Age-by-age learning skills

Coordination and Motor Skills: What to Expect at Different Ages

By Amanda Morin

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Kids physically develop at slightly different rates. There are, however, milestones to watch for at certain ages. Keeping track of your child’s progress in physical coordination at different ages can help reveal potential issues.

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Physical Coordination and Motor Skills: What to Expect at Different Ages

Kids develop at different rates. But there are milestones they generally meet at certain ages. Do your best to pay attention to whether your child is on track.

Infants and Babies
By 2 months
• Begin to push up when on tummy
• Start making deliberate movements with arms and legs

By 4 months
• Hold head upright
• Bear weight on legs when feet are flat on the floor
• Push up from tummy to elbows

By 6 months
• Sit without support
• Rock on hands and knees
• Roll over and move objects from one hand to the other

By 9 months
• Creep, crawl, scoot and maybe even pull to standing position
• Point at things
• Reach for and grab a toy
• Start picking up small finger foods

By 12 months
• Drink from a sippy cup
• Shake and throw objects
• Stand with support (or maybe even unassisted)
• Take a few steps while holding onto you or a piece of furniture

Toddlers and Preschoolers
18 months–2 years
• Walk (or run) forward and backward
• Eat with a utensil
• Hold a thick crayon or marker
• May climb, go up and down steps or throw a ball

3–4 years
• Alternate feet on the stairs
• Jump with two feet
• Put together a simple puzzle
• Manipulate door handles
• May even draw a simple person, ride a tricycle or hop

5–6 years
• Run, hop, skip and jump
• Perform basic dance moves
• Throw and kick a ball, and catch it with two hands
• Copy shapes and letters
• Brush own teeth
• Use silverware the right way
• May even play a musical instrument

7–8 years
• Ride a bike without training wheels
• Spin around while standing in place
• Do chores like sweeping or making the bed
• Tie shoes and button and zip independently

9–10 years
• Coordinate movements to do things like play basketball
• Use tools and draw with less frustration

Middle-Schoolers and High-Schoolers
11–15 years
• Coordinate movements enough to bike, skate and play team sports
• Might try to develop strength and endurance due to increased muscle mass—especially in boys
• May be very clumsy due to fast growth spurts

16–18 years
• Are more agile and less clumsy, making it easier to do things like type and build complicated projects
• Have improved visual-spatial coordination, making it easier to judge distance and speed and react quickly for activities like driving
Graphic of Physical coordination and motor skills: what to expect at different ages
Graphic of Physical coordination and motor skills: what to expect at different ages

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About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

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Reviewed by Donna Volpitta, Ed.D. Dec 10, 2013 Dec 10, 2013

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