5 Years

What Most Children Do by This Age


Social and Emotional

  • Wants to please and be like friends
  • More likely to agree with rules
  • Likes to sing, dance, and act
  • Is aware of gender
  • Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe
  • Shows more independence
  • Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative

Cognitive (Learning, Thinking, Problem Solving)

  • Counts 10 or more things
  • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
  • Can print some letters or numbers
  • Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
  • Knows about things used every day, like money and food

Language and Communication

  • Speaks very clearly
  • Tells a simple story using full sentences
  • Uses future tense (for example, “Grandma will be here.”)
  • Says name and address

Movement and Physical Development

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops; may be able to skip
  • Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife
  • Can use the toilet on her own  
  • Swings and climbs

What Families Can Do


  • Catch your child being good and encourage all the things your child can do.
  • Gently and consistently help your child manage feelings and control behavior.
  • Give your child opportunities to play with other children.
  • Teach your child about “safe touch.”
  • Give your child more freedom to choose activities to play with friends and let your child work out problems with friends
  • Teach your child about time – morning, afternoon, evening, today, tomorrow and yesterday – and start teaching the days of the week. 
  • Play with toys that encourage your child to put things together.
  • Follow your child’s interests. Visit the library to find books on interest areas.
  • Encourage your child to draw and make art projects using different supplies.
  • Read with your child every day and ask him/her to predict what will happen next.
  • Teach your child his/her address and phone number.
  • Point out familiar symbols and words for your child to know.
  • Encourage your child to count items. 
  • Play with balls – catching, running and kicking.
  • Visit parks, playgrounds and play spaces where your child can run and climb freely.
  • Play with toys that encourage your child to put things together.
  • Help your child learn to pump his/her legs back and forth when swinging.
  • Provide riding toys, such as a bike with training wheels or scooter.
  • Put on your child’s favorite music and have a dance party; copy each other’s moves.

Developmental Milestones