Most 5½ year-olds can learn to:
- Dance rhythmically in time to music and learn simple dance steps
- Perform six to eight sit-ups in 30 seconds
- Throw a ball overhand (like a cricket bowler) with shoulder rotation and weight shift
- Throw a ball accurately at a target that is 3 m away
- Catch a ball with two hands after bouncing it on the floor
- Catch a ball after tossing it into the air above them
- Kick a ball into the air so that it travels 3 m
- Dribble and kick a moving ball and run towards a stationary ball to kick it, without first stopping
- Jump 75 cm forward from a standstill and land on both feet
Read more about how playing hopscotch can help your child.
Magic feet, follow the beat
This game originated in Roman times, when soldiers played it as part of their training. Today, teachers and therapists love hopscotch because it develops eye-foot coordination, dynamic balance and a sense of rhythm.
Draw the diagram below on a floor. You can use masking tape to create a permanent diagram for repeated use.
Rules of the game:
- Give every player a small stone
- The first player throws their stone into the square marked 1. If it lands inside the square without touching the lines, they hop to the home base at the far end, landing on one foot in each square and on both feet when the squares are adjacent to each other. The square that houses the stone must be excluded.
- When they reach the home square, they turn around with a 180 ° jump-turn.
- They then hop all the way back, stop when they reach squares 2 and 3, bend over to retrieve their stone, and hop over square 1, since that square is out of bounds for now.
- Each player may throw the stone multiple times, first in square 1, then in square 2, and so forth, to try to conquer all the squares and finally get their stone into the home square.
- If the player fails to throw the stone into the correct square, or it lands on a line, they are out and it’s the next person’s turn.
- Similarly, if at any stage the player drops their stone, steps on a line or puts the other foot down while hopping on one leg, that player is out and it’s the next person’s turn.
- If a player returns to the game after a previous round, they resume play starting from the square that was in play at the time that they were out.
You can also use the hopscotch diagram to play these extra games:
- Bubbling lava. Pretend the floor is bubbling with lava and the lines are the only place of safety. Your child can follow any path to get from square 1 to the home square and back, as long as they stay on the line. Challenge your five-year-old to walk heel-to-toe.
- Magic number. Put a dice in the home square and ask your child to choose one of the numbers displayed on the dice. Then, when a player reaches the dice, they throw it until it falls on that number (the magic number) before they are allowed to leave the home square. It is not necessary to use the stone for this version of the game.
- Hop the code. Call out five numbers. Ask your child to repeat what they heard you say, as a five-year-old can repeat five numbers in order. They may then leap from block to block, coming to rest only on those numbers. Reverse the numbers to create a road back, for example, 1-3-5-8-9 going up and 9-8-5-3-1 coming back.
Tip: Jump like a star
At five years of age, children typically learn to coordinate the two sides of their bodies to do star jumps smoothly and rhythmically. This is an important milestone. If your child needs some practice, try the following:
1. Draw four ovals on the floor to indicate where your child’s feet will land during a star jump. Two of the ovals should be close together and two should be further apart. Let your child practice jumping between these two sets of ovals by expanding their legs as they land in the ovals that are further apart and jumping back into the ovals that are close together. While they practice they should say, “open-close-open-close.”
2. Draw a 1 (one) and an X on paper and display it on the wall. Let your child keep their eye on the paper as they add arm movements to mimic these shapes with their body as they jump between the ovals, while saying, “one-ex-one-ex” as they star jump