How your 4-year-old might play now

    • With a longer attention span, a new activity can keep him engaged for extended periods
    • She can learn to swim, skate, dance, ski and bounce on a trampoline
    • He can explain something that happened when you weren't there
    • She begins to grasp that people have different experiences and feelings than she does
    • As coordination improves, he can use the monkey bars at the playground, walk along a curb, and dodge when he's chased
    • She is starting to add details to her drawings
    • He may print his name on his artwork
    • Her gait is more grown-up
Battery-powered ride-ons
  • crawlerImg

    Power Wheels® Dune Racer (Green)

    Balance & Coordination Curiosity & Discovery Self-Expression & Confidence Thinking & Problem Solving

Help your child learn more:

    • Safe and sure. Make sure the area your child is riding in is not only safe, but also big enough to make turns. Always directly supervise your child and remind her of the do's and don'ts of safe riding (do watch where you're going; don't go near the street; don't go out of the driveway).
    • Practice makes perfect. Set up an obstacle course with traffic cones or kid-sized road signs you've made together. Tell your child about some of the basic traffic symbols, and point out real road signs as you're driving together.
    • Set the stage. Offer props to help make this ride-on part of your child's bigger, imaginative play schemes. For example, if he's pretending to be a rescue worker riding to the scene of an emergency, remind him of his firefighter's hat, pretend badge, or special jacket that may add to the look.
    • Taking turns. If your child is sharing the vehicle with a sibling or friend, a timer can be a helpful, impartial "announcer" when it's someone else's turn to drive.
    • Parking spot. Find a safe place for your child to "park" his vehicle in your garage or shed, with the responsibility to return it there when he's done driving.
Dollhouses and accessories
  • crawlerImg

    Loving Family™ Dream Dollhouse with Caucasian Family

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Security & Happiness

Help your child learn more:

    • A world of play. Help your child set up an inviting play environment, with enough room to spread out as she plays.
    • Make a play mat together. Use a long roll of paper or poster board, and paint or draw streets and yards. Ask your child to think of names for the streets, the village square, the town beach, etc. She may want to model it after her own neighborhood, a favorite vacation spot or another familiar place.
    • Tell me about it. Encourage your child to tell you a story about what she's acting out with her dolls and accessories. This will help her put imaginative thoughts into words and give her confidence in expressing ideas.
Dragons and dinosaurs
  • crawlerImg

    Imaginext® Castle Dragon

    Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity Security & Happiness
  • crawlerImg

    Imaginext® Mega Apatosaurus

    Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity
  • crawlerImg

    Imaginext® Apatosaurus

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Security & Happiness

Help your child learn more:

    • Use historic reference. You can teach important lessons using imagination-based figures or ones from another era, like medieval knights or dinosaurs.
    • Tell me a story. Ask your child to tell you about what he's pretending, encouraging thinking, language and communication skills. "Tell me a story about what happened today."
    • What’s happening? Let your child create his own story by taking pictures of toys in different play situations. Spread the pictures out in front of your child and ask him to put them into a story sequence: "What happened first?" "Then what happened?" Continue until your child has sorted through the photos and come up with the framework of a story that has a beginning, middle and end.

Box Car

Average Rating

out of 4 vote(s)

A simple box can turn a child into a creative genius who can learn to do wonderful things with his mind and body!


  • Large box about half the size of your child
  • Scissors or X-acto knife
  • Duct tape
  • Washable markers, crayons, paint, stickers, decals, fringe, and other decorative materials
  • Book about cars and trucks


  • Read a book about cars and trucks together and study the pictures.
  • Cut the top and bottom off a large box, leaving the sides intact.
  • Use duct tape to cover any rough edges and to reinforce corners, if needed.
  • Help your child decorate the outside of the box to look like a car or truck using felt-tip pens, paint, stickers, and so on.
  • When the car is finished, let your child take a drive around the house or yard.
  • For added fun, set up roads by laying down rope as a guide, and set up stop signs along the route.


Use caution with the scissors or X-acto knife with your child close by.

Encouraging good sportsmanship

How can we convince my 4½-year-old grandson that winning isn’t everything? We have always emphasized how much fun you have playing the game. Lately, though, whenever we play baseball or bingo, he has a tough time if anyone does better than him.
It isn’t easy to convince children that winning isn’t everything when you consider how much emphasis is placed on winning in the media. As I wrote this answer, the winter Olympics were in full swing. All the attention was given to the gold medal w Read More

From Talking to Reading

Respect is an amazing word. It’s a powerful word packed with wisdom and guidance. It’s universally accepted as a value that everyone must learn to live a successful life. As a parent, then, it’s essential that you encourage respectful behavio Read More