Taking 4-year-olds out

Most 4-year-olds can walk faster and further than their younger counterparts. This means that they can venture further afield than the three year olds in a similar time frame. The distance can be built up, with the possibility of a buggy for providing a respite period if the distance is great, by swapping the children in and out.

Like 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds will also enjoy opportunities to pick up “treasure” and explore exciting nooks and crannies, as well making good use of the street furniture. They can become more involved in the production of resources based on the outing.

Most 4-year-olds have begun to develop an idea of how familiar places connect, if they have had the opportunity to talk about routes to take the same route over and over again. They show this by saying things like “this is like going to ….” They are beginning to be able to follow simple directions and are beginning to enjoy using left and right. They could be encouraged to follow maps and to make maps of their own in the local area.

They can take an active role in deciding where they would like to go and in the planning of the journey, along with identifying possible risks and ways to alleviate them. They will be clear about why they want to go to their preferred destination and will talk about features on the way.

They enjoy using public transport for going further afield and can be more patient whilst waiting but it is still advisable to have ideas in mind for ensuring delays are managed positively. It may be worth looking into the train providers cancellation and delay policy as it could be possible for the train company to provide taxis to take you back if the planned train is delayed or cancelled on the way back. It may also be worth developing links your local rail community partnership, as this could well smooth any challenges to delays/cancellations you may have.

Follow up experiences will help to consolidate the children’s thinking and learning and need to be given equal thought when planning an outing or an adventure. Young children will see going out as an adventure and it is important to remember, what seems mundane and ordinary to us as adults, can be hugely adventurous and exciting to young children. The possibilities sheets may provide you with some ideas that you can adapt and develop further.

Further reading

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This article by Early Education Associate Anni McTavish explores the term “cultural capital”, and what it might mean for early years practitioners and their settings.

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