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5+ years old


Making friends, forming ideas, following rules … it’s all coming together now, just in time for school! Imagination also reaches new levels, and athletic abilities start to shine. Here, you’ll find ways to make creativity and problem-solving part of each day for your five-year-old, paving the way for continued learning and a “can-do” approach to life.

  • Physical
    Have better physical coordination for more complex actions
    Solve problems and explain things

How your 5+ year-old might play now

He draws recognizable pictures, writes his name, dresses himself and completes puzzles

She can solve problems and explain things

His friendships become stronger

She can sort things into basic categories

He can imitate your pose and tone of voice

She can finish activities without waiting for directions

He differentiates between “pretend” and “real” when playing

She begins to make comparisons and her memory expands

He can explain games to other kids

Children develop at their own pace and reach milestones at different times. The highlights mentioned in this website are approximate guidelines only. If you have any questions about your child's development, consult your healthcare provider.

Toys and Playtips

Help your child learn more:
  • Experiment. Help your child try out all the different things a toy does. Notice which activities she seems most comfortable with. Repeating things again and again is a normal part of learning.
  • New and different. Expose your child to a wide range of topics. If she takes an interest in a particular subject, get related books and videos from the library or search the internet for facts about it.
  • Is it round? Give your child's budding reasoning skills a boost with a junior version of "Twenty Questions." Think of a person, place or thing and have him ask you Yes or No questions to discover what it is. "I'm thinking of something we ate for lunch today." ("Is it round? Is it red? Is it crunchy?") Reverse roles so he answers the questions.
  • That’s my name! Show where the letters of her name are on a computer keyboard and let her type them. Print it out and post it on the fridge. In time she'll recognize the individual letters and see how they're grouped to form her name.
  • Let’s play. Find age-appropriate games on children's websites. Using the keyboard can improve your child's fine-motor skills, which he'll use a lot in kindergarten.
Help your child learn more:

What if … Prompt imaginative play with different scenarios once your child is familiar with a toy.

Point out heroes in your neighborhood, country or the world. Explain why heroes are special people. Your child is still too young to really know about current events, but remember how much kids absorb from hearing the news or adults' conversations.

Tell me a story. Asking your child to tell you about what he's pretending will encourage thinking and help develop language and communication skills. Every once in a while ask, "What did your superhero do today?"

Help your child learn more:

Everyday fun. Create a challenging roadway for your child's vehicles using everyday objects. Let him race his cars through paper towel "tunnels," roll them to the top of pillow "mountains" and maneuver them over a broom's bristles.

Be an announcer. Watch a short car race on TV. Instead of relying on the speedway announcer, turn the sound off and take turns calling the action!

All about safety. Turn an outing into a lesson in vehicle safety. Take a walk on a city sidewalk and point out the road signs and signals. Explain what they mean, and why it's important for motorists to obey them.

Help your child learn more:

Safe and sure. Make sure the area your child is riding in is not only safe, but also big enough to make turns. Always directly supervise your child and remind her of the do's and don'ts of safe riding (do watch where you're going; don't go near the street; don't go out of the driveway).

Practice makes perfect. Set up an obstacle course with traffic cones or kid-sized road signs you've made together. Tell your child about some of the basic traffic symbols, and point out real road signs as you're driving together.

Parking spot. Find a safe place for your child to "park" his vehicle in your garage or shed, with the responsibility to return it there when he's done driving.