By age 5, your growing kiddo is on the move from morning till night, which can mean entertaining them outside of school hours can be a challenge. But your 5-year-old is eager to learn and help and play, and there are plenty of opportunities to engage them in low-lift activities that support their development and growth. Here are our 10 favorite activities for 5-year-olds.
Sensory activities for 5-year-olds
1. Nature bracelets
Before your next nature walk, wrap masking tape around your child’s wrist with the sticky side facing out. Let them collect small natural items like leaves, flowers, or twigs to stick onto their bracelet, creating a wearable sensory masterpiece that connects them to nature. You could also make a crown!
2. Sponge paint
Gather a few various painting tools like sponges, feathers, or cotton balls, and let your child explore different textures and patterns while painting (washable paint is our pick!). This activity enhances their creativity, fine motor skills and sensory exploration.
3. Rainbow sorting
Your local craft store might sell a big bag of random sewing buttons, which makes for a great rainbow craft opportunity. Ask your child to glue the buttons into a rainbow on a piece of cardstock, which helps with sensory discrimination and color recognition.
Developmental activities for 5-year-olds
1. Paper maze
Draw a maze on a large piece of paper for your child to complete, filled with turn-arounds, dead ends and traps. Can they draw one for you to try? Mazes help kids explore problem solving and critical thinking.
2. DIY memory game
Make a customized memory game by cutting out pairs of pictures from magazines, printing out images of their favorite characters or drawing on index cards. Play the game with your child, taking turns to flip over cards and find matches, which helps enhance their memory, concentration and turn-taking skills.
3. Fort building
Hand your child a pile of blankets and a few pillows and set them to work on making a cozy fort. Is there room to read a book inside or have a snack? Can they find a way to hang up a strand of string lights? This activity empowers their creativity, problem-solving and STEM skills, like engineering.
Things to do with a 5-year-old
Week 1: Get cooking
It can be fun to involve your 5-year-old in simple cooking or baking activities, allowing them to measure ingredients, mix, and observe chemical changes during the cooking process. This hands-on experience develops their math skills, following instructions, and understanding of cause and effect. Plus, they might be more motivated to try a few new foods!
Week 2: Grow a green thumb
Help your child create a mini garden in a container (an old egg carton works well) or a small patch of soil. Let them plant and care for seeds, like sunflowers or a tomato plant, teaching them about plant life cycles, responsibility and nurturing.
Week 3: Volunteer in your community
Is there an organization in your community that’s in need of volunteers? Whether you’re dropping off donations at the animal shelter, staffing a bake sale at your church or signing up for a fun run/walk, incorporating your kids in charitable work instills a sense of pride and highlights the importance of giving back.
Week 4: Sight-word scavenger hunt
Create a sight-word scavenger hunt for your child by writing out a few sight words (the, at, by, etc.) on sticky notes and placing them around the house. Give them a legend with the sight words to find and cross off their list as they locate them. This game helps them review and recognize any sight words they may be working on in kindergarten.