Information for parents, caregivers and early childhood educators
The importance of physical activity in the first six years of life
Activity Benchmarks - For 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds
Parents want to know
As you can see, boys and girls differ in the age that they can do a particular Parents and caregivers want to know what different movement and physical skill, and for every skill there is a very wide range of NORMAL ages at which a skills children can do by different ages. This question is often asked as “what skill can first appear. Being early in one skill, or later in another, has NO real should my child be able to do by now” or “when will my child be able to.” meaning. It does not mean that the child is “advanced” or “slow”, just that his/ her body will do the skill when the body is ready.
Questions like this cannot be answered with any degree of certainty, Parents and caregivers have the responsibility to provide a safe and stimulating environment for every child to explore their movement potential. This is 1. The age by which 25% (one Key Ideas:
important for encouraging a child to try new skills for quarter) of children perform the Parents and caregivers should only be the first time.
In the first three years of life, children are able to learn 2. The average age when the skill very late in developing all or most
new skills mainly because their bodies have become sufficiently mature. During ages 4, 5, and 6, children typically learn new skills because they have the opportunity to play in activities that promote the learning of those skills. As well, learning occurs when they see older children A parent or caregiver should not worry if a child is unable to do a single skill and adults using skills in a meaningful way. (or even a couple of skills) until they are beyond the age when 90% of the children can do them. However, if a child is beyond that 90% mark in most Providing opportunities for children at this age to try new skills in a safe and or all skills, then it is probably wise to bring this to the attention of your stimulating environment will help them to develop the skills and attitudes for health care provider (a doctor or nurse) so that an appropriate assessment of becoming active, healthy people throughout their lives.
Movement skill milestones - 3 to 6 years
3 years 3½ years 4 years 4½ years 5 years 5½ years
Age in years
Balance on 1 foot for 5 seconds
Balance on 1 foot for 10 sec.
Hop on one foot
Catch bounced ball
Heel-Toe walk
Average age at which
Age at which 90%
children can
of children can
Age at which 25%
perform the skill
perform the skill
of children can
If child is later than
perform the skill
the 90% mark, in MANY skills,
talk to your health care provider
Based on data from: Frankenburg, W.K., Dodds, J.B., Fandal, A.W. , Kuzuk, E., & Cohrs, M. (1975). Denver Developmental Screening Test. University of Colorado Medical Centre Funded by the Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council. Reproduction by educational and not-for-profit organizations encouraged - all other rights reserved. For more information, visit:



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