Fundamental Movement Skills

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Fundamental movement skills are a specific set of skills that involve different body parts such as feet, legs, trunk, head, arms and hands. These skills are the “building blocks” for more complex and specialised skills that kids will need throughout their lives to competently participate in different games, sports and recreational activities.

Kids at Play – summary of teaching fundamental movement skills

Categories of FMS

Fundamental movement skills categories include:

  1. Balance skills - Movements where the body remains in place, but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes.
  2. Locomotor skills - such as running, jumping, hopping, and galloping.
  3. Ball skills - such as catching, throwing, kicking, underarm roll and striking.

Skill development by age

Between the ages of three and five years, children are starting to develop their fundamental movement skills (FMS) and enjoy a wide variety of activities.

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

  • Climb jungle gyms and ladders
  • Run on toes
  • Balance on one leg for a short time
  • Kick a ball from a standing position.
  • Walk along a wide balance board

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

  • Gallop
  • Hop forward
  • Do lame duck skip (only one foot "skips")
  • Throw a ball 3.5 metres overhand
  • Kick a large rolling ball.
  • Walk part way along a narrow beam

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’re able to perform the following:

  • Run through an obstacle course avoiding objects
  • Skip forward
  • Maintain balance on a moveable platform
  • Throw a ball with direction and force.
  • Walk the length of a narrow beam.

Children aged 0-6 who are unable to keep up with their peers

If you are concerned about a child’s development, you can suggest that the parents contact the ACT Government's Child Development Service Intake Line on 6205 1246. Anyone with a child under the age of 6 can contact the Intake Line to discuss services, such as free drop-in clinics for physiotherapy and speech pathology. More information can be found on the Child Development Service website.

Page last updated on: 17 Sep 2019