Things to do with a 4 year old boy

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  • Things to do with a 4 year old boy
  • cranberry

    My mate and his little lad will be coming over on Saturday and I am looking for ideas on how to entertain him/engage with him for an hour or two.

    He can be a bit destructive when left to his own devices and gets no boundaries from his mum/child-minder, his dad gets him on a Saturday and gets stressed out when he misbehaves and or wrecks things ( if he wrecks something with his mum she lies about it and goes out and buys him another one ). Last week he trashed a pen at my place – I didn’t mind too much, but he got a proper telling off by his dad and was told that he’ll be buying a replacement from his own money and bringing it to me on Sat. I want to acknowledge that he has done the right thing and then move on and do something nice. Not having kids, and discounting coke and hookers/getting him a 5 year old girl, I’m at a bit of a loss as for ideas of something to build/put together/play with that’ll be on his level – suggestions ?

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Stick him in the loft with a torch.

    Premier Icon bruneep

    Last week he trashed a pen at my place

    proper nasty kid!

    Build a den out of chairs and sheets in front of the TV.


    At that age, my two loved baking. Flapjacks, fairy cakes and jam tarts (pre-made pastry) are all very easy to make. They get to have fun, make a mess but get a nice treat to eat in an hour or so. Just a suggestion!

    1 shed

    Get him to bring outdoor clothing, go to the woods build a den. Take a saw and show him how to use it. Flask of hot vimto in the den when finished. Jobs a good un.


    Draw an out line picture of a house, tree, clouds, sun etc on a4 paper. Then help him to stick stuff to it to make the picture. Eg pasta clouds, beans for smoke out of chimney, matchsticks for walls of house. If you do it with him, help him make the choices about what to use etc he will be engaged with it for quite a while.


    Go out to the woods an teach him some wood craft,maybe how to dig holes,


    Find a pub with a playground in the garden.


    Four-year-olds love sticks. Go for a walk in some woods, find some cool sticks. Sword fights (pirates), gunfights, have a bit of string in your pocket to make a bow and arrow.


    Babysat last weekend two 4 year olds

    – watched robot wars
    – drew robot designs
    – made robot models out of old boxes

    Kept then busy for hours


    Bruneep – the pen itself was decidedly unimportant – it is more that if he doesn’t get the attention he demands he becomes destructive. He’s excused anything that he does by a mum who has issues and had a terrible childhood and very bad parental role models – one was a drugs dealer who smashed anything that she took an interest in, the other got sectioned for trying to drown her daughter in the sink. My friend is fighting a battle to try and bring his lad up with some sense of right and wrong. Hence, I want to say thanks for the pen, find something nice for him to do and keep him occupied.

    Premier Icon Ben_H

    Do you have a garden? A park nearby?

    As one of 3 boys and with one of my 2 kids being a similar age to your 4-year-old, I’d suggest something outside: boys do need / love to make piles of leaves, sweep, jump off things, hit things with sticks, sit in puddles etc. A bit like MTB’ing really…

    For indoors, I’d suggest lots of old cereal boxes, selotape, scissors (trust him), glue, feathers, pens etc.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    Sounds like your friend should be a arguing for more access/custody!

    If he gets destructive, something in the fresh air and exercise would be good. Very left field, I know, but can he ride a bike? Pick up a cheap second hand Halfords special out the paper maybe. If he can’t ride, whip the pedals off to make a larger balance bike?


    Build a den out of chairs and sheets in front of the TV.

    And don’t come out till they’ve gone 😉

    Premier Icon cloudnine

    Get some cardboard boxes and some large washable felt pens. Be on hand with some scissors, Stanley knife and a large roll of tape to help with construction of windows, doors ‘computer power modules’ and some missile launchers. Kids love cardboard box den construction. If it goes wrong you always have the roll of tape to quieten things down..

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Hmm, sos’ – my post seems a bit tactless now. Poor chap.


    Mark90 and Cloudnine – you are closest to my instinctive response. 🙂

    I do have a couple of big boxes – easily big enough for a body… err, I mean small child. They could be made into a play fort for him, doubling as a play fort for my bengals afterwards – washable felt-tips are getting added to the shopping list for this evening.

    Thanks folks.

    You’ll need at least two hours to get him really tender. Don’t forget to turn the heat up at the end for the crackling.


    Bearneccessities – not to worry- you weren’t to know. It came as a big shock to him last week – I’d put the pen in the bin, his dad got it out again and gave him a proper telling off and told him the replacement was coming out of his savings towards a train set He started trying to “bargain” with his dad – Cranberry can have the pen after my birthday when I’ve bought the train, can’t Cranberry use another pen ?, etc, etc.

    I felt sorry for him as he seems to get one set of rules during the week and another at the weekend has no discipline through the week* and his dad is getting really stressed out trying to catch up on the weekends ( the parents live together but my mate is out of the door before 6am each day and doesn’t come home till late )

    * his mum thought it funny when he was a baby when he spat food on the floor and encouraged it, with predictable results.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    den building indoors or outdoors sounds like a great plan. Have fun with it.

    He sounds like he’s got a few problems but he’s lucky to have a Dad that seems to want to do the right things and an ‘uncle’ who’s going to help. persevere, encourage the good behaviour, correct the bad and you’ll do well by him.

    Maybe a scoot down Currys / Halfords might secure a few more big boxes to add to the materials?

    And then when he’s worn out, everyone loves Toy Story.


    my boy is 4 top activities
    Out side den building , walking or riding bike in the dark forest (any area with trees) climbing on walls fallen trees etc, throwing sticks stones in streams , feeding ducks.
    going to museum natural history / industrial beats artefacts york railway museum trumps all .

    inside Lego construction, lego role play police vs baddies , toy cars , den building with sofa and blankets , cooking , washing up , hoovering (i shit you not) also if all else fails dvds ot peter rabbit / octonaughts on i player.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Sounds like his dad needs to chill a bit TBH.

    Take them both out for a long walk in the woods.

    Premier Icon DaRC_L

    Boys, particularly that age, are like working dogs – you need to exercise them first.
    So take him to the park / for a walk / learn to ride a bike / footie etc….
    Once they’re a bit knackered they can manage quieter activities.
    So then get him home for some baking.

    Another option is to teach him to play drums 😆

    Buy him a puppy. Always a winner.

    +1 for stone throwing – life long activity and skill
    feed ducks, before the stone throwing just in case…
    top deck of a bus.

    My two who live in small towns, still love the novelty of the top deck of a bus.

    Good luck.



    Dad to 3 boys here. My 2Cs

    Get him outside to vent some of his energy. I was once told boys are like puppies they need a walk in the morning, afternoon and evening.

    At that age they have a ton of testosterone flooding around their little bodies and they have not developed the means to express themselves and their emotions clearly. It also sounds like this kid has complexities in his home life to deal with too and mixed messages from his parents.

    so.. get him out to the park or for a walk in the woods (preferably somewhere he can run off a bit without being constantly reigned in), let him run, play storm troopers (take snack or hot chocolate) whatever with him, give the positive attention that he is craving then you can take him home and bake a cake, draw a picture of the games you were playing etc.

    Good luck & hopefully – have fun.


    Take him to soft play and relax…


    Yep what they all said – build something from cardboard boxes AND incorporate a torch especially if it has a flashing light function.

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    Good luck tomorrow, hope whatever you’ve got planned works out.

    Premier Icon mick_r

    As mentioned – plenty of exercise if weather permits and then big cardboard boxes.

    The most popular box “thing” with my boys was when I brought a super heavy duty / sturdy box home from work (think it originally contained a car seat). The game they devised was very simple – boy climbs in box, fold the lid flaps shut, then roll the box around onto different sides with them tumbling around in it. They found it massively funny so suggest he goes for a wee first…..

    Making big sticky balls from duct tape was also very popular (just make sure he isn’t allergic to glue / elastoplast).


    My grandson turned 4 last month and these are his favourite things to do (some have been mentioned by others above)…

    Out on bike
    Out on bike in rain and mud
    Walking in muddy woods, sticks, throwing stones, climbing (doesn’t matter what)
    Building a den
    Building a den indoors
    Turning sofa over to make a cave
    Digging holes
    Smashing plastic flower pots with a hammer
    small fires (under very strict supervision)
    Top deck bus ride
    Train ride
    Getting around a room without touching the floor
    A pile of cushions
    Football (especially indoors with a ‘£1 floatie’)
    Cafe for a full monty fry up
    Clearing out the shed
    Finding a massive pile of dirt or sand
    Fixing bikes
    Sitting on the shed roof (with me)
    Improvised instruments (pans trays etc)
    Cardboard boxes (drawing on them as well)
    Going in the loft
    Trip to Decathlon (takes ages trying everything out)
    Running around big stores pretending to escape from ‘baddies’

    Mrs Spursn17 is very understanding 😀


    Things to do with a 4 year old boy

    Priests to the forum…

    If weather is shit go to local soft play and let him run wild.

    Premier Icon hatter

    Does he gave a bike, does he know how to ride it?

    Those would be my first suggestions (as echoed by those above,,) it’s a real life skill and once he’s up and riding your options are endless as you can always take him somewhere almost 4 year old is sat across he table telling me to take him riding right now.

    Failing that. Anything to do with dinosaurs.


    I ended up teaching in a Reception class the other day. 😯 they loved sharpening pencils.


    Some great ideas here

    My youngest is 4 this month and has had behavioural problems and from experience I would echo what ade9933 said above..
    The issues you are talking about sound very complex..

    Firm but fair and very adaptable have worked wonders for us.. My new partner is much better at this than I am and she seems to be able to play to his strengths rather than highlighting the weaknesses in his behaviour whilst addressing the problems in a nurturing way.
    It’s a tightrope act and I don’t have quite enough patience a lot of the time..
    It’s been a long process but has worked wonders.. My boy is a transformed character..

    I won’t add to the list of suggested activities as there’s a really good selection already.. Being outdoors is definitely our favourite

    Try a few things until something grabs his attention and then fully engage with him in that activity..
    Good luck.. It sounds very complicated

    Premier Icon manton69

    Young kids, boys in particular, benefit so much from just being outside. Sometimes it is even better if the weather is crap because when you come in you get a hot chocolate and feel like you have earned it. If you can find a bit of woodland to play in, wellies on and good waterproofs with snacks to keep going and you can just mess around there for whole day. As long as you have some imagination to make stuff, find weird bits of wood or bugs then you can show them a whole new world. The biggest thing of all at that age is sticks. You can play swords, build dens, make boats (make an outline of a boat and pretend all the rest of the area is shark infested. If he breaks the stick, you can get a new one. Amazing things sticks, I must go and whittle something soon before I get withdrawal symptoms.

    Once you have got him used to stuff like this then a little fire and marshmallows can keep them going as well. If you want to make this the best experience ever make the fire with him. It only has to be tiny, but the fact that you can do this sort of stuff outside makes it a place of wonder for a four year old.

    Best of luck.

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