13 surprising games for 5-year-olds

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Whether it's a board game or 5 minutes of hopscotch, the simplest games allow XNUMX-year-olds to improve their language, motor and social skills.

A 5 year old needs a balance between organized sports, art activities and free play.

Best games for a 5 year old

They also need a bit of alone time so they can release their energy and inner chaos too, says Dr. Michael Ungar, author of I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from Their Parents.

Try to play games where you as an adult are there to provide some coaching in case a game doesn't quite go the way they would like, which is very necessary at this age.

Read on for these unique and fun games and activities to play with your 5 year old.

From toddler to toddler activity book collection

Educational games and coloring pages for 3 to 6 years

Your toddler and preschooler will love this e-book, along with the accompanying printables. He or she can play with it at every stage of development, together with mom and dad.

Buy at Bol.com

Best games for 5-year-olds


This classic card game helps children develop important memory skills and is now available in a huge number of variants.

Children who cannot read yet have to rely on their memory much more than their older counterparts, which is why Memory is perfect for 5 year olds.

Choose a set of pictures with things that your child already likes, such as baby animals, things on the farm, Miffy. It doesn't matter, as long as they enjoy playing with it.


This beautiful theater game will make everyone laugh and you can make it as crazy as you want.

As a facilitator, go through a series of daily tasks or experiences:

  • camping
  • eat an ice cream
  • bowling
  • change a tire
  • change a light bulb (oh no, LED bulb!)
  • listen to music on your iPhone
  • to watch a movie
  • be a rock musician
  • blowing out candles on a birthday cake
  • or make pancakes and flip.

There are endless things to depict and hopefully your child can guess all of them. Probably at this age just too young to portray things yourself, but you can try.


This game requires a minimum of three players.

  • The facilitator acts as the 'interpreter' while a child sits next to him or her and acts as the 'alien', an alien being visiting from another planet.
  • The 'audience' (a brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, dad or mom) asks the interpreter several questions about the alien, and the interpreter in turn translates the questions into the improvised language and the alien responds in the same crazy language.

It's a great game to develop early public speaking.

Puppet show

It's easy to build a mini puppet theater with a large cardboard box and they'll probably arrive at your door a few times a month with everything from useful groceries to things for the pets and kids.

Dolls can be made from popsicle sticks, paper, and some felt.

Choose a story from a favorite book or fable, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or Little Red Riding Hood and you can make the dolls that way.

Or, if like me you don't really have freuble talent you buy a nice puppet theater set, but making it is much more fun.

The scarf

In this game everyone has to be in a circle.

  • Grab a scarf (or if you don't have one, a hat or a glove or any other item of clothing) and tell the group, “This is a pig,” or some other type of animal or object.
  • Then describe it. For example, if you were talking about a pig, you would say, "it is very crabby and smelly and loves to roll in the mud!"
  • Pass the scarf and instruct everyone to describe their object or animal. It's a great game to fire the imagination!

Make paper planes

Use all the paper that was destined for recycling from the paper bin and build a fleet of paper airplanes.

Then you can launch them from an upstairs window, straight into the backyard!

You can make different types and see which one flies the furthest.

Write a story

Use your imagination and write a story together.

It doesn't have to be original, the kids can write down their favorite fairytale and change the ending if they feel like it.

I've written before about a great course I found on writing children's stories, and it also helps guide the process.

Another great idea is to write chain stories with friends.

  • Each person writes a paragraph and then shows only the last line to the next writer.
  • Once the last person has written their part read the whole story out loud, it's usually pretty funny!

Let them help you

If you are cooking or cleaning, let your children help. Give them a job they can handle, but a lot of things are perfect for a 5-year-old already.

For young children that might be peeling beans (or totally hip now: skinning chickpeas!) Or setting the table.

Older children can of course also help, such as cutting vegetables, sweeping the house or throwing it away in the right recycling bin.

Give them an important mission

Give your child a task and make it a really big deal.

Tell them to draw a picture for Dad, or to make a block fort for Grandma.

If they believe it is an important task, they will not complain that they are working on it independently.

Generate a suggestion box

Brainstorm with your kids about what to do when they get really bored.

Write down their suggestions and put them in an empty box. The next time they get bored, let them choose one of their own suggestions.

Since it was their idea, they are more likely to want to do it.

Listen to an audiobook

If your child is too young to read independently, bring audio versions of their favorite books or new ones they don't know yet.

It is really nice to have them sit and turn the pages while listening to a friendly voice that reads exactly that book.

I love Storytel, also for myself, and I have already written a review about it. They also have tons of children's books.

Or, if you can't find a recording, use your phone to make your own and put it on once.

Play with locks and bolts

Give your child a lock and a key or a nut and bolt and let them play with it.

Young children, in particular, will be mesmerized that they can unlock something and they will develop their motor skills as they go.

Give them a mixed bag and see if they can figure out which lock goes with which key or which bolt goes with which nut.

Let them play with a camera

Give your child a digital camera and let them take pictures.

They stay distracted while taking selfies and videos long enough to get something done.

Then you get to see what the world looks like through your child's eyes and you can watch them together on the big screen.

Tip: this game is even more fun if you give them a set of assignments that they have to photograph! This way they can be sweet for a while.

How do you ensure that games are a success with 5-year-olds?

To ensure that games are a success with 5 year olds, below are some tips.

  1. Simple rules: Choose games with simple rules that are easy for young children to understand. Avoid games with too much complexity.
  2. Short playing time: 5-year-olds tend to have shorter attention spans, so choose games with a fairly short playing time. This prevents them from getting bored.
  3. Interaction: Choose games that encourage social interaction, such as group games where children play together or against each other. This promotes social skills.
  4. Safety: Make sure the play materials are safe for 5-year-olds. Avoid small parts that they can swallow and provide supervision during play.
  5. Themes and interests: Consider the children's interests when choosing games. For example, if they like animals, animal-related games can be fun.
  6. Variation: Offer a variety of games to keep them from getting bored. Alternate board games with active games such as hide and seek or ball games.
  7. Rewards: Consider small rewards, such as stickers or small treats, to increase motivation and make the game more fun.
  8. Adaptability: Be willing to adjust the rules or reduce the difficulty as necessary so that all children can enjoy the game.
  9. Accompaniment: Provide guidance and explanation of the rules of the game by an adult to avoid confusion.
  10. Positive atmosphere: Keep the atmosphere positive and encourage all children regardless of their performance in the game.

By taking these tips into account you can ensure that all fun games be a success and provide a fun and educational experience for 5 year olds.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.