Your 6-Year-Old's Physical Development

Six-Year-Olds Have Lots of Energy and Are Growing Fast

Boy looking preppy with bow tie
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At six years old, children will exhibit a wide range of new physical skills. Some may show natural athleticism while others will work on accomplishing simple skills such as throwing or catching a ball. There will also be a natural variation in growth rates, with some children starting to shoot up while others grow at a slower rate.

Six-year-olds will have lots of energy and will need time outdoors to burn it off. Physical activity will be important since children who are 6 years old spend so much of their time in classrooms. In fact, research has shown that exercise is beneficial for cognitive function.

You may notice that your child is not yet reaching typical physical milestones--or is soaring past some of them. While variation is normal, be sure to contact your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child's rate of development.


Many six-year-olds will begin to lose fat and gain more muscle, and you may notice a "stretching out" as your child gains more height and looks leaner than he did as a four- or five-year-old. Many six-year-old may begin to resemble the lanky adolescents they may be one day.


Children typically begin to lose their baby teeth around age five or six. That’s why it’s so common to see photos of early grade-schoolers with grins showing no front teeth! These are the first teeth to come in and usually the first ones to fall out. These baby teeth will gradually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. They should be able to brush their own teeth (although parents may still want to take a turn to make sure all the spots have been cleaned).

Personal Care

Children at six years old may now be more interested in bathing themselves or combing their own hair. Parents can let them get into the habit of cleaning themselves but may want to help finish up to rinse out all the soap or give one last touch with a comb or a brush.

Coordination, Motor Skills

As a six-year-old's coordination and motor skills become more refined, he will be able to engage in games like jumping rope, kicking a ball, and playing catch. But you can expect a wide range of physical abilities since kids’ motor skills are still developing at this age. Kids’ natural athletic ability as well as how physically active they are can play a role in how much they develop physical skills. As their coordination, motor skills, and ability to understand game rules continue to develop, many six-year-olds will also be interested in and able to play team sports, such as soccer.

Fine motor coordination will also continue to develop at this age. Six-year-olds will become more adept at drawing and writing letters, and their pictures and stories will look much more recognizable and legible. They will become more skilled at using tools such as scissors and will be better able to perform tasks such as tying shoelaces or buttoning buttons with less clumsiness and more accuracy.

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