21 answers

Activities to Do with a 4 Year Old Boy....

Hello.....

I am struggling with finding things to keep my 4 year old boy interested in. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of kids in the neighborhood so we are home a lot which I am working on but when we are home, he doesn't play by himself a whole lot and I'm finding that nothing I come up with keeps him interested or he won't even try. Like today, I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he didn't know. So, I came up with different things, read books, puzzles, color, draw, play a game. We played one game, put together 1 puzzle (halfway) and then that was it. The problem is that when he is bored he gets into trouble. Then I feel like all I'm doing is yelling at him and I always end up feeling awful by the end of the day because I was really trying hard to find something constructive for him to do but just ended up yelling all day. He is very bright and he is a sweet child but I'm trying to think of things to get and keep his interest. I don't want to just plop him in front of the tv or video games every day. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Sorry, I was kind of vague on my story.....He is in VPK M-F and unfortunately he is in aftercare until 5:30 M-F also. I was mainly talking about the weekends. I know he needs physical activity as well but this weekend happened to be rainy and yucky so we couldn't get out. He LOVES construction vehicles (which he has a ton of) and Toy Story (which he has the characters to play with). He just doesn't seem interested in anything I try to come up with. He does have a train table and cars and a box of beans to play with his trucks in but nothing seems to keep his interest. I'm just trying to come up with some new ideas. I do have him help with chores around the house too.....Thank you for all of the suggestions, they were great! I will try some of them because they are different approaches to what I am already doing and a few things that I'm not already doing. Thanks!

Featured Answers

My kids ALL love to play with shaving cream! (they are 21, 18, 11 and 6). You can just get a can of it and spray it on a table or glass door and let them have at it! It really is a lot of fun and cheap entertainment ($1 or so)

Don't know if anyone else has suggested this, and I don't know what the facilities are like where you live...but have you been taking him to any local playgrounds? He'd get physical activity and come in contact with other kids. Also, many libraries and community centers have regular programs for preschool-aged kids. Finally, you might want to consider joining a moms group--they typically offer playdates and things like that.
T. F.

More Answers

Not sure how you feel about this, but I have a family child care and two of my enrolled children just come one day a week. They are families where the father works full-time and the mom stays home. They bring their children to have fun and activities here with other children while they get to have a day for appointments or whatever for themselves. It works all the way around. It's like a full-day playdate. Just an idea.

3 moms found this helpful

I probably wouldn't ask what he wants to do, I would make specific suggestions. "Do you want to play with play-doh at the table, or finger paint?" "Would you like to cut up a magazine and glue the pictures or read a book with mommy?" I sometimes have to referee play time, but certainly do not constantly play with my 4-year-old. He will sit and do Play-Doh for hours at a time with a cookie cutters, plastic knives, making footprints with his toy dinosaurs, rolling it out, etc. He has a few "activity bins" he can use when his little brother is napping, including Legos and other toys that are just too small or messy for the little guy.

It sounds like maybe he needs to learn to entertain himself a little better. You could try making a few different sensory activities for him. Get some small lidded totes and have one with dried beans, one with a few cups and sponges for a water activity, etc. He can scoop beans, drive small construction vehicles in them, count them, etc. With water, he can sit at the table and pour it between cups, play with the sponges, etc. If you can get outside and have a garage, try to make a play area right near the front for rainy days so he can have fresh air and take a picnic or snack out there.

My 4-year-old also gets himself into trouble pretty quickly and easily (usually doing stuff with or to his little brother) and it IS a frustrating age, so be patient and try to give him some guidance and options. If you are doing household tasks, give him small jobs to do with you so he is doing something useful and that he can feel proud of, even if it is handing you pieces of laundry or non-breakable dishes to wash. If I'm baking, I have my kids sit at the table and repeat the measurements for ingredients and count everything out with me (which might be why my 2 1/2 year old has developed a recent obsession with breaking raw eggs all over the kitchen).

2 moms found this helpful

A train table is a good idea! So is getting him involved. It's hard with any kid I think, but you have to have a mixture of you doing your things (like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc.) and him doing his thing (playing by himself). It sounds like you may have to help him learn how to play by himself a bit more. Break out your pretend play stuff and see if he likes it...things like costumes or small action figures or blocks. He could maybe do it in the same room your'e working in to keep him company. Art projects, if he's into it, is another good thing. Things like stickers, magnets, painting, etc. are all really good and will keep him busy for a bit. Also, you could consider taking some of his toys and putting them in a tub and storing them for a few weeks and then switching them out with the other toys. This will help keep things fresh and interesting. Of course you still want to incorporate times when you do things together like you mentioned, but there has to be a balance and he needs to be able to hang by himself without getting into trouble! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My son loves long cooking projects and following the written directions is a great pre-academic skill.

Find a recipe for homemade playdough... you guys can make the play dough and then play with it. That's an hour or two easily. Baking bread, cookies, cupcakes, ANYTHING is great fun.

HTH
T.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is 4 as well.

Boys, need a lot of physical activity as well. They are like wild young horses.

Everyday, just have a routine and 'schedule' with him.
ie: morning: breakfast ( you can have him help you), my son for example knows how to cook easy things. He can scramble & cook his own eggs with my supervision.
After breakfast, do some simple tidying up or chores. Have him help you wipe kitchen table etc.
Then, play or run errands.
Do learning activities with him. Teach him counting/the alphabet, whatever you think you want to teach him, or that he is curious about.
Do crafts with him.
Take him to the Library.
Take him to the park.
Let him draw outside with sidewalk chalk.

ANY kid, when they are 'bored'...they do tend to get into trouble.

Kids this age, need to have a routine. It helps. Then they know what is coming up.

What does he like to do? Does he have anything that he likes to do in particular?

Or, sign him up, for a class.
Or an activity group.

1 mom found this helpful

My kids ALL love to play with shaving cream! (they are 21, 18, 11 and 6). You can just get a can of it and spray it on a table or glass door and let them have at it! It really is a lot of fun and cheap entertainment ($1 or so)

Don't know if anyone else has suggested this, and I don't know what the facilities are like where you live...but have you been taking him to any local playgrounds? He'd get physical activity and come in contact with other kids. Also, many libraries and community centers have regular programs for preschool-aged kids. Finally, you might want to consider joining a moms group--they typically offer playdates and things like that.
T. F.

You cannot keep a 4 year old boy entertained 24/7 but you cannot also expect that he will entertain himself if he doesn't know how to do it... He is already 4 and in most states I believe is the age when kids start the PreK program which is free at most public and some private schools/nurseries, have you tried to enroll him on that program? It will let him be around other kids as well as learn self discipline that will hopefully continue when he is home, Other than that, kids love to be outdoors, spare any time you have and just walk around instead of being scooped up indoors, go to the park or if the weather does not permit it then enroll him at the YMCA on a gym class or something that will make him use a lot of that energy only a 4 year old boy can have... There is also T-ball, usually free, and tings like that... Just don't expect him to decide what he wants to do next, I know as a mom you want to please your child and you may think that by asking him and doing what he likes you are doing the best for him but remember you are the parent and you need to set the rules and say what the day will be like and get him into that kind of mentality so that he knows there are rules to follow and he will be happier than left to his own will and wants and then you loosing patience with him because he wants to do what he wants. I am no expert, just a mother of a teen looking back at the things I would have done differently if my kids were little again :D

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