4 year olds in the eyes of a speech pathologist

Four year olds are fascinating! A year that’s full of building on old skills while picking up brand-new ones at breakneck speed. Four is typically a lively, energetic, and sociable year. Confident about basics like speaking, running, drawing, and building things, your child is ready to use these skills to the fullest. Even more reserved  four year olds tend to enjoy the company of adults and children of all ages. Everybody seems fascinating now, from the postman to cousins to random new faces on the playground. But what do speech pathologist’s look for in a four year old?


A 4 year old would exhibit these communication skills:

  • Carries out 2-3 step instructions (e.g., ‘Go outside, put your shoes on and get in the car’)
  • Understands some words for colours and some words for shapes
  • Understands complex sentences (e.g., ‘Grandma is almost here but she needs to get petrol first’)
  • Understand category names (e.g., clothes, food)
  • Enjoy listening to stories, telling stories and answering simple questions about stories
  • Uses adult-like grammar (e.g., ‘daddy‘s, a dog, the boy is jumping)
  • Answers ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and some ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions
  • Uses pronouns (mine, his, he, we, they) and location words (e.g., behind, outside, over, under, between) correctly
  • Uses a lot of sentences with more than 4 words
  • Is easily understood by unfamiliar listeners

A 4 year old would exhibit these play skills:


  • Interested in singing, dancing and acting
  • Engaging in imaginative pretend play
  • Becoming aware of gender and may want to play gender-based games (e.g., girls might like to be playing ‘mum’)
  • Engaging in games with simple rules (e.g., hide and seek)
  • Learning to get along with others by – you might hear her saying sorry, agreeing to rules and being pleased when good things happen to other people.

How you can support your 4 year old’s development:


  • Explore different environments, give opportunities to play and follow your child’s lead
  • Help them talk about their experiences. Talk to her about what she does and where she has been. Ask her what she did and what she saw. Relate their experiences to your own.
  • Help them develop their independence by giving choices (reasonable ones!), discussing his and your opinions, and reasons for your decisions.
  • Read with your preschooler – get them to act out or retell the story;
  • Praise and encourage him when he considers others and plays well with others and help him think about how others feel.

How Little Birdie Book Boxes will nurture your 4 year old:


We have identified all the great things about being a 4 year old – play play play! Our activities will give your child a boost in their oral language and early literacy skills to prepare them for school the following year. When you do these activities with your child, you are supporting their speech, language, reading, fine motor, gross motor and play skills in an engaging, interactive and fun way!

Check out all our available boxes and subscriptions on your Shop page.

Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies
Language Disorders from Infancy through Adolescence: Assessment and Intervention (3rd ed.) by Rhea Paul, 2007.