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Child Development Tracker

Home » 4 to 5 »

Physical Health

Supporting Activities

Mister Rogers

Take turns as you practice throwing with your child. Bottletop Toss

Help your child develop balance and coordination Walking the Line

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day is a great way for them to learn new skills. Try these great read-aloud books for preschoolers.

Four-year-olds can engage in long periods of active play and exercise. They are skillful at walking, climbing, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching and galloping. They also are better able to throw, catch, kick and bounce balls. Improved finger dexterity allows them to hold writing tools with a more mature, tripod grip. Advances in hand-eye coordination help four-year-olds do puzzles, play with toys that have small parts and dress and undress without assistance.

Motor Skill Development

  • Achieves skillful levels of proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching and galloping. Walks heel-to-toe, skips unevenly, and runs well. Walks down steps by alternating feet. Judges well in placing feet on climbing structures. May be able to hop three or four times without touching both feet to the floor.

  • Begins to understand the use of movement concepts while traveling throughout a space (e.g., walks in a curved pathway, gallops in a straight line). Understands the need to travel through space without bumping into others.

  • Stands on one foot for five seconds or more. Masters the low balance beam (4-inch-width), but has difficulty on a narrower beam without watching feet.

  • May still lose balance when jumping.

  • Begins to coordinate movements to climb on a jungle gym or jump on a trampoline.

  • Is able to balance while doing a forward roll and not fall over.

  • Supports weight on combinations of body parts (e.g., head, hands). Momentarily supports weight on hands alone (e.g., donkey kick).

  • Demonstrates increasing abilities to coordinate movements in throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls. Doesn't yet expect successful results when playing with balls, and more often appears surprised when he or she performs ball-related skills (e.g., throwing, kicking) correctly. May seem to be controlled by the ball, rather than the other way around.

  • Bounces a large ball and catches it. Can throw a ball underhand to a target 10 feet away.

  • Is able to kick a ball along the ground while moving behind it.

  • Strikes a balloon in the air with different body parts. Is starting to be able to strike a balloon with a lightweight paddle or hit a suspended ball. Can strike a large ball off a batting tee with a plastic bat. Has difficulty striking with long-handled implements (e.g., bats, hockey sticks).

  • Can engage in long periods of active play and exercise.

  • Lacks wrist strength to propel self effectively on monkey bars.

  • Should not be limited to sitting in a classroom for periods of more than 60 minutes. Should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age- and developmentally-appropriate physical activity on all, or most, days of the week.

  • Improves hand-eye coordination in building complex block structures, doing puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing small beads, putting small pegs in small holes, using tools (e.g., hammer, screwdriver) and pouring sand or liquid into small containers.

  • Becomes more proficient at handling a computer keyboard and mouse, but fine-motor skills are still developing so some children may have difficulty controlling these tools.

  • Manipulates play objects that have fine parts.

  • Can cut on a line continuously with scissors, if sufficient practice has been provided.

  • Progresses in abilities to use writing, drawing and art tools like pencils, markers, chalk, paint brushes, etc. Draws combinations of simple shapes, people with at least four parts, and objects that are recognizable to grown-ups.

  • Dresses and undresses without assistance. Laces shoes or clothing but cannot yet tie.

  • Brushes teeth and combs hair.

  • Rarely spills with cup or spoon.

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

Health Status and Practices

  • Dresses and undresses without help, brushes teeth and combs hair, and completes other personal care activities independently.

  • Cleans up without constant supervision.

  • Tries new food on own. Prepares simple, healthy snacks.

  • Improves ability to calm oneself.

  • Can participate actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of physical activity.

  • Washes and dries hands before eating and after toileting.

  • Continues to build awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules, such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, as well as respond appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances and activities.

  • Shows greater judgment and awareness of own limitations; still requires supervision from grown-ups to ensure safety.

  • Knows how to follow routines in emergency situations and/or seek help.

  • Begins to demonstrate safe practices and appropriate use of materials

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