This is the age when youngsters begin to effectively combine motor skills like running to kick a ball, rolling after landing from a jump or traveling in rhythm to music. They continue to be enthusiastic about physical activity in all of its forms, especially when the sport or physical activity is structured so that they can be successful. During this year, youngsters who have spent a substantial amount of time outside of school on skills like riding a bike, swimming, skiing, dance or gymnastics begin to show true proficiency, and the ease and quality of their movement in these skills is obvious. 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.
Excels at running, skipping, hopping, galloping, sliding, etc. and can travel in a variety of rhythmical patterns (e.g., even, uneven, fast, slow). Shows mature form in walking and running. Enjoys traveling in relation to a partner (e.g. in front of, behind, alongside). Travels well in straight, curved and zig-zag pathways, and also in relation to objects (e.g. over, under, around, through). Moves in all directions (e.g. forwards, backwards, sideways) without bumping into others. Contrasts slow and fast movements, as well as smooth and jerky movements when traveling (e.g. running, skipping) and rolling.
Can use more complex combinations of movement skills (e.g., jumping to catch a ball, dribbling and running, rapid transfers of weight from feet to hands to feet).
Performs simple traveling sequences to music (e.g., hop for five beats, balance for three beats, and jump for four beats). Is able to create own sequences to music based on verbal cues (e.g., sample cue: "Use three different ways to travel and match your traveling to the beat of the drum. Start and end the sequence with a round or twisted shape.").
Is able to travel and maintain a consistent distance from a partner (e.g., near or far, alongside, in front and behind). Can travel independently in a large group while safely and quickly changing speed and direction.
Makes smooth transitions from one body part to the next in rolling activities such as side roll, log roll, balance/curl and roll/balance in a new position. Rolls backwards safely and smoothly. Finds it challenging to jump and land from a low hight and then transfer weight into a roll.
Can ride a bike without training wheels. Begins to use combinations of jumps and landings smoothly and without losing balance (e.g., leaps into a two-foot landing, three hops into a two-foot landing). Begins to jump a self-turned rope.
Is ready to practice traveling and throwing and catching. Catches smaller balls consistently and with hands, as opposed to trapping ball against the body. Improves accuracy and force in throwing. Kicks a moving ball from a run with accuracy and distance. Stays in control when traveling and dribbling a ball using hands or feet. Strikes slowly-moving object with bat or hockey stick. Strikes ball consistently with short-handled paddle or racket.
Is typically ready to explore weight-bearing activities that require the transfer of weight from feet to hands to feet (e.g., cartwheels, hand stands, walk-overs).