Does your 4 year old play with toys? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If so, what do they play with?

Dd pretty much doesn't play. I mean, she will usually when she has another child to play with but overall, throughout the week she doesn't play.

It's driving me crazy because she seems 'bored' and she pesters me constantly.

She spends most of the day bouncing between our two sofas. This seems to be what she does for fun.

She doesn't have any special needs, she just doesn't seem to know how to play. She's like a grown up in a tiny body.

I try to buy imaginative play toys and simple things that can be used lots of ways but she just doesn't play.

Help?

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Old 01-23-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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Kind of in the same boat here with my 5 yo. Or when he does play, he constantly says he needs my help to play.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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My 4 year old plays with toys all the time, but doesn't usually like to play alone. He spends most of the day playing with his big sister. Lately they've been spending a lot of time with Playmobil, plastic animals, stuffed animals, paper airplanes, and a marble chute. When the 4 year old does play alone, it often involves making "mouse traps" out of various objects, or building things with Tinkertoys.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:49 PM
 
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Mine does, but he has 3 siblings to play with. I do notice when the older two are at school and if the youngest is asleep he does spend a lot of time sorta running around like a wild child. That's usually about when I'll login to netflix and put cartoon on for him.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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yeah siblings are the best toys ever!!!

dd hated toys. has always never really played with toys.

the things that worked for her were rubber bands, blocks, cups of various sizes, candles, pennies. she loved bulding them into her world. her 'doll house' is a bookshelf and blocks. kitchen ware.

outdoors mud.

playdough.

today at 7 dd is 'different' from the other kids. a kinda out of the box thinker.

she looooooooooooooooooves imaginative play. that's where most of her time went. today she spends her time with her nose buried in a book.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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My DS is in to all sorts of things and will occassionally play on his own or ask DH or I to play with him. The things he likes to play with by himself are his Batman cave, firehouse, puzzles, legos, kiddie computer, construction trucks, and race carsd. We all play a board game together and he and DH play light tackle football and swords.

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Old 01-24-2010, 02:30 AM
 
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My 3.5 year old doesn't play with toys. Her activities consist of bouncing on her bed, swinging on our swingset, begging to use the computer and pestering me in general. When she does play with things, it's always items that aren't "toys"... cups, spoons, cardboard tubes, sticks, etc. and makes them into some amazing things. She also doesn't play well by herself, and needs a lot of interaction.

We've actually seen our ped about it, because it was so disconcerting to me... I mean, kids are SUPPOSED to play with toys, right? The ped isn't terribly concerned, and told me to sit down with her whenever I can and play at the most basic level possible. Like, "OK, now we're going to your play kitchen to play Dinnertime, I'm going to cook some chicken and peas using this pot and pan" and really explain/interact with her to the point of exhaustion.

Guess what? It didn't work. However, what DID work was her having a little sister who is VERY into toys and imagination play with those toys. Now all of a sudden, she's playing much more with toys, with her sister, and with us. We still have lots of time that she's wandering around, and seems very unsure what to do with herself, but it's a billion times better than it was.

I should add that she's a ridiculously bright kid.. I don't want to say gifted because who knows at this point, but she's always seemed like a little adult.

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Old 01-24-2010, 02:38 AM
 
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Yes, my 4 year old plays with his toys. He likes legos, playdough, his doodle pad. He also plays video games.

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Old 01-24-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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My dd (4) requires a high level of interaction for play. She will not play alone at all, not like real imaginative play, so we usually do that together for about 2 hours each day. What works for us, is getting our bodies moving first (we put on music and she jumps on the bed and I on the floor) and then she'll usually come up with a play idea or I will and we go from there. It helps that we read a lot, tell a lot of stories, and really encourage imagination (like we'll pretend we're a family of polar bears putting on our polar bear fur when putting on winter coats, etc.). I'm not trying to imply that you don't do those things but rather these are things I have actively worked to cultivate to a large degree in our lives. Lately, she's been really big into using our sofa cushions and play silks for making caves, castles, etc. Sometime I'll start with a prompt, "Mrs. Squirrel is looking hungry today. I wonder if some forest fairy will help find her some food," and sometimes dd comes up with her own prompts. Today we went to a park for 4 hours and we were all spiders with web homes, etc. I've generally found that the important things are to: 1) start with movement--dancing, stretching, bouncing, whatever, to get out her uncontrolled wiggles, 2) suggest a prompt if dd doesn't seem to be coming up with one but keep it basic, 3) have a good practice of acting out stories from books in general, 4) have a good practice of being very imaginative as a family (do "take a turn" stories at dinner where everyone tells part of a story, do family pretend play together, make the world come alive by talking about fire fairies for candlelight, Father Wind kissing your face, etc.). My dd is very much like a mini-adult/engineer, who likes to climb and jump. Imaginative play does not come easily to her at times so it's something I have worked HARD to cultivate. We have no media for this very reason, and we've studied a lot of Waldorf techniques.

As for toys, sometimes she plays with them in our play, sometimes not, and it really varies by week as to which ones she focuses on. The past few weeks have been couch cushions, pipe cleaners (great for weaving tapestries, according to dd) play silks, stuffed animals, and "ingredients" from her play kitchen (like pumpkin seeds, dry beans, etc.). I generally just go for open-ended things and so far dd's imagination is fluid enough that she will pretend that doorknobs are fishing rods, etc., so that approach I think is working well.

And sometimes, like this past week, she isn't big into "play" but more into drawing, writing stories, and jumping back and forth from our bench to our rocking chair. And that's okay too . . . but I do try and at least help her frame it imaginatively, like being bunnies and such. I probably over do it, though--my dh says I take play way too seriously, LOL!

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Old 01-24-2010, 04:14 AM
 
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My 5/yo has only recently started to *really* play with toys independently and with pretending and all that. It's nearly always his cars and some sort of tow truck situation. It's in the last couple weeks I've noticed him starting to play out some of the stuff from his new favorite show, Fireman Sam, with his firetrucks and toys. (something we get on demand, can't say I've seen it on TV, they have videos at the library too, we discovered that last week.) Oh and he and his sister are starting to act out Max and Ruby stuff

Other than that, he'd play if I gave him playdough. He's been really into writing on his magna-doodle for the last year.
Besides those things, I hate to admit it, but videos, and for the last year, computer. And he has always liked the park.

I *used to* do a lot more play with him, before I had the two babies in 22 months' time.

Now DD who just turned 3, she is much more of an "imaginative player" She's constantly got pillows and blankets and a group of babies to put to bed, or I find little doll diapers in the cloth diaper pail because "My baby POOPED, we have to wash it!" Or she's making us coffee, or whatever.

I think it's personality.

and my kids love "real stuff' too like when I put "real" items in with the playdough toys stuff like that.

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Old 01-24-2010, 04:20 AM
 
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My 4.5yo plays with Legos, wooden blocks, GeoTrax trains, any kind of car for hours...but he also loves to pretend to draw "maps" on construction paper, then rolls up the paper and pretends to be a pirate using a telescope, LOL.

And yeah, he LOVES his sister's baby toys!

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Old 01-24-2010, 05:14 AM
 
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It really depends on the child. When DS1 was 4, he played with toys all of the time. DS2 sometimes plays with toys, but spends a good deal of time seeking entertainment/attn from me. He has always been my high maint kid.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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DS sometimes plays with toys but mostly what he likes to do is build clubhouses, cat traps and other things using whatever he can get his hands on. He's all about trying to catch a cat! He also plays his guitar to Laurie Berkner (on dvd) daily and enjoys dressing up. But playing toys (marble run, race tracks) as they are intended requires someone else to help.

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Old 01-24-2010, 10:16 AM
 
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My almost 4 year old plays, not necessarly with toys though, LOL. he is off in is own little world much of the time tinkering with stuff ~ He has a "real" tool set that he loves. He loves to play in the sink, help me cook. He finds random things to build/ stack/ take apart. He will play wit blocks/ legos if someone plays with him.

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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My 4.5 year old has never played with toys. She has a funnel that she thinks is the bee knees and is always busy but I cannot get her to play with the beautiful toys we have. She has a doll house, small dolls, large dolls, medium dolls, a stroller, stuffies, games, ponies, blocks, Legos, other building toys, cars, trucks, dinosaurs, etc. She moves them around from time to time but doesn't really play, even with other children.
She does play with art supplies though...

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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My 4yo plays with toys, but it's usually with his brother. If little brother is asleep, he usually does quiet activities like drawing or building. But I suppose alot of the time, he would like some of my attention when he's alone. If this was the case alot, I think I would try to "fill him up" at the start of the day. Lots of book reading, talking, snuggles, an activity he chooses, and hope that the time spent would hold him over to play alone for a while I got some things done. Have you tried that?

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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My ds does play with toys but sometimes he needs to be strongly encouraged to do so. Once he gets started though he really gets into it. And if he has another child to play with that helps a lot. Also, it helps when I keep a lot of toys put up so I can bring something fresh down for them. Having everything out for him to pick from is overload.

He will play independently with Duplos for hours. Also with his large fire trucks, his matchbox cars, and play food/kitchen.

I do have to move him from activity to activity for a lot of the day. Like feed him lunch, set up an art project. Clean up the art project, bring down his Tinker Toys. Clean up the Tinker Toys, make a snack. After snack time allow one show or his Leapster. After the show/game bring out the Duplos. Etc. etc.

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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This morning ds played with his trains for about 12 minutes. I was really impressed. Of course, I had to help him yesterday set up the tracks even though he is perfectly capable. After the 12 minutes of train play, he played with one of my old costume jewelry chains, and now he is occupied with a bug cup.
Generally, he can be found approximately 3 feet away from me playing with a non-toy item. Saying "can you play with me now?" every 4 minutes.
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Old 01-24-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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Mine does, both of my did, actually.

At 4, Playmobil was (and remains to be) a huge favorite. There are so many different sets with animals, fairies, dollhouse type pieces, vehicles, etc. that there's got to be something your child would be into. Both my kids pretty much love all of it.

My son is also into Transformers and action figures, and will play with these for ages . . . same with the old-style Little People (the choking hazard ones from when I was little). Legos and blocks are also popular . . . and I'm pretty sure 4 is when my daughter started liking Calico Critters and Polly Pockets, which are also popular with my son now.

Both of mine can take pretty much anything and turn it into a toy and act out a story with it.

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Old 01-24-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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Same boat here.. I really am questioning why I even buy toys for my dd. She's 3.5 yrs old.. and no, she jumps on the couch, runs around, plays outside, likes the computer.. she will sometimes put her diapers on babydolls. She doesn't like to color.. Pretty flusterating sometimes lol. Wait, she will pretend her books are menu's, and ask us what we would like to order That is the extent of toys. I have a bunch of toys I really need to slowly rehome

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Old 01-24-2010, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's good to know that others have children who won't play solo.

We had her cousin over yesterday and she played ALL DAY.


I wish I could convince our friends and family to stop giving us so many toys. Part of my problem is having to pick up and organize these mountains of toys that no one plays with.

It's time to donate some goods.

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Old 01-24-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Face View Post

It's time to donate some goods.
speaking of, today I told all four kids to fill up a trash bag of toys to take to goodwill, and the 4 yo is the one who actually picked a bunch of his stuff to donate. The other kids had a harder time even deciding on a couple toys to give away.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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My daughter plays with her baby dolls; likes to build a house with her play stand and silks (and then boss her 10 mos old brother around!); she builds towers; draws pictures; cuts up stuff to make crafty images (like a butterfly from a glittery gift bag); pretends she's a dog, a cat, a horse, etc.

The cutest thing was the other day (when, of course I couldn't find my camera), she had on her apron and had spread dishes out on her table and opened the children's Betty Crocker cook book circa 1950-something that my brother gave her for Christmas. She was cookin' up something!

She's also been in an mixed-age play based pre-school program since 26 mos old. So, this is some of the good learning that comes with that. Lots of potty talk and sassiness would be some of the bad.

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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Trains and cars....... alll-day-long. I don't know how he isn't bored with them! lol I would be but hey - hes happy! lol

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Old 01-26-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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My 3.5 year old loves to play, but hates to play alone. Left to his own devices he would alternate between "Mom, play a game with me," "Can I watch a TV show?" and running around the house screeching. I'm not sure at what age highly social kids start to play alone sometimes, voluntarily, for more than 2 minutes, but I'm hoping it's soon.

Right now the only time he'll voluntarily play alone is if he's hiding in a corner pooping.

Don't get me wrong, I like playing with him, but I would love to be alone for a couple of minutes sometimes.

When we play lately it's been a lot of tag, bike riding, playground, & races but also Candy Land, Hi Ho Cheerio, play-acting, legos, trains, and marble run.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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My 4.5 year old prefers to always be playing with someone. Things he will do alone: play with cars or other vehicles, play a game on the computer or DS, sometimes build with Legos or blocks. I'm actually relieved to hear that so many other kids aren't greatly into toys. My older son has never been either, though when he was 4 he was still very much into his train sets. Now at 8 the only toys he gets into are ones that he can have "battle" in some way. :
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Mine plays with toys but not in the way they were intending. He usually gathers up little pieces of things or toys and piles them under cushions and blankets. He will play kitchen by himself and cooks up all sorts of things.

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:54 PM
 
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Loved to listen to these stories and will be taking lots of everyones advise.  My 4.5 year old daughter just jumps from sofa to sofa.  Pesters me, the dog or her brother.  Does not seem to want to do anything and certainly doesn't play with any toys.  I am finding it hard to cope with really and been quite worried.  Her little brother is a lune though and has a great wild imagination so reading this i hope that her imagination will soon improve and she will enjoy her toys.  I think having to many toys, going to too many clubs, too much TV and computer and too much of me has got us here but hopefully fingers crossed i will owe it all to her brother!!  She is too extremely bright.  The nursery she attended as a child said she was gifted....  They did however point out to me that her social, imaganative and creatvie skills were behind and i have been desperatly trying to help her with this but never really got anywhere.  Again, sounds like little Bro will do it.  he is a crazy wild child.  Both my darlings no matter how they are though.  Thanks.

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