Developmental Milestones
Prek to Kindergarten
Children ages 5-6

Developmental Milestones Prek To Kindergarten (5-6 year olds)

As we discussed on the developmental milestones main page, children develop in specific ways but at their own pace. Some of your young preschoolers may still be developing their older toddler skills or already be developing their PreK skills!

The list below, although not exhaustive, shows the key abilities and processes that can be reasonably expect from a 5-6 year old in seven developmental areas. Due to different deadline dates for entering Kindergarten, you may have some 5 year-olds in your preschool classroom.

Social Development

  • Asks for help when needed.
  • Engages in cooperative play with groups of children.
  • Gives attention to stories for 15 minutes.
  • Says "please" and "thank you" without reminders.
  • Joins in mealtime conversations.
  • Initiates friendships with peers.
  • Plays interactive games.
  • Plays with peers with minimal conflict.
  • Showing more independence.
  • Wants to please peers and adults.
  • Interacts with adults in a cooperative, socially appropriate manner.
  • Asks permission to use items belonging to others.

Cognitive Development

  • Makes suns, animals, trees, flowers, etc.
  • Draws recognizable people.
  • Counts to 20 by rote.
  • Names picture that has been hidden.
  • Comprehends concept of opposites.
  • Works a 12-piece (or larger) puzzle.
  • Counts ten or more objects.
  • Identifies colors and shapes.
  • Understands concept of time.

Emotional Development

  • Developing sense of humor.
  • Displays positive interactions and friendliness in small and large group settings.
  • Responds to a specific need/desire when expressed by another child.
  • Expresses a variety of emotions.
  • Openly and warmly expresses affection to other children most of the time.

Physical Development: Large/Gross Motor Skills

  • Balances on one foot for at least 10 seconds.
  • Jumps over a stationary rope held 6" above the ground.
  • Pedals a tricycle around obstacles and sharp corners.
  • Catches a ball in hands, arms flexed.
  • Hops around on one foot without support.
  • Walks backward with ease.
  • Throws a ball with accuracy.
  • Can somersault, swing and climb.
  • Beginning to learn to skip.

Physical Development: Small/Fine Motor Skills

  • Holds paper in place with one hand while writing with the other.
  • Uses pincer grasp when holding writing instrument.
  • Cuts with scissors.
  • Uses a fork, spoon and knife correctly
  • Prints own first name.
  • Prints other letters.
  • Draws or copies shapes.
  • Dresses and undresses self.
  • Cares for own toileting needs.
  • Laces shoes or lacing board.

Communication and Language Development

  • Follows 3-step directions without distraction.
  • Recalls parts or all of a story.
  • Uses future tense when speaking.
  • Tells longer stories.
  • Uses possessive forms of nouns.
  • Uses a series of conjunctions.
  • Uses sentences with more than five words consistently.

Creativity Development

  • Assigns roles or takes assigned roles during play.
  • Takes on characteristics and actions during role play.
  • Uses language to create and sustain plots during play.
  • Uses elaborate themes, ideas, details during play.
  • Helps plan and agrees to rules during play.


As with all milestones, remember that there can be a 6 to 8 month window with typical development. This means that children may exhibit skills 6 to 8 months before or after the age the skills are listed under.

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