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
Preschool cameras and electronic toys
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    Create & Learn Apptivity™ iPod® Case - Pink

    Academics Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity
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    Kid-Tough® Digital Camera

    Curiosity & Discovery Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Self-Expression & Confidence
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    Kid-Tough® Digital Camera

    Curiosity & Discovery Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Self-Expression & Confidence

Help your child learn more:

    • Play favorites. Have your child take pictures of his favorite things. These could include foods, stuffed animals, toys, or anything else he cherishes. He can share them with a teacher, send them to a relative, or give them to a new friend who wants to know more about him!
    • Look closely. Taking pictures is a great opportunity for your child to refine observation skills. As you look for subjects, talk about how faraway objects look bigger as you approach them.
    • “Zoom” in on objects with something other than a camera. Use a magnifying glass to study insects. Visit a science museum to look into a telescope or microscope. Your child can have lots of fun just studying her features in a magnifying mirror.
Dollhouses and accessories
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    Loving Family™ Dream Dollhouse with Caucasian Family

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Security & Happiness
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    Loving Family™ Premium Décor Family Room

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity
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    Loving Family™ Deluxe Décor Kids’ Bedroom

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity

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.
Cars, vehicles and RC toys
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    Imaginext® Alpha Explorer

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    Thomas & Friends™ Take-N-Play™ Spills & Thrills on Sodor

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    Thomas & Friends™ TrackMaster™ R/C Thomas

    Gross Motor Sharing & Cooperation Thinking & Problem Solving

Help your child learn more:

    • Everyday fun. Create a challenging roadway for your child's vehicles using everyday objects. Let him race his cars through paper towel "tunnels," roll them to the top of pillow "mountains" and maneuver them over a broom's bristles.
    • Be an announcer. Watch a short car race on TV. Instead of relying on the speedway announcer, turn the sound off and take turns calling the action!
    • All about safety. Turn an outing into a lesson in vehicle safety. Take a walk on a city sidewalk and point out the road signs and signals. Explain what they mean, and why it's important for motorists to obey them.
Dragons and dinosaurs
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    Imaginext® Castle Dragon

    Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity Security & Happiness
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    Imaginext® Mega Apatosaurus

    Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity
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    Imaginext® Motorized T-Rex

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.
Creative activities
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    Create & Learn Apptivity™ Case for iPad® - Blue

    Academics Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity
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    Create & Learn Apptivity™ Case for iPhone® - Pink

    Academics Curiosity & Discovery Imagination & Creativity
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    Doodle Pro® Classic Doodler with 2 Stampers (Red)

    Fine Motor Imagination & Creativity Self-Expression & Confidence

Help your child learn more:

    • Take-along. If the toy is portable, bring it with you any time your child may have a wait in store or on long car rides to help pass the time.
    • Follow directions. Make sure your child understands how to use the toy and its accessories. Read the directions and test it out together until your child is comfortable using it on her own.
    • Scene starters. Offer your child a "scene starter" for artwork: "Can you draw a picture of Grandma? … If you were to invent a robot, what would it look like?"
    • A colorful world. Use your child's interest in art as an opportunity to talk about different colors. Find examples of complimentary and clashing colors. Use paints to show how two different colors mixed together produce a new color.
    • Tour an art gallery or museum with your child. Let her critique the work, telling you what she likes best about it. See if the museum offers any kid-friendly activities.
Sports toys
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    Better Batter™ Baseball

    Balance & Coordination Gross Motor Security & Happiness Self-Expression & Confidence
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    I Can Play™ Basketball

    Balance & Coordination Gross Motor Security & Happiness Self-Expression & Confidence
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    Grow to Pro® Golf

    Balance & Coordination Gross Motor Security & Happiness Self-Expression & Confidence

Help your child learn more:

    • Breathing room. Set up sports toys in an open space free of other toys so your child can play without worry.
    • Be a good coach. Realize it's just as important to praise your child's efforts as his successes. If you try to be descriptive in your praise, your words will have more lasting value to your child—for example, "You really concentrated on keeping your swing level that time" vs. "That was a great hit!"
    • Take turns—it will help your child experience different perspectives.
    • Pick up the pace of a game as confidence increases. Maybe you'll even want to count how many hits your child has, how many goals she's scored or how many baskets he's made. Then see if you can break your own records.
Battery-powered ride-ons
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    Power Wheels® Jeep® Hurricane with Monster Traction™ (Red)

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    Power Wheels® Cadillac® Escalade™ (Purple)

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    Power Wheels® Dune Racer (Green)

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.

Box Car

Average Rating

out of 29 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!

Materials

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Safety

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

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