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The early years of a child’s life are an important time for learning. The more your child is able to practice skills, the better they will be prepared for school and life. This applies to skills such as reading, writing, talking and counting, but also learning to move, play and make friends.  

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Active play will help to build your child’s:  

  • strength, 

  • agility, 

  • flexibility,  

  • balance, 

  • coordination, and  

  • confidence.  

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Developing skills 

As your children play and learn new skills, get involved so you can modify the activity to make it easier or harder. The most important movement skills for children if this age to learn are: 

  • Catching 

  • Kicking 

  • Overarm throw 

  • Stationary dribble  

  • Striking a stationary ball 

  • Underarm throw 


  • Galloping  

  • Hopping 

  • Jumping 

  • Leaping 

  • Running 

  • Side-sliding 

  • Skipping 

Watch videos of each skill here: 

Skills learnt can be reinforced through enrolling in structured activities. 

Structured play 

If your child is ready for more structured activities, think about registering them for a non-competitive sport or activity. 

Younger children have a shorter attention span, often finding it hard to follow the rules of some games. Some organisations offer a simplified version of their sport that is suitable for younger children.  The focus is on everyone getting involved and learning new skills rather than on winning or losing. 

Allowing your child the time to develop these basic skills will help to give them confidence to live an active life in school and beyond.  

[Source: DoH Physical Activity And Sedentary Behaviour; Raising Children Network

Related Pages 

Family Time

Sleep for toddlers 

Game ideas