What Your Child Should Know by Age 5

While all children develop in their own way and at their own pace, our age-by-age guide will show you what key milestones you might notice this year.
Jul 24, 2019



What Your Child Should Know by Age 5

Jul 24, 2019

At age 5, your child’s sense of independence will skyrocket. Accompanying that growing independence is a sponge-like eagerness for facts about the world around him. Meanwhile, your child’s internal landscape is still ripe with imagination. This combination yields a powerful time for exploration and creativity. Prepare to be delighted and surprised by your child's growth on a daily basis!

Reading Development

  • Enjoys being read to and pretends to read aloud from a book 
  • Can produce rhymes
  • Knows most letters and can match some letters to the sounds they make
  • Can match some written and spoken words
  • Can write some letters and numbers
  • Likes to retell simple stories and asks questions about books

Your Checklist for Reading Development:

BOB Books: Rhyming Words — From the series that has helped countless children learn how to read on their own, this book box includes ten mini-books and 30 flashcards that help kids learn to recognize rhyming patterns and build their reading skills.

Write and Wipe Practice Flip Book: ABC 123 — A hands-on way to learn how to write numbers and letters is with this flip book geared at early learners; it provides your little learner with a reusable, wipe-clean surface to practice writing her ABCs and 123s.

Language Development

  • Uses more description in conversations
  • Sentences are sometimes six words or longer, with combined phrases 
  • Knows the name for most common objects
  • Can count to 10 and knows basic colors
  • May tell riddles and jokes 
  • Understands opposites, such as big and little or up and down (and yes and no, of course!) 

Your Checklist for Language Development

Bear Sees Colors and Bear Counts — Learn colors and numbers alongside a furry forest friend in this pair of playful, educational reads. These beautifully illustrated works will introduce your child to new concepts and help sharpen his observational skills.

Knock Knock — Introduce your child to the joy of the classic "knock knock" joke format with this tale of a bear and his woodland pals. It's a way to score giggles while boosting language skills! 

Big and Little Are Best Friends — A mouse and an elephant are best friends, despite being opposites in every way possible, in this charming picture book. Big and Little Are Best Friends will teach your child the concept of opposites and show her the value of overcoming differences with her peers. (Here are more books on kindness and empathy.) 

Physical Development

  • Can swing by himself
  • Can bounce and catch a ball
  • Can build a tower with blocks (and can knock them down again!)
  • Can hop on one foot and may skip
  • Can draw a simple stick figure or face

Your Checklist for Physical Development

Klutz Jr: My Hand Art — This kit strengthens motor skills as kids learn to draw fun designs just by tracing their own hands! Kids can make a car, a sea monster, and more from a simple hand outline. Pom-poms, googly eyes, glue, and crayons are all included to refine their emerging fine motor skills and make their works of art come to life.

Little Skill Seekers: Connect the Dots — It may seem like a simple childhood activity, but connecting dots tunes up fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, while boosting counting and alphabetization skills. As children work through this fun activity book that doubles as a coloring book, they'll improve their dexterity and confidence in sequencing. 

Emotional Development

  • Can take turns and share — but doesn’t always want to! (Here are books that will help with manners.)
  • Prefers to play in smaller groups and may try to exclude others 
  • Wants to feel grown up and can feel proud or embarrassed easily
  • Has a beginning sense of right and wrong
  • Can organize pretend play and invent games with other children

Your Checklist for Emotional Development

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? — Is your child having trouble playing nicely with his friends? Teach him how to take turns, share, and include others with the prehistoric pals of the How Do Dinosaurs series.

Pretend Play's School and World Traveler sets — Foster your child's imagination and social learning with these fun sets, which come complete with playtime-ready props that can help your child become a teacher or a globetrotter!

Please, Mr. Panda — A bear offers all of his animal friends donuts, and they all want one (or more)! However, only one animal remembers to say "please," and he ends up getting to keep all of the donuts. This book is a humorous way to remind your child of the importance of manners. 

Is your child starting kindergarten in the fall? Shop kindergarten workbooks, the best series for kindergarten readers, and kindergarten school stories at The Scholastic Store!

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Independent Thinking
Alphabet Recognition
Guides to Raising Kids
Age 5
Child Development and Behavior
Communication and Language Development
Language Arts
Early Learning
Social and Emotional Development
Physical Development