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Physical Development

Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.

By the end of reception children will develop their:

  • Moving and handling skills: children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
  • Health and self-care skills: children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.

How can parents and carers help?

  • All children need fresh air, exercise and a way of letting off steam! Try to provide opportunities for your child to run, jump, hop, roll, throw, hit, balance, lift, carry.
  • Visit playgrounds and make use of the apparatus regularly and watch them gain in confidence and control.
  • Try to walk to places, rather than always using the car or pushchair.
  • Develop their fine motor skills and hand control. There are many muscles that need to be developed before your child will be able to control a pencil effectively.
  • Provide opportunities to paint, colour, scribble as well as draw. Try to work inside at a table and outside in the garden. Chalking on the pavement and a bucket of water with a large brush can provide hours of fun!
  • Roll, cut, squash, play with dough and plasticine.
  • Thread beads, build with construction sets, dress dolls – all of these help to develop their hand control.
  • Buy a pair of round-ended scissors and let them cut and stick paper and pictures from catalogues.
  • Find ways of fixing together two boxes when making a model, glue, sellotape, masking tape?
  • Try to let your child experiment and discover for themselves and then make suggestions and assist them.
  • Allow your child to undress and then dress themselves. Teach them how to put on their coat and velcro shoes.
  • Allow your child to make their own sandwich, help you prepare the dinner, set the table.
  • Talk about healthy foods whilst at shopping.
  • Try to steer clear of foods with a high fat or calorie content as a treat (sweets, cakes, burgers). Instead opt for healthy fruits and snacks!