What Your Child Should Know by Age 5

Find the answers in our age-by-age guide to child development.



What Your Child Should Know by Age 5

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 them. 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 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

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 (and will definitely find them funny!) 
  • Understands opposites, such as big and little or up and down (and yes and no, of course!) 

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

Emotional Development:

  • Can take turns and share (but doesn’t always want to!) 
  • 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
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