Here's What Your Child Should Know by Age 4

While all children develop in their own way and at their own pace, our age-by-age guide will show you what key developmental milestones you might notice this year.

By Scholastic Parents Staff



Here's What Your Child Should Know by Age 4

What a difference a year makes! Your four-year-old isn't a toddler anymore, but a full-fledged preschooler. Like many parents, you may be wondering what developmental milestones await you and your four-year-old, particularly as you anticipate kindergarten in the not-so-distant future.

Although every child develops at their own unique pace, here are some of the key milestones for four year olds that you might notice. 

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Reading Development

  • Understands the idea of what a word is in print — and that words and sentences are read from left to right
  • Holds a book correctly and turns pages front to back
  • Has memorized some favorite books and can recite them along with you
  • Knows some upper- and lowercase letters, and understands that letters stand for sounds (“B makes the buh sound”) 
  • Can recognize his name and some familiar words on signs (such as “stop”)
  • Can identify whether or not two words rhyme, or whether they start with the same sound

Shop books that will help further your child's reading development: 

Language Development

  • On average, a 4-year-old knows about 1,500 words, but don’t start counting! If your child’s vocabulary is increasing — and they show an interest in learning and using new words — they're on track.
  • Your child's sentences are getting longer (four to five words) and may have more variety (for instance: “Grandma got me that, didn’t she?”)
  • Can listen to details and retell a story

Shop books that will expand your child's vocabulary: 

Physical Development

  • Can walk heel-to-toe and run
  • May be able to climb jungle gyms at the playground (but needs close supervision!)
  • Can kick a ball
  • Can stand on one foot for four or five seconds
  • Can draw simple shapes, use scissors, and string beads
  • Can dress, undress, and brush teeth

Develop your child's fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination with these titles. 

Emotional Development

  • Still has difficulty sharing but is beginning to understand taking turns 
  • Wants to please friends (and maybe you too!)
  • May be quick to get angry but tries to control it or express it through words
  • Knows what tasks are expected but may lose focus on following through

Shop books that encourage your child's emotional development below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store

Stages & Milestones
Alphabet Recognition
Self Control
Motor Skills
Age 4
Motor Skills
Songs and Rhymes
Early Social Skills
Word Recognition
Child Development and Behavior
Communication and Language Development
Alphabet Recognition
Social and Emotional Development
Early Reading
Physical Development