5–6 years old: Gross motor skill development

5–6 years old: Gross motor skill development

As kids grow, their movements become more agile. Follow your child’s gross motor skill development from age 5 to 6.

Gross motor skill development enables a child to improve their balance and coordination and use their larger muscles. These skills will help them learn to run, climb, crawl, jump, throw, and perform many other actions and movements. Gross motor skills also play an important role in fine motor skill development.

Gross motor skills: 5–6 years old

At this age:

  • Your child can run more smoothly, almost like an adult.
  • They can throw a ball with force and are better at catching it even if the ball isn’t thrown directly to them (i.e., they can move towards the ball).
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They can throw a ball at the ground and catch it after one bounce.
  • They can balance on one foot for 5–10 seconds and easily hop on one foot over a short distance (3 m).
  • They can pedal a bicycle (usually with the help of training wheels).

Little by little, your child is beginning to do the following:

  • Play games like dodgeball or soccer that require coordinating several different movements, such as walking, running, throwing, catching, and kicking a ball.
  • Go on short bike rides (using training wheels).
  • Easily climb a play structure at the playground.
  • Walk on a narrow ledge (10 cm) while keeping their balance.
  • Catch a ball with one hand.

How can you help your child progress?

Your child is unique and develops at their own pace.They have strengths and weaknesses and are becoming increasingly self-aware. You can help your child develop their gross motor skills with these simple everyday actions:

When you take your little one to the playground,
they improve their coordination and balance through play.
When you play ball with your child (or when they play ball with friends),
they develop their strength and agility as they catch, throw, and kick the ball. They also learn the rules of different games.
When you go for bike rides together,
your child gradually learns how to keep their balance and propel their bike forward.
When you and your child take the stairs instead of the elevator,
your little one’s strength and endurance improve and their heart and lungs get stronger.
When you let your child move around freely, whether they’re indoors or outside,
they learn how to expend their energy in a healthy way.
When you let your child walk along the cement ledges at the park or on sidewalks,
they improve their coordination and develop an interest in going for walks and being physically active.
When you play different sports together,
your child gets to explore a variety of activities and figure out which ones they like best.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté and Andreia R. Malisia, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: September 2021


Photo : iStock.com/mediaphotos



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