Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)

Between the ages of three and five years children are starting to develop their gross motor skills and enjoy a wide variety of activities.

Gross motor skills are a specific set of skills that involve different body parts such as feet, legs, trunk, head, arms and hands.

These skills are important because they are the "building blocks" or foundation movements for more complex and specialised skills required by children throughout their lives to competently and confidently play different games, sports and recreational activities offered at school and in the community.


Skills categories

FMS categories include:

  • Locomotor skills - such as running, jumping, hopping, galloping, skipping and leaping.

Click to open locomotor skills

  • Balance skills - movements where the body remains in place, but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes.

Click to open balance skills

  • Ball skills - such as catching, throwing, kicking, striking, underarm roll and striking.

Click to open ball skills


Three year olds

Developmentally, three year olds are still developing the basic skills required for play. They are able to perform the following FMS:

  • Climb jungle gyms and ladders
  • Run on toes
  • Balance on one leg for a short time, and
  • Kick a ball from a standing position


Four year olds

Four year olds are developing quickly and learn a lot from their experiences and from their play environment. They are able to perform the following FMS:

  • Gallop
  • Hop forward
  • Do lame duck skip (only one foot "skips")
  • Throw a ball 3.5 metres overhand, and
  • Kick a large rolling ball


Five year olds

Five year olds begin to display a variety of styles of play, including copying others, creative play, and making up their own games or activities. They are able to perform the following FMS:

  • Run through an obstacle course avoiding objects
  • Skip forward
  • Maintain balance on a moveable platform, and
  • Throw a ball with direction and force


Activity time

Children aged three to five years should be active for at least three hours throughout a day in structured activities and free play sessions. To nurture their gross motor development, children should have opportunities to practice FMS as part of their daily routines.


Active play everyday