Five to six year olds are capable of learning complex body coordination skills. They can learn to skip, throw ball overhead, catch bouncing balls, walk down stairs without using a handrail, jump over low objects, run on tiptoe, perform dance steps and more. Five year olds are often confident and proud of their physical skills, although they can easily misjudge themselves. It is not usually until the end of their fifth year that what they think they can do, and what they can actually do, will be better matched.Six year olds enjoy testing their muscle strength and skills. They show an improved ability to follow movement patterns and may even be able to perform basic dance moves. They can also learn specific sporting skills like swimming or kicking a soccer ball. They might be able to copy simple designs and shapes, letters and numbers, their own name, use a fork and knife well and cut on a straight line with scissors. Most five to six year olds are also able to dress themselves with little assistance. Their left or right hand dominance is also established by now.
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
Enhance your child's hand-eye coordination. Help him master the use of scissors by letting him cut out coupons or simple shapes. Let him build small models, draw and write. You can let him try transferring liquids from different containers by pouring them into cups, bottles and jugs.
Expose your child to organised sports. Bring your child to sports events where he gets to watch different types of sports such as soccer and swimming. Allow time for your child to develop his hand-eye coordination, physical build and understand the rules of sports. When he is ready, consider signing him up for an organised sport that he enjoys. Organised sports help develop healthy habits, self-discipline, social skills and sportsmanship.
Build on your child’s muscle strength. Activities such as riding a bicycle up a hill, carrying heavy objects, pushing and pulling objects, and trampoline activities assist in the development of controlled and precise movements. Engaging in these physical activities will help your child develop strength and gross motor skills!
Increase your child’s understanding of space. Activities such as the mirror game, musical games, dances, juggling scarves can help with this. You could also set up large surfaces which are kept stable while your child moves around to draw or paint. As your child becomes increasingly confident and competent in using his body, you can further enhance his spatial awareness by varying the fun physical activities.
Play games that enhance strength, coordination and confidence. These include games that require your child to find hidden objects, relay races, obstacle courses, variety of “tag” games and Tug of War. Your child will learn to vary his movements through these games and develop a greater sense of awareness about his body and what he can do. Support your child’s play by planning the activities, providing a safe and engaging play environment and materials, as well as extending basic warmth and encouragement.
Encourage activity by scheduling daily outdoor time. Go for a walk, visit playgrounds or provide your child with safe objects to throw, kick and catch.
Model healthy habits. Help your child develop healthy habits by including physical activity in your daily routine. Park further away from the entrance when you go shopping and whenever possible, walk to your destination instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of the lift or the escalator.
Set up a safe area in the home for your child’s active play. Bad weather is no excuse for not being active.
Increase your child’s dexterity. Playing games like “Statues” help. Vary the game by adding different genres of music, having your child to do a different dance each time or by imitating others’ or objects’ movements.