image_pdfimage_print

< Back to Child Development Charts

Gross Motor (physical) skills are those which require whole body movement and which involve the large (core stabilising) muscles of the body to perform everyday functions, such as standing, walking, running, and sitting upright. It also includes eye-hand coordination skills such as ball skills (throwing, catching, kicking).

Note: Each stage of development assumes that the preceding stages have been successfully achieved.

How to use this chart: Review the skills demonstrated by the child up to their current age. If you notice skills that have not been met below their current age contact Kid Sense Child Development on 1800 KIDSENSE (1800 543 736).

 

Age   Developmental milestones  Possible implications if milestones not achieved
 0-6 months
  • Rolls over front to back and back to front
  • Sits with support and then independently
  • Poor muscle development for locomotion
  • Delayed ability to play independently
 6-12 months
  • Crawls forwards on belly
  • Assumes a seated position unaided
  • Creeps on hands and knees
  • Transitions into different positions: sitting, all fours, lying on tummy
  • Pulls self to stand
  • Walks while holding onto furniture
  • Takes 2-3 steps without support
  • Rolls a ball in imitation of an adult
  • Delayed sensory development due to decreased ability to explore the environment
  • Poor muscle development
  • Delayed play skills
 18 months
  • Sits, crawls, walks
  • Still has wide gait but walking/running is less clumsy
  • Pushes against a ball (does not actually kick it)
  • Delayed play skills
  • Difficulty interacting with the environment due to delayed ability to mobilise effectively
  • Poor muscle development
2 years
  • Walks smoothly and turns corners
  • Begins running
  • Is able to pull or carry a toy while walking
  • Climbs onto/down from furniture without assistance
  • Walks up and down steps with support
  • Picks up toys from the floor without falling over
  • Poor muscle development for running and jumping
  • Delayed ability to play independently and interact with the environment
  • Decreased ability to interact socially
3 years
  • Imitates standing on one foot
  • Imitates simple bilateral movements of limbs (e.g. arms up together)
  • Climbs jungle gym and ladders
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Walks up/down stairs alternating feet
  • Jumps in place with two feet together
  • Able to walk on tip toes
  • Catches using body
  • Decreased opportunities for social interaction
  • Poor development of body awareness and movement planning skills
  • Difficulties using playground equipment
  • Difficulties or lack of confidence interacting with other children in active environments (e.g. play cafes, playgrounds)
 4 years
  • Stands on one foot for up to 5 seconds
  • Kicks a ball forwards
  • Throws a ball overarm
  • Catches a ball that has been bounced
  • Runs around obstacles
  • Able to walk on a line
  • Able to hop on one foot
  • Jumps over an object and lands with both feet together
  • Lack of confidence in movement based activities
  • Difficulties using playground equipment
  • Difficulties or lack of confidence interacting with other children in active environments (e.g. play cafes, playgrounds)
5 years
  • Able to walk up stairs while holding an object
  • Walks backward toe-heel
  • Jumps forward 10 times without falling
  • Skips forwards after demonstration
  • Hangs from a bar for at least 5 seconds
  • Steps forward with leg on same side as throwing arm when throwing a ball
  • Catches a small ball using hands only
  • May result in poor self-esteem when comparing self to peers
  • Lack of confidence in movement based activities
  • Difficulties participating in sporting activities
  • Difficulties playing with moving toys such as bikes and scooters
6 years
  • Runs lightly on toes
  • Able to walk on a balance beam
  • Able to skip using a skipping rope
  • Can cover 2 metres when hopping
  • Demonstrates mature throwing and catching patterns
  • Mature (refined) jumping skills
  • Difficulty participating in sporting activities
  • May result in poor self-esteem when comparing self to peers
  • Lack of confidence in movement based activities

This chart was designed to serve as a functional screening of developmental skills per age group.  It does not constitute an assessment nor reflect strictly standardised research.

The information in this chart was compiled over many years from a variety of sources. This information was then further shaped by years of clinical practice as well as therapeutic consultation with child care, pre-school and school teachers in South Australia about the developmental skills necessary for children to meet the demands of these educational environments. In more recent years, it has been further modified by the need for children and their teachers to meet the functional Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) requirements that are not always congruent with standardised research.