The Physical Development of a 6-Year-Old

A 6-year-old child has come a long way in terms of physical growth. Although there are guidelines that pediatricians and parents can use to be sure a child is on track, it is important to remember that each child grows at her own pace, and even if she seems a little behind at some point, she probably will catch up down the road. However, if you think your child is seriously delayed or if you have specific concerns about her physical development, talk to your doctor.


At 6 years of age, a child's attention span is increasing, and he can play or learn something for a half hour or more. These children also are interested in structured activities, such as arts and crafts. They often enjoy taking on more responsibility, so this is a good time to introduce the idea of chores they can do around the house.


Children at this age typically grow about 2-1/2 inches during the year. Some children seem to have all their growth at once, while others have several growth spurts, and still others grow slowly over the course of the year. Weight gain depends largely on diet and physical activity level, although genes also play a part. At about 6, children start to lose their baby teeth. This is an exciting time for kids as they begin to feel more grown up.


By 6, children often begin to take an interest in organized sports, and they are gaining the skills for team play. Their coordination is improving, but children at this age still can be clumsy, so their sports skills get better with practice. These children also experience an increase in stamina, meaning they need a little less sleep and can sustain rigorous play for longer periods. Six-year-olds are full of energy and can't sit still for too long. It's important to remember that children who move more develop their skills at a faster pace.

Fine Motor

Fine motor skills refer to those movements that use the small muscles in the body. At 6, children will be able to write letters and numbers, although not always neatly, and they should be able to button their clothing and tie their shoes. Parents and teachers also will notice that children are demonstrating left or right handedness at this age. Drawing and painting become more detailed.

Gross Motor

The skills that use the large muscles of the body are called gross motor skills. At 6, a child's gross motor skills are becoming better. Six-year-olds are becoming more coordinated; they are beginning to be able to throw, kick and hit a ball, for example. In addition, a 6-year-old child should be able to dance, jump and move from foot to foot without falling.