Children, at the age of five, display significant autonomy, self-control, and creativity. Their physical abilities are developing fast, and now they can swing, climb, and hop. Undertaking age-specific activities can keep them physically active, boost brain development, and improve their creative thinking. Initiative, a sense of ambition and responsibility, occurs when parents allow a child to explore within limits and then support the child’s choice. These children will develop self-confidence and feel a sense of purpose.
This post aims to share some engaging activities and games for five-year-old children to support their overall development.
28 Activities For Five-Year-Old Children
Montessori activities support the child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development through active exploration and independent learning (1). They are suitable for children between the ages of three and six.
1. Practical-life activities
Daily chores, folding clothes, putting toys away, etc., are everyday activities centered on the concept of “learning by doing.” These activities aim to make a child self-sufficient by regularly exposing them to the structured use of fine and gross motor skills.
2. Cooking without fire
Cooking is a creative activity involving regular use of kitchen tools, like a spoon, whisker, pestle-mortar, rolling pin, etc. that can hone your child’s fine and gross motor skills. Sandwiches and fruit salads are some fireless cooking recipes that a five-year-old can try. The best thing about this activity is the child learns about healthy cooking and healthy eating.
3. Solving Puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are an entertaining and engaging activity often played sitting in one place. Alternatively, you can create an active puzzle by spreading the pieces on the floor in a way that your child has to move back and forth to collect the pieces. It will help your child stay active and boost their visuospatial skills, logical thinking, attention, and active memory.
4. Balance board
Balance board activity is a fun-filled gross motor activity that young children from the age of three can play under adult guidance and vigilance. The activity involves standing on a curved or wobbly board without falling. Regular practice improves body balance and strengthens the body’s core muscles.
Note: Use a balance board on a carpet or lawn. Instruct children to avoid jumping up and down on the board to prevent slipping.
5. Clay molding
Clay molding is a joyful sensory activity that develops creativity and imagination. Rolling, pressing, and modeling clay help develop gross motor skills, while sculpting tools help strengthen fine motor skills. The overall process boosts eye-hand coordination and keeps your child engaged. Guide your child to prepare different items like a bridge, tree, teddy bear, etc., to connect them with the surroundings.
6. Building blocks
Building blocks are essential self-learning tools to develop motor skills and spatial awareness in young children. Picking, stacking, and creating structures with blocks, promotes eye-hand coordination and logical thinking abilities. The regular use of blocks teaches different shapes, sizes, and colors. Guide your child to create interesting shapes to boost their creativity.
7. Beading and buttoning
It is one of the best creative activities to keep your child engaged. It involves making an ornament, like a necklace or bracelet, by beading a thread or ribbon. Beading involves fine motor skills, like pincer grasp, and promotes the use of logical abilities. Guide your child to create interesting patterns to promote creativity.
8. Touch and feel
The sensory Montessori activity fine-tunes your child’s “touch and feel” instinct by letting them guess the items present in a bag just by touching them and not seeing. Some objects that work well for a five-year-old are cotton balls, wool balls, wooden sticks, pebbles, and small mirrors. Touching different objects introduces your child to the tactile sensation of different textures.
Educational And Learning Activities
Educational games and activities provide a fun and learning environment for your child. Research indicates that apart from supporting learning, these cognitive activities and games can boost brain health and development (2).
9. Write on the board
This board game aims at developing your child’s reading abilities. You will need a whiteboard, marker, and ten paper chits.
- Write the name of an object/item on all the ten chits and keep them near the whiteboard. The name of the objects should be simple to read, easy to comprehend, and familiar to your child.
- Draw all the items mentioned in the chits on the whiteboard. For instance, if you have mentioned a car, then draw a car, and so on.
- Instruct your child to pick a random chit and read it aloud.
- Ask them to identify the object mentioned on the chit among the whiteboard’s drawings.
- Then, write the name of the object opposite to the picture. Repeat the process for all the remaining chits.
10. Relate the habitat
Learning about various birds, animals, and insects and their natural habitat is essential. You can turn this simple academic exercise into a fun activity by using two sets of flashcards. Have one flashcard set with images of different animals and the other with the pictures of their habitats.
- Spread the flashcards with the images of animals on the floor and give the flashcards depicting the habitat, to your child.
- Now, ask them to select the habitat for each animal and place it beside the flashcard of the corresponding animal.
- Guide them about the animal, its characteristics, and its habitat during the activity to boost logical reasoning abilities and general knowledge.
- Alternatively, use the same exercise to teach about animals, birds, insects, and their respective food.
The learning activity teaches about a living being’s life cycle by using printable pictures. To make the activity interactive, print images of each stage of the lifecycle on different sheets. Cut the images and paste them on blocks or fridge magnets. Sit with your child and guide them in arranging the pictures stagewise. For a review, ask your child to draw the same lifecycle on the whiteboard.
12. Scrabble for juniors
The joyful board game helps enhance vocabulary and boost memory by regular practice. The use of beginners scrabble with pictures is best for five-year-old children, who can make simple words. The board game involves word-making by referring to pictures given on the board. While making words, ask your child to read them aloud for effective speech development.
13. Learn the size
Teaching your child about different sizes can aid their or understanding of variations in objects. Take several household items, like cups, spoons, and plates of different sizes, and explain the child about the purpose of each size. For instance, a smaller spoon is used for eating desserts, while the larger one is for soups. You can make the activity more engaging by letting your child arrange the items in ascending or descending order of their size.
13. Count the pebbles
It is a simple activity to practice mathematical concepts of addition and subtraction. For the activity, you can use ten pebbles. Alternatively, you can use ten colorful ice cream sticks.
- Place all the pebbles on a flat surface in a straight line.
- Ask a single digit addition or subtraction question to your child. Like what is 4+5?
- Demonstrate the calculation by adding or removing the pebbles. For example, 4+5 = 9, so remove one pebble from the line.
Once your child gets familiar with the activity, you can practice other math concepts, such as multiplication and division.
15. Flag the country
Learning the names of countries and identifying their national flags requires practice. You can make it fun-filled and engaging for a five-year-old with this activity. You will need a pinboard, some push pins, printed slips with country names, and cut-outs of their national flags.
- Put the cut-outs of the flags in a bowl and pin the printed slips bearing the names of the countries on the pinboard using push pins. Place each slip at least four to five centimeters apart from the other.
- Instruct the child to pick a flag from the bowl and identify the country to which it belongs. As a mark of identification, the child has to pin the flag near the country’s name.
- You can give clues to help your child identify the right county.
You can also use the activity to teach other relevant details about countries, such as their capital city, their currency, national animal, the national flower, etc.
Art And Craft Activities
Art and craft activities boost creative thinking abilities and hone motor skills. Research suggests that such activities help build resilience, foster self-expression and develop children’s mental well-being (3).
Origami is a Japanese paper-folding art that can help children understand geometrical figures and their use in structure-building. Studies suggest that origami exercises help children in understanding the concepts of relative size, size comparison, and spatial awareness (4) (5).
For origami activity, you will need colored origami paper, crayons, and craft materials like beads and wool. Teach your children to create different shapes like boats, birds, pyramids, etc., and decorate them with the given resources to boost their cognitive skills.
17. The creative box
The simple, fun-filled activity provides multiple stimuli to your child. All you need to do is provide a box filled with coloring materials, like paint, and decorating materials, such as safety scissors, glue, beads, colorful stones, pom-poms, and ribbons. The task is to let your child use the given resources the way they wish and decorate a given article like an egg, a cardboard box, or a coffee mug. Provide a variety of items in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes as it will help hone their creative and motor skills.
18. Thread painting
Thread painting helps hone your child’s creative thinking and fine motor skills. Children will need a long thread, watercolors, and a white sheet of paper.
- Fold the sheet of paper into a half. Open the folded paper to see a fine line at the center.
- Dip the thread into the color and place it on the fold or any random pattern you wish.
- Fold the paper at the center again and drag the thread out in a zig-zag motion.
- Open the sheet to see a unique colorful pattern. Repeat the step with multiple colors and multiple paper folds.
19. Seed the craft
It is yet another engaging activity to hone your child’s imagination, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills. For the activity, you will need chart paper, glue, and different pulses, legumes, and grains, like green gram, red lentil, chickpea, whole wheat, etc. Instruct your child to draw the outline of any creature or entity like a dog, tree, or house. Apply glue within the outline of the illustration and stick the pulses, legumes, and grains on it. Let the chart paper dry to complete the creation.
Scrapbooking is an amusing activity that involves cutting and pasting pictures in a scrapbook. Cutting and pasting help fine-tune motor skills by exposing your child to craft materials, like safety scissors, glue, and cut-outs of different shapes and sizes.
Alternatively, the child can stick items such as dry flowers and leaves in their scrapbook. The technique you use for scrapbooking solely depends on the theme you select. In either way, creative and innovative thinking helps boost self-esteem and confidence.
Indoor and Outdoor Activities
Below is a mix of simple indoor and outdoor activities that can help your five-year-old child’s physical, cognitive, and social development.
21. Read and perform
This enjoyable outdoor activity is similar to hopscotch, and can tune your child’s gross reading ability and motor skills. To play, write some instructions on the ground, such as walk five steps, hop twice, twirl x 2, etc. Your child has to read the instructions and perform. The more challenging the steps, the better are the chances to strengthen your child’s gross motor abilities.
22. Roll the hula hoop
The joyful outdoor activity works on your child’s eye-hand coordination. For the activity, you need hula hoops of different sizes. Instruct your child to roll these hula hoops from one side of the ground to the other. Motivate them to pass as many loops as possible by pushing them in a vertical position. You can make the challenge difficult by setting a timer or giving a target number of hula hoops to pass from one end to another.
23. Scavenger hunt
This classic outdoor game is all about physical and mental activity involving reading, interpreting, and locating the objects. In this game, you have to give your child a search list consisting of random things, like a dried leaf, broken pipe, piece of paper, etc. The task is to gather the listed items while walking from one end of the lawn/ground to the other. Alternatively, you can hide some goodies in different corners of the house and play treasure hunt.
Children enjoy playing in the sandpit. You can make this activity more interesting through a sandcastle building kit. A sandcastle building kit consists of several tools, like molds, bricks, and sand-scoop, which promote eye-hand coordination and creative thinking. Involving in castle building activities with other children exposes the child to skills, like coordination and cooperation, which are essential for social development.
This enjoyable activity can boost your child’s memory and cognitive skills. Develop a routine where you narrate a story to your child, and they narrate the same story the next day. Effective listening is crucial for retaining and processing learned information. Regular practice of this activity can even hone your child’s communication skills.
26. Trace the shapes
Tracing different shapes can be a fun activity involving the use of fine motor skills. Provide the child with colored pencils, safety scissors, colorful sheets, and household items of different shapes. Guide them to trace the various items on the colored sheets with the help of a pencil and then cut those shapes with the safety scissors. Motivate them to create an object like a collage or family tree using those cut-outs.
Roleplay activities are helpful for children to develop their creativity, imagination, and communication skills. Besides, they can foster the social, emotional, and physical development of the child. Thus, the next time your child plays a game where they play a doctor or teacher, then participate with them in the roleplay. This way, you can teach them several moral values and beliefs via fun-filled play.
28. Clay maze
Clay maze is a fun-filled active play that you and your child can play inside the house. For the activity, you need a set of colorful clays, a small plastic ball, and a straw.
- Roll the clay into thick cylindrical lines and use them to prepare a maze on a flat surface, like a chart paper.
- Your child’s task is to blow the plastic ball with the straw from one end of the maze to another.
- You can make the game more engaging by increasing the complexity of the maze.
Different games and activities can play an essential role in the development of a five-year-old. Plan a mix of activities to improve the various skills of the child while also accounting for safety in every form. Involve your child’s sibling, friends, or even family members to make these activities more fun, social, and engaging.
2. Patrick Fissler et al.; Educational games for brain health: revealing their unexplored potential through a neurocognitive approach; NCBI
3. Leyre Zarobe and Hilary Bungay; The Role of Arts Activities in Developing Resilience and Mental Wellbeing in Children and Young People a Rapid Review of the Literature; NCBI
4. Masamichi Yuzawa and William M Bart; Young Children’s Learning of Size Comparison Strategies: Effect of Origami Exercises; NCBI
5. Agota Krisztian et al.; Developing Numerical Ability In Children With Mathematical Difficulties Using Origami; NCBI
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