By: Beth Jacobson

During our Coffee and Kids discussions many questions from parents have centered around child development.  Last month we shared with you information about 3 year olds.  This month, let’s explore 4 year old milestones.

As my son grew to be 3, 4, and 5 years old I told people I was having more fun with each passing year!  At the 4 year old stage your child will be able to think, speak, and create in ways that will make spending time with them so enjoyable!  Imaginative play is the best way to help your child explore the world around them.  Your child may be more interested in board games and art/craft projects.  They will exhibit more self-control and become more independent…which is what we want, but this can create some challenges as well!  You will be amazed at the conversations you will be able to have with your 4 year old.  I guarantee they will put a smile on your face…OFTEN!!  

Here are some general milestones you can look for as your child grows and learns during their 4th year.  Please understand, these are just GUIDELINES.  If your child is not meeting a few of the milestones, don’t worry!  They are not behind.  All children grow and learn at their own pace.  If there are significant differences with your child, that would be the time to seek some guidance.


  • Has mastered basic grammar skills
  • Speaks in complete sentences of 4-5 words so you can have a back and forth conversation
  • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
  • Able to tell stories (my favorite!!)
  • Can memorize parts of songs and poems
  • Able to understand the concepts of same and different



  • Uses stairs without support
  • Should be able to play basic outdoor games where they need to kick, throw overhand, or catch a ball
  • Able to move forward and backward comfortably
  • Do a somersault
  • Can hop and stand on one foot for about 5-10 secs.
  • Pedal a tricycle


FINE MOTOR SKILLS (hands/finger skills):

  • Learning to brush their teeth
  • Draws a person with a body
  • Can use scissors 
  • Begins to write some capital letters
  • Draws circle and square shapes
  • Uses a fork and spoon
  • Able to put together puzzles
  • May be able to pour without too much spilling!!!



  • Can follow 3 or more directions at a time
  • Names some colors, shapes, numbers, and letters
  • Understands what counting is 
  • Approaches problems from a single point of view
  • Is developing a better understanding of time
  • Can remember parts of a story
  • Can make predictions about what might happen next in a story
  • Very imaginative, especially when playing



  • Shows interest in new experiences
  • Getting better at making friends, and is able to cooperate with other children
  • Plays “house”
  • Dresses/Undresses
  • Negotiates solutions to problems
  • Can express feelings better
  • They are learning the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary, but they have a vivid imagination ie: unfamiliar objects may be seen as monsters 
  • Sees “self” as a whole person with a body, mind, and feelings

The above information was gathered from the following websites.  They have a wealth of information about other age groups as well.


Very Well Family Website

Child Mind Institute Website