by maipham

November 26, 2023

What Type Of Play Do 5 Year Olds Engage in?

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Five-year-olds burst with energy and imagination, leading them to engage in a variety of playful activities that not only entertain but also contribute to their overall development. From role-playing games that unleash their creativity to active outdoor play that promotes physical fitness, the world of games that five-year-olds like is diverse and ever-evolving. As we delve into this fascinating realm, we’ll explore the unique benefits of these games and how they lay the foundation for essential life skills. Whether you’re a parent, educator, or anyone interested in early childhood development, this journey promises insightful revelations.

Types of Play 5 Year Olds Engage In

Active Play

Active play is often one of the favorite forms of play for five-year-olds. These games that five-year-olds engage in typically involve physical activities like running, hopping, or climbing. One popular example is ‘tag,’ a game that not only allows them to expend some energy but also helps in developing their motor skills and coordination.

Imaginative Play

Imaginative play, often referred to as pretend play, is something that five-year-olds take great delight in. They create different characters and scenarios, such as playing ‘house’ where they pretend to be adults doing everyday chores or ‘superheroes’ saving the world. This type of play helps boost their creativity and fosters social skills as they often involve others in their imaginary world.

Creative Play

In terms of creative play, arts and crafts are a big hit among five-year-olds. Whether it’s drawing, painting, or creating collages, these activities allow them to express their creativity and individuality. For example, a child might spend hours creating a colorful drawing of their family or a vibrant painting of a rainbow.

Educational Games

Lastly, educational games play a significant role in a five-year-old’s playtime. These games can range from simple alphabetical puzzles to more interactive digital learning games that help with math and reading skills. These games make learning fun and interactive, and at the same time, help them to prepare for their future academic journey.

Popular Games That 5-Year-Olds Like


Puzzles are a popular choice among 5-year-olds. They offer a fun and engaging way to hone problem-solving skills. Whether it’s a 50-piece jigsaw puzzle of their favorite cartoon character or a wooden puzzle set with different shapes, puzzles can keep a child entertained while stimulating their cognitive development.

Recommended product: Bluey Puzzles

Building Blocks

Another favorite game among five-year-olds involves building blocks. Children can spend hours creating towering structures, intricate castles, or even a make-believe city. This game not only sparks their imagination but also enhances their spatial and motor skills.

Recommended product: Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

Storytelling Games

Storytelling games are also favored by this age group. A game might involve a deck of cards with images that children use to create their own unique stories. This encourages creativity, language development, and sequencing skills.

Outdoor Exploration

Five-year-olds also love games that involve outdoor exploration. For instance, a simple scavenger hunt in the backyard can turn into a thrilling adventure. This type of game promotes an appreciation for nature, observational skills, and physical activity.

Interactive Online Games

In the digital age, interactive online games have also become a popular form of engagement. Educational platforms offer a plethora of games designed to make learning fun. These games might involve identifying shapes, solving simple math problems, or reading a short story and answering comprehension questions. These games are both entertaining and educational, helping to prepare five-year-olds for their upcoming school years.

Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games are a hit among five-year-olds, allowing them to step into the shoes of their favorite characters or even create their own. These games can range from playing doctor and patient to running a pretend supermarket, to being a prince or a princess in a made-up fairy tale. Role-playing games foster creativity, empathy, and social skills as children navigate different roles and learn to interact from various perspectives.

Sensory Play

Sensory play is another form of engagement five-year-olds enjoy. This can include activities such as playing with slime, creating shapes with play dough, or even cooking pretend meals with mud and leaves. Sensory play is crucial for developing fine motor skills and exploring different textures and materials encourages curiosity and investigation.

Recommended product: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Mega Slime Kit & Putty Lab

Sports-Focused Games

As five-year-olds develop their motor skills, they often start to enjoy sports-focused games. These can involve simple activities like throwing and catching a ball, jumping rope, or even learning to swim. These games promote physical fitness, coordination, and an understanding of teamwork and fair play.

Musical Games

Musical games also engage five-year-olds, whether it’s dancing to their favorite tunes, playing simple musical instruments, or participating in musical chairs. These games can help develop their listening skills, sense of rhythm, and expressiveness through movement. Moreover, it brings sheer joy and fun, making it a favorite among kids.

Language and Literacy Games

Games that incorporate language and literacy are a fun way for five-year-olds to begin to grasp the basics of reading, writing, and communication. For example, a game of “letter detective” where children find objects around the house that start with a specific letter. This type of play encourages letter recognition, phonetic understanding, and vocabulary expansion.

Mathematical Games

Mathematical games help five-year-olds learn about numbers, patterns, and basic arithmetic playfully and engagingly. A simple game of “count and match,” where children count objects and match the quantity to the correct numeral, can significantly aid their numerical understanding and counting skills.

Nature-Based Games

Nature-based games, such as identifying different types of leaves or collecting and sorting rocks, can instill an early appreciation for the environment. These games encourage observational skills, and curiosity, and give children a hands-on understanding of the world around them.

Benefits of These Games

These varied games help in the holistic development of five-year-olds. Not only do they aid in physical development through active play, but they also contribute significantly to cognitive development. They help build critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities, and introduce them to basic academic concepts in a fun and engaging manner.

Furthermore, many of these games involve interaction with peers or family members, aiding in their emotional and social development. Through play, children learn to communicate, share, cooperate, and understand the emotions of others, laying the foundation for their emotional intelligence.


In conclusion, five-year-olds engage in a wide range of games that not only provide entertainment but also contribute to their overall development. From puzzles and building blocks to outdoor exploration and educational online games, these activities help children develop essential skills while having fun. As parents, it’s important to encourage and facilitate different forms of play for our five-year-olds, as it plays a crucial role in their growth and learning. So, let’s get playing and have some fun with our little ones!

About the author 

Mai Pham

Mai Pham discovered her passion for writing a few years ago and she never stop thinking about it ever since. She finally took the leap and created Live a Worthy Life to brag about her smart ass (mainly just for fun). Enjoyed the fun writing brings, now with her new interest in everything-baby-related, she created Mommy Instinct, to tell mamas that it's ok that they mess up, that they don't know what the hell they are doing, and that it's okay to sit back and relax for a while.

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