Four-year-old children are capable of sustaining active play for long periods, as any parent of one can tell you. They are confident in running and jumping skills and are gaining a greater hand-eye coordination. Due to these rapidly growing skill sets, there are a number of activities for 4-year old children that will assist their physical development.
Four-year-olds can walk, run, skip, hop and jump. Setting up an obstacle course with obstacles that your child must jump over, climb under and go around will allow her to use her developing physical skills. Also, playing a game such as kickball that gives her the challenge of using these skills promotes physical development. Indoor activities can include jumping in place or playing sports with a soft indoor ball.
Fine motor skills are also part of your 4-year-old's physical development. He can practice his fine motor skills through daily routines such as getting dressed, which requires zipping, buttoning and snapping clothing, and brushing his own teeth. Other fine motor activities include drawing, tracing, cutting, stringing beads, vertical and horizontal block building and puzzle play. You can also enhance your child's fine motor development through toys that have objects with small parts for manipulation.
Four-year-olds are gaining coordination and balance rapidly. You can put down tape on the ground in a straight line, allowing your child to walk heel to toe over it, enhancing her balance. Throwing and catching balls and kicking balls will help with coordination and balance, as well. You will need to start with large balls, gradually moving to smaller ones as your child becomes more proficient.
Four-year-old children should not be expected to sit still in a classroom and other types of environments for more than 60 minutes. Additionally, your 4-year-old should receive at least 30 to 60 minutes of age-appropriate physical activity and play daily. As children play, they are developing their physical and mental abilities. Development activities can easily become family activities in which your child is not only enhancing his physical development, but having fun creating family bonds.
- PBS Parents: Child Development Tracker
- KidsHealth: Fitness and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension; The 3, 4 and 5-Year-Old: Physical Changes; April 2002
- Raising Children Network: Child Development: 4-5 Years
- MissouriFamilies.org; Physical Development: Infancy through Preschool; May 2009