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Learn Where Your Child Stands in the List of Motor Milestones

What's a motor milestone? A motor milestone (AKA movement milestone) is a physically involved functional task measure used to determine how far along a kid is in development. Below are a list of age groups and their associated motor milestones. Along with the milestones there are a list of ideas to facilitate the child's advancement towards those benchmarks via some form of physical activity. 


Infants 6-12 months old

By 6 months old be able to craw (army crawl)

How to facilitate- Give your child “Tummy Time”. Tummy time means placing your baby on their stomach while they play. This encourages development of many important muscles that are responsible for learning to crawl (looks like army crawling on belly) and creep (on hands and knees shuffling forward).


While your child is given “Tummy Time”. Parents can perform a plank. This is good for abdominal strengthening and also encourages your child to imitate you.

By 7 months be able to reach and play in sitting independently

How to facilitate-Have your child reach for your hand/finger or a toy while they are seated. Challenge them by making them reach outside of their comfort zone.


While your child is sitting, try performing a side plank. You can hold the toy out for your child while you hold good form in a side plank position.

By 8 months old be able to shuffle around on hands and knees (creep)

How to facilitate- Support the child's legs/lower half in the air and have them walk on their hands. If they need motivation then place toys around the floor to encourage wheelbarrow walking forward.


Be sure to keep your back in a good upright posture while you support your baby’s legs.

By 9 months old be able to make frequent position changes from sitting to standing using something to pull themselves up.

How to facilitate-Alternate placing the child’s favorite toy on the floor and on an elevated surface that they can reach if holding on to something to support themselves.


Each time you move the object from a low to higher surface for your kid try performing a squat (or continuous squats) to strengthen your legs.

By 10 months old be able to walk while holding on to furniture (cruising); as well as pick objects off the floor while standing if they are holding on to something for support.

How to facilitate- Slowly pull their favorite toy along an ottoman or couch as they support themselves and pursue the toy. Can also place toys on the floor next to the couch or ottoman so they pick them up.

As they cruise over to you and the toy try holding a squat as they do it to work your leg muscles endurance.

By 11 months old be able to start crawling upstairs.

How to facilitate- Put a snack or toy at the top of the stairs and closely monitor them so that they have support from you if needed. Always be sure to close baby gates by stairs once you are finished.

By 11 months old be able to walk with one hand held or while pushing object that supports them

How to facilitate- Push toys and baby walkers are great for facilitating advancement toward standing and walking independently


As your child is walking with support, try doing lunges forward to walk alongside them.

By 12 months old be able to walk several steps independently with arms out and wide steps.

How to facilitate- Have two people about 10 feet apart and encourage the child to walk back and forth between them.


While the child is walking away from you try doing sit ups until the child starts walking back in your direction.

Toddlers 2-3 Years Old


Due to such individuality and a great range of things that happen to children during these years, the following goals are what a child should be at least starting by the age of 3.

By the time they're 3 be able to:

  • Should be able to walk without difficulty looking more fluid and coordinated.

  • Run easily and more coordinated.

  • Balance on one foot up to 3 seconds

  • Go upstairs with alternating steps and go downstairs while placing both feet on each stair

  • Jump off surfaces 18inches high and jump forward 24 inches

  • Able to walk on their tiptoes

  • Able to throw a ball 7ft in a general direction

  • Catch a ball with arms out in front

  • Kick a ball with opposite arm and leg movements

Keep your child active!

Toddlers should be active at least 3hrs per day including light, moderate, and vigorous activity. By playing games with them and facilitating fun activities you will help teach good habits of staying physically active. Some of these ideas/games should also give you a little workout as well!

Ideas to keep everyone active:

  • To improve your child's balance, you could have them walk across pillows as a “pillow obstacle course”. You could also quickly design a miniature balance beam by laying a thin strip of cardboard or wood down to walk across without touching the ground. To make it more challenging, place items that they are supposed to pick up near the balance beam.

  • While your child is working on their balance, you can work on yours by standing on one foot for as long as you can hold (tip-stand as tall as you can through your balancing leg to use good form and posture)

  • To improve your child’s ability to go up and down stairs. Set up an obstacle course that involves stairs. You can also encourage stair practice through counting the number of stairs your child can go up and down in a set time period. They will enjoy the thrill of beating their previous score.

  • As your child gets tired of performing stairs. This is a perfect opportunity for you to get in some exercise by going up and down stairs.

  • To give both you and your child a good amount of exercise try playing tag. This will help your kid’s ability to run more coordinated while also getting your heart rate going.

  • To improve your child’s ability to throw a ball try setting up a miniature bowling game using building blocks and a soft foam ball. You can also have them throw a ball into a laundry basket like in basketball. After they throw these balls, throw it back to them so they can also work on catching. When setting up the game or picking up a ball, try doing a squat with each item you pick up so that you can get some exercises for yourself.


Other ideas to facilitate your child's advancement toward target milestones:

  • Take them to the jungle gym/park

  • Roll a ball to them and have them kick it like in kickball

  • Pedal a tricycle

  • Walk on their tiptoes around the house

  • Army crawling- Tape lines across your hallway that they have to go under. Then, use those same lines to have your kid step over without touching the tape.

  • Try dancing to their favorite song, nursery rhyme, etc. You can also add in a “Freeze!” to make it more fun or cut the music to freeze like in musical chairs.

  • Walk like an animal

    • Bear walking

    • Crab walking

    • Caterpillar crawl

    • Frog Jumping

    • Kangaroo jumping

Preschoolers 3-5 Years Old


Children between the ages of 3-5 year olds will vary in skill level of the following activities but hopefully all are at least starting to perform by age 5.

By the time they're 5 years old be able to:

  • Hop a few steps on a preferred foot

  • Kick a ball

  • Enjoy physical play, swinging, jumping, running

  • Walking down stairs alternating feet

  • Be able to gallop

  • Rotation of their trunk follows the throw of a ball

  • Can stop and change directions quickly when running

  • Can hop 8-10 steps on 1 foot

  • Throw a ball and hit a target at 10 feet away

  • Can do roller skates

  • Ride a bicycle

  • Jump 2-3 inches high

  • Will lean forward in preparation for jumping from a higher surface

  • Catch a ball if prepared

Keep Your Child Active!

Preschool aged children should be active at least 3hrs per day including light, moderate, and vigorous activity. By playing games with them and facilitating fun activities you will help teach good habits of staying physically active. Some of these ideas/games should also give you a little workout as well!

Ideas to keep everyone active:

  • To improve your child’s ability to balance as well as yours, have a competition to see who can lift the most bean bags into a bucket while balancing on one foot the entire time.

  • Another game to improve balance as well as single leg jump ability is hopscotch.

  • Try doing a yoga video. There’s a good chance that your child will want to imitate what you’re doing. This is a good way to bond and also is a good warm up for children or yourself before a more vigorous activity.

  • If playing inside, a good way to have your kid expel their energy is simply by blowing up a balloon (or 2) and have them try to keep the balloon(s) in the air without touching the ground. If you join your kid in the fun, you’ll be surprised how much of a workout it is for you as well.

  • Play a game of Simon says with exercise heavy instruction. This way both you and your child will get a workout while the kids think they’re just playing a game. This will help teach kids how to listen as well as demonstrate body awareness and movement planning

  • To improve your child’s ability to rotate their trunk while throwing a ball as well as gallop, make a game out of it. You each throw each other’s ball and have to gallop down, pick up the ball, and gallop back. Your kid will realize and be encouraged to throw the ball far and hard because then it will take you longer to return.

  • Try playing tic tac toe with exercises. Draw a big tic tac toe chart with each square containing exercise names and throw a coin on to the paper. Whatever the coin lands on has to be done by the thrower in order to put their X or O in that spot.


Other ideas to facilitate your child's advancement toward target milestones:

  • Facilitate your child’s hand eye coordination by playing a game of tetherball in your garage. Hang a tennis ball from the ceiling and bat it back and forth. To make it more of a workout for yourself, try holding a squat throughout each round of hitting the ball.

  • A fun way to safely enjoy throwing stuff indoors is by setting up paper plates to toss on paper towel rolls. Simply cut a hole in the paper plate and tape a paper towel roll pointing up on the floor. Then have a competition to see who can land the most paper plates on the cardboard paper towel roll.

  • If it’s a nice day outside you can really burn some energy with your kid by blowing bubbles and popping them. This facilitates your child’s advancement toward motor milestones in numerous ways.

Young Adolescents


All essential movement skills to function throughout life should be present by this time (by 6-8 years old). The degrees of proficiency will depend on genetics, opportunity, instruction and desire. At this age kids will often try activities that exceed their abilities. Overall there’s still inconsistency in performance, for instance you’ll observe your kid generate too much or too little force for something they’ve accurately performed before. This age and forward becomes about refining their skill sets versus learning the basics.

Keep your child active!

School-aged/adolescents should be getting at least 60min of moderate to vigorous activity each day. The types of exercise should include aerobic, muscle building, and bone strengthening activities. By promoting games and facilitating fun activities you will help teach good habits of staying physically active. Some of these ideas/games should also give you a workout as well!

Outdoor Activities

  • Take your kid to the park and play “lava monster” where you chase your kid around the jungle gym set and they’re not allowed to touch the ground. When they are climbing up slides, hanging from monkey bars, or running through tubes while squatting, they are also helping themselves build stronger muscles.

  • This is the age where kids typically enjoy having foot races. If your kid isn’t already challenging you to foot races then you challenge them. Not only does running help with aerobic endurance it will also strengthen their bones via impact when planting their feet.

  • Another great activity for aerobic endurance and bone strengthening is jump rope. Bust out two jump ropes and join your kid in a fun workout.

  • If you have a pool, try having all sorts of different races e.g each of you can only kick their legs only and use a floatie to support the arms.

  • Social games with other kids like flashlight tag, kick the can, or other games/sports should also be promoted during this age in order to teach them how to play appropriately with others.

  • Other activities like biking, hiking, and swimming etc. are all great for improving coordination and strength as well

Indoor Activities

  • Try creating or buying an exercise dice and each take a turn rolling it. Whatever the dice says is what you need to do.

  • A good indoor game that will get your kid interested in sports as well use up their energy is indoor pool noodle hockey. Use a pool noodle as a hockey stick and hit a balloon back and forth into each other’s goals.

  • Even computer games like Wii or Xbox Kinect should be encouraged to expend energy

  • Facilitate their hand-eye coordination by having a "snowball fight". Crumple up sheets of paper and run around inside throwing the pieces of paper at each other. Hint: Make a game of finding the most pieces of paper around the house to speed up the clean up

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