4–5 years old: Gross motor skill development

4–5 years old: Gross motor skill development
Your child’s gross motor skill development at 4–5 years. Follow your child’s milestones step-by-step.

Gross motor skill development allows babies to exercise their balance, coordination, and large muscles. These abilities will help your little one master certain movements, such as sitting, crawling, walking, running, climbing, and jumping. Developing gross motor skills is also an important step toward developing fine motor skills.



Gross motor skill development: 4–5 years old

At this age:

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.
  • Your child can ride a tricycle without bumping into things.
  • They can throw, catch, and bounce a ball with greater ease.
  • They can walk in a straight line forward and backward, taking heel-to-toe steps.
  • They can walk about 10 steps on their heels.
  • They can jump forward and backward over short distances.
  • They can jump several ways (feet apart, feet together, on one foot) and alternate these jumps while playing hopscotch, for instance.
  • They can jump and land facing the opposite direction.

Over the next few months, your child will begin to do the following:

  • Walk down stairs by putting a single foot on each step, without support.
  • Jump down from a height of 0.5 metres.
  • Hop a short distance.
  • Kick a soccer ball.
  • Ride a bicycle with training wheels.
  • Hop on one foot.
  • Hop from one side of a line to the other, feet together, without stopping between each hop.
Find out how to support your child’s gross motor skill development through books. (In French)

How can you help your child progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your child’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will benefit your child’s gross motor skill development.

Comfort
When you allow your child to explore their physical environment and be curious,
 
they use their motor skills to discover new things about the objects that surround them.
When you encourage safe play—for example, by encouraging your child to wear a helmet when riding their bike or to be careful when throwing a ball to someone—
 
they get to practise their newfound abilities safely.
Teach
When you go for a bike ride with your child in the park or around the neighbourhood,
 
they get to learn more about their environment, see new places, and meet new people.
When you invite your child’s friends over to play outdoor games, such as hide-and-seek, tag, or soccer,
 
your child uses their coordination skills while learning the rules of the game.
Play
When you create an obstacle course around the house or through the yard and explain to your child how to complete it safely,
 
they learn to follow instructions and practise different motor skills as they crawl under chairs, keep their balance, jump over objects, and more.
When you watch sporting events on television and imitate the athletes’ movements along with your child (safely, of course),
 
they get to practise moving in different ways while working on their strength and coordination.

 

Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Stéphanie Boivin and Sonya Côté, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: April 2019

 

Photo: iStock.com/Igor Negovelov

 

Sources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.

  • Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. Physical Activity in Early Childhood: Setting the Stage for Lifelong Healthy Habits. April 2011. www.child-encyclopedia.com
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Ferland, Francine. Viens jouer dehors! Pour le plaisir et la santé. Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2012, 122 pp.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca

 

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