Cognitive development from 3 to 5 years old


Little one gets smarter during this time as the connections grow faster between different parts of the brain.

Better communication between the left and right sides of the brain brings together creativity and emotions with logic and maths.

This joining of skills makes little one wiser, more able to have empathy and control emotions.

These skills are vital for learning as little one becomes more able to hold back urges and focus on the task at hand.

Give little one plenty of time to play, especially with other children so they can:

  • problem solve, yarn, learn to care for themselves, do big and small motor activities, make choices
  • wire up the higher thinking pathways in the brain.

Talk to little one about other people’s feelings because:

  • they can now understand other points of view
  • this will help wire up the brain so they have empathy.


Little one is better at remembering where and when they learned something as the front logical brain has grown more and the memory parts are connecting better.

At this time the brain is making chemicals that help little one store memories for a long time.

Their growing language skills help make memories last and they can now talk about what happened, where, when and what caused something to happen.

Ask little one questions about what happened in the past and what they learned because:

  • this teaches them how to tell a story – who, what, when, where and why
  • little one learns to think about time and what caused something to happen
  • this can improve little one’s memory skills.
Published — 25 June 2019 Last updated — 25 June 2019

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