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Child Development 4-6 Years:
Physical And Intellectual Development

This section of our site... Child development 4-6 years ...looks at your child's physical development and growth, understanding the importance of how your child learns and what toys and equipment you can use to stimulate his intellectual (cognitive) development between the ages of 4-6 years.

Child Development 4-6 Years

You'll also learn and understand how your child learns to communicate and ways in which you can promote his language development and finally we look at your child's emotional & social development that helps him to learn to build relationships.

Physical Development

Your child's physical development is the age at which he acquires physical skills such as sitting, standing and walking. Once your child has learnt to be independent he will be able to explore things that were out of reach previously.

His Physical Development....4 Years Old

At 4 years of age your child develops...

His Fine Manipulative Skills

He uses his hand and fingers to do day-to-day-tasks. He...

  • Can button and unbutton his clothing
  • Can cut out simple shapes
  • Can draw a person with a head, trunk and legs
  • Puts together 12 piece puzzle
  • Can build a tower of ten or more cubes
  • Can copy a building pattern of three steps using six cubes or more
  • Is able to thread small beads on a lace
  • Hold and use a pencil in adult fashion
  • Can draw on request a fine figure that resembles a person, showing head, legs and body
  • Can spread his hand and bring his thumbs into opposition with each finger in turn
  • Uses scissors
  • Cuts and pastes simple shapes
  • Prints few letters
  • Draws a simple house.

His Gross Manipulative Skills

Your 4 year old child uses his large muscles in his body. He...

  • Can walk on a fine line
  • Aims and throws ball
  • Bounces and catches a large ball
  • Runs, changing direction
  • Hops on one foot
  • Can pedal and steer a tricycle confidently
  • Can stand, walk and run on tiptoe
  • Can catch, kick, throw and bounce a ball
  • Can bend at the waist to pick up objects from the floor
  • Enjoys climbing trees and on frames
  • Can run up and down stairs and make sharp turns easily
  • Balances on one foot and jumps down from a step
  • Catches large ball with two hands when thrown from a near distance.

Your Role To Developing Your 4 Year Old Child

Your child at this age is gaining confidence and is able to become more independent. Encourage him to wipe up spills, pour drinks and tidy away. This is a way of preparing him for school... as the saying goes... "Charity begins at home".

He also enjoys being busy and playing co-operatively. Play with him as a way of encouraging him.

Toys And Equipment To Stimulate Your 4 Year Old Child's Intellectual Development

  • Balls
  • Climbing frames
  • Slides
  • Materials for creative activities
  • Crayons
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Puzzles
  • Construction toys
  • Books

Click here to learn more about toys and equipment for a 4 year old child.

His Physical Development....5 Years Old

His Fine Manipulative Skills


  • Forms letters and writes own name
  • Draws recognisable pictures of trees, houses, people and animals
  • Colours neatly in pictures
  • Easily dresses and undresses
  • Completes a 20-piece jigsaw puzzle
  • Cuts out shapes using scissors quite accurately
  • Draws around a template
  • Can competently use a knife and fork, but may still need to have meat cut up for him
  • May be able to thread a large-eyed needle and sew with large stitches
  • Has good control over pencils and paint brushes
  • Can draw a person with a head, body, legs, nose, mouth and eyes
  • Can copy elaborate models, such as a four-step model using ten cubes
  • Can do jigsaw puzzles with interlocking pieces
  • Can count the fingers on one hand using the index finger of the other hand
  • Can print name on paper.

His Gross Manipulative Skills


  • Skips with a rope
  • Runs quickly and is able to avoid obstacles
  • Is able to use a variety of large equipment e.g. swings and slides confidently
  • Throws large ball to partner and catches it
  • Hits ball with bat or a stick
  • Can climb
  • Moves to music
  • Bounces and catches a ball
  • Shows good balance...can stand on one foot for about ten seconds and may ride a bike without stabilisers
  • Shows good co-ordination, playing ball games and dancing to music rhythmatically
  • Can bend at waist and touch toes without bending at the knees
  • Can hop 2-3m (6-9 feet) forward on each foot separately.

Your Role To Developing Your 5 Year Old Child

Your 5 year old is starting to enjoy playing games with rules e.g. snakes and ladders. Help him by introducing new games into his play e.g. hide-and-seek... and encourage him to come up with his own games.

Your support and encouragement is needed as there may be times when arguments break out. Encourage him to be as independent as possible e.g. folding his clothes when changing, hanging up his coats etc.

Toys and Equipment To Stimulate Your 5 Year Old Child's Intellectual Development

  • Hoops
  • Balls
  • Roller-skates
  • Bicycles with stabilisers
  • Creative materials e.g. paints, crayons, card and paper
  • Construction toys
  • Board games.

Click here to learn more about toys and equipment for a 5 year old child.

His Physical Development....6 Years Old

His Fine Manipulative Skills

  • Can build a tower of cubes that's virtually straight
  • Is able to sew stitches
  • Cuts off shapes accurately and neatly
  • Handwriting is evenly spaced and may be joined
  • Drawings are detailed and representative
  • Makes a simple sandwich
  • Ties and unties laces
  • Can hold a pencil in a hold similar to an adult (the dynamic tripod grip)
  • Able to write a number of letters of similar size
  • Can write his last name as well as his first name
  • May begin to write simple stories.

His Gross Manipulative Skills

  • Runs
  • Chases and dodges others
  • Rides a bicycle without stabilisers
  • Hops, skips and jumps confidently
  • Kicks a ball with direction
  • Balances on a beam or wall gaining control in both strength and agility
  • Can kick a ball up to 6m (9 feet) away
  • Can catch and throw balls with accuracy
  • Can skip in time to music, alternating his feet.

Your Role To Developing Your 6 Year Old Child

Your child at this age is independent and is able to do many day-to-day tasks e.g. tidying away, laying the table etc.

He's gaining in confidence and enjoys trying out new activities e.g. making models, origami, cooking etc. Encourage him to join in some of these physical activities.

Toys and Equipment to stimulate your 6 year old Child's Intellectual Development

  • Bicycles
  • Skateboards
  • Roller-skates
  • Balls
  • Bats and rackets
  • Kits e.g. modelling kits, origami etc.
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Board games.

Click here to learn more about toys and equipment for a 6 year old child.

Resources... See Also:

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