5 Years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Your child’s experience in kindergarten and the time they spend with you can prepare them for lots of learning ahead! At this stage, your child may be toilet trained, have a basic grasp of math and reading, enjoy singing and dancing, and speak clearly. 

Learn more about your five-year-old’s development, explore schools options, and find free activities for kids and families below.

Brain Building

Learn through life's everyday moments

Play "Beat and Repeat" anywhere. Create a rhythmic beat with two claps. Can your child copy it? Repeat until they get it. Have them create their own rhythm with two claps. Anytime someone misses, try again. Then make it three beats. How many beats can you get to? Four? Five? Six?

See what your child is learning

Your child develops self-control as they copy your patterns or create their own. If they make a mistake, all the better. They learn that mistakes are a necessary part of learning—a good lesson no matter how old you are!

Milestones

Skills children develop as they play, learn, speak, act, and move are called milestones. Learn about milestones to help you understand your child's development and act early if you have concerns.

Around 5 years old, many children:

  • Social

    • Want to make friends happy and be like them
    • Are more likely to agree with rules
    • Like to sing, dance, and act
    • Are aware of gender
    • Show more independence
    • Tell what's real and what's make-believe
    • Are sometimes tough and sometimes cooperative
  • Communication

    • Speak very clearly
    • Tell a simple story using full sentences
    • Use the future tense, for example, "Grandma will be here"
    • Can say name and address
  • Learning

    • Can count 10 or more things
    • Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
    • Can print some letters or numbers
    • Can copy a triangle and other simple shapes
    • Know about things used every day, like money and food
  • Physical Development

    • Stand on one foot for 10 seconds
    • Can hop and may be able to skip
    • Can somersault, flipping all the way around forwards or backwards
    • Use a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife
    • Use the toilet on their own
    • Swing and climb
  • Health

    • Have 5 ounces of grains daily (such as 1 cup of breakfast cereal plus 1 large tortilla)
    • Have 1 ½ cups of vegetables daily (such as 3 medium carrots)
    • Have 1 to 1 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 medium or large apple OR 1 to 1½ cups 100% fruit juice)
    • Have 4 ounces of meat and beans daily (such as 1 small chicken breast plus 1 egg)
    • Have 2 ½ cups of milk daily
    • Have 1 hour of adult-led physical activity
    • Have 1 hour of free play
    • Are not inactive for more than 1 hour at a time, unless sleeping
    • Sleep about 10–13 hours per day
    • Stay on schedule with shots

Act early by talking to a doctor, teacher, or social worker if your child:

  • Act Early

    • Doesn't show a wide range of emotions
    • Shows extreme behavior, such as unusual fear, aggressiveness, shyness, or sadness
    • Is easily distracted, having trouble focusing on an activity for more than 5 minutes
    • Doesn't respond to people or responds without thought or care
    • Can't tell what's real and what's make-believe
    • Can't give first and last name
    • Doesn't talk about daily activities or experiences
    • Doesn't draw pictures
    • Can't brush teeth, wash and dry hands, or get undressed without help

Programs

Find the support your family needs to thrive

Free school breakfast and lunch

SchoolFood

NYC Department of Education

NYC students can enjoy free breakfast and lunch every school day.

Free health care in schools

School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)

NYC Department of Education/NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Students can get free health care in their school.

Gifted programs

Gifted & Talented Program (G&T)

NYC Department of Education

G&T programs offer specialized classes for exceptional students.

Events

See what your family can do for free in NYC

LUNCH DOODLES with Mo Willems!

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Mo Willems invites you into his studio every day for his LUNCH DOODLE.