Print this page Play for School-Age Kids

Children in the early primary grades are increasingly competent at taking care of themselves and their personal needs.  They are increasing their cognitive and language skills by leaps and bounds as they learn to read, write, compute, and solve problems.  They may have more mood swings as they become more dependent on friends and less on parents.


Some favorite play activities for children in the early primary grades include:[1]

  • Arts & crafts:  cutting, pasting, painting, coloring.  Also increasingly complex weaving, sewing, and jewelry making
  • Imaginative play with dress-up clothes and props—including lots of acting out family and work roles
  • Lap reading and independent, self-sustained reading
  • Paper-and-pencil games and games involving number, letter, and word recognition plus dot-to-dots, number-to-number, and copying and tracing
  • Computer play
  • Real cooking or parts of the process with adult supervision
  • Real carpentry or parts of the process with adult supervision
  • Eye-hand coordination activities:  ring or bean bag toss, beginning basketball or other sports
  • Outdoor games like hopscotch and jumprope
  • Bicycling, roller skating, swimming, climbing, swinging, digging, throwing, catching, batting activities
  • Gardening and lawn-care play
  • Musical play
  • Writing and illustrating books
  • Collecting objects
  • Card games and board games
  • All kinds of games with rules


[1] Resources consulted include: (1) By the Ages:  Behavior & Development of Children Pre-Birth through Eight by K. Eileen Allen and Lynn R. Marotz.  Published by Delmar, a division of Thompson Learning, Albany, New York:  2000; (2) The American Academy of Pediatrics:  Caring for Your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5:  The Complete and Authoritative Guide, by S.P. Shelov and R. E. Hannemann.  Published by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishers, New York:  1994.


Provided By Susan J. Oliver, Tropomedia
This information is provided on behalf of the toy experts at your
neighborhood toy store.

Play From Birth to Twelve Months
Play for One-Year-Olds
Play for Two-Year-Olds
Play for Three-Year-Olds
Play for Four-Year-Olds
Play for Five-Year-Olds
Play for School-Age Kids