Between four and six, the growing coordination, balance and fine motor control allow children to develop greater independence in self-care activities including bathing, dressing, and tying shoe laces.
Children get more adept at drawing, cutting using scissors and manipulating simple tools. These skills require that one hand leads while the other supports. Over this period, children start to show a natural preference of one hand over the other.
Children enjoy balance challenging activities like hopping, skipping, jumping and can coordinate well enough to cycle, catch, throw and hit balls with a bat. Children love to play in groups; they understand and follow rules and develop a sense of fair play.
This is the stage when the child is able to speak easily and may talk incessantly. Children will learn rules of social conversations and conventions but may be able to follow them consistently, only toward end of this period.
Children begin to question the adult about rules of behaviour and will often demand to understand before they obey. At this age, they have the capacity to analyse and respond to social situations. In the early stages, the child will look to the adult for confirmation or permission before they act, but as they grow older, they are better able to make decisions themselves.
During these years, children demonstrate better self-control, creativity, and expression of emotion. Emotions are intense during this period, the common ones being anger, fear and curiosity. Curiosity is an important tool for understanding and children have the language skills to ask and clarify their observations.
Children enjoy listening to stories and love to tell stories, often creating elements, if the audience is receptive. Children love to create elaborate scenes using everyday objects and act out different situations, becoming people like teachers, policemen, fathers and doctors. The personality of each child is evident in their clear preferences for specific kinds of play – the child who loves to play with puzzles, look at books and pictures, the child who loves to play outdoors, or the child who will spend hours playing make-believe.
All the above developmental tasks are preparing the child for school and formal learning.