SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

What Gross Motor Skills Should Your Child Master by the Age of Six?

Gross motor skills impact bigger muscle groups, like the arms, legs, feet, and torso. They are the first motor skills a child develops.

Mastering gross motor skills helps your child develop a sense of balance and spatial awareness. Good gross motor skills nourish the mind/body connection needed for learning. 

Between ages four and five, your child should be able to demonstrate most of the following gross motor skills:  

  • Ride a tricycle or bike with training wheels
  • Walk on a line
  • Hop on one foot for ten to fifteen seconds
  • Skip
  • Run forward easily
  • Kick a ball
  • Throw a ball
  • Catch a bounced or gently thrown ball
  • Climb the ladder and ride down a slide
  • Walk up and down stairs using alternate feet

Between ages five and six your child should be able to demonstrate most of the following gross motor skills:

  • Begin to ride a two-wheel bike without training wheels
  • Balance on a low balance beam or street curb
  • Skip around objects
  • Hop with ease
  • Jump with ease
  • Jump rope
  • Pump a swing
  • Be able to do skating and sliding motions
  • Run around obstacles
  • Run forward and backward easily
  • Catch an object while moving or turning
  • Do Jumping Jacks
Good, old-fashioned play and simple activities can promote development of these important skills.


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