Examples of the Fine & Gross Motor Skills of Four- & Five-Year-Olds

by Rebecca Bagwell, Demand Media
    Playgrounds give preschoolers chances to practice their new motor skills.

    Playgrounds give preschoolers chances to practice their new motor skills.

    Playing hopscotch, using watercolors and dancing to homemade instruments in dress-up costumes all make your preschooler's life seem magical and fun. While still somewhat lacking in the getting-along-with-playmates department, four- and five-year-old children have enough fine and gross motor skills to do a huge variety of activities now that make them feel like big kids. To keep your preschooler engaged in learning, focus on developing her motor skills functions and watch your child blossom.

    Four-Year-Old Gross Motor Skills

    Four-year-old preschoolers have changed greatly and can now do so much more with their gross or large-muscle motor skills. While they have walked with confidence for a couple of years by now, they now can balance much better by standing or hopping on one foot. They can stand on their tiptoes with their hands held high and walk up and down steps like an adult, using one foot per step, for at least a few steps. They can walk on a two-inch line for at least 10 feet without stepping off at all. Four-year-olds confidently pedal and maneuver tricycles or bicycles with training wheels, and can throw balls both over handed and under handed at least 10 feet away.

    5-Year-Old Gross Motor Skills

    Five-year-olds have much more self-confidence so they do not need an audience to show off their new skills, but they still appreciate one. Some gross motor skills that help them become independent include learning how to jump rope, skate and ride a bicycle without training wheels. A few can swim without any floaties, but they still need an adult near them. At the playground, five-year-olds can swing high and climb jungle gyms unassisted. They also are more accurate when throwing and catching balls, plus they can skip and do somersaults.

    4-Year-Old Fine Motor Skills

    Most of a four-year-old’s fine or small-muscle motor skills need a good deal of repetition to prepare for kindergarten tasks such as writing. They can hold a pencil or crayon in a standard grip, though their hand muscles may tire quickly. They can draw and cut simple shapes, and precisely sort small objects into containers. Most can dress and undress themselves without any help, though small buttons may be hard to do. If left unattended, four-year-olds can easily open containers or boxes that shouldn't open.

    5-Year-Old Fine Motor Skills

    Most five-year-olds have the fine motor skills to excel in a school setting. They can write their name, copy letters, trace objects and cut on wide lines accurately. Many can color in the lines well, but some lack the patience it takes to do a whole picture well. Using a variety of building materials, they may re-create identifiable objects now and enjoy creative play more. They can also tie their shoe laces by themselves now.

    About the Author

    Rebecca Bagwell is an educator with a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Trinity Baptist College. She has taught in China and the United States. While overseas she started writing articles in 2006 for bilingual trade journals. Now, she lives in the South where she homeschools and writes freelance articles encouraging creative approaches to education.

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