As a parent, it can be difficult at times to keep your child entertained, and it can also be hard to think of activities that you would both enjoy together. Because children require constant supervision, some activities can be more stressful than enjoyable.
If you relate to any of these problems related to entertaining your child, I’m here to help! Here is a list of activities for parents and children to enjoy together. I am confident you will find a few that will be tons of fun for both you and your child!
1. Make Homemade Donuts
At around age 4, kids are old enough to start helping with very simple tasks in the kitchen. Of course, they need eyes on them at all times, but kids can help by mixing, shaping dough, and eating the results 🙂
I recommend making homemade donuts. You can be done quickly and you don’t need any special ingredients. Here’s a simple recipe you can follow and be done in 20 minutes.
Baking is another fun activity to do with your child. You could let them help you fill up a bowl with ingredients to make cookie dough, use cookie cutters together, and let them decorate their own cookies with frosting and candy/sprinkles.
2. Treasure/Scavenger Hunt
A treasure hunt is a lot of fun for kids, and for a parent, it can be fun to plan it all out and watch your child’s enjoyment as they explore and attempt to solve simple clues. Consider using picture clues that will be easier for your child to figure out.
Treasure hunts give children the opportunity to explore and be adventurous, and it is a rewarding experience for them to find the “treasure” at the end of the activity. Toys, treats, candy, art supplies, and sports equipment are just a few ideas of “treasures” you could use for your activity.
A scavenger hunt is an easier version of a treasure hunt that you can do more instantaneously because it doesn’t require planning or making clues and setting up “treasure” at a final destination. Ask your 4-year-old to complete tasks such as “find something that starts with the letter B” or “find something purple” and let them run around the house exploring. It’s as simple as that, and a great way to keep your child entertained!
3. Make Jewelry
Making your very own necklace or bracelet is surprisingly easy to do with your child. All you need is rubber string or embroidery floss and assorted beads. This is a great activity for 4-year-olds because it gives them some creative freedom to create a cute item of jewelry that they will love and be excited to wear.
Making a craft together is a great activity because it allows for creativity and also results in a physical, final product for your child to enjoy even after the activity itself is over and done.
4. Build a Blanket/Pillow Fort
Building a fort is another activity that can be instantaneous because it doesn’t require preparation or planning. All you need is to gather all the pillows, blankets, and couch cushions you can find, and you can use kitchen chairs or other tall pieces of furniture, or push couches together to drape blankets on and prop everything up. Forts can also be a fun place for your child to read, watch a movie, or take a nap.
5. Make Witch’s Brew (Homemade Root Beer)
Making witches brew is a great fall time activity, but can totally be done year-round. All you need is homemade root beer and dry ice. You can go all out by placing these together in a plastic cauldron and dressing up in Halloween costumes together.
This activity can also work for any other time of the year, and ice-cold root beer is a great summertime treat. Kids are mesmerized by the dry ice and love helping stir the witch’s brew with a big spoon.
6. Paint Together
Painting is a great and inexpensive activity to do with your 4-year-old. Any type of washable paint is perfect for young children, and watercolors are easy for them to use. A plastic painting apron will also help keep your child clean, but with washable paint, you can rest assured that even in the case your child does get paint on themself or something else in the house, it will easily wash out!
If you are having good weather, you could even take your painting activity outside so you can enjoy the fresh air and sun together!
7. Face Painting
Another super fun painting-related activity for kids is face painting. If you don’t consider yourself particularly “artistic” and this activity sounds intimidating to you, don’t shut down the idea just yet! There are plenty of internet tutorials that show you how to face paint. There are also guidebooks with tons of creative ideas and instructions.
8. Snack Bingo
Bingo is another fun activity for young children that can be made even more fun by using smalls snacks like goldfish or m&ms as place markers on their bingo card. This is a great way to combine an activity with snack time and knock out two birds with one stone!
9. Put on a Puppet Show
Playing with puppets can keep your child entertained for hours. They could be in charge of their own puppet show or enjoy watching you do one of your own. You could buy a variety of puppets or enjoy making your own sock puppets together. Puppets can be used to act out a story, or sing and dance along to a song. This is a great way to enjoy time and have a laugh together.
10. Read Together
Reading is a simple and accessible activity that kids love. Reading can keep kids occupied for long periods of time, and it’s also great for their development and learning. Most kids love to pick their own books and sit on your lap as you read to them, so it’s a great way to be close and spend time together.
11. Let Your Child Pick Out Books at the Library
Another great activity idea that goes hand in hand with reading together is going to your local library and giving your child the chance to browse the shelves and pick out books that look interesting to them that they would like to read with you at home.
Many libraries also have storytelling or read-aloud activities for children where they can listen as part of a group to a speaker tell stories or read a book. This is a great way to get out of the house and be entertained together and is also an opportunity for your child to make new friends in the community.
12. Go to a Children’s Museum
Another perfect outing for you and your child is a local children’s museum. These museums are specifically tailored to children and are often educational or give them the opportunity to be creative and to explore the world around them. Many children’s museums have hands-on activities like tables where they can color pictures or sandboxes where they can uncover dinosaur bones. Consider researching children-center museums near you for a fun day out of the house with your child!
13. Go on a Picnic
A picnic requires some planning and preparation for food and materials like a blanket, but it’s almost guaranteed to be a fun and worthwhile experience. This is also an activity that gives you lots of opportunities to spend quality time together, including food preparation, setting up, eating, playing outside together, and cleaning up. You could even set up a hammock at your picnic and enjoy swinging together, enjoying the outdoors.
14. Go on a Hike
If you are wanting to spice up your picnic with your 4-year-old, you might add a hike into the equation (or you could make life more simple by dropping the picnic idea and going on a hike with just some snacks and water packed with you!).
Hikes are the perfect way to get your kids outside and moving. It’s also a wonderful way to help your child develop an appreciation for nature early in life.
15. Go to a Zoo or Animal Exhibit
A zoo, aviary, biosphere, or aquarium are all incredibly fun and exciting activities for children. It’s a chance to get out of the house, and in many cases an opportunity for your child to experience something new. Visiting an animal exhibit is also a great opportunity for children to develop an appreciation for animals.
Attending a petting zoo is a particularly great place for children to learn to respect and be gentle with animals since they have the opportunity to get a little bit closer than at a regular zoo. This activity is more expensive than others you can do at home—especially if you have multiple kids to take with you—but it’s one that your kids are sure to love and remember.
16. Watch Butterflies Grow
Watching butterflies grow is something my own preschool teacher had us do. As a child, what could be more fun than watching a caterpillar slowly transform into a butterfly? It’s a rewarding activity that requires time and patience and teaches your child about different life cycles, how to care for animals, and how to be gentle with them.
This is something you can do at home with your kids that will no doubt keep them interested every step of the way. There are butterfly kits online available for purchase and delivery.
17. Go Swimming
Kids love water! Swimming is a way to keep kids happy and playing for hours on end. I remember spending some long days at the pool growing up and never getting bored! This activity was also one guaranteed to wipe me out and leave me exhausted but satisfied at the end of the day.
Although summertime is ideal, this is also an activity you could do in the winter if you have an indoor pool nearby and accessible to you (many recreation centers have an indoor pool!). Your 4-year-old will need constant supervision and a life jacket. Studies show that it is good for children to learn swimming basics between ages 1-4.
18. Set Up a Slip-N-Slide
A slip-n-slide is another way to keep your child active and busy for as long as they have the energy to play. You could set this up on a small hill with a slight decline, but flat ground works just as well. If you have access to a hose, this is an activity your 4-year-old is sure to enjoy!
19. Play at the Park
This suggestion is a simple one you’ve likely done before, but it’s a classic activity for parents and children for good reason. Going to a local park is a perfect opportunity to spend some time outside getting fresh air. Parks with playgrounds give children the opportunity to explore and improve their flexibility and balance.
Playing at a park or playground can also help your child to develop motor skills, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination. The playground is an opportunity for them to learn how to control their movement, and it’s also an easy place for kids to make new friends.
20. Dress Up and Play Pretend
Most kids love to dress up and play pretend from an early age, making this a wonderful activity for your 4-year-old. Many kids will dress up and play pretend alone or with a friend for hours on end, but taking the time to dress up with your child and let their imagination run wild would no doubt be a special experience for the both of you.
21. Dance to Music
Children love dance parties! This is a simple activity that only requires 2 things: fun, upbeat music, and your best dance moves! Kids love “listen and move” songs and freeze dances, which you can easily pull up on Youtube with a quick search.
This is the perfect way to get up and moving with your 4-year-old and a great way to help them get some energy out while also letting them practice their listening skills.