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Baby & Toddler, Motherhood

50 things to do before you’re 5 | Includes a free printable containing 50 things

They’re born, they grow and before you know it, they’re heading to school. They should, of course, be able to do certain things before they head into an education setting. So here is my list of 50 things to do before you’re 5. Most of these are functional and part of everyday life, something that we all have to learn to be a part of.

Remember though, every child is different and it will take some longer than others to do certain things. If you are concerned that your child isn’t going to tick these boxes in time then please speak to your child’s nursery worker, your health visitor, or a doctor. I am not a trained professional, but this is a little list of things that I am working towards with my little boy and I hope that it will help you too!

I’m also aware that this list of 50 things to do before you’re 5 may be quite difficult to keep tick off, so at the bottom you will find a free printable. Print it off and put it on the fridge. You can tick each item off as your child reaches it. This will also provide you with prompts of things that you can encourage your little one to do, so they develop the skill they need.

50 things to do before you're 5

50 things to do before you’re 5 – a guide for those with young children

Self care for 5 year olds

blowing their nose

1) Know how to wipe their own nose. When their full of a cold, it would be helpful for them to be able to blow their own nose. That said, I’m pretty sure that it takes a long while for most children to mater this skill! Practice makes perfect though!

2) Be able to wash and dry their hands. Ideally, they will be able to do this by themselves.

3) Ask for help if they don’t feel well. If they do start to feel poorly, they’ll need to be able to let their school teacher know!

Speaking and literacy

50 things to do before you're 5 - speaking and literacy

4) Show interest when they’re reading stories and looking at picture books. Your child might not be a massive book worm, but it’s important that a book hold their attention for a short amount of time, as they’ll soon start learning how to read.

5) Talk about themselves, their needs and their feelings. You might have a child that is always asking what and why and if you do then that’s brilliant! Encourage your little one to ask questions and to express themselves.

6) Practice recognising their name when it’s written down. If your child goes to nursery, it’s often a good idea to get them familiar with where their peg is when they’re putting their coat on. That way, they’ll start to understand and remember how their name looks written down.

Getting dressed and undressed

50 things to do before you're 5 - getting dressed and undressed

7) Button and unbotton their clothes on their own. Sometimes they can’t be bothered and just want mummy or daddy to do it, but they need to know how. After all, you won’t be sat with them in the school classroom.

8) Put their own shoes and socks on. When kids put their own shoes and socks on it can take an age, but it is important you give your child the time and space to learn how to do it themselves.

9) Put on their own coat and use a zip. We all know that zips can be fiddly, so get them to practice and remember to heap them in praise when they successfully manage to zip their coat up!

10) Recognise when they are too hot or too cold. Knowing how to do this will help them to know when to put their jumper on (and take it off) in the school classroom!

Interest in the world and new activities

A child exploring their surroundings

11) Enjoy learning about the world around them. Most children have a natural curiosity. You can promote this by asking them questions, as well as answering to questions they put to you!

12) Show interest in exploring new activities and environments. Sometimes small children are overwhelmed in new surroundings, if that’s the case, tentatively show them that it’s ok and safe to explore.

13) Ask questions. Encourage them to do this. Even if sometimes you have to tell them that you don’t know the answer!


A child eating with a knife and fork

14) Be able to use a knife and fork. If they tend to eat with their fingers, try and encourage using a knife and fork!

15) Open a lunch box on their own. If you’re planning to send them in with a packed lunch, then this one is essential!

16) Be confident opening packages or wrappers. For example, tacking a yogurt lid off.

17) To recognise when they feel hungry. That way they’ll know to eat their dinner!

Writing skills

50 things to do before you're 5

18) Have experience of tracing patterns and colouring in. If you send them to a childcare provider, then it’s likely they will do this regularly. Check if you’re unsure!

19) Enjoy experimenting with different types of scribbles. Mark making is important, so encourage it!

20) They’ve practiced holding a pencil. When it comes to the list of 50 things to do before you’re 5, this one is important. You don’t wnat your child looking perplex the first time they see a pencil!

Going to the toilet

50 things to do before you're 5 - going to the toilet alone

21) Be able to go to the toilet alone, wipe properly and flush. Toilet independence is important when it comes to being school ready.

22) To say when they need the toilet. Encourage your child to say when they need the toilet. That way, they can tell their teacher at school.

23) Wash and dry their hands without help. This is a skill which they’ll hopefully develop when they’re potty training!


Children tidying things away

24) Be happy being away from their parents / main carer. After all, mummy can’t join them in class! Try to arrange for them to spend time away from you if they don’t already.

25) Know how to tidy their belongings away. Most children don’t enjoy doing this, but it’s important they know how to.

26) Be able to look after their things. You’ll be grateful for this when they come home with their school jumper, instead of leaving it in the school hall!

27) Feel confident about starting school. If they’re going to school, you’ll want them to feel happy about and to understand how their new routine will look.

28) Know what your school is called and where it is. Once their school place has been confirm, start to get your child familiar with where they’ll be going. Tell them what the school is called and show them where it is.

Listening and understanding

Children sitting and listening

29) Be able to sit and listen for a short amount of time. Again, this is skill that your child will probably pick up at nursery. If they don’t attend, then make sure you practice it at home.

30) To follow simple instructions. You can ensure your child knows how to follow instructions by asking them simple things.

31) To be able to understand and follow simple rules. You can do this by asking your child to do simple things like holding hands as you walk down the street. That way, they’ll be familiar with following simple directions.

32) Know how to name a selection of farm animals, shapes and vehicles. This will help them to develop their memory.

Sharing and turn taking

50 things to do before you're 5 - children playing games

33) Knowing how to share toys. Encourage them to do this when they’re with other children.

34) Being able to take turns. Again, this is a skill that will be developed when they’re around other kids.

35) Play games with others. Try to engage in playing with your child so they’re able to do it with other children.

36) Interact with other children. Your 5 year old will learn to do this, simply by being around other children.

Counting skills

50 things to do before you're 5 - counting

37) Enjoy practicing counting objects. You can get toys to assist with this.

38) To be able to count to 20. A great place to learn how to count is the stairs. Count them as you walk up them!

39) Know how to say number rhymes and how to play counting games. If you don’t know any, then Google some popular ones.

40) Recognise some numbers written down. You can turn leaning this skill into a game.


50 things to do before you're 5 - master a good bedtime routine

41) Practice putting on their school uniform. They will probably enjoy doing this! You might have problems getting them to take it off again!

42) Try to practice leaving the house on time. You have to be at school on time, so if you’re regularly late and your child takes their time, practice this skill. Buy a set of egg timers if you need your child to work on being efficient. If they take a long time brushing their teeth in the morning, or eating their breakfast, then this could be especially helpful.

43) Have a good bedtime routine, so they’re not tired for school. Most children like to play for time, but it’s important they learn to go to bed at a decent time. Otherwise they will be tired in school and falling asleep at their desk.

44) Have a regular bath and washing routine. Having a routine with personal hygiene can help with both nigh-time and morning routines.

45) Learn how to eat at times when they do at school. Go to the school’s website to find out what time lunch is at. It may be earlier than the time your child usually eats at.

Family life

50 things to do before you're 5 - visiting the seaside

46) Know who their immediate family is. It’s likely that they will know this before they are five, but it’s important they’re aware of who will pick them up at the school gates of a morning.

47) Have been to the seaside. Going to the seaside is a right of passage for a kid, that’s why we’ve added it to our list of 50 things to do before you’re 5. Try and get them to the beach at least once before their fifth birthday.

48) Know how to sit in a public place and eat a meal. You don’t have to take them to a fancy restaurant, but they should have some experience of eating around others and away from their home.

49) Be aware of where the local park and play centre are. It’s important that your five year old is familiar with their favourite places!

50) Have visited the supermarket with a shopping list. Doing the supermarket shop is a life school you should try and introduce your child to before they turn five. Take them along when you do the food shop and get them to tick items off.

What if you planning a home schooling environment?

If you’re planning to home school, then you should still consider working through this list. Your child might not need to be school ready, but they will need to develop life skills such as these and have experiences similar to their peers. You can support your child to ensure they reach these milestones.

If you found this list of 50 things to do before you’re 5 useful, check out my baby and toddler section.

I have also created a free printable containing this list of 50 things to do before you’re 5. I hope you find this list of 50 things useful! Print a copy off for your fridge.

50 things to do before you're 5

50 things to do before you're 5 - a printable

50 things to do before you're 5 - a printable