Games to play at home
Games to play with four year olds
Here's a selection of games and exercises we use in our weekly classes to help boost children's confidence, concentration, communication and coordination skills. Click on the game titles to read more.
What am I?
Children are naturally curious and that's not surprising with so many wonderful things to discover about the world.
Part of your child's curiosity comes from a desire to work things out for themselves. You can help them develop their question/ answer capabilities and stretch their powers of deduction with this game.
Tell your child that you're going to play a guessing game - think of an animal and give your child three facts about it. For examle:
I purr when I am happy
I am furry
I like to chase my tail
Your child then has to guess what the animal is. If they have a couple of incorrect guesses give them a bonus fact to help them along. Then swap over, so your child gives you three facts about an animal whilst you guess what it might be.
Weird Wonderful Will
Speaking and listening skills are essential for progress through school and into the wider world. Help develop your child's phonics and language skills by playing this Perform alliteration game.
First explain that alliteration is all about grouping together words which all begin with the same sound: like weird, wonderful and Will all begin with a ‘w' sound.
Then give an example which isn't alliterative e.g. jumping, gorgeous Jeremy: jumping and Jeremy begin with a ‘j' sound, but gorgeous begins with a ‘g' sound.
Take it in turns to play and discuss the examples which your child comes up with. Don't worry if they get it wrong - simply offer up suggestions. You could also come up with some yourself, and ask your child to judge whether they are correct or not.
This is one of the most popular Perform games and is ideal for developing concentration and confidence.
Ask your child to sit down and close their eyes. Tell them think of their favourite toy and imagine what it would be like to become that toy. Ask them to think about the colour, shape, material and feel of the toy and to imagine how it would move, sound and speak.
Tell your child that you are the Toyshop owner and that they are one of the toys in your toyshop. When you are in the room, they must keep still and quiet, but when you go outside of the room they can come alive, move, speak, and act like the toy has come alive. However, when you come back in they must stand as still as a statue.
The real trick for playing this game is to go for it and really enjoying playing the character. Give the toyshop owner a funny accent and mannerisms. Talk to yourself, dust the toy, move it about in different poses. Then go out of the room.
When you come back you must act very surprised that the toys are not where you left them. Make a big thing of putting them back into place, re-posing them etc.
Then go out of the room and repeat the process.
This is a fabulous game to develop concentration skills as well as being lots of fun!
Ask your child to stand at one side of the room against the wall. Explain that there is a dungeon which has treasure in it, but the key to the dungeon is guarded by a dragon. To get the key they must move quietly and slowly and stand completely still if the dragon wakes up. If the dragon sees them move they will have to go back to the beginning.
You play the dragon. Children love it when you really act out the part: snoring when you are asleep, roaring and growling if you see your child move etc.
Tents to Teepees
Here's a game which is great for getting children's imaginations working (and your own!)
Tell your child that you are going on a camping adventure. Decide with them where you will go, eg the desert, the North Pole, a forest, etc.
The journey is long and arduous with lots of exciting experiences on the way. Make sure you keep things varied and unexpected. When you arrive set up a camp by hanging a sheet or duvet over a couple of dining chairs. Whilst you are there, have a fantastic adventure. Meet some local people, try the local food, discover the animals and the local geography etc.
Yes or No Game
Over my years at Perform, I've found the Yes or No game really useful in helping children to develop their vocabulary and communication skills - why not have a go at home?
Explain that you are going to ask some questions, but they are not allowed to answer with either 'yes' or 'no'. Start off with some easy questions, then progressively make them a little harder:
‘Do you have any brothers and sisters?'
‘Do you like school?'
Keep it light-hearted and fun. If the answer 'yes' or 'no' simply laugh and say 'oops try again'. If you like, you can swap over and have them ask you some questions too - just remember the rules!