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Keep moving in lockdown. Age 6 – 7

Junior development

As we face the prospect of what we hope to be our final period of lockdown, we continue our blog series looking at the developmental changes our children have experienced during this extended time at home and the importance to keep active for their emotional and physical development. Here we focus on children aged six to seven years.

The foot of a child aged six to seven years will have grown on average around 11mm – that’s approximately 1mm foot growth length each month!

According to Martin Haines, a chartered physiotherapist and biomechanics coach, by the age of six years the foot arch is usually developed as the Sub Talar Joint forms (the part of the foot just in front of the ankle that allows the foot to move inwards and outwards).

Crucially, at around this age, the foot and leg muscles ‘unit’ gets stronger, the connective tissue around the bones and muscles strengthen and the brain becomes better able to coordinate movement. While gait is not mature until the early teens, there is gradual, yet progressive development of the child’s locomotor system from infant to maturity – in other words how we move from one place to another i.e., leaping, hopping, or running.

This physical development and maturity allows the child to refine their gross motor skills too and our research we conducted in partnership with The Daily Mile has shown that exposure to different types of activity positively impacts developing gross motor competence such as:-

  • Fundamental movement skills including throwing, catching, running
  • Stability skills like balancing
  • Object control such as throwing
  • In fact, motor competence is positively associated with aerobic fitness, strength and endurance in all children aged under 18 years. What’s more, leading by example is key to establishing health habits in children in order to promote the lifelong and sustainable benefits physical activity provides.

    Check out our Keep Moving Hub for more ideas and activities to keep youngsters moving.