At birth, newborns possess reflexes for rooting, suckling, and grasping. Newborns develop the ability to move their heads and hands. Newborns discover and practice neural pathways through repeated body movements. After about three to six months, infants develop the strength required to move their entire bodies. They can roll over, and use their arms in order to scoot forward. Their newfound strength also allows infants to learn how to reach out and grab objects, and manipulate objects by shaking and fiddling with them. After learning how to scoot their bodies with their arms, infants generally develop the ability to crawl. The mobility techniques can vary between infants, with many infants squirming from place to place and others learning how to stand before they master crawling.

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Most infants at the crawling stage also learn how to not just grasp objects but pick them up and bring them toward their person. By the end of their first year, most infants can sit up, stand, and walk entirely on their own. The development of their fine motor skills advances enough to allow for picking up and throwing objects. Combined with these fine motor skills, these infants also possess the finger strength required to pick up objects using only the thumb and one finger of one hand. After turning one, toddlers further advance their ability to walk, developing the capacity for walking backwards and on stairs. They develop the ability to follow the tempo of music, and have the fine motor control to operate tools such as markers. By the age of three, children become more practiced accessing neural pathways, allowing them to practice coordination skills.

This is demonstrated through practices such as running, kicking, and standing on one foot. By following the example of their mentors, two- to three-year-old children can learn how to hold a crayon between their thumb and fingers. Between three and four, children develop the balance necessary to ride a tricycle and walk in a straight line. They have the fine motor control to make shapes using tools such as crayons and clay. Children between four and five generally know how to write some letters and use scissors. They further develop skills like walking backwards and jumping on one foot. At the age of six, children generally have their adult vision sharpness. Most can dress themselves, including tying their shoes.

Between eight and nine years old, a child’s brain undergoes a growth spurt, causing it to be almost its adult size. The development of the frontal lobe especially allows children to complete ordered tasks such as putting parts together to solve a puzzle. At the same time, children develop the ability to view the world from a systematic perspective rather than an egocentric one. Children in middle childhood also learn how to discuss their thoughts and feelings in-depth once their brains hit their growth spurts.

Both genders have a prepubescent growth spurt, but the growth spurts happen at different times. For girls, the growth spurt happens between about nine and ten years of age. For boys, the spurt occurs between eleven and twelve. Boys and girls generally have about the same physical appearance before reaching puberty, both becoming especially lean and athletic at the beginning of their middle childhood.

As they hit school age, children have the opportunity to develop their gross motor skills through activities such as sports and ballet. Their physical growth allows for greater strength, speed, and coordination, especially as they reach their prepubescent growth spurts. Childrens’ fine motor skills are also advanced through activities like art and piano lessons. Children are best able to develop permanent gross and fine motor control when presented with opportunities to practice them while in middle childhood.

Upon reaching middle childhood, children become less at-risk for contracting illness. This is due to a combination of reasons including previous illness exposure and better self-care practices like hand-washing.