Maybe your fifth graders don’t beg you to watch them move and play, but secretly they want you to. Take the time to provide positive feedback and your fifth grader's physical confidence will blossom! Here are some important movement milestones for your fifth grade child:

Motor Skills

Fourth grade introduced the importance of self-initiated movement. Fifth grade expands on this concept. Your child should be able to:

  • perform a variety of movement combinations while adapting to a fluid, game-like environment
  • perform all the skill related components of fitness in a fluid environment with some proficiency: agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, reaction time
  • adjust speed, direction, and force of movements depending on the situation
  • begin to further understand movement patterns by identifying the phases (preparation, action during movement, follow through)
  • respond to simple cues in order to adjust movement for better results (more bend in knees, keep shoulder aligned, less turn, etc)


Fifth graders are ready to further assess their fitness performance and track progress. Your child should be able to:

  • set realistic fitness goals based on past performance and personal desires
  • select and participate in activities to improve fitness according to goals and record in order to track progress
  • understand the similarities and differences of the health and skill related components and how each can affect the other
  • boys run the mile between 8:30 and 11:00 minutes, girls between 9:00 and 12:00 minutes
  • boys perform between 8 and 20 push ups, girls between 7 and 15
  • boys have a body mass index between 14.3 and 21, girls between 14 and 24

Social Development

Fifth grade marks an important transition as some students are beginning to experience puberty. Positive social development can help ease the stress of this confusing period. Your child should be able to:

  • adjust behaviors to resolve conflicts and help others resolve conflicts in a positive manner
  • appreciate the affect exercise and activity has on emotions and self-initiate positive actions when feeling down
  • informally assess peers and provide specific feedback in a positive manner that may lead to improvement
  • cooperate with peers even in competitive situations and understand the effort is usually more rewarding than the outcome

Fifth grade is a time for students to gain a real appreciation and enjoyment of activity and fitness. Fifth graders understand how to develop their own goals and ways of recording progress, and they begin to feel the exhilaration of personal achievement, and the disappointment of frustrated goals. So, make sure to encourage your child whether they're a budding sports star or a couch potato. Helping your child stay positive about physical fitness during this important time will yield a big payoff in the years to come, as they grow healthy, happy, and fit - for life!