Four can be a tough age for kids.
They’re just about to enter school - but they’re not quite there yet. However, they have a lot more energy than younger toddlers, and they need more stimulation.
One great way to keep your 4-year-old entertained is by playing games with him or her. Whether they’re educational, fun, or focused on physical development, games are a wonderful way to keep your kids engaged and active.
That’s why we made this list of 11 amazing games for 4 year olds. Coming up with activity after activity can be draining, so it’s helpful to have a few fun games for your 4 year old to play when you want to pass the time constructively.
Educational games are the perfect opportunity for kids to learn and have fun.
At 4 years old, your kid is going to be in Kindergarten before you know it - and you’ll need to make sure that your kid is prepared for school.
Educational games can give your kid a leg up when they enter the classroom by helping them learn important concepts while having fun doing it.
These four types of educational games will help prepare your four year old for school in a fun and enjoyable way.
Matching games are a great way to improve your four year olds’ memorization and spatial reasoning, and they can be a blast to play with your kids.
Simple word matching games are a great way to introduce your child to word association while improving their reading abilities. Matching simple words like “sky” and “blue” and “grass” and “green” may not seem entertaining to you, but your four year old will enjoy the feeling of success when they finally get it right.
You can also play matching games with bugs or animals to test their memory recall skills and promote spatial reasoning. If a kid matches a giraffe with a horse, you can show them why the tiles don’t match, teaching them how to think through questions.
Plus, as an added bonus, you can make these matching games as a craft project - another great activity to do with your four year old!
Educational board games are a great way to play with your children while teaching them important concepts and skills.
Some board games help stimulate kids’ creative thinking abilities. Charades for Kids, for example, stretches kids’ minds as they act out their card and guess what other players are trying to act out.
Others, such as Uno or Dominos, help kids get used to counting and working with numbers, and trivia-based games can help kids learn basic facts about the world around them and accustom them to memorizing information like they will in school.
Even board games that aren’t explicitly educational can help 4 year olds develop important life skills. Games like Connect Four or Monopoly can teach kids about strategizing, making decisions, and dealing with consequences.
Board games are a great way to bond with your four year old while aiding their intellectual development.
Many parents mistakenly lump educational computer games in with other types of gaming, writing them off as a waste of time that makes kids less intelligent.
However, if you choose the right games, playing computer games can be an excellent educational experience for your four year old.
Some games, such as typing games, can help your kid become more familiar with the alphabet while teaching them how to properly use a computer - an invaluable skill in today’s tech-savvy world.
Other computer games are specifically designed to help kids learn about certain subjects. Some games might help kids build their knowledge of scientific facts while others might focus on geography.
If used correctly, computer games can be a great tool to help enhance your child’s learning abilities.
As your four year old gets ready to go to Kindergarten, teaching them to read should be high on your list of priorities.
However, kids often get bored of reading or writing. At the age of four, they may not be interested in the simple stories that they are able to read, but the tales that they want to read might be just above their reading level.
Word games - like Boggle or Scrabble Jr. - are thus great ways to help kids improve their reading abilities in a fun and competitive environment. While playing word games, your kid will exercise their reading abilities and expand their vocabularies to win the game.
Word games are also great for families with kids of all ages. All kids need to flex their reading abilities outside of the classroom, no matter how old they are. A family Scrabble night can be a great way to promote literacy while bonding as a family.
Party and Fun Games
When parents choose games to play with their kids, they often think of how those games will benefit them developmentally. However, it’s important to play a few games that are just for fun.
Just as adults need to relax and unwind every now and then, kids also need time to simply enjoy themselves. Playing video games or having fun with indoor wooden playsets with friends are great ways to allow your kid to let loose and enjoy themselves.
This isn’t to say that all party and fun games are devoid of any benefits for kids. These kinds of games can help to develop kids’ social skills, and they can also benefit your four year old’s physical development.
If you need some ideas for great games to play just for fun, consider these four options.
Hide and Seek
If you need a great game to play with a group of kids, look no further than hide and seek.
In a game of hide and seek, one person - the “seeker” - closes their eyes and counts to 100. While the seeker is counting, everyone else hides behind bushes, in closets, or in rooms around the house and in places where they don’t think that the seeker will find them. Then, once the seeker is finished counting, they then search for the other players. The last player to be found wins.
While you may want to set some limits so your kids stay close by, hide and seek is an easy game, and when you have a whole group of kids, it’s perfect since there’s no limit to how many players can join in.
You can also play plenty of variations of hide and seek. “Sardines” is a version of hide and seek where one person hides and the rest look for them. The person who finds the hider is the person who wins.
If you’re looking for the perfect game to keep a gaggle of kids entertained, then look no further than hide and seek.
Like hide and seek, Simon Says is a great game for four year olds that requires nothing but some time and your imagination.
In Simon Says, a player - known as “Simon” - tells the group what to do by saying commands like “Simon says pat your head” or “Simon says touch your elbow.” Throughout the game, Simon will try to get other players out by giving commands without saying “Simon says.” For example, if Simon only says “lay down,” the players who followed that command would be out. To win the game, you must be the last play who doesn’t get fooled by Simon.
When you first play Simon Says with your kids, you can be Simon to make sure that your kids understand the game. However, you should always allow your kids the chance to be Simon - it’ll help them improve their speaking abilities and vocabulary.
The beauty of Simon says is that it can be played with a group of any size. It’s an easy game to play with just a couple of kids, and it’s even more fun when you play in a large group.
Whether you’re just hanging out at home or at a birthday party, it’s always a good time for Simon Says.
Playing pretend allows kids to let loose and create their own adventures.
Unlike Simon Says or Hide and Seek, playing pretend doesn’t come with a set of rules to follow. Instead, it encourages kids to be creative and make up their own games and the rules that come along with them.
While kids can make do with just about anything to play pretend with, you can encourage imaginative play with a few great toys and structures for your kid. For example, kids jungle gym, such as the EZPlay Panda Playground, can help enhance your kids’ imaginative play tremendously. As your child runs around and climbs their indoor playground, they can imagine that they’re swinging on vines through the jungle or are kings and queens of their small castle.
When your kid needs a bit of creative freedom, playing pretend with them can be a fun and enjoyable way to encourage them to use their imaginations.
Musical chairs is another classic game that’s perfect to play with a group of kids.
For musical chairs, you will need to count the number of kids playing and set out enough chairs for all of them - minus one. So, if you have 10 kids playing, you will set out nine chairs.
Then, as you play music, the kids will walk around the chairs. At some point, you will stop the music, and the kids will try to sit down in the nearest chair. The child left without a seat is out. You will continue this process until there is one winner.
To ensure that kids play fair, you should establish certain rules at the beginning, such as no rough housing or stealing seats from others.
Musical chairs is a fun and easy game to play with a group of kids. All you need is chairs and music!
Many parenting blogs bemoan video games as terrible for children, saying that they keep kids inside and cause them to become violent.
However, video games can actually be a great way for kids to unwind, and they’re proven to improve kids’ hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
This isn’t to say that you should let your four year old play Call of Duty or Red Dead Redemption for hours on end. You should choose games that are appropriate for your four year old to play, and you should limit the time that they spend with their Playstation or Xbox games.
Games that are based on your four year olds’ favorite cartoons or TV shows are often age-appropriate, and your kids will enjoy getting to play as their favorite Disney or Nickelodeon characters. Games from companies like National Geographic can also be fun and educational, and there are plenty of age-appropriate versions of games for older kids - like Just Dance - that are great for young children.
Although you shouldn’t allow your kids to sit in front of screens all day, video games can be a fun rainy day activity or a great way for them to unwind after dance lessons or soccer practice.
Physical Development Games
Games can also be a great way to enhance your 4 year olds’ physical development. Games like tag, soccer, and freeze dance help to improve your child’s muscle skills and coordination in fun and engaging ways.
They’re also a great way to wear your toddler out before naptime or a long car ride.
Physical development games also come with plenty of other benefits, such as building sportsmanship and promoting health, making them a great way for your 4 year old to play.
Physical development games come in many forms - from simple yard games to recreational sports. By exploring these games with your kid, you’ll set them up for success later in life by encouraging their physical development and instilling in them a lifelong love of being active.
Tag is a simple and fun game for any group of children. One child is selected to be “it” and chases the other players around an open area like a lawn or indoor playground with a jungle gym. When the child who is “it” touches - or “tags” - another player, the player who is tagged becomes “it.”
Because tag involves lots of running, it’s a great way to help your kid develop their gross motor skills, balance, and cardiovascular health. It’s an easy way to get kids moving and active with just their friends or siblings and their imaginations.
Tag is recommended by child psychologists to promote sportsmanship and healthy competition among kids. When playing tag, they’ll need to abide by rules that you set out to make sure the game is fair, and all kids will need to be “it” at some point.
There are also plenty of variations of tag that you can play with your kids to keep things interesting. In freeze tag, for example, one or two kids are selected to be “it” for the entire game. The kids who are “it” will then chase the other players, and if they tag one, that player is “frozen” and cannot move. Their teammates can then tag them to “un-freeze” them, and the game is complete when the kids who are “it” freeze all players or when a certain amount of time has passed.
Overall, tag is a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to improve your kids’ physical development while teaching them about healthy competition.
Making your own obstacle course at home is an excellent way to encourage physical activity, improve your kids’ coordination, and promote healthy competition.
Obstacle courses are fun and challenging for kids. They’ll love running around while dodging and climbing over objects like wooden playset, and they’ll have a blast as they try to improve their completion times to get the best one out of all of their friends and siblings.
Plus, obstacle courses are easy to make with the toys and objects that you already have around the house. You can draw a hopscotch course on your driveway with chalk, use pillows and cushions to make a maze, or have them balance an egg while walking.
If you’re looking for the perfect addition to your in-home obstacle course, look no further than the Koala Adventure playset from EZPlay. With ladder, monkey bars, and rope swings, it’ll be a great new challenge for your kids, especially for those toddlers who enjoy climbing.
There’s no question that dancing is great for kids. It gets them up and moving, and it helps them learn how to hear rhythms while developing their coordination and gross motor skills.
However, just dancing around can get boring to kids after a while - no matter how much they love the music.
Freeze dance adds a fun and competitive element to dancing for kids. To play freeze dance, you will turn on the music and let your kids dance away. Then, after about 30 seconds or so, you’ll shut the music off. When the music turns off, the kids will need to freeze in place - or else they’re out! You’ll then keep going until there’s only one winner left.
You can also add in fun rules as you see fit, such as they have to touch their noses when they freeze.
Freeze dance makes dancing into a fun and engaging game for kids to play as they learn about how their bodies move.
Soccer is another fun way for 4 year olds to get active while improving their ability to compete with others and play on a team.
One of the biggest benefits of soccer is improved coordination. When learning how to play soccer, 4 year olds will need to learn how to move the soccer ball with their feet and knees, which will greatly improve their coordination in the long term.
Soccer is also a great way to help kids develop their cardiovascular health. Soccer requires a lot of running, which will help them improve their cardiovascular strength.
In addition to these physical benefits, soccer is also a great way to teach kids about the importance of teamwork. Soccer requires kids to work with others to score goals, so in order to succeed, they will need to learn to work with their teammates to most effectively win the game.
To play soccer at home, you only need a soccer ball and some kind of goal. If you just want to play casually with your kids, this goal can be as simple as two stakes in the ground, but if your kids become more interested in the game, small goals are inexpensive and easy to find. You can play soccer with your family, or you can get a pick-up game going with kids from the neighborhood.
You can also enroll your kids in community or private soccer leagues rather easily. In this environment, kids will receive professional coaching, and they will be able to play with other kids in a more formally competitive environment.
All in all, these games will make your 4-year kid happier and stronger. Never stop finding new ways of engaging toddlers in gaming activities because children explore the world by playing independently or with peers. In case if you want to spend time together with kids and also have fun check our 24 Fun Activities For Kids article and find more ideas to have a nice time together with your family!