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Child Development Tracker

Home » 5 to 6 »

Physical Health

Supporting Activities


Can you do the freeze dance? It's Time to Boogie!


Take turns trying to tie! Knots and Bows

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day helps them learn about their growing bodies. Try these great read-aloud books for kindergartners.

Five-year-olds abound with energy and seek active games and environments. Their increased abilities to balance and coordinate movements allow them to ride a bike with training wheels, swim, jump rope and perform most ball-related skills. They show mature form in walking and running, and are able to vary the direction, speed and quality of their movements. They can also use their fingers flexibly to control writing and painting tools, dress and undress dolls, and manage zippers and buttons.

Motor Skill Development

  • Demonstrates mature form in walking and running. Walks backward quickly. Maintains an even gate in stepping.

  • Skips and runs with agility and speed. Most girls skip well; some boys, based on maturation and normal development, lag behind in skipping until as late as 8 years of age.

  • Demonstrates clear contrasts between slow and fast movement while traveling. Begins to be interested in games of chasing and fleeing. Can incorporate traveling skills into a simple game (e.g., "tag").

  • Climbs and hops well. Can coordinate movements for swimming or bike riding.

  • Is able to move in a variety of pathways to the beat of specific types of music. Moves with an awareness of others and the general space available.

  • Can hold a balanced position for 8-10 seconds.

  • Is able to maintain balance while moving quickly (e.g., while playing "tag").

  • Is comfortable balancing in inverted positions and on more narrow bases. Walks a two-inch-wide balance beam well.

  • Rides a bike with training wheels.

  • Can maintain balance when transferring weight from feet to hands.

  • Jumps over objects and lands without falling. Can combine jumping, landing and rolling.

  • Begins to perform most ball-related skills (e.g., throwing, kicking, bouncing, catching, striking) correctly more frequently. Because skills are still not automatic, there is still the need to concentrate intensely on what he or she is doing.

  • Can throw and catch. Tosses a ball and catches it before it bounces twice. Can bounce a tennis ball on the floor once and catch it with one hand. Can stand 12 feet from the wall and hit a target two out of three times using an overhand throw.

  • Has difficulty tossing a ball in the air to oneself and then striking it with a bat.

  • Kicks a stationary ball using a smooth continuous running step. Can kick a ball and strike a stationary target.

  • Attempts to throw, kick, and catch appear more consistent, and repetitions look somewhat alike.

  • Displays high energy levels and rarely shows fatigue. Finds inactivity difficult and seeks active games and environments.

  • Thinks abilities are greater than they are (e.g., may think he or she can jump to the other side of a small stream, but lands in the middle instead). May act overly confident at times, but accepts limit setting and follows rules.

  • Is able to jump rope, and can do so for extended periods.

  • Should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age- and developmentally-appropriate physical activity on all, or most, days of the week.

  • Hits nails with hammer head, uses scissors and screwdrivers unassisted.

  • Builds three-dimensional block structures.

  • Likes to disassemble and reassemble objects and dress and undress dolls.

  • Can lace cards, arrange small colored pegs in a peg board, and sew with large yarn needles and burlap in hoops.

  • Uses drawing and painting tools with efficiency. Gains skill at coloring within outlines. Copies shapes, draws persons, and prints some letters crudely, but most are recognizable by an adult. Prints first name.

  • Dresses quickly. Can zip coat, button and unbutton skillfully, and tie shoes (with adult coaching).

  • Can effectively perform tasks related to grooming and eating.

  • Becomes more proficient at handling a computer keyboard and mouse.

  • Shows a clear preference for being right-handed or left-handed.

Health Status and Practices

  • Shows awareness of personal hygiene needs (e.g., cleans up or grooms when appropriate).

  • Can dress self, but may not put clothes on in the right order or facing the right way. Undressing is still easier than dressing.

  • Goes to bed easily, but is prone to have nightmares.

  • Has toileting in control, but may need an occasional reminder if preoccupied. Some may still wet at night.

  • Is able to feed self, but tends to dawdle.

  • Is able to follow basic health and safety rules, and improves ability to respond appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.

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