Exploring to learn through play and everyday activities

Young children continue learning through everyday experiences. They need lots of time to explore with others and on their own. They can help with simple chores. You may want to walk to the store together to get milk or rake the leaves in the yard.


Your 5 year old will explore and play in a new environment when she starts kindergarten. She may be tired from the change in routine and being active in new ways. She’ll need time for play and rest when she gets home.

Exploring through moving and physical activity

Your child needs lots of time to play freely—climbing, swinging, running and jumping. She understands left, right and other directional words well. This will help her to play action games like ‘Simon Says’.

Depending on your child’s interests, she may enjoy playing at the park with her friends. She may also want to be in community sports or activities (e.g., soccer, swimming, skating, dancing). At this stage, non-competitive physical activities are best. They allow her to develop skills without the fear of failure or not being good enough.

Your 5 year old may:

  • throw and catch a ball that is thrown gently or bounced to her
  • jump over low objects and skip
  • learn to ride a bike or a bike with training wheels

Exploring with objects

Your 5 year old is learning to use and control many objects. She will prefer to use one hand more than the other for complex tasks. The other hand will help to support the objects or materials that she is using.

Your child’s hands need lots of practice using a pencil, scissors, a knife and fork. She may love building models and fixing things, or cooking and making crafts. She learns a lot about how to solve problems by creating and using objects.

Your 5 year old may:

  • fasten buttons, Velcro® straps or zippers
  • draw or copy lines, simple shapes and stick people
  • cut on a line with scissors
  • tie shoelaces

Exploring with stories

Your child may enjoy acting out stories from real life, books, TV shows or movies. At first her stories may be mixed up. In time they will become more connected. Her sense of humour is really developing, so she may share the same funny stories over and over. She may like to put on puppet shows or plays for the whole family.

  • Internet safety and screen time

    When your child uses the Internet, keep the computer and hand-held devices in one central place so you can monitor and guide their use. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that parents don’t have computers, TVs or electronic games in their child’s bedroom. Instead, keep them in areas where everyone has access and where using them won’t interfere with other activities, like sleeping and eating.
  • For more information about screen time guidelines, click here.
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