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Likeradar's avatar

What are fun developmental milestones for almost-1st graders?

Asked by Likeradar (19575points) May 27th, 2009

I know this is a really specific question, so it might not get many answers.

I’m a nanny of two 5 year olds who are finishing up kindergarten. Academically and socially, they’re marvelous. I’m starting to think there are some things they should know how to do, and since I have them full time this summer I want to set some goals. I’m not 100% sure what’s appropriate though. How old were your children (or you, if you remember) when you were able to ride a 2 wheeler, tie your shoes, shower alone as opposed to a supervised bath, or blow bubbles with bubble gum? (And anything else I might be missing, too.)

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18 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Likeradar i’m opposed to showering alone, even at 29. ;)~

Blow bubbles and bubble gum i was doing by that age, as well as tying shoelaces. the two-wheeler came at around 7 for me.

i could iron clothes by the time i was seven, though, too. so, it’s different for everyone. (i’m not kidding)

hearkat's avatar

Riding a 2-wheeler is usually between 5 and 6 (although some kids are able to balance as early as 3, depending on what activities they’ve been exposed to). If they haven’t already, you could start with scooters.

Tying their own shoes is usually at age 6, so you could start working on this.

Mastery of reading is really the big intellectual milestone between 5–6 (again, some kids are earlier).

Dribbling a basketball is good for hand-eye coordination (not sure what age this is usually done). The same with swinging a bat at a ball that’s being pitched (underhand wiffle ball).

My son was about this age when he was able to climb up a knotted rope using his hands and feet.

Bubble gum was about 7 for me, but I had a huge underbite to deal with. I don’t remember how old my son was for that.

Flying kites and throwing frisbees are fun summer activities you could try.

My son was into challenging himself acrobatically at that age, wanting to swing on the swingset standing up, to hang upside-down by his knees from the monkey bar, and to do all the different things at the playground. Let them set the tone by asking them for ideas!

Have a fun summer!!

casheroo's avatar

My friend is a stay at home mom, and going to homeschool. She made a pocket checklist for everything a child should be capable of. I’ll copy and paste the motor skills part for pre-schooler.

Emergent Physical Health and Safety
Motor Skills
Demonstrates eye-hand coordination – Child is able to demonstrate coordination between seeing and touching/manipulating items.
Begins to show fine motor dexterity and control – Child is able to successfully manipulate items such as writing instruments, scissors, balls or bea bags. Child can also complete dressing skills such as zipping, tying, lacing, snapping and buttoning.
Demonstrates balance and control during locomotor movements – Child is able to walk, run, stop, slide, etc. Child is able to maintain balance when walking on a line or beam.
Uses large muscles to manipulate objects – Child is able to carry large items, ride wheeled toys and kick a ball. Child demonstrates ability to throw, catch and bounce equipment such as a ball or bean bag.

Darwin's avatar

2 wheeler – my son was three when he first rode without training wheels (he stole his sister’s bike). Later that year he taught his sister, age 5, how to ride it.

Tie shoes – My daughter could do that by age 4 (we had them in Montessori training so starting at age three they dressed themselves every day). My son still can’t do that very well at age 14.

Shower alone as opposed to a supervised bath – My daughter started showering alone around age 9. My son still prefers baths to showers, but started showering alone (without totally drenching the bathroom) when he was about 11.

Blow bubbles with bubble gum – That was a grade school thing. The big thing that they were learning at age 5 was to blow bubbles successfully with soap solution.

At 5 my guys were climbing the play structure, sliding down the highest slides, climbing trees, and beginning to play kickball if a grown up pitched the ball. They were learning basic games like Red Rover, Hop Scotch, jump rope and Mother May I, and they loved to play catch and start trying to hit a ball with a bat. They knew how to wipe down a table and set it for a meal. They also were allowed to microwave their lunches under supervision, and my daughter insisted on learning how to run the washing machine. They were also into Legos, not Duplos anymore.

Likeradar's avatar

@hearkat I love the kite idea!

The kids are pretty much where they should be with coordination, helping around the house, basic sports (and some advanced sports too), reading, and a lot of the other things you guys have mentioned. It’s more about things that I think we (me and the parents) have dropped the ball on teaching or showing them.

What got me thinking about this, actually, was a few weeks ago when I rented them The Muppet Movie. They asked who the green guy on the DVD case was- Kermit! It got me thinking that a) I have failed as a nanny :), and b) there must be other childhood things I haven’t done a good enough job showing them.

The little dude really wants to skateboard, so my boyfriend is gonna show him the basics this summer. The girl really wants to blow bubbles, so I bought some Bubble Yum today. I remember my dad showing me how to do it, but I don’t know how old I was. It’s a really awkwardly funny thing to show someone how to do!

Darwin's avatar

Be careful with the skateboarding. I was told that 9 is a more appropriate age for that, even if they are wearing full protective gear.

Likeradar's avatar

@Darwin They’re just going to work on being able to get on, go, and stop, nothing fancy. I have parental permission, so we’re gonna go for it (in full body armor). Thanks for your concern though. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

The need to learn how to swim as early as possible. You should look into lessons. Hiking is a great activity, as long as you impress on them that they must never stray off the trail or out of sight, and carry a whistle.

augustlan's avatar

At 5, I think they could easily take supervised showers… and soon, unsupervised ones. Blowing bubbles and riding a two wheeler were later for my kids, but they’re probably at the right age to at least start learning to tie their own shoes. How about planting and tending a little garden? You’ve probably already done this, but helping with cooking and chores are great for improving large and small motor skills and really building their confidence levels.

Likeradar's avatar

@YARNLADY They’re already half fish, half child :). Hiking is a great idea, we will definitley do that.

@augustlan We’ve been planting seeds and tending to them every spring for the past 3 years! They also each got their own Beta fish to care for, and they’ve been alive for almost 2 weeks so I consider it a success. :) And yes, they put away their laundry after I wash it, put their clean pillowcases on, recycle, compost, put away the cups and silverware, and wipe the table, and we bake occasionally.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Likeradar but can they do the funky worm? what about learning a basic musical instrument?

augustlan's avatar

Sounds like you’re doing a great job!

skfinkel's avatar

I would not worry about reaching any goals in particular. There will be plenty of that in kindergarten. I would follow the childrens’ lead, make sure they are having lots of fun, hands-on kinds of toys around, lots of balls and bats and chalk for playing outside, trips to the library is they want new books, lots of art supplies, and glue and feathers and cardboard things, and scissors and enjoy watching what they do with it all.

If they ask to take a shower alone, by all means, see if it makes sense. If they are trying to tie their own shoelaces, by all means, show them how if they ask. If they want to ride a bike, or get rid of training wheels, help them out.

But this is the time for them to be children. They will have hoops enough in school, let them just play all summer—no goals—just child-led play.

sakura's avatar

It sounds like you have 2 wonderful children to take care of, I agee with @skfinkel they will have plenty of hoops to jump through once they reach kindergarten/school.
Try out lots of play based actvities like those suggested above, but try not to impose time limit/goal as to when they need to have achieved something, every child is different.
Go for more play based activities where they can learn without realising they are learning!

Treasure trails are fun, make the clues picture clues or puzzle based so they can do this independently. Or possibly findng numbers/letters in the correct order (collecting a puzzle peice at each station which they have to put together at the end)

Building a fort, get some wood, hammer and nails (obviously supervised) and get building!! Books on castles etc..

Bug hunts – clean jam jars for study tanks – just make sure you return bugs back to where you found them! Go to the local library and find books about mini beasts!

Try to avoid goals over summer, they will have plenty of goals forced upon them in adulthood keep going with the play based activities :)

HAVE FUN :)

Likeradar's avatar

Thanks everyone. By the way, they are ending kindergarten this week and will be in 1st grade in the fall.

I totally intend on having lots and lots of free play time (just like we do during the school year), and I fully believe that play is a child’s work. Just trying to think of developmentally appropriate regular childhood stuff they might not have been exposed to yet. It’s not like I’m gonna drill them in riding a 2 wheeler or have a bubble blowing exam in August. :) Funny, I have a degree in childhood development, but we never covered this kind of stuff in school.

Darwin's avatar

You are not going to have a bubble blowing exam?! What are you thinking of? Don’t you know testing is everything these days?

Maybe you should teach them how to fill in little circles with a number two pencil so they will really be ready.

The above is a fine example of sarcasm, in case anyone wonders.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Darwin where’s your ”~”

Darwin's avatar

I lost it.

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