Preschool children don’t have fitness goals and standards like their older elementary school classmates. When we are talking about the 18 months to 5-year-old population in terms of fitness, we are usually looking at their movement milestones and how they compare to kids their own age. Listed below are common gross motor milestones for children aged 18 months, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, and 5 years.

18 Months Old

Most pediatricians and parents know the big red flag that children should be walking by 18 months.; however, children at this age are typically doing much more than standing, including:

  • Walk forward independently 10 feet with narrow base of support
  • Walk backwards 5 steps
  • Walk up 4 stairs with 1 hand held
  • Walk down 4 steps with 1 hand held
  • Kick a ball forward 3 feet

2 Years Old

Between 18 months and 24 months, children become significantly more stable on their feet. They begin testing their balance in more dynamic ways such as running and jumping. A typical 2-year-old is able to:

  • Run forward 10 feet, without a loss of balance
  • Jump in place, jump forward, and jump down from a step
  • Walk forward, backwards, and sideways independently and without a loss of balance
  • Walk up and down a set of stairs, using a handrail
  • Kick a ball forward 3 feet

3 Years Old

Three-year-old’s are ready for group activities such as school and sports. They want to make friends and connect with peers. From a physical standpoint, a typical 3-year-old should be able to:

  • Pedal a tricycle
  • Catch a ball thrown from 5 feet away
  • Jump forward at least 24 inches, with both feet leaving the ground at the same time
  • Stand on 1 foot for 3 seconds
  • Walk upstairs with 1 foot on each step

4 Years Old

The four-year-old’s’ passion for discovery begins to emerge at this age. They are able to exercise for longer periods of time and should be able to:

  • Place one foot on each stair, while going up and down stairs without handrail use
  • Hop 5 times on one foot
  • Throw a ball at a target 5 feet away
  • Run and stop without falling to ground

5 Years Old

Five-year-old’s learn through play and it is through this physical play that they develop higher level coordination skills, strength, and endurance. A typical 5-year-old should be able to:

  • Stand on one foot for 10 seconds, each foot
  • Complete 3 sit-ups independently
  • Jump over 10-inch hurdle
  • Hop forward 3 feet bilaterally

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