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               Growing and developing physically - 5 to 6 years

​​​​Children who are active early in life and stay that way through childhood enjoy positive benefits to their physical and emotional health. Children who are physically active on a daily basis are not only more effective learners, they are less likely to be overweight. 


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 b​​e 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?

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Eat a rainbow!

Eat the colours of the rainbow! Coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that can build up your child's immune system! Plan out a rainbow coloured weekly menu with your child. For example, blue for blueberries, orange for sweet potatoes, and red for strawberries. You can even draw up a simple chart to help her document the process!
 
Enhance your child's eye-hand coordination. Arrange large plastic bottles in a line or triangle formation. Take 5 to 10 steps away from the line and draw a line. You and your child can take turns bowling using a small ball. Increase the distance as your child gets more confident!
 
Play bowling to enhance eye-hand coordination!

​​Practice balancing! Place a long piece of twine/ string on the ground and encourage your child to balance by walking on the string. Stimulate your child's brain by asking her to imagine the string as a tightrope or narrow path or pirate ship's plank!
Practice balancing

Play childhood games with your child

​​​​​​Introduce games from your childhood! Remember the simple games you used to play as a child, like "What is the time, Mr Wolf?", "Catching", "Hopscotch", and "Zero Point"? Rekindle these childhood memories by playing the same games with your child! The physical movement will help with his gross motor development!
Ping Pong challenge! Give your child a paper/ plastic cup with a large opening and ask him to toss a ping pong ball in the air and catch it using the cup! Alternatively, toss him the ping pong ball and ask him to catch with the cup! This can help develop eye-hand coordination. Ping pong challenge

Incorporate​ walking, jog​ging/ running and swimming as routine activities. Daily chores such as sweeping, cleaning and carrying groceries can also help develop your child physically and enhance gross motor coordination.
~ Ms N. Pushpavalli, Principal of Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten and ECDA Fellow
 
Incorporate swimming as a routine activity!

Provided unhurried time!

Provide unhurried time​! Factor in time required for your child to perform various tasks which promotes his fine motor skills. Providing such time does not always signify having to set aside time especially for fine motor skill activities. Instead, it is about allowing for unhurried time during daily routine tasks such as dressing up, meals, or simply when your child is attempting to zip up his own school bag. Such opportunities for children to practice their fine motor skills may be even more meaningful to your child since it develops fuels his sense of competence and autonomy.
~ Ms Rebecca Jaclyn Smith, Senior Programme Specialist, Learning Vision
 
Develop fine motor skills through various activities

Develop fine motor skills! Simple activities such as threading, zipping, removing bottle caps, turning the wrist in various directions, manipulating small objects and using a variety of drawing or colouring tools to doodle can help your child improve his fine motor muscle coordination.
~ Ms Rebecca Jaclyn Smith, Senior Programme Specialist, Learning Vision
 
Transferring objects with a spoon can help with eye-hand coordination

Develop your child's eye-hand coordination. Introduce your child to activities such as tracing dotted lines, drawing in the air​​, stacking blocks, transferring objects with a spoon from one bowl to another, self-feeding at meal time, or even feeding a doll during dramatic play. These can help promote your child's ability to improve the connection between his vision and how his fine motor muscles process what they see into movement.
~ Ms Rebecca Jaclyn Smith, Senior Programme Specialist, Learning Vision
 
Eye tracking

Encourage your child to use her fingers to mark​ her places when reading to increase eye tracking skills. This is also important in developing children's reading with ease and for proficiency in reading.
~ Mrs Elsie Chua, Principal of Living Sanctuary Kindergarten and ECDA Fellow
Involve your child in household tasks. He can help to set the table, sort laundry, fold clothes, wash and put away toys, clean the house, pack for a trip, care for pets, or pick up leaves in the garden. These tasks are good for developing coordination and dexterity, and also a great opportunity for him to contribute and help out.
  
Household chores

Enhance your child's visual perception. Organise tactile rich activities. Use sandpaper for art, pipe cleaners to form letters, and sand and glue to make an art piece. Let your child describe what he has put together.
  
Visual perception

Play the keyboard to strengthen finger muscles!

Strengthen your child's finger muscles. Play with musical instruments! Use keyboards, engage in dramatic play using finger puppets, or encourage your child to mould his favourite storybook characters out of dough or clay! 
 
Enhance your child's focus and coordination. Teach him to use both hands simultaneously, to anticipate what the next step is, as well as the strength and speed required to perform a task. Provide him with more complex threading and lacing activities, puzzles and take-apart models. Buttoning a shirt is another activity you can do with your child.
  
Threading a bead

Develop your child's self-help skills. Allow him to dress and undress himself, spread butter or jam with a table knife, brush his teeth, comb his hair and bathe himself. For mealtimes, let him help you to set the table and even tidy up after a meal. These are activities he can easily do with supervision. Self-help skills

Using scissors

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. 

Organised sports

Practise jumping. Your child can jump from a standing position, two feet together. Ask him to stretch his arms out to the sides or put his hands on his hips when he takes his leap. These help with balance. Organise other fun jumping activities over ropes and obstacles, upon trampolines and leaping to reach suspended objects. These build your child's coordination skills, strength and most of all, courage!
 
Practise jumping!

Practise ball catching. Show your child how to catch a ball with two hands, away from the body. Slower-moving balloons are easier for beginners to catch. Slowly proceed to larger balls then smaller ones. Your child can throw and catch a ball against a wall, clap between catches, use different heights and distances, or play relay games and Captain's Ball. This builds his physical strength, agility and sense of coordination.
Enhance spatial awareness. Organise obstacle courses indoors or outdoors to encourage your child to experience spatial and measurement concepts like direction, position, size, distance, and speed. Focus on one to two concepts each time. The activity will also help your child to develop body control and process information about the way he moves.

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.

Play games that teach right and left. Games like “Hokey-Pokey,” “Looby-Loo,” and “Simon Says” do that. Make up more of such games and rules with your child.
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Develop your child’s coordination and balance. Play games that require skipping, galloping, hopping, sliding, swinging, dancing, tip toeing, kicking and catching a ball. Allow your child to walk on a kerb with supervision, stand on one leg, play hopscotch or learn to ride a bicycle.

 

 

 

Monkey bars

 

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. 

 

Taking the stairs

 

Plan active family weekend fun. Your child will enjoy  a jog in the park, a walk to a nearby park, or a dip in the pool.

 

 

 

 

Beach outing

 

Set up a safe area in the home for your child’s active play. Bad weather is no excuse for not being active.

 

​​Indoor basketball

 

​​Statues

 

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.

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