What 4-year-old children learn to do by the age of 5

Everyday experience provides typically developing 4-year-old children with the experience needed to build on the fundamental movement abilities that they acquired in the first three years. 

Children with movement difficulties  (joint hypermobility, low muscle tone, autism, developmental coordination disorder and an highly sensitive temperament) often need extra training to achieve the same level of skill.  

Here is a list of the the many different movement abilities children master between the ages of 3-5 years. It is important to remember that even typically developing young children develop at different rates, with some children being more proficient at a younger age.  . 

2 y 9m climbing on frame.jpg   3y running  2.jpg   4y climbs trees_1.jpg

This is an off-the-top-of-my-head list,  It covers most of the activities young children engage in at this age. 

PDF Checklist: What 3-4-year-old children learn to do by the age of 5 years



Run at least  20-30 meters displaying a good pumping action of the arms     Read more
Run and jump over a low hurdle without stopping 
Run and stop, or change direction suddenly without falling 
Run on slightly uneven ground
Run a zig-zag path around obstacles 


Jump forwards taking off from two feet and landing on two feet, over a distance of 40cm (standing broad jump)
Jump forwards taking off from two feet and landing on two feet, without stopping between jumps, completing 5 jumps 
Jump sideways completing 5 jumps. 
Hop forwards on one leg, completing 5 hops by age 5.
Jump over a single, or series of, low obstacles of increasing height and width
Jump down from a low step 20-30 cm high 
Run and jump over series of low hurdles without slowing down. 
Complete 5 star jumps coordinating the arms and the legs by age 5. 

Walking and stepping 

Walk a distance of 1-2 kilometers without complaining or getting unduly tired  
Walk up a hill of at least 10 meters with a gradient of at least 20 degrees without getting unduly tired 
Walk out of doors across uneven ground without falling. 
Walk and step over a low obstacle 
Walk and step down from a low step such as a curb
Walk across a room avoiding obstacles and not bumping into furniture or door frames
Walk through a narrow gap by turning the body sideways.
Walk carrying a potato on a spoon for at least 5 meters 
Walk carrying a tray supporting a beaker of  water at least 5 meters 
Walk carrying a large box in front of the chest for 5m

Leg strength agility and coordination tasks 

Stand on one leg for 5 seconds by age 5
Stand heel-to-toe for 5 seconds by age 5
Gallop with left of right leg leading for 5m 
Skip forwards 5m: step and hop with alternate legs, by age 5
Stand up from a step (15-20 cm high) and sit down with good control 10 times in succession. 
Walk on a 10cm wide plank without stepping off. 
Walk across a series of 5 raised steps or bricks, placed in a row with a gap of 10-15 cm between steps. 
Step over a series of  20 cm high  "hurdles" without knocking them over. 

Catching, throwing, kicking  

Thinking and attention skills needed for throwing and catching Read more 
Step to catch a rolled ball  Read more 
Catch a soccer sized ball between the hands in front of the body 7-8 times out of 10  Read more 
Catch a carefully thrown beanbag in front of the body at waist height, 7-8 times out of 10 by age 5. 
Bounce and catch a soccer sized ball 5 times in succession, by age 5. 
Throw a soccer sized ball from above the head to over a distance of 5m
Throw a soccer ball with two hands (sidearm throw) several meters towards  a goal
Throw a soccer sized ball at a target positioned at a distance of 3-4m
Roll a soccer sized ball to knock over a target at a distance of 2-3m
Bounce a soccer sized ball to a partner 
Throw a beanbag underarm onto a to a target mat (40cm square) at a distance of 3m
Kick a static soccer ball straight forwards between "goal posts" placed 3m ahead. 

SfA Fitness and Coordination Training Guide 
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Read more about 
Low Muscle Tone Handbook (PDF downloads) 
Training coordination for everyday activities 
Training strength and flexibility - exercise instructions 

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