Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills Development - Skills & What to Do

We know that children's stages of fundamental movement skills development influences, and is influenced by, all other aspects of development: cognitive (brain), language, social and emotional.

Even so, parents too often believe that a child's fundamental movement skills will develop on their own.


Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills Development
stages of fundamental movement skills


Many articles on child development only touches on the different stages of fundamental movement skills development your child should go through.

In all the child development articles I've read I couldn't get a single place where the different stages of fundamental movement skills development are spelled out clearly.

That's why I compiled this page for you to make you aware of the different stages of fundamental movement skills development and what you can to do promote fundamental movements in children.

The different stages of fundamental movement skills in toddlers are broken down according to age for easy reference.


Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills: 15 - 18 months


Skill What to Do
Her improved balance and posture allow her to see something on the floor, and then to pick it up without toppling over. When she is standing, let her see you take a small toy over to her. Pass it towards her and just as she reaches for the toy, let it “accidentally” slip from your hand on to the floor. She will slowly bend down, take hold of the item, then stand upright again.
Stairs continue to fascinate your child, but her unreliable balance and lack of agility mean that she needs your super-vision when going up and down them. Baby stair gates can be installed for extra protection from accidents. Stand beside your toddler at the bottom of a flight of stairs and hold her hand. Encourage her to walk with you slowly, one step at a time. Gripping your hand, she’ll lift a foot on to the first step and then the other foot on the same step.
She can move reasonably quickly and comfortably about the house, though she’s not entirely stable when she tries to go faster. Encourage your toddler to exercise walking at every opportunity, resist the temptation to carry her in order to complete a journey quicker. Ask her to trot towards you across the room – running may be too difficult – and cuddle her when she tries to do this.
Likes to splash around in water, but may become anxious if the area is too crowded or the water Is too wavy. At first, let her splash around in the small pool at your local swimming centre. Make sure she has a buoyancy aid securely around her, and stay beside her at all times for her safety. She will be gaining self confidence quickly. You may decide to join a toddler’s swimming class.


Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills: 19 - 21 months


Skill What to Do
Your child’s new climbing skills give her enough confidence to explore new places and to try to clamber over household furniture. Teach her how to get into a chair. If it is a child-sized seat, she will soon learn how to approach it, turn around, and slide backwards into it. If it is a standard easy chair, she will be able to climb into it, before turning herself around and sitting back in it.
Instances of tripping over and unexpected falls as she walks and runs decrease significantly – a result of better balance, hand eye coordination and building self confidence. Watch your child closely as she runs freely around the home. When you see her start to topple, remind her to slow down, to take her time and to look in front of her whenever she moves. These simple prompts reduce the number of falls.
Her fundamental movement skills ability has advanced to the point where she can effectively complete more than one physical activity at the same time, without becoming confused. Give her a pull-along toy, the type on wheels attached to a long piece of string. Your child can exercise walking along while pulling this toy beside or behind her. The toy does not distract her or force her off-balance while walking.


Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills: 22 - 24 months


Skill What to Do
She is much steadier on her feet and she rarely falls, even while running. However, she still needs to concentrate hard when moving quickly. On an outing to the park, find a flat, grassy area and ask your child to run alongside you, she will be able to move fast as long as she goes in a straight line – making quick changes of direction or turning corners forces her to slow down to avoid stumbling.
She begins to be able to stand on one foot for a second or so, while using the other foot to kick a ball. Stand your child a few metres away, facing you, and place a large ball at her feet. Ask her to kick the ball to you. At first, she may lose her balance as she tries to do this, but with practise she eventually kicks it while remaining upright.
Pedal toys provide your child with much amusement, even though she is not yet able to turn the pedals herself. Give her a small sit-on toy that has wheels and also pedals like a pedal tractor toy. Make sure the seat is low enough for your child to be able to place her feet firmly on the ground. She can't turn the pedals but she tries to push herself along by pressing her feet on the ground.


Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills: 25 - 30 months


Skill What to Do
Your child's balance, muscular strength and limb coordination is sufficient for her to make a reasonable attempt at jumping off the ground from a standing position. Demonstrate to your child how you can jump off the ground, with both feet together. She will try to imitate you, though she probably won't use her arms to balance and propel herself like you. This is a difficult task, but she'll enjoy attempting it.
Your child can coordinate her arm and leg movements to move herself around the room without bumping into things, while concentrating on another task at the same time. If your child has a large wheeled toy, such as a plastic wheelbarrow, she can hold it firmly in her hands and push it around your house without crashing into the furniture all the time and without tripping up. Remind her to concentrate as she moves.
Building self confidence and improving fundamental movement skills mean that she wants to negotiate the flight of stairs in your house entirely on her own, without you beside her. Stand at the bottom of the stairs and watch your child start to climb them on her own. She may be a little nervous and needs to hold on with one hand either to the banister or against the wall itself as she ascends - she should not look back at you until the top.


Stages of Fundamental Movement Skills: 31 - 36 months


Skill What to Do
Your child's jumping ability has improved, and she is able to jump off small heights without losing her balance when she lands on the ground. Ask your child to stand on the bottom of a flight of stairs, facing the downwards direction. She will be able to jump off towards you with both feet, making a safe and steady landing. As she is building self confidence, she will try to jump off the second step, too.
Your child's balance and coordination has improved to the point where she can confidently and accurately complete complex physical activities which previously were too difficult. You'll find that she can balance for several seconds while standing on one foot only, with the other foot raised from the ground. She is also steadier on toes and can tiptoe her way across the floor without over-balancing or putting her feet flat on the ground.
She adores any opportunity to use large outdoor play sets, especially when she knows you are watching her. She is proud of her achievements on a large outdoor play structure. Your child delights in climbing up the small ladder, then using the slide to get to the bottom. She is more adventurous on the climbing frame, and tries to keep the swing in motion after a push start. Hold her hand when she's balancing on a fixed log.


New research shows it's the free time spent interacting with the real world -- exploring the outdoors, playing tag at recess, and inventing games -- that helps boost creativity, confidence, and resourceful problem solving exercises.




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