Let’s get moving: physical development

From kicking and squirming, to holding objects, crawling and standing, the development of fine and gross motor skills starts in the early years.

Fine motor refers to small muscles groups, including hands, wrists, fingers, feet and toes. Gross motor skills are to do with large muscle groups; including the coordination of arms, legs and other large body parts. Your child will also develop hand-eye coordination as they use their vision to control movements and actions of small muscles.

Early physical skills develop through regular movement and activity. Each child will develop physical skills at their own pace and like all areas of development, each individual child will show strengths and abilities in different areas.

Moving, reaching and grasping- putting it all together
  • Babies will begin reaching and grabbing toys and objects, practicing hand eye coordination, as well as fine and gross motor skills.
  • Encouraging your child to reach and grasp their toys helps them learn to control their motor skills.
  • Art and craft activities allow children to practice reaching, moving and placing objects through expressive play, learning about depth and muscle control.
  • Moulding and manipulating material like playdough allows children to challenge themselves by making new shapes and textures, building fine motor skills.
  • Simple tasks, like turning the pages of a board book or pressing buttons encourage hand eye coordination and motor skill control.
Don’t forget to rest

Remember, as your child is growing, they can get tired from short periods of activity, so rest time is also important.

Physical development through play

Published — 17 October 2017 Last updated — 04 April 2019

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