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.

 

The Early Childhood Family Toolkit

The Early Childhood Family Toolkit is a growing collection of our favorite resources for families with young kids. Discover learn-at-home tips and activities, health support, and more—all chosen by the NYC Department of Education.

 

Explore our favorite family resources

Brain Building

Learn through life's everyday moments

Have your child collect items like rocks and leaves. Arrange them in a pattern such as one rock, two leaves, one rock, two leaves. Then mix them up and ask your child to recreate your pattern. Can they remember the order? Have them take a turn making a simple pattern for you to remember.

See what your child is learning

Finding and repeating patterns builds focus and memory. It is a great way to make connections and solve problems. These are all important skills for learning. Playing with patterns also builds math skills like comparing sizes, numbers, and shapes.
Vroom

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, including whole grains (1 ounce equals ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup of rice, 5 whole wheat crackers, 1 slice of whole wheat bread, or ½ cup cooked pasta).
    • Have 1 ½ cups of vegetables daily (such as ½ cup baby carrots, ½ cup broccoli, and ½ avocado).
    • Have 1 ½ cups of fruits daily (such as 1 small apple, ½ large banana, and ½ cup chopped berries). Fresh, frozen, canned or dried all count.
    • Have 4 ounces of protein foods daily (1 ounce equals 1 egg, ¼ cup of beans or lentils, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or ¼ cup tofu). Protein foods include beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, nut butters, and poultry, fish, eggs and meat.
    • Have 2 ½ cups of dairy or suitable substitute daily. This includes whole cow’s milk, whole plain yogurt, or unsweetened fortified soy beverage.
    • Drink water between meals for thirst.

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

School Food

NYC Department of Education (DOE)

Free school breakfast and lunch

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

School-Based Health Centers (SBHC)

NYC Department of Education (DOE); NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Free health care in schools

Students can get free health care in their school.

Gifted & Talented Program (G&T)

NYC Department of Education

Gifted programs

G&T programs offer specialized classes for exceptional students.