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Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS)

Fundamental movement skills are a specific set of skills that involve different body parts such as feet, legs, trunk, head, arms and hands. These skills are the “building blocks” for more complex and specialised skills that kids will need throughout their lives to competently participate in different games, sports and recreational activities.

Take a look at this video to see ways to build fundamental movements skills with your kids.

The categories of FMS

Fundamental movement skills categories include:

Balance skills - Movements where the body remains in place, but moves around its horizontal and vertical axes.

  • Three year old children can walk along a wide balance board
  • Four year old children can walk part way along a narrow beam
  • Five year old children can walk the length of a narrow beam

Locomotor skills - such as running, jumping, hopping, and galloping.

Locomotor skills PDF

Ball skills - such as catching, throwing, kicking, underarm roll and striking.

Ball skills PDF

Skill development by age

Between the ages of three and five years, children are starting to develop their fundamental movement skills (FMS) and enjoy a wide variety of activities.

Three-year olds: Developmentally, three-year olds are still developing the basic skills required for play. They’re able to perform the following FMS:

  • Climb jungle gyms and ladders
  • Run on toes
  • Balance on one leg for a short time
  • Kick a ball from a standing position.

Four-year oldsFour-year olds are developing quickly and learn a lot from their experiences and their play environment. They’re able to perform the following FMS:

  • Gallop
  • Hop forward
  • Do lame duck skip (only one foot "skips")
  • Throw a ball 3.5 metres overhand
  • Kick a large rolling ball.

Five-year oldsFive-year olds begin to display a variety of styles of play, including copying others, creative play, and making up their own games or activities. They’re able to perform the following:

  • Run through an obstacle course avoiding objects
  • Skip forward
  • Maintain balance on a moveable platform
  • Throw a ball with direction and force.

Kids who are unable to keep up with their peers

If you are concerned about a child’s development, you can suggest that the parents contact the ACT Government's Child Development Service Intake Line on 6205 1246. Anyone can contact the Intake Line to discuss services, such as free drop-in clinics for physiotherapy and speech pathology. More information can be found on the Child Development Service website

Teaching Fundamental Movement Skills

If your preschool or centre participates in the Kids at Play Active Play program, they are provided with log-in details to access footage of how to teach 12 fundamental movement skills to preschoolers. Please speak with your staff who attended the KAPAP training to obtain these details and follow these instructions to access the videos.

Would your ACT preschool or centre like to participate in the Kids at Play Active Play program? This program assists educators to feel more confident to promote active play and teach fundamental movement skills to preschool aged children. Contact for more information.