21 Fun Activities Parents Can Do With Their 5-Year-Old

Do you have a 5-year-old? Are you wanting to keep them busy to stay out of trouble? Are you at a loss for ways to both entertain them and keep their attention span? If you are finding yourself asking yourself these same questions, this post can give you some ideas.

To get some fun ideas of activities to do with a 5-year-old, keep reading.

Word Board

Make it a surprise! Walk around the house and label every-day objects with the word that describes them. For example, label the sink “sink” and the table “table.” Rehearse the spelling of each word and the reading of each word with your five-year-old for a minute each night before bed or in the morning when it is most convenient for you. Simply presenting the activity as a game and maybe hopping between words will keep up the energy and excitement to go along with the work your child is doing will help him/her be engaged and thrilled about the activity.

Staying consistent is key for him/her to commit the word to memory and improve her reading skills so that the effort you put in won’t be for nothing. Switch the words out every week or however fast you child can read and spell each word correctly without help and from memory or when you can see he/she needs a change of scenery to keep up momentum.

You can also do the same thing in a localized area if you child like arts and crafts. You can collect objects around the house or find pictures on the internet of the objects you can think of that your child likely sees everyday. Post them pictures along with the correlating words side by side on a poster board. Pin it in a place that is naturally visible many times throughout the day. Rehearse and play the game just like you would while moving from place to place for each object but this time, you’ll be pointing to the pictures and words instead.

The purpose of this game is to have a list of words of everyday items that will help the child both correlate items with their proper name, as well as help them learn how to read.

Bubble Art

If your 5-year-old loves bubbles, this activity would be a great option for them. If you already have bubbles from the store you can use those, but you can also make your own with diluted dish soap and water. To create the bubble art, put the bubble solution along with food coloring in a cup and then have your child use a straw to blow bubbles in the concoction, being careful not to have them ingest any. When the bubbles are reaching over the lip of the cup, gently place a piece of paper on top of the bubbles. As the bubbles pop, they will leave a colorful, bubble-shaped stain that will create the art piece.

Sand Pit

A sand box like this one would be an automatic entertainer for 5-year-old kids, but if you don’t have the space and want to reduce the CONSTANT hassle of sand in the hair, use this Kinetic sand box instead.

Most of the times the sand the sand stays in the box when my kids play with it, but it is generally easy cleanup to sweep with your hand the bits of sand that fell onto the counter back into the box.

The kids LOVE the feel of the sand. It is a great sensory activity.

I’ve also used flour and a latched bin too. But you will want to put an apron on your child if you choose to go that route. The flour kind of sticks to their clothes and doesn’t really brush off. It will wash just fine in a regular load of laundry.

Rice works well too for something different to feel and play in. I store the bin with a few random small toys, figurines, plastic spoons and cups in the bin along with the rice or flour inside the same bin for next time. That way it all stays contained and is available to play with again another day.

Skip Counting

If you are wanting to work on your child’s math skills, this activity would be a great starting place. To start this activity, gather cereal, favorite toys, candy pieces, and/or rocks. Have enough of each that you can use the same item to count to the highest number you are wanting to count to. After having the materials you will need, you will place two of the same item in front of the child and have them count how many of the item is in front of them. After they have identified the correct number, place two more in front of them and have them count them.

Let you kid eat the candy and together, play with the toys!

Dice Game

Another math or number-related activity is the dice game. For this game, you will need an ice cube tray, a couple of pairs of dice, whiteboard markers, and some kitchen tissue. To begin this game, you will want to place a die in every other one of the holes in the ice cube tray, making sure they are adjacent to one another in the two rows. Then take the whiteboard marker and draw a plus, minus, and equal sign in the bottom of the holes that do not have dice in them. You can add, remove, or move the dice to switch up the numbers they will be using to complete the equation.

Make a Play with Me Youtube Video

Video you child with a close-up perspective while you watch him/her play with whatever toys your child has and plays with the most often by him/herself, like barbies or cars. Tell you child you are going to make a “play with me” video and ask him/her to take the toys to the beach and make them have a beach day while you video the the toys close up as your son/daughter make them move and talk.

You can post the video on your Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, or just have it on your phone so that your kid can watch the video they created!

Leaf Art or Fairy Garden

Grab a paper or plastic sack and go outside to collect the leaves, flowers, pinecones, twigs, grass, etc. Then draw a picture of a scene you want your fairies to live in. Think of where each of the items you gathered would fit into the scene. For example, if you gathered leaves, you would want to draw a tree. If you gathered pebbles, draw a river! Then let your child glue the leaves and other items onto the paper to create their art piece.

Elmers glue is great for the paper, but doesn’t work very well for gluing other things. Use this low temperature hot glue gun for kids to help them be successful with their art without tears and frustration. I also think these colored glue sticks would be fun to use for rivers, trees, and other parts of the picture if you wanted to amp up the activity with something other than markers.

Story Time

Read in an enthusiastic way; use different voices, hand motions, exaggerated facial expressions, and act it out full-body at times! That will help keep your child engaged. Five year olds just need something to look at and mimic.

Some of my favorite kids books are The Wonky Donkey, Hidden Picture Books , How to Catch Books, Sneezy the Snowman, Weird but True Books, Dinosaur Goes to Church, and my most favorite–The Cape by Tauscha Johanson.

It’s easy to read a story and pick something from the book that you can create out of paper to add a project for further activity. Anything from one of the pictures or something to do with theme of the story.

Butterfly Life Cycle Activity

The materials you can use for this activity are up to you and what you have available to you. You can either use colored construction paper or various shapes of dry pasta if you choose to do that. Using a blank piece of paper, simply draw the different stages of the butterfly life cycle, including the egg, the caterpillar, the cocoon, and finally the butterfly. Then use the varying shapes of pasta to show in a 3D visual what each stage of the life cycle looks like in real life.

Junior Scrabble

Junior Scrabble is the same idea as regular Scrabble but simplified that your 5-year-old can grasp the concepts and learn more words and how to read and say them. For this activity, you will need a piece of paper, a pencil, and letter squares, just like the ones you use for regular Scrabble. Once you have all the materials gathered, write down some words that are both familiar to the child and then some challenging ones that they are learning to spell. Because the words are already spelled out for them, all they have to do is then look at the word on the paper and then find and identify the correct letters to spell the word.


Origami is meant to be a fun activity but also can help the child learn precision and focus as they work to make the folds just right to create their desired piece. That being said, it is important to keep the choices of origami simple and not overly complicated. For this activity, all you will need is several pieces of paper. You can use crayons or colored pencils if your child would like to color and decorate their piece afterward.

Craft Box

Although a craft box isn’t really an activity itself, it is a good idea to have a craft box full of safe, entertaining materials that your child can have access to independently initiate creativity and play. Some of the materials you can include in your craft box are pipe cleaners, craft eyes, yarn, popsicle sticks, and even felt squares. While you should not leave your child alone and to their own devices with all of this material, it is important to help the child feel like they are capable and in charge of their own creativity and learning.

Squeeze Paint

While this activity may be somewhat messier than the others, it is very entertaining to the child and lets their imagination become very active. To start this activity, you will want to gather some white glue, empty squeeze bottles, watercolor paint, as well as some white craft paper. Mix some of the glue with the desired color of paint in the empty squeeze bottle, creating colored glue. The child can then use that paint and glue mixture to create their art piece on the paper. When they are done painting, let the paint dry and you have the finished product.

Art with Seeds and Grains

This is a great activity if you are wanting to work on your child’s hand-eye coordination. To prepare this activity, take a sheet of paper and draw simple drawings like a flower, a tree, or a snake. Fill the inner area of the drawing with glue and then allow your child to take the seeds or grains you have chosen to decorate the glued area. You will want to wait to place the glue until you are ready for them to start decorating, otherwise, the glue will be too dry for the seeds or grains to stick well enough.

Parts of a Plant Craft

This activity brings the best of both worlds in regards to educating your child about the different parts of a plant, as well as allowing them to be involved in a creative art project. Beforehand you will want to create a representation of a plant by either drawing it out or using materials like popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners. When that is finished, have the different parts of the plant written out on small pieces of paper with tape on the back, so you can then go over and help your child identify and place the name of the part of the plant on the correct area.

Lego City

Even though having your child play with legos may seem unproductive, it actually is helpful in stimulating fine motor skills and becoming familiar with their hands, wrists, fingers, and how they all work together. While there really is no structure to this activity, letting the child have free reign over how they play with the Lego blocks also encourages their imagination.

Sorting Colored Candy

Another activity geared towards fine motor skills is having your child sort colored candy like M&Ms or Skittles, by their colors. Have a bowl of colored candy of all colors mixed up, as well as separate, empty bowls labeled with the names of colors. Then have your child place the correlating color into the correctly named bowl. Not only is this encouraging the use of fine motor skills, but also helps them learn and identify colors and the names of colors.

Giant Nail Painting

Get a large piece of cardboard that can lay flat on a hard surface such as a table or counter. Take either your own hand or your child’s hand and trace it with a marker, drawing fingernails on each finger. Have the child then take paint and a paintbrush and let them paint the nails on the hand that was drawn on the cardboard.

Sprinklers, Toy Car Wash, and Water Balloons

I was always searching for different parks around the places I lived to take my kids to. It was was fantastic way for me to get a break and for your children to spend sometimes entertaining themselves and playing with other children that happen to show up. Kids make friends so easily at that age!

Make a bucketlist of all the parks in your areas, including subdivision parks and school playgrounds. Make it a challenge for you and your kid to play at each of the parks within a certain period of time, maybe a month of two.

Pick a day you want to get out each week and be consistent with it for at least four weeks. I promise you’ll make good memories with the kids and they will feel like, at that point, it’s something they get to look forward to doing with mom each week.

These water balloons are fun for the kids to fill up on their own and break them willy nilly!

A toy car is easy with two buckets or bowls of water. Fill one bucket with clean water, and one bucket with soapy water. Then lay out a dishtowel for sun-drying. Pile up toy cars and people figures for the kids to wash, rinse, and dry with just the two bowls! My kids washed and re-washed toys for an hour or more. Aw. Bliss!