How to Create a Daily Schedule for a 5 Year Old

What should you include in a daily schedule for a 5 year old? Check out these activities to do at home or out and about, morning or evening!

Daily Schedule for 5 Year OldEven five years later, parents can still use a daily schedule to keep life humming along. Maybe you had a routine when your child was younger, but have let things slide these days. He’s getting bored easily, and bedtime has pretty much gone out the window. He’s even been having some behavioral issues.

You want to restructure your days and stick to a schedule to see if doing so can help. After all, keeping the family fed, cleaned, and entertained can be pretty challenging. And with no naps at this age, you’re left juggling the day’s activities every waking hour.

What are a few activities you can include your schedule?

Below, I’ll share some of our favorite activities to do during this age. You won’t find hour-by-hour sample schedules, but rather several ideas you can incorporate into your day. Hopefully, you can find something to include in your schedule:

1. Physical play

If weather permits, include time to play outside and get active. Head to the backyard or patio, even if just to have a snack or putter around in the garden.

You can also make it a trip by going to a nearby park or playground, riding a scooter around the block, or throwing a ball or frisbee back and forth. If it’s warm outside, swim in the pool or visit a local splash park.

If you can’t head outdoors, include physical play in your home. You might have a dance party, race around the house, or even do exercises like jumping jacks and sit-ups.

Tip: Look through toys for physical activities to do. You might find items like hula hoops, jump ropes, tennis balls—anything that you may have bought once but haven’t brought out in a while. This can be a good excuse to get outdoors and play.

Children's Books about Swimming

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2. Independent play

One of the best—and, in my home, most important—activities to include in your day is time to let your child play however he wants. Yup, carve a time in his day to do… nothing.

Well, not nothing per se, but a time when nothing is on your agenda. It’s all too easy for us to cram our days with things to do, even if well-meaning. But kids need time to simply tinker at home and decide what they want to do.

And if it sounds boring, even better! This free time encourages him to be creative and find solutions to overcome his boredom.

How exactly do you schedule free play? Set aside a time when he can play with toys and crafts without too much of your help. You might even do a task nearby, like cooking lunch or tidying the house. You’re near enough for company, but you’re not telling him how to play.

Check out 4 reasons kids need downtime.

Kids Need Downtime

3. Sensory play

Even older kids learn and explore through their senses, so try to include simple sensory play in your day. For instance:

  • Fill a tub of water and, using a scrub brush, have her wash a few toys. Offer a towel to dry them off.
  • Rub and smell different scents of herbs in the garden.
  • Have her help you roll balls of dough when you bake (or play with any dough you no longer need).
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk on the driveway.

4. Local library

Your local library likely hosts many activities throughout the week, from crafts to magic shows to story time. Find a few libraries you enjoy visiting and note their activities on your calendar.

Visiting the library also instills the value of reading and learning. Your child gets to explore shelves of interesting books and see other children doing the same. You’re able to sit and read with her and bring books home to read.

5. Chores

It’s never too early to include your 5 year old with chores around the house! She might enjoy being assigned responsibilities she’s never done before.

To get her started, first show her the step-by-step process on how to do the chore. Then, do the task with her. After that, see if she can take on the task on her own. For instance, show her how to put her dirty clothes in the laundry, then ask her to help you. After she gets the hang of it, have her finish the task herself.

If she’s in school, show her how to pack her lunch and school bag in the mornings. Ask her to wipe the dinner table after meals.

And remember to praise her efforts more so than a perfect finished result.

Learn how to get kids to do chores (without constant reminders).

How to Get Kids to Do Chores

6. Learning activities

Carve time in your day for a few learning activities. Imagine what your child would be doing in kindergarten, and find activities she can do at home. Perhaps that’s simple worksheets, reading books together, or playing a math game.

This is also a great time to incorporate open-ended art activities like play dough, painting, and simple crafts. You could help her practice writing her name, and then decorating it with crayons. Place alphabet magnets on the fridge that she can tinker with.

And learning activities can be incorporated throughout the day simply by engaging and talking with her.

As you’re walking around the neighborhood, count how many flowers she can find, and in what colors. Describe how they’re similar or different (“That white flower is much smaller than the yellow one we saw earlier”).

Check out these children’s books about colors.

Children's Books about Colors

7. Errands

Yes, you can still run errands with your child without overwhelming him or feeling like he’s not getting something out of it.

The trick is to stick to one errand a day if possible, especially if you have to get in and out of the car. Kids are willing to go on errands so long as they’re not too long. Then, try to include him in the errand as much as you can. Perhaps you’ll ask for his opinion or get his help with putting items in the cart.

Lastly, you can also combine a difficult errand with a special treat. Maybe you’ll go to the hardware store, then order smoothies after.

8. Screen time

Does your child have screen time during the day? To avoid power struggles, establish rules about how long she can use gadgets or have some TV time. She might also have responsibilities she needs to complete before having the privilege of screen time.

For instance, that might be 30 minutes of television during school days while on weekends, you might be more lenient with watching a movie.

You don’t have to give screen time at all, but if you choose to, setting limits can establish appropriate boundaries.

9. Bedtime routine

No schedule would be complete without winding down from the day with evening routines.

This can be a challenging part of the day since some kids resist going to bed when everyone else is still awake. But with consistency, your child can look forward to your bedtime activities and follow a sleep schedule.

Start by doing the same rituals in the same order at the same time. For instance, brushing her teeth can start at 6:45pm every night. That’s always followed by taking a bath and changing into her pajamas. After that, it’s reading four books in her bed, and so forth.

Whichever activities you decide to do, stick to the same order, and start at the same time every night. She might get so used to the routine that she takes the initiative and does them on her own (all without nagging). And with consistent sleep and wake up times, she can be better rested and ready for the next day.


Your 5 year old can still benefit from having a daily schedule. It’s not always about rigid routines or packing your day, but having predictability and consistent activities.

What should you include in your schedule? As ironic as it may be, carving time for independent play allows him to tinker on his own. Physical play, from dance parties to throwing a ball in the yard, makes sure he gets his energy out and stays healthy.

Include sensory play, especially if he likes to explore with his hands. Your local library probably has a fun lineup of activities, from crafts to story time, that you can attend frequently. Introduce chores early on, and make sure to make them fun and helpful.

Do a few learning activities, whether it’s practicing the alphabet or creating art with play dough. Squeezing in errands is possible, especially if you keep them short and fun. Enforce rules with screen time, and cap the day with a consistent bedtime routine.

Even five years later, a daily schedule still comes in handy!

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