Developmental Characteristics of 5 Year Olds
• requires 10-11 hours of sleep each night
• dresses self-independently
• throws and catches balls
• rides a tricycle skillfully; may show interest in riding a bicycle with training wheels
• uses a fork and knife well
• left or right hand dominance is established
• walks down stairs, alternating feet without using a handrail
• interested in performing tricks like standing on head, performing dance steps
• capable of learning complex body coordination skills like swimming, ice or roller skating
• runs, skips, hops and gallops
• learning to tie shoelaces
• copies shapes and cuts with scissors
• can take turns and share
• understands and respects rules
• tries new things and takes risks
• likes to make own decisions
• begins understanding of right and wrong
• carries on conversation with other children/adults
• still confuses fantasy with reality sometimes
• often fears loud noises, the dark, animals, and some people
• expresses anger and jealously physically
• likes to test muscular strength and motor skills, but is not emotionally ready forcompetition
• sometimes can be very bossy
• notices when another child is angry or sad-more sensitive to feelings of others
• likes to reason; uses words like “because”
• enjoys riddles and jokes
• understands that stories have a beginning, middle, and end
• able to remember stories and repeat them
• understands “more,” “less,” and “same”
• recognizes categories (“These are all animals; these are all toys.”)
• interested in cause and effect
• can understand time concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
• learning address, phone number and birthday
• memorizes and repeats rhymes and stories
• draws pictures that represent objects
• sorts and compares objects
• identifies and writes letters and numbers
• counts and identifies sets to ten
• developing good attention span
• likes to feel grown up; boasts about self to younger, less capable children
• sometimes needs to get away and be alone
• has a good sense of humor, and enjoys sharing jokes and laughter with adults

Developmental Characteristics of 6 Year Olds
• perpetual motion; squirming while sitting, gesturing while talking, runs, tumbles, throws
• gaining control of fine motor activities
• enjoy testing muscle strength and skills. Love to skip, run, tumble, throw, catch, anddance to music.
• developing a good sense of balance. Most can stand on one foot and walk on a balancebeam.
• can catch balls, tie shoelaces, manage buttons and zippers
• sloppy; in a hurry
• noisy in a classroom
• developing the ability to copy designs and shapes
• learning to distinguish left from right
• engages in oral activities (teething)--chews pencils, fingernails, hair
• beginning to think about how they look in the eyes of others and are self-conscious
• moody; friendly and enthusiastic at times and rebellious and irritable at other times
• wants to make friends, but can be bossy and not understand why friendship is rebuffed
• can be very competitive
• fascinated by rules
• sometimes a “poor sport” or dishonest; may invent rules
• sensitive to criticism; thrive on encouragement
• strong desire to perform well, do things right
• generally enjoy caring for and playing with younger children
• tend to prefer playmates of the same sex
• can be helpful with small chores
• have a strong need for love and attention from parents and teachers
• determine what is “good” and “bad” based on parents’ and teachers’ opinions. Beginning todevelop a moral sense (such as understanding “honesty”).
• views things as right or wrong, wonderful or terrible, with very little middle ground
• may reverse printed letters (b/d)
• increased problem-solving ability
• attention span still short, but long enough to enjoy more involved stories
• love to ask questions
• learn best through discovery and active involvement with people and materials
• interested in real life tasks and activities; want to make “real” jewelry, take “real”photographs, and create “real” collections
• extremely rapid expansion of speaking and listening vocabulary
(Ages birth-6 are VERY important for language development.)
• can begin to understand time and days of the week
• beginning to understand past when tied closely to the present
• sometimes carry on “collective monologues,” two children playing together and talking, but carrying on separate monologues
• use language and words to represent things not visible
Published by GCISD, Compliments of Division of Instruction
* References: Internet sources as listed. • Special thanks for input from teachers and counselors