Things 5 year olds do

Child development from 5-6 years

Child development at 5-6 years: what’s happening

Playing and learning
Even as children get older and start school, play is important. It’s still how children learn and build social, emotional and thinking skills.

Your child’s pretend play is more complex now, filled with fantasy and drama. You might also notice that your child can play with others to achieve a common goal – for example, working together to build one big sandcastle. And your child might understand if another child doesn’t want to play a particular game and agree to play something else.

Your child is becoming more social and prefers to play with friends rather than on their own. Your child can share, although they might find it hard to share favourite toys and other things.

Games with rules sometimes challenge your 6-year-old, and your child might even accuse others of cheating sometimes.

At this age, children can express feelings, although they might need help and time to identify and talk about tricky emotions like frustration or jealousy. They often have much better control over feelings too and might have fewer unexpected outbursts of anger and sadness.

You might see more patience, and your child might even be open to reasoning with you. This means there could be fewer disagreements in the future.

Although your 6-year-old loves to be independent, they still need your love and attention. Connecting with you and family is the most important thing in your child’s life. Your child is proud of their own achievements, wants your approval – and probably doesn’t take well to criticism.

Your child’s growing understanding of the world around them might lead to some fears. For example, children might be afraid of criticism, tests, failure, physical harm or threat, or supernatural things like ghosts.

School-age children can pay attention for longer now.

Your child understands simple concepts like time (today, tomorrow, yesterday), knows the seasons, recognises some words by sight and tries to sound out words. Your child might even read on their own.

Your child is better at seeing other people’s points of view, which helps your child to make friends and meet new people.

Talking and communicating
At this age children talk a lot, sometimes even when nobody is in the room.

You’ll hear your child using full and complex sentences and having adult-like conversations, although they might still find it hard to describe complex ideas or events. Your child understands and usually enjoys jokes and riddles – jokes about poos and wees are particularly funny. Your child also enjoys the opportunity to do ‘show and tell’ at school.

Your child understands more words than they can say, and they’re learning as many as 5-10 new words each day. Vocabulary growth is so rapid at this age that your child’s brain often thinks faster than your child can speak.

At 5 years, children are more coordinated and love to show off new physical skills – you’ll often hear shouts of ‘Look at me!’

Your child can learn how to ride a bike, jump rope, balance on one foot for a short period of time, walk downstairs without needing to hold your hand, skip and catch a large ball. Many 6-year-olds will also be interested in playing team sports like soccer.

Does it seem like your 6-year-old can’t ever keep still? Wriggling while watching TV, at the dinner table or even while sleeping is quite common.

Your child’s fine motor skills are improving, which leads to more independence with things like tying shoelaces, using zips and buttons, and brushing hair. Your child might still find it hard to cut up food with a knife but enjoys the chance to practise.

Daily life and behaviour
At this age, children are becoming more independent and love making small decisions, like what clothes to wear or what to eat for lunch.

Starting school opens up a whole new social world, which comes with a new set of rules. This might be demanding or challenging for your child. School can be tiring so you might notice that your child is easily upset, especially after a long day. On these days you might want to keep your child quiet at home after school and aim for an early bedtime.

Whether your child is feeling worried about starting school or bursting with excitement, a bit of planning and preparation can ease the transition.

At this age, your child might also:

  • copy simple shapes with a pencil
  • copy letters and write their own name
  • say their full name, address, age and birthday
  • draw more realistic pictures – for example, a person with a head with eyes, mouth and nose, and a body with arms and legs
  • read simple picture books
  • understand the importance of rules, and the simple reasons behind rules.

Helping child development at 5-6 years

Here are simple things you can do to help your child’s development at this age:

  • Encourage physical activity: play different sports and do recreational activities together or with others. These teach social skills like taking turns, cooperating, negotiating, playing fairly and being a good sport.
  • Include your child in simple household chores: setting the table or helping you to put clean clothes away develops moving and thinking skills, while also teaching cooperation and responsibility. These skills are important for school.
  • Make time for play each day. Play can include outdoor play, imaginative and creative activities, digital play, physical play and more. It's also important for your child to have time for free play.
  • Play with your child each day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Playing together gives you the chance to enter your child’s world and find out about their thoughts and feelings. It also shows your child that you care about them and want to spend time together.
  • Read with your child. Reading is important for literacy development. You can also try literacy activities like telling stories or making your own book.
  • Practise classroom behaviour: for example, you could give your child small tasks that need attention or involve following rules or instructions. Have conversations about your child’s favourite animal or sport and encourage your child to listen, respond and question. This all helps your child get ready for school.
  • Arrange playdates: spending time with other children, especially if they go to the same school, helps with social skills and gets your child used to being apart from you.
  • Talk about feelings: you can help your child work out why they’re feeling something and help them put words to these feelings. This will help your child form friendships and show empathy.

Parenting a school-age child

As a parent, you’re always learning. It’s OK to feel confident about what you know. And it’s OK to admit you don’t know something and ask questions or get help.

It’s also important to look after yourself. Looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally is good for you, and it’s good for your child. When you’re well, you can give your child the loving attention they need to grow and thrive. You can also guide your child’s behaviour in positive ways, even when you find their behaviour challenging.

And remember that part of looking after yourself is asking for help, especially if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry. There are many people who can support you and your child, including your partner, friends, relatives and GP.

Never shake, hit or verbally abuse a child. You risk harming your child, even if you don’t mean to. If you feel like you can’t cope, it’s OK to take some time out until you feel calmer. Gently put your child in a safe place like their bedroom. Go to another room to breathe deeply, or call your state or territory parenting helpline.

When to be concerned about child development at 5-6 years

You know your child best. So it’s a good idea to see your GP if you have any concerns or notice that your child has any of the following issues at 5-6 years.

Communicating and understanding
Your child:

  • is difficult to understand or isn’t speaking in full sentences
  • can’t understand multi-step, complex instructions like ‘Please put the soccer ball away, wash your hands, and sit down for dinner’.

Behaviour and play
Your child:

  • has tantrums whenever they don’t get their own way
  • doesn’t show empathy – for example, doesn’t try to comfort others who are hurt or upset
  • shows no interest in letters or trying to write their own name
  • is very withdrawn, worried or depressed or gets very upset when separating from you
  • doesn’t interact well with others – for example, is aggressive or shows no interest in interacting with other children or adults.

Everyday skills
Your child:

  • still wets or soils their pants during the day, but note that night-time wetting is typical up until the age of 6-7 years, especially for boys
  • has difficulty falling asleep at night or staying asleep.

See a child health professional if at any age your child experiences a noticeable and consistent loss of skills.

Development usually happens in the same order in most children, but skills might develop at different ages or times. If you’re wondering whether your child’s development is on track, or if you feel that something isn’t quite right, it’s best to get help early. See your GP.

4-to-5 Year Old Child Developmental Milestones

Written by Hedy Marks

In this Article

  • 4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Language and Cognitive Milestones
  • 4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Movement Milestones and Hand and Finger Skills
  • 4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Emotional and Social Development
  • 4- to 5-Year-Old Development: How to Help Your Child
  • 4- to 5-Year-Old Development: How to Keep Your Child Safe
  • 4- to 5-Year-Old Development: When to Be Concerned

Your child is growing up. Have you noticed that your 4- to 5-year-old is becoming more independent and self-confident? If not, you will in the coming year.

Most children this age begin to develop greater independence, self-control, and creativity. They are content to play with their toys for longer periods of time, are eager to try new things, and when they get frustrated, are better able to express their emotions.

Although children grow and develop at their own pace, your child will likely achieve most of the following developmental milestones before they turn 6 years old.

4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Language and Cognitive Milestones

Your curious and inquisitive child is better able to carry on a conversation. In addition, your child's vocabulary is growing -- as is their thought process. Not only is your child able to answer simple questions easily and logically, but they should be able to express feelings better.

Most children at this age enjoy singing, rhyming, and making up words. They are energetic, silly, and, at times, rowdy and obnoxious.

Other language and cognitive milestones your child may achieve in the coming year include being able to:

  • Speak clearly using more complex sentences
  • Count 10 or more objects
  • Correctly name at least four colors and three shapes
  • Recognize some letters and possibly write their name
  • Better understand the concept of time and the order of daily activities, like breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner at night
  • Use future tense, such as, “We will go to the park soon.”
  • Have a greater attention span
  • Follow two- to three-part commands. For example, "Put your book away, brush your teeth, and then get in bed."
  • Recognize familiar word signs, such as "STOP"
  • Know their address and phone number, if taught
  • Understand everyday things like food and money


4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Movement Milestones and Hand and Finger Skills

Children learn through play, and that is what your 4- to 5-year-old should be doing. At this age, your child should be running, hopping, throwing and kicking balls, climbing, and swinging with ease.

Other movement milestones and hand and finger skills your child may achieve in the coming year include being able to:

  • Stand on one foot for more than 9 seconds
  • Do a somersault and hop
  • Walk up and down stairs without help
  • Walk forward and backwards easily
  • Pedal a tricycle
  • Copy a triangle, circle, square, and other shapes
  • Draw a person with a body
  • Stack 10 or more blocks
  • Use a fork and spoon
  • Dress and undress, brush teeth, and use the toilet without much help


4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Emotional and Social Development

Your self-centered child is now figuring out that it is not always about them. At this age, children are starting to understand about other people's feelings. Your 4- to 5-year-old should be better able to work through conflicts and control their emotions.

Emotional and social development milestones your child may achieve at this age include:

  • Enjoys playing with other children and pleasing their friends
  • Shares and takes turns, at least most of the time, and understands rules of games
  • Understands and obeys rules; however, your 4- to 5-year-old will still be demanding and uncooperative at times.
  • Is becoming more independent
  • Expresses anger verbally, rather than physically (most of the time)
  • Gets the difference between make-believe and reality


4- to 5-Year-Old Development: How to Help Your Child

There’s a ton you can do every day to help your child learn and grow, such as:

  • Allow plenty of time for running around and playing, and help with activities like using monkey bars and learning to swing.
  • Give your child chores to do around the house.
  • Let your child choose activities with friends, and let them work out issues that come up between them.
  • Point out common words and symbols in books or when you’re out and about.
  • Read to your child every day -- ask questions about the stories, like “What do you think happens next?”
  • Suggest activities like drawing, writing letters, and doing projects with glue, scissors, and other art supplies.
  • Talk to your child and listen closely -- ask about likes and dislikes, worries, and what they did with friends today.
  • Work with your child on how to manage strong feelings, like anger.

When it comes to TVs, smartphones, computers, and tablets, doctors suggest that you:

  • Keep technology out of bedrooms.
  • Limit screen time to 1 hour a day of high-quality programs.
  • Talk about what you watch together and how it applies to the world.


4- to 5-Year-Old Development: How to Keep Your Child Safe

As children gain new abilities, they can do more and more on their own. That’s just what you want, but it means a shift in how you keep them safe.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always have your child ride in the backseat of a car in either a car seat or booster seat.
  • Ask about guns and gun safety in homes where your child goes to play.
  • Don’t keep guns in your home. If you have one, keep it unloaded, locked away, and separate from bullets. And make sure children can’t get the key.
  • Don’t let your child play in the street, including riding bikes -- teach that the curb is the limit.
  • Show your child how to cross the street -- look both ways and listen for traffic -- but help your child cross until around age 10.
  • Sign your child up for swimming lessons, but don’t let your child swim alone and always keep a watchful eye in and around water.
  • Teach your child not to play with lighters and matches -- and check your smoke detectors regularly.
  • Wear helmets when biking, skating, skiing, and doing other activities where falls can lead to head injuries.

You can also start to teach your child basic safety ideas like:

  • Ask only certain adults for help, like those with uniforms or name badges.
  • Don’t open the door to your house or apartment unless you’re with an adult.
  • Make sure your child knows their full name, address, and phone number.
  • Talk about what to do in an emergency, like dialing 911.

And teach your child that certain body parts are off-limits. Tell your child that:

  • No one can ask you to keep a secret from your parents.
  • No one can ask you to see or touch your private parts -- the parts that a bathing suit covers.
  • No one can ask you to look at, touch, or help with their private parts.


4- to 5-Year-Old Development: When to Be Concerned

All kids grow and develop at their own pace. Don't worry if your child has not reached all of these milestones at this time. But you should notice a gradual progression in growth and development as your child gets older. If you don't, or if your child has signs of possible developmental delay, as listed below, talk to your child's doctor.

Possible signs of developmental delay in 4- to 5-year-old children include:

  • Being extremely afraid, shy, or aggressive
  • Being extremely anxious when separated from a parent
  • Being easily distracted and unable to focus on one task for more than five minutes
  • Not wanting to play with other children
  • Having a limited amount of interests
  • Not making eye contact or responding to other people
  • Being unable to say their full name
  • Rarely pretending or fantasizing
  • Often seeming sad and unhappy and not expressing a wide range of emotions
  • Being unable to build a tower using more than eight blocks
  • Having trouble holding a crayon
  • Having problems eating, sleeping, or using the bathroom
  • Having trouble undressing, cannot brush their teeth, or wash and dry hands, without help

Also, if your child resists or struggles with doing things that they were once able to do, tell your child's doctor. This can be a sign of a developmental disorder. If your child does have developmental delay, there are many treatments available to help your child overcome it.

What a 5-6 year old child should know and be able to do. Checklist for Parents

Preschoolers are transitioning from an early age into a new world of exploration and formal learning. Many of them have started school or will just enter preschool and will complete this period of development by entering school.

In one of the articles we have already written about what a child of 3-4 years old should know and be able to do.

Preschoolers are even more open to learning numbers, letters, reading and simple math. This is also the optimal period for studying music. They improve gross and fine motor skills, which encourages them to be interested in arts, crafts and all kinds of riding toys (vans, scooters, bicycles, etc.). They also develop athletic skills, leading to participation in a variety of sports towards the end of this developmental period. nine0003

The most important way of learning during this period is play. Games of all kinds arouse curiosity and promote the development of language, socialization and creativity. Interest in the study of the environment contributes to an early interest in science. They also enjoy building things around the house, as well as building sets like Lego, Kinex, blocks, and more.

So, let's consider what a child of 5-6 years old should know and be able to do, depending on the area of ​​development.

Speech development

  • At this age, children talk a lot, sometimes even when no one is in the room.
  • The child answers questions with sufficiently precise short or detailed answers.
  • The ability to evaluate the statements and answers of comrades, to supplement, correct errors is developing.
  • In the sixth year of life, the child can quite consistently and clearly compose descriptive and plot stories on the proposed topics.
  • A child correctly pronounces all sounds, closer to six years old is able to distinguish the first sound from a word, is capable of sound analysis of words. nine0020
  • In simple sentences, he correctly agrees parts of speech by gender, tense and cases, but in complex sentences he can still make similar mistakes.
  • In general, the vocabulary is significantly enriched. The child is able to generalize some groups of objects that are often found in everyday life.
  • The child knows more antonyms and synonyms.
  • A sense of humor begins to form, understands jokes, anecdotes, and invents his own.

Physical or motor development

The first few years of a child's life are critical to their physical development. This is the time when his body constitution develops most actively. Pay attention to the following milestones in your 5-year-old's physical development:

  • Five-year-olds are more coordinated and love to demonstrate new physical skills, often accompanied by words like, "Look at me!"
  • The child's ability to run, jump or jump over becomes better because his balance improves by this age. nine0020
  • The child's fine motor skills are better developed, he can unbutton his shirt and tie his shoelaces.
  • A child can learn to ride a bicycle, jump rope, balance on one leg for a short period of time, walk up stairs without holding a hand, jump and catch a big ball. Many six year olds will also be interested in team sports such as football, hockey, etc.

Social and emotional development

Social and emotional development can help a child make new friends. This helps him understand his feelings and the feelings of others. He will be able to sympathize or, for example, share his problems with friends. This makes his personality complete.

At this age, the child is able to express his feelings, although he may need help and time to identify and discuss difficult emotions, such as disappointment or jealousy. The baby is often much more in control of his feelings and unexpected outbursts of anger and sadness are much less common. nine0003

The child's growing understanding of the world around him may cause some fears. For example, some children may fear the supernatural (such as ghosts), criticism, trials, failure, physical harm, or threats.

We also list the characteristic features of the development of a child at the age of 5-6 years:

  • By the age of 6, children become more and more independent from their parents. They will try to show how "adult" they are.
  • Peer acceptance becomes more important than before. Children learn to collaborate and share. nine0020
  • Boys will play with boys and girls with girls.
  • Parents should allow children to choose their own sports and toys. Make a wide range of examples available.
  • As their language skills develop, children become better and better at describing what happened, how they feel and what they think.
  • At this age, some lies and deceit are to be expected. Children find out where the boundaries are, which, however, is quite acceptable.
  • A child distinguishes reality from fantasy. nine0020

Cognitive development

Cognitive development means the development of thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills. Cognitive development ensures that the child grows both mentally and emotionally. Child aged 5-6:

  • Child can participate in imaginative play (for example, planning a trip to the moon)
  • He can understand the concept of rules and even follow them, distinguish between "right" and "wrong".
  • Knows the alphabet and begins to read syllables. nine0020
  • Can write letters and numbers.
  • Counts up to 10, familiar with numbers up to 100.
  • Knows the concepts of "equality", "subtraction", "addition".
  • Can remember your phone number and home address.

Helping your child develop at age 5-6

Here are a few simple things you can do to help your child develop at this age:

  • Encourage movement: play sports and activities together. It teaches social skills such as taking turns, cooperation, negotiation, fair play and good sports. nine0020
  • Involve your child in simple household chores: setting the table or helping you clean your clothes develops movement and thinking skills, and teaches cooperation and responsibility. These skills are very important for the school.
  • Set aside time for free play: Even if your child has already started school and other structured activities, play is still very important at this age. Let your child choose how to spend this "free" play time.
  • Play with your child every day, even if it only takes 10 minutes. Playing together gives you the opportunity to enter your child's world and learn about his thoughts and feelings. It also shows your child that you care about him and want to spend time together. nine0020
  • Practice behavior in the classroom: for example, you can give your child small tasks that require attention, or follow simple rules or instructions. Talk about your child's favorite animal or sport and encourage them to listen, respond, and ask questions. All this helps to prepare for school.
  • Get Together: Spending time with other children, especially if they go to the same school, helps develop social skills and helps your child get used to being apart from you. nine0020
  • Talk about feelings: You can help your child understand why he feels something and help him put those feelings into words. This will help him form friendships and show empathy.
  • Talk to your child about how to treat both boys and girls with equal respect.

What else is important in raising a child of school age

As a parent, you are always learning. It's okay to feel confident in your knowledge. And it's also okay to admit that you don't know something and ask questions or get help. nine0003

It is important to note that when you focus on caring for your child, you may forget or miss taking care of yourself. But taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally will help your child grow and develop.

You may sometimes feel frustrated, upset, or depressed. And it's okay to take a break until you feel better.

Development calendar: what a child should be able to do at 5 years old

The older the child gets, the more anxiety about his development arises in parents. Willy-nilly, we compare the success of the baby with the achievements of his peers. By the senior preschool age, children have a lot of new skills, each child is good at something of his own. What is considered the “norm” of development at 5 years old? What is the peculiarity of the physical, mental and personal development of a five-year-old child? What are the main tasks of this age? We will tell you about this in our article. nine0003

Physical development at age 5

By the age of 5, the child's coordination of movements and the ability to maintain balance are already well developed. In addition, five-year-old children can be effectively taught complex motor skills that require good physical fitness, agility and speed of movement. At this age, the baby will be able to achieve success in sports such as swimming, gymnastics, figure skating, dancing.

Here's what 5 year olds usually do:

  • Jump high on two legs;
  • Jump and stand on one leg;
  • Throw and catch a ball;
  • jump rope;
  • Rope ladder climbing;
  • Ride a bicycle and a scooter.

In addition to gross motor skills, at the age of five, fine motor skills of the hands are actively developing, as a result of which movements become more clear and coordinated.


Self-care skills

Five-year-olds can almost completely take care of themselves and have the following skills:

  • Brush their teeth;
  • Wash their hands;
  • Dressing and undressing;
  • Fasten buttons, zippers;
  • Tie shoelaces.

Cognitive development of children aged 5

  • Memory

At the age of 5, the child is still dominated by involuntary memory. In other words, the baby remembers better what impresses him and causes an emotional reaction. Therefore, information should be presented to preschoolers in such a way that it is interesting to them. Five-year-olds remember poems, songs and counting rhymes well. It is important to develop both auditory and visual memory, using various mnemonics for this. nine0003

  • Attention

As children grow older, perseverance, that is, the stability of attention, and the possibility of its competent distribution gradually increase. At 5 years old, a child can concentrate on one thing for about 15-20 minutes. Like memory, the attention of preschoolers is selective and involuntary. For information on how to develop the attention of children 5 years old, see the video.

  • Thinking

Visual-figurative thinking dominates in preschool children. But one of the most important mental neoplasms at the age of 5 years is the formation of verbal-logical thinking, characteristic of adults. The five-year-old learns to perform such mental operations as analysis, generalization, comparison, and the establishment of cause-and-effect relationships.

In general, parents pay attention to the mental development of older preschoolers. However, do not forget that an equally important aspect of the life of a five-year-old child is social, communicative and personal development. It is worth paying attention to how well the kid works in a team, whether he can play by the rules, how he communicates with adults and peers. nine0003

  • Imagination

It's no secret that preschool children have a developed imagination. They love to listen to fairy tales and independently think up a plot, invent various stories and games. Usually, preschoolers, thanks to their developed imagination, quickly get used to the role and the game situation. The child's imagination is manifested in productive and creative activities (drawing, modeling, dancing, theatrical activities, etc.), and, of course, in a role-playing game. nine0003

  • Arbitrary

The ability to make plans and control one's behavior in accordance with the rules does not come to the child immediately. It is at the age of 5 that children usually develop the ability to plan their actions. The older preschooler is no longer focused only on the process itself, but also on the result.

With five-year-old children, you can start to study the concept of time closely: learn the names of months, days of the week, time of day. It is not easy for them to conceive, since it is difficult for preschoolers to perceive abstract information. You need to try to interest the baby: use visual aids and come up with exciting games. nine0003

It is interesting that in children the sense of time is not developed in the same way as in adults. For babies, it flows much more slowly.

The spatial perception of 5-year-old children is well developed, but many children confuse "right" and "left". This is normal, as the baby's brain continues to be active. It is believed that boys are better at orienting themselves in space than girls, since they usually have a better developed right hemisphere of the brain.

Speech development at the age of 5

At this age, the speech of a child is increasingly approaching the speech of an adult. A kid at the age of 5 should be able to competently build sentences, decline parts of speech, use suitable prepositions and the correct time. Five-year-olds are quite capable of making compound and complex sentences using the conjunctions “a”, “and”, “but”, “to”, “because”, “if”.

For the development of a child's speech, his environment is important: communicate with the baby, read fairy tales, listen to songs. Only the emotional experience associated with the native language will help the child to reveal its fullness and richness. nine0003

The vocabulary of a 5-year-old child has about 2 thousand words, which also include abstract concepts. Usually, five-year-old children can easily compose a story, describe the properties of an object, and evaluate any actions. The sound quality is also improved. It happens that at this age children do not pronounce some sounds (usually “r”, “l”), in this case it is recommended to seek help from a speech therapist.

Five-year-old children are most often ready to learn to write and read. The level of readiness is determined by the formation of the following skills:

  • Ability to listen carefully;
  • Recognize sounds;
  • Build phrases;
  • Ability to hold a pencil.

Cognitive motivation is very important. The child should be interested to know what is written on that sign, how this word is spelled. Without this, learning to read and write can turn into torture for the baby.


So, by the age of 5, a healthy child has developed gross motor skills, which gives him the opportunity to engage in various sports. He has an excellent imagination, developed thinking, speech, emotional memory, and the ability to concentrate for quite a long time. At the age of five, the child perceives himself as a person and learns to interact with peers. nine0003


In the classes at the children's Montessori Center "Constellation" your child will be able not only to develop his mental abilities, but also to gain invaluable experience of communicating with peers. He will learn to help, work in a team, negotiate. Our goal is to help every child develop harmoniously and fully reveal their inner potential.

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