Starting kindergarten is a big milestone for a lot of 5-year-olds—and their families. And once kids head to kindergarten, you may wonder how their skills measure up to those of other kids in the class. Kindergarten is a big year for learning to do new things and for gaining skills.
Check out these developmental milestones to get a sense of which skills are typical for 5-year-olds. But keep in mind that kids develop at different rates. So if your child isn’t doing a few of these things yet, don’t worry.
You may have noticed that kids are pretty active at this age. You may even have trouble keeping up as they begin to run, hop, skip, and jump without tripping over their own feet. As kids near the end of kindergarten, most are able to do things like this:
Kindergartners think in fun and creative ways. They also start to learn facts and begin to grasp some basic academic concepts. Many kids can recognize words by sight, like the and me, and they can begin sounding out three-letter words, like hat. By the end of kindergarten, many kids can also do things like:
Recognize and name colors and basic shapes
Know the letters of the alphabet and letter sounds
Recite their name, address, and phone number
Understand basic concepts about print (like knowing which way the pages go and that words are read left to right and top to bottom)
Know that stories have a beginning, middle, and end
Count groups of objects up to 10 and recite numbers to 20
Stick with an activity for 15 minutes and finish a short project
Make plans about how to play, what to build, or what to draw
By the time kids are approaching age 6, many of them talk a mile a minute. They’re able to understand and can use thousands of words—usually in sentences five to eight words long. Most 5-year-olds have the language skills to:
Use words to argue and try to reason with people (because is a commonly used word)
Use most plurals and pronouns
Tell stories, jokes, and riddles, and may understand simple puns
Talk about opposites and compare things (“That black cat is smaller than the white one.”)
Talk about things that are going to happen and things that have already happened (using tense and time correctly)
Remember that all kids develop at their own pace. Your child might not yet do all the things on this list. But if your 5-year-old hasn’t met most of these milestones, talk to your child’s health care provider and teacher. They can help you sort out what’s going on, talk through concerns about possible developmental delays, and work with you to make a plan.