Six-year-olds continue to enjoy moving in a variety of ways. Although far from proficient in motor skills, this does little to dampen their enthusiasm for trying out new activities and sports. They are able to run in various pathways and directions, and can manipulate their bodies by jumping and landing, rolling and transferring their weight from feet to hands to feet. Their hand- and foot-eye coordination is still developing, so skills like throwing, catching, kicking and striking are still emerging. With the right equipment, however, and a skillful partner (often a parent) their motor skills continue to improve. 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.
Walks and runs proficiently in a straight direction. Travels backwards at a slow speed. Distinguishes between straight, curved and zig-zag pathways. Continues to develop the ability to stop quickly and on balance, and to change direction rapidly and with control. Skips, hops, gallops and slides by mimicking proficient movers. Enjoys chasing and fleeing games, but has yet to master changing directions and stopping quickly, and often overruns the child being chased. Finds moving on the floor (e.g., crawling, log rolling, pulling weight with arms while dragging feet) especially appealing.
Can use simple combinations of movements (e.g., running and kicking a ball, jumping and twisting).
Moves in response to various rhythmical beats, (e.g., slow and fast, even and uneven). Distinguishes between round, narrow, wide and twisted shapes; symmetrical (the same on both sides of the body) and asymmetrical (different positions on left and right sides of the body) shapes.
Develops an awareness of space (e.g., travels in close proximity to others without bumping into them). Increases ability to control movement while traveling (e.g., travels in backward direction and changes direction quickly and safely, without falling; changes speeds and directions in response to various rhythms; combines traveling patterns with music).
Rolls forward and sideways (e.g., forward roll, log roll) using a jerky rather than smooth flow.
Jumps and lands using combinations of one- and two-foot take offs and landings. Lands without falling most of the time. Can successfully jump a slowly turned long rope turned by skilled turners. Many can ride a bike without training wheels.
Increases use of overhand and underhand patterns to throw a ball for distance and accuracy. Catches a gently thrown large, soft ball consistently. Can kick a stationary ball from a run. Dribbles a ball with hands or feet continually while in a stationary position. Strikes stationary oversize objects with bats, hockey sticks and golf clubs. Strikes balloons or small beach balls consistently with lightweight (foam) paddles. Adults should continue to emphasize distance or strong force over accuracy in skills like throwing, kicking and striking.
Can briefly support own weight in selected activities that develop muscular strength a