Child Development at 4 Years

Posture & Large Movements

  • Turns sharp corners running, pushing and pulling.
  • Walks alone up and downstairs, one foot per step.
  • Climbs ladders and trees.
  • Can run on tiptoe.
  • Expert rider of tricycle.
  • Hops on one foot.
  • Stands on one foot 3–5 seconds.
  • Arranges or picks up objects from floor by bending from waist with knees extended.

Vision & Fine Movements

  • Picks up pins, thread, crumbs, etc., with each eye covered separately.
  • Builds tower of 10 or more cubes and several ‘bridges’ of three on request.
  • Builds three steps with six cubes after demonstration.
  • Imitates spreading of hand and bringing thumb into opposition with each finger in turn, R and L. Copies cross (also V, H, T and O).
  • Draws man with head, legs, features, trunk and (often) arms.
  • Draws very simple house.
  • Matches and names four primary colours correctly.
  • Single-letter vision test at 10 feet, seven letters: also near chart to bottom.

Hearing & Speech

  • Speech completely intelligible.
  • Shows only a few infantile substitutions usually k/t/th/f/s and r/l/w/y groups).
  • Gives connected account of recent events and experiences.
  • Gives name, sex, home address and (usually) age.
  • Eternally asking questions ‘Why?‘ ‘When?’, ‘How?’ and meanings of words.
  • Listens to and tells long stories sometimes confusing fact and fantasy.
  • 7 toy test, 1st picture vocabulary test, 2nd cube test. 6 ‘high frequency’ word pictures.

Social Behaviour & Play

  • Eats skilfully with spoon and fork.
  • Washes and dries hands. Brushes teeth.
  • Can undress and dress except for back buttons, laces and ties.
  • General behaviour markedly self-willed.
  • Inclined to verbal impertinence when wishes crossed but can be affectionate and compliant.
  • Strongly dramatic play and dressing-up favoured.
  • Constructive out-of-doors building with any large material to hand.
  • Needs other children to play with and is alternately co-operative and aggressive with them as with adults.
  • Understands taking turns.
  • Shows concern for younger siblings and sympathy for playmates in distress.
  • Appreciates past, present and future.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.