Another year has passed, and your little bub is now five years old.  Your child has more confidence and initiative to do things independently.  

At this age, your little one develops greater creativity and self-control. School may be both exciting and uneasy for your child, so make sure to prepare and support him through this milestone.

If you want to get a background about child development and developmental milestones, please read the Parent's Guide to Understanding Child Development.

To guide you as you monitor your child's development in the areas of cognition, social and emotions, language, and physical, here are the developmental milestones of a 5-year-old.

You may also download and print your copy of the Tiny Steps Developmental Milestones and Activities – 5 Years Old Checklist for your convenience.

Developmental Milestones and Recommended Activities

At five years old, your child can express and communicate with you using at least  2,200-word vocabulary.  Talking to your five-year-old may seem like your talking to an adult already.  He/she can narrate a story, share his/her experience, or even try to reason with you.

Here are the other developmental milestones of a 5-year-old.


-      Can count from at least ten objects     

Counting one to ten has become more comfortable and natural.  You can expect your little one to start counting more than ten objects.

-      Draws a human figure with at least 6 to 8 body parts  

Features and details of your child's drawing become more defined.  Your child may show preference to draw pictures of himself/herself, his/her friends, and his/her family members.

-      Can write some letters and numbers              

Your child can hold to a pencil correctly and can write the alphabet and numbers legibly.

-      Can draw more shapes like triangle           

By this time, your child can draw more shapes and combine them to form an object.   Your child may draw a house using a triangle for the roof, a square for the walls and windows, as well as a rectangle for the door. 

-       Knows how common things are used       

Each year, your child knows more objects and it's purpose.  He/she understands that a pitcher holds water or that a bike makes it easier to move from one place to another.

Social and Emotional

-      Likes to please friends and playmates

Your child likes to be with his/her friends, so he/she want to get along with them.

-      Likes to be like his/her friends

Your child may want to feel that he belongs, and so he/she tends to be like his/her friends.

-      Agrees with rules most of the time

While your child may generally follow and agree with the rules, there might be occasions when your child opposes or resists obeying the rules.  Remember to exercise patience when he/she is trying to test his/her boundaries or expressing his/her dismay or disagreement.

-      Enjoys singing, dancing, and acting

You may notice your child singing while doing his/her writing activities, dancing to his/her favorite song, and play pretend using his/her toys.

-      Can distinguish gender

Your child has developed his/her ability to recognize gender groups.  He/she knows that a girl, a woman, and a mother is a female and that a boy, a man, and a father is male.

-       Shows more independence

Your child shows preference to do self-care and even simple chores by himself/herself.  Combing hair, brushing teeth, changing clothes, packing-up toys, and wiping the table are some examples of things he/she can do by himself/herself.

-       Can be demanding at times

Your child's attention span and patience have improved.  However, there can be times that your preschooler may become demanding of your attention or any object of interest.


-      Can express himself through words clearly  

By this time, your child knows at least 2,200 words and can use them to express himself.  He/she observes basic grammar and tenses in his/her sentences.

-      Uses full sentence to narrate a story           

Your child may enjoy telling a story of a book he/she read or an experience he/she wishes to share.  You will notice that he/she uses complete sentences in his/her storytelling at this stage.

-      Understands and uses the future tense         

As part of vocabulary enrichment, your child is now familiar with the future tense and can use the correct tense in his/her sentences.

-      Can say necessary personal information like name and age.                                                             

When meeting a new person, your child can already introduce himself properly.  He/she knows his necessary information like his full name, nickname, and age.  You may train your child to learn more personal details like his/her birthday, address, and parents' names.


-       Can stand on only one foot for at least ten seconds

-       Can hop and skip

-       Able to do a somersault      

-       Can feed himself using a spoon, fork, or even knife   

Recommended Activities for 5 years old


-      Arrange or attend playdates with a trusted group

-      Set trips to park or other outdoor locations

-      Praise good behavior

-      Do not allot attention to foul language.  Say "No" calmly.

-      Talk about private parts and that no one should touch them.  An exception would be only medical practitioners during medical exam and parents during cleaning

-      Teach your child about his/her personal information

-      Ask your child to guess what will happen next to the story

-      Encourage reading by letting him/her tell the story based on images

-      Teach your child about time and day.  You may start with today, tomorrow, yesterday, morning, afternoon, and evening.  Teach days of the week

-      Follow and support your child's interest

-    Enhance writing skills by providing patterns, materials for drawing and activities like popping plastic bubble wrap, clothes peg and pulling the trigger of a water pistol which strengthen fingers to help build a more controlled tripod grasp

-      Encourage your child to create an artwork by keeping art materials within reach

-      Provide toys that allow your child to put things together

-      Teach your child to swing by pumping his/her legs back and forth

-      Assist your child climb on monkey bars

-      Do activities outside like walking and biking

When to Talk to Your Doctor

While children vary in their development pace, talk to your doctor if you notice any delay or have any concerns about your child's progress.  Here are some signals that your child may need additional support and intervention.

-      Not meeting expected milestones

-      Does not show an array of emotions

-      Shows extreme emotions such as anger, fear, shyness, and sadness

-      Uncommonly inactive or withdrawn

-      Unable to retain focus on an activity for more than five minutes

-      Cannot distinguish real from make-believe

-      Does not like to play or take part in a variety of games and activities

-      Cannot say necessary personal information like his/her name

-      Does not know how to use plurals and past tense properly

-      Does not talk about experiences and daily activities

-      Does not write or draw pictures

-      Cannot perform self-care activities like brushing teeth, washing hands, or changing clothes

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