By age four, most kids are getting ready to embark on the big adventure of school. Playing educational games with your four-year-old is one way to help him understand the basics of his school subjects. He can learn skills, such as matching, counting, rhyming and other basics that will help him in kindergarten and beyond. Playing educational games with your youngster also helps teach him that learning is fun.
Make a Match
Matching games help four-year-olds learn how to compare and contrast elements of a symbol. They can be a helpful way to teach young kids the basics of reading, too, which requires children to compare letters and sounds to determine how to pronounce words. Play a round of concentration with your four-year-old. To play, you'll need 12 to 20 cards, consisting of 6 to 10 pairs of matching images. Shuffle the cards and lay them facedown. On each turn, players turn over two cards, attempting to find a match. If the cards match, the player may keep them. If they do not match, the player turns them over again. The object of the game is to find the most pairs.
Size it Up
Bigger or smaller is a numbers game that involves both counting and an understanding of which numbers are larger or smaller than others; an important skill when children begin to learn addition and subtraction. To play, choose a number between 1 and 10. Then, tell your four-year-old that you're thinking of a number between 1 and 10 and ask if she can guess the number. After each guess, tell your child whether the number you're thinking of is bigger or smaller than her guess. The object of the game is to find the number in the fewest moves possible. Once she guesses your number, have her pick a number and help you try to guess.
Sound it Out
Play a game to help your youngster learn how to match sounds, an important step in learning to read. To play, simply ask your child to give you a word that sounds like any word you choose, such as "cat." Answers might include "bat" or "hat." As your child gets familiar with the concept of the game, he can provide words and you can offer words that rhyme. Reading rhyming children's books together is a fun way to help develop your child's vocabulary of words that sound alike.