By: Mari Lynn Garbowicz

During our Coffee and Kids discussions many questions from parents have centered around child development.  In previous months we shared with you information about 3 and 4 year olds.  This month, we will explore the world of the five year old.

Exciting times are ahead as your child begins the official start of their educational career. Your 5-year-old is becoming more independent, which means they enjoy being around other family members and friends. They might test boundaries or ask to do things on their own. It’s important to reinforce good behavior through praise, and to set clear limits so that your child knows what to expect.

Here are some general milestones you can look for as your child grows and learns between the ages of five and six. It’s important to remember, these are just guidelines.  All children grow and learn at their own pace.  It is also important to try and not compare your child to siblings and playmates.


  • Has a sentence length of 5-6 words
  • Has a vocabulary of around 2000 words
  • Defines objects by their use (you eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of
  • Knows spatial relations like “on top”, “behind”, “far” and “near”
  • Knows address
  • Identifies a penny, nickel and dime
  • Knows common opposites like “big/little”
  • Understands “same” and “different”
  • Counts ten objects
  • Asks questions for information
  • Distinguishes left and right hand 
  • Uses all types of sentences
  • Has usually mastered speech sounds, and people should understand what they are saying. 
  • Will have a pretty vast vocabulary

Gross Motor

  •  Runs lightly on toes
  • Walks on balance beam
  • Can cover 2 feet hopping
  • Skips on alternate feet
  • Jumps rope
  • Skates

 Fine Motor

  •  Cuts out simple shapes
  • Copies a triangle
  •  Traces a diamond
  •  Copies their first name
  •  Prints numerals 1 to 5
  •  Colors within lines
  •  Has an adult grasp of a pencil
  •  Has handedness well established
  •  Pastes and glues appropriately


  •  Retells a story from  a picture book with reasonable accuracy
  •  Names some letters and numbers
  •  Rote counts to ten
  •  Sorts objects by single characteristics 
  •  Is beginning to use the concepts of tomorrow and yesterday
  •  Uses classroom tools purposefully
  •  Pays attention for 5 to 10 minutes during activities. For example, during story time or making arts and crafts…screen time does not coun


  • Chooses own friends
  • Engages in cooperative play with other children
  •  Follows rules or takes turns when playing games with other children
  • Plays simple table games
  • Plays competitive games
  •  Does simple chores at home, like matching socks or clearing the table after eating