First graders have some movement experience under their belt and are feeling pretty confident. They love to demonstrate their abilities and aren’t too inhibited as to where; whether in the grocery store, the bank, or a crowded restaurant! Here's the lowdown on movement milestones for first graders:

Motor Skills

First graders are beginning to really develop their ability to move. Your child should be able to:

  • demonstrate locomotor skills including: run, hop, jump, leap, slide, gallop, and skip
  • combine two locomotor movements to form a pattern (skip, skip, jump, jump, repeat)
  • perform kicking, striking, throwing and catching patterns in a simple fluid environment (a throwing and catching game or a kicking game)
  • put together simple tumbling patterns that involve weight shift, rolling, and flight (hop, hop, hop, somersault, run and leap)
  • move to a simple rhythmic beat while recognizing the pattern

Movement and fitness can easily be combined for fun games that first graders love, so look for opportunity to engage them physically while still having fun! Your first grade child should be able to:

  • engage in one to two minutes of moderate to intense physical activities leading to increased heart rate, breathing, and perspiration
  • perform activities that require less intense, but longer continuous movement
  • perform movements designed to develop strength and endurance (climbing, pulling, pushing various objects), imitation of animal movements works great
  • begin to understand how regular exercise strengthens the entire body
  • perform between 4 and 10 push ups
  • while lying on stomach, raise the chest at least 6 inches off the floor
  • perform between 4 and 14 curl ups (crunches) with good form

 Social Development

First graders are becoming a little more socially independent, but still like to play in groups with friends. Your child should be able to:

  • display appropriate self control for the circumstances
  • be willing to receive feedback and then try to adjust for improvement
  • participate in low organized games with partners or small groups without much prompting (playing catch, jumping rope, imaginative games)
  • in many situations demonstrate a willingness to adjust behavior to resolve conflicts prior to asking for help from an adult
  • choose activities that require some social interactions and cooperation

Wherever your first grader stands in their physical development, motor skills, fitness, and social development can all be improved with a little practice. Provide experiences that will give your child the opportunity to practice all three and everyone (including you) will learn to love getting active!