Your local library has plenty of books, activities, rhymes and movies to keep your four-year-old stimulated and learning. A library membership also gives you free access to audio books, which are perfect for long car trips. Not only can you borrow materials for free, but visiting the library is an easy way to have a simple excursion with your child.
Kanopy is an online resource with Australian movies and TV shows which you can watch with your child on a suitable device, like an iPad. Ask your librarian to show you how to access Kanopy for free with your library membership card. When you watch a movie or TV show with your child, ask them questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” or, “How does that scene make you feel?” When you’ve finished, ask them what their favourite part was, or to retell the story to their sibling or another grown up.
Choose books that you like too. Your enjoyment of the story will shine through to your child.
Encourage them to tell you their own made up stories. This will help them learn about story sequence - the beginning, middle and end of a story.
Four-year-olds can understand two to three instructions at a time. Give them a two-three step direction to follow. For example, “Daniel, get your teddy and your truck. Then put them in your toy box”.
You can borrow CDs or downloadable music from your local library, which is great to listen to in the car.
Encourage your child to perform their own concerts, or dance and sing to their favourite songs.
Your child will be learning about letter shapes at school. Write the letters of your child’s name with a brightly coloured texta or highlighter. Ask your child to trace over the letters with a pencil.
Snakes and Ladders is a great game to play together with your child (or with any visiting friends or family). The game will teach them to follow directions and take turns. Other games you might try are Snap or Connect 4.
Play dates are great for kids, as well as for parents. They’re a good opportunity for your child to learn to socialise and share, and hopefully gives you a chance to connect with an adult and support each other through shared experiences.