Cincinnati Children's Blog

Activities That Will Keep Your 4-year-old’s Attention

September 4, 2013

These simple, fun activities will help keep your 4-year-old’s attention.

Numbers and Stickers

Materials You Will Need: 55 stickers, marker, paper

What To Do:
This counting activity will help your child understand one-to-one correspondence.

Write the numerals 1-10 along the left side of a sheet of paper. Have your child place the corresponding number of stickers in a row next to each numeral.

If your child only recognizes 1-5 at this point, you can still work on counting with accuracy by telling your child the number needed for 6-10.

Say something like, “This is 6. Can you put 6 stickers next to this number?”

Card Concentration

Materials You Will Need: deck of playing cards

What To Do:
The game of concentration can help your child’s attention span and memorization skills.

Take out 10-15 pairs of playing cards, numerals 2-10, in both red and black and a variety of suits. Mix them up, and place them face down on a table.

Show your child how to play concentration, which means you turn over two random cards to see if they match in number, color and suit. If so, you get to keep the pair. If not, both cards are turned back over.

The next player has the advantage of seeing all the previous cards that have been turned over.

Encourage your child to verbally identify the numbers as matches are made.


Materials You Will Need: bowl, tweezers, dried sunflower or decorative dried corn

What To Do:
This activity requires a fair amount of concentration and fine motor precision and is very satisfying to children.

Give your child a fine motor challenge by giving your child a dried sunflower, (available at farmer’s markets), or dried ears of corn.

Have your child extract each sunflower seed or kernel of corn with the tweezers. Have your child put each seed or kernel in a bowl, then save them for a later collage project or soak them in water for a day and string them onto a necklace.

Screw Sorting

Materials You Will Need: several jars, assortment of screws

What To Do:
Have your child help you organize your tool box or garage by inviting your child to help you sort screws.

You can introduce the terms “flat head” and “Phillips head” as one way to sort them, or sort by length or thickness.

You can label the jars with a picture of the type of screw that it contains or just place an example of each inside, allowing your child do the sorting.

Bedroom Model

Materials You Will Need: paper towel rolls, small boxes, glue, art supplies such as markers, scissors, shoebox

What To Do:
Invite your child to make a three dimensional model of his/her bedroom using a shoe box and various art supplies.

It will help if your child can do this activity in the bedroom to reference the arrangement of the furniture, the windows, and door while working.

Small boxes and fabric scraps will add to the creativity. Your child can include toys to represent beds, chairs, etc.

Want more? Visit Productive Parenting to see 75 more activities that will boost your child’s attention span – from birth to age 5. While you’re there, become a member (for free) and have activities emailed to you based on the developmental age of your child. Activities build on one another from infancy to age five to provide a solid foundation for learning and, at the same time, promote lasting parent-child relationships.

You can also find Anna at My Life and Kids.

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