Characteristics of Four-Year Olds

Energetic and imaginative best describes four-year-olds. They are able to learn new words quickly, and use them in chatting with you, telling you jokes and wild stories.

What are four-year olds like?

Physical (Motor- Fine & Cross)

  • Buttons, zips, and buckles
  • Unbuttons clothing
  • Cuts simple shapes with scissors
  • Puts on shoes
  • Rides a bicycle with training wheels
  • Climbs easily
  • Moves about quickly
  • Has a high need for motor activity

Social & Emotional

  • Likes to whisper and tell secrets
  • Demonstrates confidence
  • Emotions tend to be extreme
  • Tests limits continually
  • Values friendships
  • Likes to play dress-up

Language (Receptive and Expressive)

  • Likes new words, big words, and silly words
  • Uses a vocabulary of 1200-1500 words
  • Exaggerates and likes ridiculous stories
  • Fascinated with elimination words
  • Questions constantly, especially "why"
  • Engages in conversation up to 30 minutes

Cognitive/Intellectual Skills

  • Identifies some letters in own name
  • Likes newness in information, activity, and things
  • Has an active imagination
  • Identifies likenesses and differences between objects
  • May begin to show interest in written words
  • Understands the relationship between parts and wholes