25 Chores For Your 4 Year Old Toddler : Learning Is Fun

When you toddler reaches 4 years, she/he is ready to take on small responsibilities and to be treated like a big girl or big boy and not a baby. For a preschooler doing what mom and dad do is all important. It helps them identify with the adult world and feel accepted, satisfied and reassured. It builds their self-esteem and strengthens their bond with the family and makes them feel secure.

This is the ideal age to introduce your child to household chores if you haven’t introduced them already. Your 4-year-old is eager to be involved actively in household chores and small decision making because she is anxious to prove her/his capability Introducing your toddler to small responsibilities.

Of course – don’t expect too much from your toddler. Your child may not be interested in doing the mundane tasks every day. But, you can pique their natural curiosity by introducing them to new ideas through chores. They will especially love doing tasks that give them authority.

A mother at my workshop the other day shared that – “When we step out of the house, my 4-year-old concernedly and authoritatively asks if I have switched off the gas, the iron box, and water heater. It is her responsibility to remind us to check before we leave and she takes pride in the responsibility given to her and the chore assigned to her”. 

A friend told me about how her toddler was putting the toys back in their places with rather a long face when the mother picked up a particular toy and sighed “this is Hasbro it costs so much!”. This made the child curious. She wanted to know what Hasbro is and we showed her the brand name written at the bottom. She then picked up every toy to find out what the name written on the bottom of the toy was. She was elated to segregate them in Funskool Toys, Fisherprice Toys and more. A simple chore taught her a lot of new things. Now, the 4-year-old knows she has toys of 7 different brands.

So chores can be made a new learning experience for your toddler while making them self-reliant and independent.

Focus on what your child can learn out of a chore. Teach them to observe, differentiate and notice. Help your child to hone her/his genius in this way.

25 chores your toddler can do

25 chores your toddler can do

9 ways to involve your 4 year toddler in household chores

  1. Involve your toddler in washing clothes

    Washing clothes can be a very exciting chore for even 2 year olds because children just love water. Teach your child how to dip a handkerchief in water – scrub it with soap and then wring it out and dry it on a clothesline.

    What your toddler learns

    • Knowledge on clothes – color clothes, white clothes
    • Different types of clothes – woolen socks, synthetic material, cotton, jeans
    • Soap powder, washing machine, various knobs on the machine, washing cycle
  2. Involve your child in washing utensils

    Show your child how to work up a lather with a drop of soap. Allow your child to experience the satisfaction of scrubbing and cleaning up a dirty plate or glass.

    What your toddler learns

    • Vessel washing soap & liquid, scrubbing, regulating water and more
    • Types of scrubbers- steel, plastic and natural
    • Types of utensils and types of washing – sterilizing baby stuff
  3. Involve your child in cleaning the table

    Show your child the magic of sponges. A 3-year-old can spend hours allowing the sponge to soak up water and then squeezing it dry.

    What your toddler learns

    • Number of chairs, dining table shapes, number of seating and more
    • Introduce your child to table mats, coasters and new dining table accessories
  4. Allow your child to lay the table

    Laying the table with plates, glasses, spoons, forks etc. is an extremely enjoyable task for a toddler and gives her/him a chance to explore variations in a flexible environment while following certain norms. Allow your 4-year-old to experiment and find new arrangements and layouts that she/he likes. Appreciate. Do not criticize.

    What your toddler learns –

    • Introduce your child to types cutlery – fork, spoons, dessert spoons, table spoons & serving spoons
    • Learns directions left, right, below, above  and alignment – straight, crooked, vertical, horizontal
  5. Involve your child in folding clothes

    Folding clothes that have been washed can take hours and make your child feel left out unless you also involve her/him. Let your child to separate out clothes and then sit along with your toddler give them small hankies socks to fold.

    What your toddler learns

    • Introduce your child various types of cloth material
    • Learn direction – fold it up, fold it down, roll
    • Pattern matching games in socks
  6. Let your child dust 

    Slip your child’s hand into a sock – an athletic sock preferably so that it is thick and absorbent – and let your child dust away with the sock wrapping the hand. If you are worried about allergies put a mask on your child’s face. This can be very exciting in itself.

    What your toddler learns

    • Teach your toddler how dust affects health
    • What is wiping, sweeping, brushing – different kind of dusting
    • Ask your toddler repeat the name of the article they are cleaning – table, photo frame, sofa
  7. Let your child help with shining the shoes

    Everyone needs shiny polished shoes in the morning. And even if your toddler does not need polished black shoes give her/him a piece of cloth and allow her/him to help you shine yours after you polish them.

    What your toddler learns –

    • Introduce them to shoe cleaning, shoe polish, polishing brush
    • Types of shoe – leather, rubber based, sneakers, shoe lace, shoe sole
    • Choosing the polish and matching it with the color of the shoes
    • Ask your toddler to offer polishing service to others at home dad, grandpa, siblings
  8. Allow your child to help you clean the car

    Washing the car is a delightful activity for children. Once a week help your child clean out the car. Give her/him a small bag and ask her/him to get into all the nooks and crannies in the car and find the chocolate wrappers, chips, biscuit crumbs, stickers and toys that have been left there through the week. Then give her/him a sponge and allow her/him to wash the car with you.

    What your toddler learns

    • Introduce them to news words like, spolsh, mop
    • Show them different car brands, body parts of a car, number plate of the car
    • discuss various modes of transportation
    • Take through the procedure – picking up dirt, dusting the interior, washing & wiping the exterior
    • share a story from your childhood how you traveled as a kid while washing the car
  9. Instruct your child how to put dirty clothes in the hamper

    Hand over one of the most tiresome tasks of the day to your toddler. Let her/him go around the house picking up clothes that are on the floor waiting to be washed and putting them in the dirty clothes hamper. It is a simple task so make your toddler in charge of this task.  Give your child also an opportunity to invigilate if everyone is doing their daily chores as expected.

    What your toddler learns

    • The are of getting the work done from others
    • How to be persistent till you get what you want

    Also read 8 Reactions To Avoid When Your Toddler Is Throwing A Tantrum

5 ways to involve your toddler in the Kitchen

  1. Give your child a chance to play with dough

    Playing with flour dough – rolling it out into rotis, stamping it with designs to make designs on cookies and cutting out cookies with the cookie cutter are exciting and fulfilling activities for little children. It is an opportunity for being creative while also being very useful.

    What your toddler learns

    • Playing with dough builds fine motor skills and creativity
  2. Involve your child in putting away the vegetables

    Separating the ladies fingers from a pile of vegetables and successfully putting them into a net bag and placing the bag in the fridge can be a wonderful task that can teach your child a lot.

    What your toddler learns –

    • Vegetable identification
    • Shapes and colors and taste and texture
    • Knowledge on vegetables which should go into fridge, the freezer and which can stay fresh outside the refrigerator
  3. Peel fruits with your child

    Peeling fruits like bananas and oranges can teach your child many skills and activate many sense organs

    What your toddler learns –

    • Fruit names color texture and smell
    • Types of fruits – juicy, crunchy, slime and more
    • Introduce them to peeling, cutting, slicing, de-seeding
  4. Let your child fill the bottles from the water purifier

    Filling the bottles with drinking water is a task that can try the patience of any adult. But it can make for very entertaining and engaging work for a little child. Allow your child to watch over the bottle as it fills and to warn you before it over flows so that you can lift it off and she/he can place another bottle in its place

    What your toddler learns

    • Filling the bottles teaches alertness and agility.
    • Regulate the flow of water, and how the sounds of water change as it fills with water
    • Natural curiosity to know the difference to between drinking water and tap water
  5. Teach your toddler how to make a sandwich

    Taking two slices of bread and slathering them with a healthy spread is an activity your toddler will enjoy. Get a range of whole grain breads and healthy spreads and allow your child to put together her his snack.

    What your toddler learns

    • Types of bread, jams, fruit preservatives, cheese spread and butter
    • New sandwich recipes which doesn’t need cooking
    • Culinary skills – Ask your child to come with new creative sandwich recipes

    kitchen - toddler chores for your 4 year old toddler

    Kitchen – toddler chores for your 4 year old toddler

2 chores that will teach your child about the environment

  1. Plant seeds and water them

    As we go further and further into cement and concrete houses – it is all important to make the effort to keep children connected with nature. Filling a pot with soil, digging the soil to make space for seeds, pushing the seeds into the soil and then watering them every day until they sprout can teach your child so much.

    What your toddler learns

    • Planting and watering seeds teaches your child about the environment
    • Gardening can teach a lot about plants, seeds, flowers. Ask your child to be observant about plant leaves, color, petal shapes, the insects around it
    • Importance of water for plants and living beings
    • Bonding with plants
  2. Let your child feed the pets and birds

    If you have pets I the house – involve your toddler in caring for them. Tasks like refilling the food and water bowl every day. If you don’t have pets – put up a bird bath outside your window and let your toddler enjoy filling it with grains and water for the birds.

    What your toddler learns

    • Types of feed used for the pets – homemade and store-bought
    • Feeding schedule of the pet vs humans
    • Differentiating animal sounds when they are hungry and when they need attention  and more
    • Bonding with animals

6 Chores that will help your child develop independence in self-care

  1. Allow your child to wash hands alone

    Washing the hands is something children have to be asked to do all the time. It is important from the hygiene and good health perspective to ensure that children wash their hands frequently so that they don’t get stomach and respiratory infections. Getting children to roll up their sleeves and washing their hands for them can be a tiresome task. On the other hand – asking them to ceremoniously wash their hands can be an exciting toddler chore. Arrange for a sturdy stool on which your toddler can stand and reach the basin. Han a towel close by and get some exciting looking liquid soap and you are all set.

    What your toddler learns

    • A habit of cleaning hands every time they come home
    • washing hands before eating food after using washroom
    • how to use a dispenser and the color and smell of the soap
  2. Let your child arrange sets of clothes for the next day

    There is chaos and mess every day in every house when it is time to get ready for school in the morning. Socks don’t have their pairs, the belt that goes with the dress is missing a shirt that was supposed to be ironed is discovered at the bottom of the cupboard completely crushed… and so on and so forth. End the chaos by giving your child the task of arranging everything she/he needs for the next morning on a certain chair or table in the room. If something is missing you can arrange for it and if nothing is – your child can have the satisfaction of laying things out in the exact order in which they will be worn the next day.

    What your toddler learns –

    • The toddler learns where clothes are kept where the socks goes where the undergarments
    • Matching the dress picking the right set of clothes
    • Teaches children to be prepared and not to procrastinate
  3. Get your child to sharpen the pencils

    Pencils in dozens have to be sharpened when your toddler begins school. Sharpening pencils is usually something that is done at the last-minute before leaving the house by an adult in the family with great irritation. It can be turned into a chore that keeps your toddler occupied, engaged and happy if it is planned the previous evening.

    What your toddler learns –

    • Teach children to collect the pencil shavings and create art
  4. Let your child learn how to pour his her drink

    Pouring water into a glass from a bottle is task that requires great skill and dexterity. Your toddler will love it when you give her/him this task because children love anything that helps them become more capable. Get a small bottle – a size that your toddler can manage

    What your toddler can learn

    • Introduce your child to – Plastic cups, tumblers, ceramic mugs
    • Ask your child to offer water to guests, offer water to dad or siblings when they reach home after work or school. It teaches the  importance of offering help to others
    • Importance of drinking water after meals
    • Importance of water, uses of water and more
  5. Teach your toddler how to pick up and put away toys

    Picking up toys and putting them in safe places out-of-the-way – is a dreaded task in any household with kids. One of the easiest ways to get past this problem and to engage your child in something she/he is likely to find fruitful is – to help her/him learn how to pick up and put away the toys at the end of the day.

    What your toddler learns

    • Classifying the toys
    • Ask your child to repeat the name of the toys their color and uses
    • Grouping the toys which belongs to one set – kitchen set, car set and more
    • Encourage your child to sing and clean and make cleaning and mundane tasks fun
    • Ask your child to recall what he played with his favorite teddy bear or superman. It helps them in improving memory skills.
  6. Allow your child to take over the task of putting on shoes

    Finding and putting on the shoes is something that can foster a sense of independence and pride in your child because it sets her/him free. Her/his learning to do this can strike at least one task off your list when you are preparing to leave the house.

    What your toddler learns

    • The shoe types – lace shoes, velcro shoes, slip on shoes
    • Shoes which needs socks, which needs stockings and more
    • Introduce them to shoes, sandals, size of shoes, socks, stockings, and more

Also read What can I do to help my child enjoy preschool

2 Chores that will help your toddler fit into the outside world

  1. Give your toddler the task of putting together a bag to step out

    Get your bag a small bag and give her/him the task of packing the bag with a bottle of water, a small snack box, a small toy, a jacket and a hat when stepping out of the house.

    What your toddler learns –

    • Types of bag for different occasions for grocery shopping and mall shopping
    • Importance of carrying bag instead of wasting money on new bags
    • Allocate the task of differentiating the bags – plastic bags, paper bags, jute bags
  2. Help your child write thank you notes or birthday cards

    Forging friendships – and maintaining thriving relationships are not chores – but they are definitely very important work – so start your child off on this path when she/he is still a toddler.

    What your toddler learns –

    • Writing – introduce them to writing on their own
    • Creativity – Make it creative using color pencils and stickers and glitters
    • Mannerisms – Teach good manners for children writing a sorry note, thank you note and more

Also read What to do to help your child make friends

Chores that will make your child a fun person

  1. Give your child the responsibility of playing music in the house/ conducting game

Show your toddler how to turn on and off a simple music system and tell her/him that it is her/his responsibility to play it at a certain time of the day to cheer everyone up.

What your toddler learns –

  • Different types of music
  • Occasions to play different music – early morning shlokas and hymns
  • How to make others happy
  • How to be an orator and conduct games and more

Also read Simple Strategies to Raise a Happy Child : International Day of Happiness

How to schedule chores for your toddler

Daily Chores Chart

Print this chart and put it on fridge refrigerator.  Let your kid put a tick mark or a smiley face once she finishes the task. Make the chores a fun task.

daily chores chart for your 4 year old toddler

Daily chores chart for your 4-year-old toddler

*Self-care chores can be done every day

Weekly Chores Chart

weekly chores chart for your 4 year old toddler

Weekly chores chart for your 4-year-old toddler

It may be convenient to have children settled motionless and soundless in front of the mobile or TV while you quickly wrap up the chores for the day, it is definitely not something that will give you or your child satisfaction. So starting now – involve your toddler in the above chores.

If you are worried about the mess that will ensue – keep the scope of the work small – like limit washing to a handkerchief. And do the work in an area like the bathroom or the balcony where messes are easier to clean up.

And if you are worried about children falling sick because they are getting wet and dirty – get overalls, gloves, masks and boots. But don’t worry too much. Falling sick is the essential first step to becoming sturdier and resistant to infection.

Doing chores is the most natural and most fun way for children to develop cognitive skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, self-reliance, discipline, resilience, persistence and delayed gratification. Chores build your toddler’s self-esteem and executive function skills. Doing chores helps your toddler to fit into the world, to feel needed, to find passion and purpose.

So let go of your fears and begin to involve your child in your chores.


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