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DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITIES
FOR CHILDREN FROM AGE 4 TO AGE 5

What should you expect of children from 4 to 5 years old? Children this age...

  • Are active and have lots of energy.
  • May be aggressive in their play.
  • Can show extremes from being loud and adventurous to acting shy and dependent.
  • Enjoy more group activities because they have longer attention spans.
  • Like making faces and being silly.
  • May form cliques with friends and can be bossy.
  • May change friendships quickly.
  • May brag and engage in name-calling during play.
  • May experiment with swear words and bathroom words.
  • Can be very imaginative and like to exaggerate.
  • Have better control in running, jumping, and hopping but tend to be clumsy.
  • Are great talkers and questioners.
  • Love to use words in rhymes, nonsense, and jokes.
What do 4 and 5 years old children need? Children this age need opportunities to...
  • Experiment and discover within limits.
  • Use blunt-tipped scissors, crayons, and put together simple jigsaw puzzles.
  • Practice outdoor play activities.
  • Develop their growing interest in academic things, such as science and mathematics, and activities that involve exploring and investigating.
  • Group items that are similar (for example, by size).
  • Stretch their imaginations and curiosity.
  • See how reading and writing are useful (for example, by listening to stories and poems, dictating stories to adults, and by talking with other children and adults).

Hands-On Math

Real-life, hands-on activities are the best way to introduce your preschooler to mathematics! What you'll need (optional) are blocks and dice or dominoes.

Here's what to do!

  1. Talk a lot about numbers and use number concepts in daily routines with your preschooler. For example:
    • Cooking. Let's divide the cookie dough into two parts so we can bake some now and put the rest into the freezer.
    • Home projects. We're going to hang this picture 6 inches above the bookshelf in your room.
    • Home chores. How many plates do we need on the table? One for Mommy, one for Daddy, and one for Jenny.
  2. Talk about numbers that matter most to your preschooler--her age, her address, her phone number, her height and weight. Focusing on these personal numbers helps your child learn many important math concepts, including:
    • Time (hours, days, months, years; older, younger; yesterday, today, tomorrow). To a young child, you might say, At 2 o'clock we will take a nap. When you plan with an older preschooler (4 or 5 years old), you could point out, It's only 3 days until we go to Grandma's house. Let's put an X on the calendar so we'll know the day we're going.
    • Lengths (inches, feet; longer, taller, shorter). This ribbon is too short to go around the present for Aunt Susan. Let's cut a longer ribbon.
    • Weight (ounces, pounds, grams; heavier, lighter; how to use scales). You already weigh 30 pounds. I can hardly lift such a big girl.
    • Where you live (addresses, telephone numbers). These shiny numbers on our apartment door are 2-1-4. We live in apartment number 214. Or When you go to play at Terry's house, take this note along with you. It's our phone number: 555-5555. Some day soon you will know our phone number so you can call me when you are at your friend's.
  3. Provide opportunities for your child to learn math. For example:
    • Blocks can teach children to classify objects by color and shape. Blocks can also help youngsters learn about depth, width, height, and length.
    • Games that have scoring, such as throwing balls into a basket, require children to count. Introduce games like dominoes or rolling dice. Have your child roll the dice and count the dots. Let her try to roll for matches. Count favorite toys.
    • Books often have number themes or ideas.
It's best not to use drills or arithmetic worksheets with young children. These can make children dislike math because they don't fit with the way they learn math naturally.

Getting Along

Learning to get along with others is very important. Children who are kind, helpful, patient, and loving generally do better in school. Here's what you should do!

  1. Let your child know that you are glad to be his mommy or daddy. Give him personal attention and encouragement. Set aside time when you and your child can do fun things together. Your happy feelings toward your child will help him feel good about himself.
  2. Set a good example. Show your preschooler what it means to get along with others and to be respectful. Say please and thank you. Treat people in ways that show you care what happens to them. Ask for things in a friendly way. Be kind to and patient with other people.
  3. Help your child find ways to solve conflicts with others. Help your child figure out what will happen if he tries to settle his mad feelings by hitting a playmate: James, I know that Tiffany took your toy truck. But if you hit Tiffany and you have a big fight, then Tiffany will have to go home, and the two of you won't be able to play any more today. What is another way that you can let Tiffany know you want your truck back? James might decide to tell Tiffany that he's mad, and that he wants his truck back. Or he might let Tiffany play with his truck for 5 minutes with the hope that Tiffany will then give it back. Listening to your children's problems will often be all that is needed for them to solve their own problems.
  4. Make opportunities to share and to care. Let your child take charge of providing food for hungry birds. When a new family moves into the neighborhood, let your preschooler help make cookies to welcome them.
  5. Be physically affectionate. Children need hugs, kisses, an arm over the shoulder, and a pat on the back.
  6. Tell your child that you love him. Don't assume that your loving actions will speak for themselves (although those are very important). Teach your child the international hand sign for I Love You. You can Sign each other love as he leaves home for his first day of kindergarten.
Children need good social skills. Teachers and other children will enjoy your youngster's company if he gets along well with others. 

My Book

Most 4 to 5 years olds like to talk and have a lot to say. They generally can't write down words themselves, but they enjoy dictating a story to you. What you'll need for this are...

  • Paper.
  • A paper punch.
  • Blunt-tipped scissors.
  • Pencil, pen, crayons.
  • Yarn, pipe cleaners, or staples.
  • Paste.
And here's what to do!
  1. Make a booklet of five or six pages. Your child can help punch holes close to one edge and thread yarn through the holes to keep the pages together. You can also bind the book with twisted pipe cleaners, or staple the pages together.
  2. On the outside cover, write your child's name. Explain to him that this is going to be a book about him.
  3. Let your child decide what will go on each page. Write it down. Examples: Other people in my family. My favorite toys. My favorite books. My friends. My pet. My neighborhood. My home (or my bedroom). My own drawings.
Making this book will help your child develop his language skills and give him more practice using the small muscles in his hands. Your 4 to 5 year old will also love having your undivided attention.

Article Source - U.S. Department of Education.

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