Development through Play: 5 to 8 Year Olds
What to expect in your Child's Development between the ages of 5 to 8
As children start ‘big school’, they will start to master new skills like reading and writing. They will also get better at problem solving and friends will become increasingly important to them as they grow.
5 to 6 Years
At school children will be in a new environment, surrounded by lots of peers to play with. They will start to have best friends (although these might change on a daily basis) and will continue to enjoy role playing as a group. As part of their games children might start using their reading, writing and maths skills, e.g. setting up a shop and using money, or writing a menu for a café.
The hand muscles and control (known as fine motor) will have got much better, so children will be able to control a pencil to start writing letters and words. Creative activities – like painting and using playdough – are fun and can help continue to strengthen these fine motor skills.
Their new learning environment and improved reading ability will increase children’s vocabulary. When reading together, encourage your child to read parts of the book to you, and discuss the story, for example, relate it to their own experiences, or ask questions about what is happening. Reading will also help your child learn to spell.
Children will love running around the playground or the park, testing their physical capabilities. Stronger muscles and improved coordination mean they can run, jump, skip and more. They can also start learning to ride a bike, which will help to give them a little bit more independence and build their confidence.
7 to 8 Years
Your child will be curious about everything around them; although the frequent “Why?” questions may be frustrating, it is vital for them to learn about the world. They will use play to experiment with ideas, improve their understanding of the world and develop their thinking skills. Puzzles can be popular at this age and these help develop their logical thinking and pattern recognition skills.
Messy play is really popular with pre-schoolers and has lots of benefits. Creating their own Bubble Paintings or playing with Sand and water can help your child learn about measurements (for example, pouring a large cup of water into a smaller cup shows them that the small cup can’t hold as much), as well as allowing them to experiment with materials (such as seeing what happens when sand is mixed with water). During creative play, they will enjoy trying to create different effects with all sorts of materials and tools.
As your child gets older, they will still be very imaginative in their play, but will also like using small world play sets to re-enact and discuss things they have come across in their lives - for example, if playing with a farm set they might talk about the noises a cow makes, and their last trip to the farm. These toys are brilliant for encouraging communication; you can support your child’s learning by asking them about what they are playing.
Reading together remains a valuable and enjoyable experience that can nurture a love of books and encourage discussion around different topics, giving them the chance to ask lots of questions and learn about a variety of subjects. Books with tabs to pull and flaps to lift will get them interacting with the book and keep their attention for longer.
This post was written by Anna Taylor