St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

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Physical Development

Physical Development


 Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence.


Young children are all about the physical - they love to jump, skip, run, climb and dance. Anything new and that won't require them to sit still for too long is what they love to do. But they're like puppies - running full steam until they entirely run out of energy, at which point they'll collapse somewhere utterly exhausted. 


Some developmental milestones include:

  • Balancing to walk along a plank
  • Pedalling a bike with stabilizers or a trike 
  • Rolling and bouncing a ball - and a few can catch a ball, too
  • Holding a pencil with the correct grip
  • Buttoning up clothing
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Climbing a ladder and trees
  • Standing, walking and running on tiptoes
  • Balancing on one foot for several seconds
  • Using a spoon and fork correctly
  • Building a bridge using blocks

How can I encourage this physical development?

  • Ensure they have plenty of physical freedom where they can develop some independence.
  • Teach some skills that will open new doors - how to swim, how to pedal a bike, how to hit a ball with a bat.
  • Give them the space to work things out for themselves. It will build their self-esteem if they can work something out on their own.
  • Allow them the time they need to 'get things right' themselves. Some children really resist help, so don't jump in unless you're asked.


All children are at levels of development, and we all develop at different rates, so don't be overly concerned if your child is acquiring new skills at a different rate to their peers. But if you are worried about their development, or it seems to have stalled or are going backwards, reach out and raise your concern. 


Take part in one or more of these activities every day. Websites and links have been provided for useful videos online.


1: Dance along to a song that makes you happy

2: Walk up and down the stairs five times

3: Sing and hop along to the sleeping bunny song

4: Children’s yoga

5: Shake break

6: Joe Wicks Work out 

7: Go noodle

8: Dance along with The Learning Station''