10 Things That Entertain My 4 1/2 Year Old

I've always kept a mental list of Little P's interests as she grows up. For one reason, relevant to a budget blog, it reminds me that the things she's interested in aren't necessarily more toys or better toys or a bigger collection of toys.  It helps me, when I'm shopping for treats or gifts to think about what would get the most use and actually, a lot of the things featured here were gifts from friends and family (thanks guys! you know her well!) So, for those of you who want to know how a 4 year old spends her day, here's what P is currently in love with doing and playing:

1. Ponies, dinosaurs and zoo animals get together and throw a raging birthday party.  This is generally a game P plays with Tim or I and she instructs us on what to do.  It almost always goes like this:  we set up the party by putting a group of my little ponies together and then one by one a potential party guest comes up, usually via a Rescuebots boat and asks to join the party.  They then introduce themselves and show off their special skill.  T-rex roars and stomps around a bunch, flying ponies fly and flip, sometimes the guests get together and do a spontaneous obstacle course.  

While this game does requires toys, any existing toy can participate in this wonderous imaginary party world. 



2.  Drawing, coloring, painting, crafting

This is what P spends a large amount of her time doing.  If a world existed in which the only thing she owned to play with was arts and crafts supplies, she would be content.

She loves this book by Ed Emberly:


Here is P making pen holders for Father's day:



3.  Books

P has started to memorize some of her favorite books. I've been told this is a big step in pre-reading.  Her all time favorite book:

The Book with No Pictures
By B. J. Novak
Her favorite page from her favorite book

Her favorite page from her favorite book


4. Puzzles

Her favorite ballerina puzzle from her Aunt and Uncle:




5. Doing chores!

Did you know little kids love to do chores?!  P ASKED us to make her a chore chart.  I think possibly because it involves a prize once it's filled up but I was still so proud.  Her chores are to put away silverware, clean off the dining room table, clean her room and playroom, sweep, make her bed, feed the cat, fold towels, yard work, and clean up the living room.


6.  Legos!  What four year old doesn't like legos.  Here's P with allll the legos at the library lego club.  She ended up making a "Dinosaur Castle House" which I unfortunately didn't get a picture of.  



7. Hunting for fossils

A friend of ours got P this "dinosaur egg" where you can scrape and carve away at the (I think clay) egg to find tiny little plastic dinosaur bones....she was obsessed with this!


Here's some similar ones:

Additionally, P and Tim went to a local fossil bed and found some actual fossils embedded in rocks.  P likes scraping and scraping to free the little leaf fossils from the bigger rocks.  She'll sit there scraping for a good half hour which, in kid time is a very long time.



8. Cooking with Dad:


Pretty much the cutest thing on Earth.  P LOVES to cook with her Dad.  For Easter, we bought her these kids knives which I highly recommend:


9. Blanket Forts

Cozying up in a blanket fort?  Pretty much the best thing ever for all ages.  We take our forts seriously in this family.  Tim has a whole ropes and clothes pin system.



10, Bubbles

Bubbles bubbles bubbles.  Check out this dinosaur bubble gun.  It even roars.  Loudly. Our neighbors love us.



There's our top ten.  If you have a kid, would love to know in the comments how old they are and what their favorite thing to do/play is.

GIVE THE KIDS BOOKS! (my holiday shopping thoughts)

-by Jamie

(*probably obvious disclosure: I am a member of the Amazon Associates program)

It is time to purchase your holiday gifts now.  Did no one tell you this?!  :-)  My favorite thing to give for Christmas or any holiday is a great book. 

The first thing I always do every year, is go check some lists and suggestions from Amazon.  Oh look!  You can get to Amazon from the banner on top of my page!  Anyhow, I usually take a look at what's new in cookbooks and art books.  Then I browse the kids books.  Amazon has awesome suggestions almost always and they also have my favorite thing which is a list of the best 100 books ever (or some such title) and also the top 100 children's books (sorted by age!...for those of us who only know a kid of one specific age this is hugely helpful to know what books kids of other ages want to read).

plus a suggestion from yours truly:

Cheechako by Jonathan Thomas Stratman

Where do I begin?  I have always been fascinated and SO interested in learning more about people who live in these really rural locations and/ or natural settings, where they have to live off the land, so to speak; like Alaska, or that place in Patagonia where that fancy chef guy builds lots of amazing fires....random reference, I know.  

Stories of survival and homesteading are my favorite.  I'm a bit obsessed with the show "Alaska, the last Frontier" and as a kid I loved the books White Fang and A Call of the Wild.  I recently read a newer book, that I think is right up there with them called Cheechako, which is the first book in the series of the same name, by Jonathan Thomas Stratman.  (who I believe lives near Eugene, OR!) I would say the series is for 9 year olds ish and up.  Like way up, like an almost 34 year old, for example.

Cheechako is about a young man named Will who lives in (and then later in the book farther away from) a tiny town in Alaska called Nenana.  He is from Boston and feels like a foreigner in the town full of people who have always lived there.  In the beginning of the book he is an introvert who spends most of his time at home reading or dreaming of Boston, saying to himself "this can't be all there is" of the tiny tiny (and I do mean tiny) town.  After a very exciting day indeed, Will gets a new best friend (a dog) and also befriends an Alaskan native named Elias and snowy adventures ensue! Their survival skills are tested and Will transforms from someone who feels like an outsider, to a young man who is confident in emergencies and comfortable in his own skin.  I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series!  You can purchase the set for $30 on Amazon Prime or you can order the series in ebook format or I think on the kindle thingey.   You can download the ebooks on Jonathan's website as well!  He gives details on how to download for free!! (on Smashwords.)  Or again for the Holidays or a Birthday or any day, this is truly a great gift!