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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 4 to 5 Years > Intellectual Development

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Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 4 to 5 years

Intellectual Development means being able to communicate, to think both creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems, and develop keen judgment and a lifelong readiness to learn.

Emerging Skills
  • Better understand how to sort and classify objects by characteristics
  • Begin to understand the concept of "more" and "less"
  • Become more familiar with different forms of measurement – height, weight, length
  • Recognize and identify "bigger," "biggest," "small," and "smallest"
  • Identify and name different colours
  • Replicate patterns, sequences and order
  • Begin to understand concepts of texture, weight, position and space
  • Better understand and recognize different shapes
  • Experiment with cause and effect
  • Build large structures from blocks
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your preschooler, 4 to 5 Years.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, preschoolers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed

    Parents Can:
  • Support their preschooler's exploration and curiosity about her physical environment
  • Child Will:
  • Feel supported in risk taking and exploring
  • Use her senses to discover properties and characteristics of things, such as those that float and those that sink
  • Make connections between prior knowledge and new connections

  • Parents Can:
  • Stretch their preschooler's creative thinking by asking questions such as "How many different ways can you move your hand?" "How many ways can you say your name?" and so on
  • Child Will:
  • Feel supported to think about solutions from many perspectives
  • Use his imagination and creativity

  • Parents Can:
  • Help their preschooler discover something new everyday, such as a gardening tool, a carpentry item or a dry bean, and ask, "What can we use this for – what do you think?"
  • Encourage curiosity by modeling it
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy the opportunity of learning new things with you
  • Learn that the only way to learn about things is to ask and explore

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, preschoolers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while also learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Provide a variety of card games, for example, "Go Fish" or "Memory"
  • Child Will:
  • Learn basic rules of games, and how to take turns
  • Practice matching, counting and memory skills

  • Parents Can:
  • Encourage their preschooler to create structures by offering a variety of building toys, such as blocks and lego
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand how objects relate in space
  • Will use skills of planning, problem solving and creativity

  • Parents Can:
  • Encourage their preschooler to identify objects by using only her sense of touch. For example, make a "feely" bags with familiar objects inside
  • Child Will:
  • Practice making associations between form and objects without the use of the sense of sight
  • Match labels to hidden objects
  • Stimulate her imagination

  • Teach

    Through routines, and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, preschoolers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Play "I Spy With My Little Eyes," focusing on colours
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to recognize and label colours
  • Begin to use the process of elimination to solve problems

  • Parents Can:
  • Use bath time and bath toys as an opportunity to experiment with concepts such as sink and float
  • Child Will:
  • Learn cause and effect through exploring (for example, light things float, pouring too much water in a cup will make it sink)
  • Begin to understand the concept of weight

  • Parents Can:
  • Use toys such as cars, soft toys and dolls to sort from small to big
  • Child Will:
  • Reinforce his understanding of size
  • Become aware of sequencing according to size
  • Experiment with different patterns

  • Social Development: 4 to 5 years
    Emotional Development: 4 to 5 years
    Intellectual Development - Language: 4 to 5 years
    Intellectual Development - Numeracy: 4 to 5 years

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