Outdoor Activities For Five Year Olds

Encouraging low-key activities during quiet time helps children develop independent play skills.

Are you looking fun activities to do with your five-year-old at home? Our team of early childhood curriculum experts thoughtfully curated these activities from our proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum to help your family Learn On® at home. Whether it’s during mealtime, playtime, clean up time, bath time or bedtime – our at-home curriculum is built so you can easily integrate learning opportunities in seamless, easy and fun ways.

Bird Watcher

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Quiet time, Outdoors

Time recommendation: 5-10 minutes

Participants: Child-led, Siblings

Leaning Domain: Cognitive Development

Learning Standards: Identification skills, Observation skills, Fine motor skills

Materials:
Journals or paper, binoculars, writing or coloring utensils

Invite your child to share what he or she knows about birds. Encourage your child to go bird watching. Take journals and binoculars outside. Challenge your child to look and listen for signs of birds. Ask your child to describe his or her observations. Encourage your child to record his or her findings in the journal and draw pictures of birds that he or she observed.

What other animals did you observe?


Teetering Tower


Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Outdoor

Time recommendation: 10-20 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings, Child-led

Learning Domain: STEM

Learning Standards:Problem solving

Materials:Paper or plastic cups, paper or cardboard, paper or plastic plates

Invite your child to build a tower using common household materials such as paper cups, paper plates, and cardboard. Encourage your child to build a supportive foundation using material he or she deems the strongest. Encourage your child to stack items as high as he or she can. Challenge your child to change the foundation of the tower or the material used to allow it to grow larger.
Extension Question: How did the different items strengthen or weaken the tower?


Animal Sound Game

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Outdoor

Time recommendation: 15 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Creative Arts

Learning Standards: Sound recognition

Materials: Paper, markers

Invite your child to play an animal sound game! Encourage your child to draw pictures of farm animals and pets (or print them from the Internet). Make game cards with the pictures. Hold up the cards one by one and review the sounds associated with that animal. Lay the cards face down in a pile. Take turns choosing a card and making the animal sound. Try to guess what animal is on each other’s cards.

Do animals make more than one sound? What animal sound is your favorite to make?


Pretend Pet Store

Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Outdoor

Time recommendation: 20 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings, Child-led

Learning Domain: Creative Arts

Learning Standards: Creative expression

Materials: Stuffed animals, baskets, blankets, brushes, pretend cash register

Talk with your child about the things that can be found in a pet store. Invite him or her to set up a pretend pet store. Together, gather brushes, baskets, blankets, and stuffed animals. Set up a cash register with play money. Take turns pretending to be the roles of customer and pet store owner with your child.
Extension Questions: What types of jobs do pet store employees perform? What would be your dream pet?


Dribbling and Passing a Ball


Level of instruction: Easy

When: Playtime, Outdoors

Time recommendation: 10 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Physical Development

Learning Standards: Moves with balance, control and coordination

Materials: Large ball

Encourage your child to use his or her feet or hands to dribble the ball. Challenge your child to see how far of a distance they can dribble the ball using only his or her feet and then only his or her hands. Encourage your child to pass the ball back and forth between two people.

Was it easier to dribble with your hands or feet? How far apart can you pass the ball?


Taste Test


Level of instruction: Moderate

When: Playtime, Outdoor, Mealtime

Time recommendation: 10-20 minutes

Participants: One-on-one, Siblings

Learning Domain: Cognitive Development

Learning Standards:
Sensory exploration, Observation skills

Materials: Bandana, various snack foods, spoon

Create taste stations for your child to explore his or her sense of taste! Prepare a blindfold that your child can wear as he or she tastes the items. Be sure to use foods that your child has tasted previously, such as items that are used for snacks. Encourage your child to describe what he or she tastes. Consider foods that may be bitter like dark chocolate, sour like lemon candy, salty like a pretzel, or sweet like ice-cream.

Did you enjoy the food? Was it hard to try food while blindfolded? Was the food hot or cold?

Looking for more activities for you and your five-year-old?

  • Mealtime : Learning can happen any time – even while eating.
  • Playtime : Playtime is a great way to teach your baby without it even feeling like learning.

Or return to the Life Essentials® At Home page to find activities to explore with other age groups.