Normal Development: 5 Years Old

5 yr milestones


Physical Development

  • Starts to lose primary (baby) teeth.
  • Displays left- or right-handedness.
  • Builds elaborate structures.
  • Tires easily.
  • Bathes, eats, dresses, toilets without help.
  • Plays games related to cooking, learning, bathing, and exploring.
  • Enjoys active games and movement.
  • Enjoys playing noisy rhythm instruments.
  • Is curious about reproduction and birth.

Emotional Development

  • Starts to express more feelings in words.
  • Embarrasses easily, and cannot yet laugh at self.
  • May have feelings about death.
  • Shows guilt over misbehavior.
  • Likes independence.
  • Is serious and dependable.

Social Development

  • Follows more rules and regulations.
  • May tattle, name-call, hit and shove at times.
  • Cooperates in simple group tasks.
  • Likes to please adults.
  • Takes turns when playing and speaking.
  • Gets along with other children.
  • Is keenly interested in family activities.

Mental Development

  • Starts to recognize letters and words.
  • Keeps up activities for longer periods of time.
  • Has developed a self-image.
  • Craves facts.
  • Names simple colors.
  • Understands left from right.
  • Has a vocabulary of about 2,000 to 2,500 words.
  • Can help with chores.
  • Can learn address and phone number.
  • Can think some things through.
  • Can count to 10.
  • Starts to understand concept of opposites.
  • Can speak in sentences of 6 to 8 words.
  • Can tell coins apart.
  • Engages in elaborate dramatic play.
  • Understands concepts of morning, afternoon, night, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
  • Is better able to tell make-believe from real life.

These guidelines show general progress through the developmental stages rather than fixed requirements for normal development at specific ages. It is perfectly natural for a child to reach some milestones earlier and other milestones later than the general trend.

If you have any concerns about your child’s own pattern of development, check with your healthcare provider.

Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH and Robert Brayden, MD.
Pediatric Advisor 2012.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-09-21
Last reviewed: 2011-09-20
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Pediatric Advisor 2012.2 Index