This is the age when the amount of practice and play done in the earlier years begins to manifest itself in skillfulness and in what might be called "athleticism." Motor skills like throwing, catching, kicking, balancing, rolling and batting approach the mature stage and allow some youngsters to be highly successful in traditional sports like baseball, soccer and basketball. Earlier years of practice also provide the foundation for success in sports like skiing, skating, golf, dance and gymnastics. This age is also the time when youngsters frequently begin to identify themselves as "athletic" or "unathletic," thereby influencing their future involvement in sports and physical activity. Note: During this period of development, children's actual skill levels will vary based on their amount of physical activity. Sedentary children will not mature as quickly as those who participate in activities like dance lessons, team sports, or backyard play.
Travels in advanced patterns (e.g. grapevine, leaping) and in combinations (e.g. hop, leap and jump). Moves to a variety of rhythmical beats. Travels at fast speeds and changes directions to avoid others. Stops quickly and with balance. Changes directions quickly and safely on command.
Combines movements and the control of objects to allow successful participation in small-sided (i.e., fewer players in a smaller playing area) games and sports.
Performs simple dances in rhythm to music. Creates own rhythmical movement sequences with a partner in response to verbal cues (e.g., sample cue: "Work with a partner to create a sequence that uses two different ways of traveling, three jumps, and one roll. Begin and end the sequence with an asymmetrical balance.").
Defines and maintains personal space (e.g., distance from others when moving through space as part of a group). Begins to understand the concept of moving in relation to a group (e.g. in dance, when playing defense or offense).
Shows improved control and appropriate form (e.g., curled position, protection of neck) in rolling activities such as forward roll, shoulder roll and safety rolls. Smoothly incorporates rolling with other skills (e.g., rolling into a balanced position; jumping from a height, landing and then transferring weight into a roll). Is likely ready to explore rolling to catch or volley a ball.
Begins to show mature form of leaping. Is able to successfully land on one foot and maintain steady balance. Jumps self-turned rope 10 times in a row without a miss.
Uses mature form more frequently when throwing and catching. Can throw and catch with a stationary partner or while traveling slowly. Throws different objects with consistency (e.g., football, flying disc). Catches balls at different levels and places around the body. Dribbles and kicks a ball with accuracy and force while traveling. Punts a ball inconsistently. Uses hands, feet, hockey sticks or other objects to effectively dribble a ball while traveling in "crowded" spaces. Is able to keep the ball away from a defender while dribbling. Bats a pitched ball with consistency. Strikes a ball with a racket continually with a partner. Begins to show mature form in many of these skills. Uses appropriate force (strong or light) when manipulating objects (e.g., batting, striking with a golf club, throwing or kicking a ball).
Supports own weight for several seconds at a time when hanging or climbing with upper or lower body. Is able to coordinate upper and lower limbs to successfully traverse a climbing wall, for example. Begins to show mature form with movements like cartwheels and handstands.