A 4 year old learns effectively through play.
A 4 year old’s mind is ripe for learning. He's curious about everything and has the energy of a caffeinated squirrel, which, consequently, makes desk-based learning near impossible for these pint-sized people. A preschooler learns best through play, which promotes problem-solving, creativity and getting along with others. Play can help develop leadership skills and even overcome fears by teaching a child to master his own environment. Playing with your child can create a strong bond between you while also giving your child a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning.
1Vary her activities to keep her interested; trying new things satisfies a preschooler’s questioning nature. Don’t try to teach her skills that require sitting still for long periods of time. A reasonable expectation is about 10 to 15 minutes per activity, after which you move on to something new.
2Interact with your 4 year old, and rediscover your own inner child. He can learn a lot from you if you take an active role in play activities. Let him be in control and decide which direction the games will take. If you’re playing superheroes, demonstrate problem-solving when his Spider-Man figure won’t share his sandwich with Superman.
3Read to her often, and make it fun -- use different voices and lots of expression. This will encourage a love of reading that will lay the foundation for a lifetime. Reading helps her language development and provides her with new material to think and fantasize about. After you read her the story, encourage her to “read” it back to you, looking at the pictures and describing what she sees and remembers.
4Encourage his imagination. Children who are 4 years old love to make believe and sometimes even confuse this created world with the real one. Exaggerations and wild stories are a favorite pastime and a great insight into your child’s mind. If you’re going for a walk, point to a tree and ask him who he thinks lives in it. You can help the story along and encourage him with ideas, but let the story be his own, no matter what direction it takes.
5Play games that encourage direction and routine, important skills that should be fostered at this age. She can probably follow two or three unrelated directions at this point. Short obstacle courses or treasure hunts are entertaining and provide a memorable learning experience. At the park, ask her to find a pine cone, a big stick and something yellow. Count how fast she can climb up the slide, run under the monkey bars and do 10 jumping jacks while singing the alphabet. She’ll want to do it over and over again.
- Make it fun, and don’t be too demanding. Children are resistant by nature at this age, and pushing your agenda too strongly will encourage that all-too-familiar defiance.