Development at
5 to 6 years

What Your Child Should Be Doing

  • Can follow directions using the words through, away from, toward, and over.
  • Answers “why” and “what would happen if…” questions with explanation.
  • Defines words, asks meaning of new words.
  • Tells stories and simple jokes.
  • Can count to 20 or more.
  • Understands concept of “same”.  Ex: “Which two are the same shape?”
  • Can tell the opposite of something.
  • Points to some, many, several, most, least, few.
  • Likes to make people laugh.
  • Often has one or two special playmates.
  • Demonstrates good control of pencil or marker and reproduces many shapes.
  • Can reproduce many letters and numbers.
  • Prints name on primary paper using lines.
  • Can be responsible for one daily household task and do it when asked. Ex: setting table.
  • Cuts out a magazine picture within 1⁄4 “ of edges.
  • Makes and copies complex drawings.
  • Catches a softball with one hand.
  • Hits a ball with a bat or stick.
  • Picks up object from ground while running.
  • Rides a bicycle.
  • Walks and plays in waist-high water at swimming pool.
  • Can skip and jump rope.
  • Prepares own cold cereal, or sandwich.
  • Buckles own seat belt in car.
  • Says how she feels: mad, happy, sad, etc.
  • Plays with small groups of children cooperatively without constant supervision.
  • Explains rules of games to others.
  • Comforts playmates in distress
  • States plans and carries out activities.
  • Can act out parts of a story, playing a part or using toys or puppets
  • Joins in conversation at mealtime.

How You Can Help

  • Use everyday situations to discuss where your child, toys, or pets are going.
  • Talk with your child.  Ask her questions using “why”, or “what if”.
  • Encourage your child to tell you stories, and listen with interest.
  • Ask your child questions, or play games using opposites like tall-short, big-small, hot-cold.
  • Sort blocks, marbles, or other toys into different sized groups and discuss which groups have some, many, several, more, and most.
  • Help her understand the payoff of persistence.  Remind her that when she learned to walk, she fell many times & kept getting up.
  • Arrange playtime with other children.
  • Help her learn to write her name and other family members’ names.
  • Provide lots of art materials and opportunities to draw, cut, paste, paint, and color.
  • Give a few age appropriate chores, like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, or setting the table.
  • Let her make reasonable choices, ex: which clothes to wear.  Only present choices that you can live with.
  • Ask for his opinion and feelings about things.
  • Be patient when he makes a mistake or a mess.
  • Offer reassurance. Let her know that you’re sure she will eventually develop the ability.  Never reprimand or shame her for being afraid to try something she fears.