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 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

Learning Puzzles: Rhyming — Help your child recognize rhyme patterns with a tactile Learning Puzzle set, which will boost both your child's physical and cognitive abilities.

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 (and will definitely find them funny!) 
  • 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.

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.

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 just 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.

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

Your Checklist for Emotional Development

Can I Play Too? (An Elephant & Piggie Book) — Encourage sharing with the help of Gerald and Piggie in Can I Play Too?, where Gerald and Piggie play catch with a snake and learn the values of sharing and kindness thanks to their new friend.

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 with Pretend Play's School and World Traveler sets, complete with playtime-ready props that can help your child become a teacher or a globetrotter, from a teacher's workbook to a passport!

Foster Your Child's Development

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