sprinkles to a ziplock bag and use it as a tracking platform for little hands.
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2. Hiss Board Game
Every toddler parent knows you need one amazing board game on hand. Hiss is an excellent investment and kids can play it for years to come. It teaches colors and directions and the game also helps to develop analytical skills in young children.
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3. Floating Paintings
This fun activity is part magic and part science and incredibly easy to set up. All you need is a smooth plat and dry-erase markers. Let the kids draw a fun picture on the plate and pour some water on the plate. See how the picture gets picked up by the water and floats around. Pure magic!
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4. Cutting Slime
Exercising their scissors skills is an important thing to practice but most activity ideas are resource heavy and messy. With this one, kids simply cut into slime for infinite ways to practice cutting.
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5. Squirt Gun Painting
Throw out boring painting activity plans and roll out the big guns. Or the water guns in this case. Load up some water pistols with fun water paints and let the fun begin! Let kids squirt the guns at some blank papers and see what colorful creations they can come up with.
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6. Sticky Turtle Wall
This amazing activity is perfect for curious kiddos who want to play outside. Stick some contact paper to the fence (sticky side facing outward) and draw the outline of a turtle on it in sharpie. Kids then stick all kinds of green elements to the turtle to create a masterpiece.
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7. Sensory Counting Bag
A sensory bag is a super fun and easy way to customize an activity. This ice cream version is ideal for counting and color recognition and can be made with things you probably already have around the house.
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8. Flower Arrangement
When springtime rolls around, embrace the colors of the season with a cheery fine motor activity like this. Kids can arrange flowers in an upside-down colander, making beautiful floral creations.
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9. Animal Tape Rescue Activity
This fun game is another way to let kids practice cutting and develop their fine motor skills. Tape some plastic animals into a muffin tin and let the kids try to free them. You can also use string and have kids release the animals with their fingers through the complicated web.
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10. Toddler at Play
It seems like most indoor activities always leave a mess but this fun game only requires a piece of paper. Trace the outlines of some toys, blocks, or even kitchen utensils and let kids match the objects to the outline.
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11. Leaf Rubbing
Nothing promotes sensory skills quite like nature. All the colors smell and textures of the outside are valuable resources for kids. A simple leaf-rubbing activity puts them in touch with nature on another level, making this the ideal way to keep little hands busy if you are in a pinch.
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12. Sticker Lines
Explore this hands-on activity if you have a few stickers to spare. Draw different lines on a large piece of white paper and have your child place stickers all along the line. To make it a little more difficult, see if they can stick the colors in a pattern!
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13. Playdough Stamp Counting
Playdough stamping is an age-old kindergarten craft but have you ever thought about changing it into a counting activity? Write numbers on pieces of paper and let kids stamp the correct number of dots in the clay using building blocks.
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14. Pom-Pom Patterns
This activity for toddlers can be played again and again and works on color recognition and fine motor skills. Preschoolers use tweezers to place pom poms in a grid formation, guided by the template cards you provide.
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15. Letter Search with Stickers
Try this easy activity to familiarise kids with alphabet letters. You can also limit it to the letters of their name or change it up using upper case and lower case letters.
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16. Leaf Sorting
Here is another excellent example of how your garden can be one of your greatest resources. gather some leaves in autumn and have kids sort them by size, texture, color, or any other characteristics that you can think of.
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17. Rainbow Stacking Stones
This easy game teaches kids about colors and arranging sizes. It is fun from the get-go as you get to look for stones, paint them, and stack them. A true triple-threat activity!
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18. Toilet Roll Haircuts
Have your toddlers shown some interest in cutting their own hair? Let's avoid that at all costs. instead, create these adorable toilet roll faces and let kids give them funky haircuts to their heart's content.
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19. Nail Painting
Another potentially messy activity can be reined in with a small adjustment. Instead of letting kids paint your or their own nails, give them these easy cardboard cutouts to decorate with nail polish.
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20. Cotton Ball Painting
Paint brushes might be a bit difficult for kids to hold and finger painting gets a bit messy, so this method of painting is a happy medium.
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21. Name Hop
Any game that can burn off some energy is a winner in our books! Write letters on paper plates and scatter them around, letting kids hop from one to the other. They can make their way through the alphabet, spell their name, or even practice sight words if they are at that level.
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22. Utensil Printing
You can turn nearly anything into art with some colorful paint and a little imagination. In this case, your stencils are simple kitchen utensils that leave fun patterns. See what kind of creative flowers your kids can come up with.
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23. Flower Petal Name Practice
Staying on the garden theme, this simple activity lets kids practice spelling out their names. Add this to their daily routine and let them practice laying the petals in the correct order when they wake up or just before bed.
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24. Number Search Sticker Activity
There is seemingly no end to the things you can do with some stickers and a sheet of paper. Write down some numbers and assign each a color. Kids then search for the numbers and put the right colored sticker on each. Once they are done, they can write the number on top of the stickers again for extra practice.
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25. Sticky Yarn Numbers
It is important to practice writing but simply adding numbers and letters to a fine motor activity is an easy way to help kids with recognition too. With some glue and yarn, kids can have lots of fun while learning.
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26. Make Counting Hands
It's natural for kids to count on their fingers but how about letting them count on someone (or something) else's fingers? Fill some gloves with beans or grain to make fun counters. With a roll of the dice, kids can count on their new favorite math resource.
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27. Ribbon Threading
Even the simplest of activities can have great benefits in the development of kindergarteners. Let them thread different ribbons through an oven rack and see how it becomes a test of patience rather than skill.
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28. Salt Dough Dinosaur Fossils
Making salt dough is a classic activity for kids but making fossils out of your dough balls is something you might not have thought of before. Imprint plastic dinos into the clay and let them dry. Kids can even dig them up in the garden later if you are feeling adventurous!
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29. Colorful Counting Sticks
Popsicle sticks should be a staple for anyone with kids around so setting up this game should be a breeze. Mark each stick with a number and let the little ones count out small rubber bands to add to the sticks.
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30. Paper Cutting Station
This is a fine motor skill activity that you can have ready for any time you feel like little hands need to be kept busy. Print out a few templates and have scissors in the box and let kids cut on the lines to improve their scissor skills.
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31. Lock and Key Number Match
This is an innovative activity that will keep kids busy and teach them numbers and counting at the same time. Write a number on a lock and make dots on the keychain of the matching keys. Let kids match them up and unlock them. They can even count out some paper clips and add them to the lock to represent the numbers even further.
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32. Bubble Art
A bubble art activity is fun for young and old and you get to create unique paintings every time. Don't limit yourself to flowers either. These bubbles can be clouds, balloons, or even hair!
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33. Wet Sidewalk Chalk Drawings
For generations, kids have been drawing with chalk on sidewalks. But did you know that the colors come alive when you soak the chalk in water? When kids draw with wet chalk their creations will be ultra-vibrant and impressive.
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34. Ice Block Treasure Hunt
This is a guaranteed boredom buster for hot summer days. Freeze some plastic toys into a big block of ice and let the kids excavate them. They can use water and kitchen utensils to try and melt and crush the ice to save the toys from their icy prison.
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35. Glow In The Dark Bowling
Lawn bowling is fun but why not take it up a level by turning it into glow-in-the-dark bowling? Snap a few glow sticks and pop them into plastic bottles filled with water for an exciting night-time activity that works on gross motor skills like hand-eye coordination.
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36. Rock Painting
Never forget about this classic activity for preschoolers! Rock painting can be adapted to any theme or can just be a creative outlet to create some fun garden accessories.
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37. Yarn Painting
Yarn is another fun paintbrush alternative and yarn painting has stunning outcomes. Dip pieces of yarn in paint and lay them down on paper. Then drag the yard to make abstract patterns on the canvas. Eat your heart out Picasso!
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38. Clear Frame Portrait Drawing
This activity is great because it maximizes creativity while simultaneously being light on resources. A clear plastic lid and a dry-erase marker serve up tons of fun!
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39. Mystery Box
Tactile exploration is a key part of development at a young age and this mystery box is the perfect way to explore that sense. Add anything from fruit to toys, utensils, or foam letters to keep them guessing.
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40. Animal Rescue
Wrap up a few toys with rubber bands or string for effortless fine motor activity. If you can get your hands on some ocean creatures, you can tie it in with a lesson on pollution and saving whales and sharks!
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41. Animal Leg Match
This kindergarten activity takes a little preparation but it is a fun addition to animal lessons or an extension to an animal book reading session. Draw some legs and tails on clothes pins and let kids match them to the body cutouts.
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42. Move Like An Animal Cube
Create this fun animal movement cube to get kids moving at any time of the day. This gross motor activity for 4-year-olds will have them jumping, crawling, and hopping all over the place, getting rid of some excess energy.
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43. Fine Motor Fishing
Magnet fishing is a classic kindergarten activity but making these pipe-cleaner fish and catching them with a hook is a fresh take on the game. Let kids sort them into colored paper rolls to up the difficulty level a little.
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44. Animal Washing Station
This might seem like a cheap cheat to get kids to clean their toys, but this is actually a great way to practice fine motor skills. Kids need to get into all the nooks and crannies of their toy animals with a toothbrush, cloth, or even cotton buds to clean off all the mud.
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45. Puffy Paint Art
Puffy paint art is fun but squeezing the paint out of the ziplock bag is a great exercise for little hands. You can draw the outline of a picture and they can follow along with the paint or they can unleash their creativity and draw their own from scratch.
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