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Physical literacy checklist: 2-4 years |

Physical literacy checklist: 2-4 years

active for life, physical activityGuest Blog Post
Jim Grove

Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

Physical literacy checklist: 2-4 years |

These are some basic fundamental movement skills that your toddler should be learning, and mastering. These contribute to your child becoming physically literate.

  1. Running

By age two, most toddlers will have started running (some will have started as early as 20 months). They are still a bit unsteady on their feet and they often fall down, but they are keen to be fast and mobile.


Encourage your child in her running by making frequent trips to parks and other places where there are open spaces. When presented with an open field, most toddlers want to run and explore. Play games that promote running such as chasing a soccer ball or take turns chasing each other.

  1. Throwing

Toddlers will naturally start to throw underhand before their second birthday, and some will even start to throw overhand. Their arms and legs will tend to be straight, and they won’t rotate their upper body very much, but they will improve steadily towards their fourth birthday. And the more they practice throwing, the better they’ll get.


Help your child to develop her throwing by playing catch with soft foam or fabric balls, or place simple paper targets on the wall for her to throw at. You should use balls that are small enough for your child to easily grasp.

  1. Catching

With a little coaching, you can teach your toddler to catch soft foam or fabric balls. Catching is a natural companion activity to throwing, and catching activities help her to develop the ability to track the flight of an object in the air.


Show your child how to form as “basket” with her two arms in front of her stomach [more details]. Gently toss the ball into her basket from a close distance of one to two metres. As her confidence grows and her fine motor skills improve, she will eventually start to use her hands more than her arms.

  1. Kicking

Around her second birthday, your toddler will start to kick a ball on the ground. She won’t have great form as she steps into the kick, but that’s okay. At this age, you simply want to encourage her to explore the movement of kicking.


Help your child to develop her kicking skills by having soft, lightweight balls available. You can even play one-versus-one soccer at this age. Use your imagination: create goals using patio furniture, trees, shrubs, and other objects. Let her score lots of goals to encourage her, and make sure you cheer and celebrate.

  1. Swimming

Swimming is essential, in part because it’s a survival skill. Your child doesn’t need to be racing lengths of the pool by age four, but she should certainly be exposed to water and start developing her fundamental swimming skills.


Investigate swimming lessons at your local recreation centre by age three or four. Many programs encourage parents to be in the water alongside their child at the early ages.

  1. Skating

Skating develops your child’s sense of balance on slippery surfaces. It’s also an essential skill for sports like figure skating, speed skating, and Canada’s great pastime, hockey.


Like swimming, skating is a fundamental skill that requires a little more planning on the part of parents. Check out the beginner programs at your local recreation centre.

Check out our physical literacy checklists for ages:

Physical literacy checklist: 2-4 years |

Active for Life is a non-profit organization committed to helping parents raise happy, healthy, physically literate kids. For more articles like this one, please visit

Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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