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Ideas on educational things to do with my almost 4 year old girl?

Here are my restrictions...

No car
Not anywhere walkable here (basically on the freeway)
No $$
Always holding a baby

I know my oldest is bored but she is also stubborn and always whining for Tv. Which I limit.

So. What can we do together? Her attention span is about 3 minutes. I tried having her write her name today but she just drew a bunch of bubble number 8's and laughed about it. Tried doing a macaroni necklace but she wanted princess beads so I drew princesses on the noodles but then she wanted to color a shark with the marker I had. Then she wasn't happy with how her shark looked so she left the table. So on and so forth. I am so tired. What should we do? Something educational that holds her interest.


So far her interests in life are Tv, treats and not listening.

Blech. Is this the age for his stuff or did I royally mess up somewhere? She is sweet. Just all over the place.

Answer Question

Asked by staciandababy at 1:16 AM on Sep. 5, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 38 (102,010 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • By always holding a baby I mean there is always the baby around. So small parts, using both hands, long periods of my time etc aren't feasible.

    Comment by staciandababy (original poster) at 1:18 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • Could you print out mazes for her to do? My daughter adored mazes at that age, and I actually bought several books of them from Amazon, But there are zillions of mazes online, as well as dot-to-dots and coloring pages. I also highly recommend having a math picnic. My daughter loved those. I'd pack up finger foods in sandwich baggies, and we'd goeat outside or on a blanket in the middle of the floor. I'd dump out oranges and say, "You have three orange slices. Now the hungry orange monster gobbles one up. How many are left?" Or, "Look, you have two crackers. Along comes a good fairy and gives you two more. Now how many do you have?"

    Hope that helps.

    Answer by Ballad at 1:26 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • My 4yo really loves to paint and color etc. I put a vinyl table cloth on the table and let her do what she likes. Usually the more I try to focus her, the less progress she makes. When I let her do her own thing she amazes me, I have had some success with having her look at an object in order to better draw it. I think it makes her more observant, etc.
    I made homade playdough and let her use my lightest rolling pin and cookie cutters and she loved it.
    I don't know about the educational part. I just kind of sneak it in by having her write things on the cards she makes, etc.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 2:52 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • was awesome when my son was about that age (he was closer to 3 1/2, but he loved it). They have a free section on the site, since you said no $$.

    At that age I also used to youtube a few videos for ds - whatever was appropriate for his level.

    They have dot to dots that are ABC and 123, if that helps with the alphabet and counting. But if you look online there are probably tons of free learning resources for whatever level she's at :)

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 7:41 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • Use the fact that she loves treats. Instead of altering an activity (like the macaroni necklace), reward her for finishing one (with a very small treat). Play games like Simon says that encourages her to listen and follow directions. Have a scavenger hunt. I think there is a world beyond abcs and 123s and anything at this age can be educational, even if its not strictly academic.

    Answer by missanc at 8:04 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • I have several preschool apps on my phone. One lets you trace letters with your finger. I also make sure he watches educational tv programs when he watches tv, Super why and word world. I just recently really started trying to teach him the alphabet and trying to get him to write and trace letters with a pencil. That's proving to be more challenging than I thought. I have a 15 mo DD and a 4 yr old, so I know what it is like. When she's down for a nap is when my DS and I sit down at the table and work on learning the alphabet. I got several preschooler activity books at Walmart. I think Pinterest would be a good place to find creative activities. BTW my 4 yr old is all over the place too. GL

    Answer by mommy_jules at 8:28 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • I used to put on phonics videos on YouTube for my Son. They are animated & musical. He love them. When you get a chance, go to the Library & take out some DVD's like Signing Times (sign language but also educational: Letters, animals etc.) & others.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 9:13 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • Children this age learn from their play and also being read to. You should be able to read while holding a baby. If you can not go to the library and story time then make some books out of paper and yarn or staples. You write a stoy....any cute story.....and read to her. Youtube should have some videos to see how to do this. Take a walk and talk about all the things you see. Talk about the street signs and the letters on them. One example - one of the first things children learn to recognize is the word 'stop' from stop signs. Let her play in the sink with a smock on and measuring cups, spoons, a strainer, etc. Stay nearby to supervise. Read online how play helps children learn. Too much structured "teaching" is stressful and unproductive.

    Answer by silverthreads at 9:22 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • I like vocabulary teaching moments
    have the kid describe anything and everything she touches/ sees/ smells and teach her new ways to describe.
    so a young vocabulary would say sandpaper is rough but a more advanced one will say coarse
    a flower smells pretty vs spicy or woodsy

    its free, can be done anywhere/anytime and makes new reading words less daunting because they dont have to be defined

    Answer by feralxat at 9:36 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

  • Do you have a yard? Try to make time to go out, and just be out there too while she is outside. Tools like shovels or rakes can go a long way. My guys (turned 5 in July) spent the last 2-3 years doing things like moving bricks around, stacking things, digging in the driveway (eye roll), pulling boards out from under the porch & leaning them various places or lining them up on the ground, etc. Moving dirt around, carrying rocks, weeding, carrying water in a bucket, making "repairs" or "doing construction" was pretty rich.

    Creating time just to "be" outside was really helpful for me. Whether I was setting aside time to do outside work (and they'd be around while I was weeding or planting, etc.) or whether I was just OUT there solely so they could be, and took a book with me. (Did that a lot when they were 2 years old because they were so keen to be out and having a book to work on helped me be more willing to accommodate them.

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:33 AM on Sep. 5, 2013

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