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Developmental milestones record - 5 years


This article describes the expected skills and growth markers of most 5-year-old children.

Alternative Names

Normal childhood growth milestones - 5 years; Childhood growth milestones - 5 years; Growth milestones for children - 5 years


Physical and motor skill milestones for a typical 5-year-old child include:

  • Gains about 4 - 5 pounds
  • Grows about 2 - 3 inches
  • Vision reaches 20/20
  • First adult teeth start breaking through the gum (most children do not get their first adult teeth until age 6)
  • Has better coordination (getting the arms, legs, and body to work together)
  • Skips, jumps, and hops with good balance
  • Stays balanced while standing on one foot with eyes closed
  • Shows more skill with simple tools and writing utensils
  • Can copy a triangle
  • Can use a knife to spread soft foods

Sensory and mental milestones:

  • Has a vocabulary of more than 2,000 words
  • Speaks in sentences of 5 or more words, and with all parts of speech
  • Can identify different coins
  • Can count to 10
  • Knows telephone number
  • Can properly name the primary colors, and possibly many more colors
  • Asks deeper questions that address meaning and purpose
  • Can answer "why" questions
  • Is more responsible and says "I'm sorry" when he or she makes mistakes
  • Shows less aggressive behavior
  • Outgrows earlier childhood fears
  • Accepts other points of view (but may not understand them)
  • Has improved math skills
  • Questions others, including parents
  • Strongly identifies with the parent of the same sex
  • Has a group of friends
  • Likes to imagine and pretend while playing (for example, pretends to take a trip to the moon)

Ways to encourage a 5-year-old's development include:

  • Reading together
  • Providing enough space for the child to be active
  • Teaching the child how to take part in -- and learn the rules of -- sports and games
  • Encouraging the child to play with other children, which helps develop social skills
  • Playing creatively with the child
  • Limiting both the time and content of television and computer viewing
  • Visiting local areas of interest
  • Encouraging the child to perform small household chores, such as helping set the table or picking up toys after playing


Feigelman S. The preschool years. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 10.

Review Date:5/14/2014
Reviewed By:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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