Age Appropriate Skills Kids Can Learn


There are some skills that kids appreciate knowing more than what adults think they should learn. And skills kids might be able to really use to form a foundation for a great education. 

The requirements for a list of important skills kids should learn is based on how relevant the skill is to the child at that specific age, and how empowering it may result to be. 

Certain skills are really high on giving kids a sense of confidence in their learning. Some skills act as a trampoline for learning. Just like reading is a required skill to learn from books, speaking a foreign language opens up possibilities for learning and communication.

But more importantly, there are skills kids want to learn because it is important to them at that age. Like learning to whistle, tying their shoe laces, blowing bubble gum bubbles, drawing something accurately. It’s just cool. 

4-5 year olds

The kind of skills that make little kids feel like big kids are at the top of their priority list, and as such, kids will put the most time and effort to master these skills as long as you too encourage and support them:

Swing on the swing

Get dressed

Whistle 

Dig holes 

Brush hair and make pony tails

They do take time and focus so if your child is on learn mode, be conscious of the fact that distracting, rushing, criticizing, diverting them to another task or to stop, does obstruct the learning process.

These are some things kids can learn easily from you or from others. They are not on top of their priority list but they do see that it is important to grown ups and do make them feel a little more like a big kid:

The numbers from 1-20

The sounds of the letters

The names of the shapes

Little kids love cooking and helping in the kitchen. Mostly they just want to do what we do:

Help baking

Chopping veggies, cheese, and fruit

Help making soup 

They can do some chores and most tasks are nicer when you sing a tune. 4 – 5 year olds love songs:

Putting things away where they belong

Memorize simple songs

The alphabet song

Learn a foreign language – The younger kids are, the easier it is to learn a language. They don’t call it a foreign language, for them it is another way to communicate. If they have an outlet to play with kids who speak a different language or they have family members they can practice it with.

There are some great games 4 and 5 year olds can be introduced to. They encourage number sense, mental agility and more importantly they are a good intro to playing other big kid games:

Play dominoes 

Play go fish with kiddie cards 

Get along with other kids

See Absolutely Best Games for 4 – 6 Year Olds

5-6 Year Olds 

These are the most difficult but most important skills at this age: 

Whistle

Make Bubble gum bubbles

Tie shoe laces

Swim

Wrap gifts

Practice building forts

Ride a scooter

Play go fish

Learn lyrics of favorite songs

These are skills 5 – 6 Year Olds can easily learn these, specially if grown-ups make these important:

The numbers from 1-30

The names of the planet in the solar system

Some biology fun facts

Other fun things 5 -6 Year Olds like to and can learn:

Folding clothes

Use a simple juicer

Grate cheese 

Make a salad

Help make cookies

Help make smoothies

Paint

Model with playdough

Plant seeds and tend the garden

Team work

Take turns

See Favorite Activities for Preschoolers and Beyond

6-7 Year Olds

For this age just about every part of life (with the exception of going to sleep) is or can be play:

Build stuff

Make stuff

Draw

Monkey bars

Take showers by themselves 

Write some words, make lists 

Simple addition and subtraction 

Organize bedroom

Clean a surface

Make their bed 

Sweep 

Shop at the dollar store

Make a lemonade stand 

Play card games

Use a shovel 

How to mitigate conflicts when playing 

Team work

How the heart works and what it does for your body, what lungs do, what kidneys do, what the brain does.

Learn the main muscles

Learn the main bones

The seasons

The days of the week

To count and do simple sum and addition using their fingers 

Follow instructions to build LEGO structures

Play bocce ball

See Great Games for 6 year olds.

7-8 Year Olds

Seven and eight year olds have the ability to flip every situation into play or potential play:

Climb trees

Sports

Read

Memorize simple sums

Big sums, and two digit subtraction

Count money

Figure out change

Simple world problems: Figure out how much more money they need to buy something that costs more than what they have

Conceptualize multiplication

Organize a yard sale 

Play board games 

Make braids

Learn to play an instrument 

The months of the year in order

300 word puzzles 

Make a fire

I think there are some other skills that kids at this age need to focus on is being mindful of where to put things: 

For example putting them in such a place that people don’t trip over them, or finding the best place to place an apple in the car so it doesn’t roll off the seat when the car stops, keeping things in places where you can find them latter, placing glasses or water bottles at a safe distance so you don’t knock them over when you are eating. Estimating force and speed.

Play golf

Make a catapult

See our free Natural Science Guide for 5 – 8 Year Olds 

8-9 Year Olds

At this age a lot of the skills are based on adult’s expectations such as:

Be able to tell which foods are more nutritious, what foods are protein or high in protein, what foods are carbohydrates and what that means. What foods are sugar or like sugar. What ingredients are healthy and which ones are not.

Do a lot of chores like: dusting, putting dishes away, sweeping, making the bed, tidying up the house, organizing the pantry.

Cooking eggs, waffles, pancakes, bake cookies.

Be a loyal friend.

Tell time

Ride a bike

Understand what are atoms, cells

Set up a camp site

Read fluently

Learning to really listen to others and offer insight

Identifying the Pros and Cons

See How do I teach my child math? Best Math Skills 

9-11 Year Olds

Read the ingredients of foods at the grocery store.

Learn and understand nutrition: what foods are rich in what vitamins, minerals, nutrients. 

Play chess

Do most chores including: sweeping, mopping, doing the dishes, setting the thermostat, setting the alarm. 

Geometry, how to calculate the radius, circumference, the area of a triangle, etc.

Understand some chemistry 

Read the periodic table 

Learn to prioritize

Multiplication

Division

Be able to tell the cardinal points 

11-13 Year Olds

Make a budget 

Shop for groceries

“Balance the checkbook” or keep track of expenses 

Start a business by themselves

Teach an instrument

Organize events

Understand what it means to be a good friend

Stand up for ones believes and individuality

Not give in to peer pressure

Calculus (if needed)

Algebra (if needed)

Understand borrowing and interest

Understand the many functions of government 

Introduction to politics and social issues

Understand the female cycle

Sailing

13-15 year olds

Understand that “popularity” is for politics and show biz.

Be empathic and understand others’ point of view.

Put yourself in other peoples’ shoes.

Understand your parents.

Understand governments, how it helps society and how it could be improved

Understand paying taxes and how our taxes are used

Study the national budget

Babysit

15-17 Year Olds 

Change a tire
Change oil
Able to label and understand what is under a car’s hood

Make reservations

Travel by plane or train by yourself

Understand credit and interest 

Personal finance

17-19 Year Olds

Read between the lines

Negotiate for a job, salary

Express yourself during an job interview or in business 

Book travel

Drive a car

Agree to disagree

How to navigate a city safely by yourself 

As you can see most of the skills don’t require a packaged curriculum. You can make your own by understanding your child and understand what is developmentally appropriate for kids in general and for your child in particular. 

Also, contrary to what you might find in mainstream education, some of the most important skills for kids are not the ones we think are important. For example, a four year old is expected to learn the numbers and identify letter sounds by the time they start Kindergarten. However, most 4 or 5 year olds will work very hard to learn to swing themselves at the playground.  Some will really put their mind to it until they master that skill because it is relevant to their lives and, well, maybe they just know this is what is expected at their age…in the most important place in their world -the Playground. 

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