Physical development

Physical development is one of the seven areas of the early years foundation stage and is used to develop a child's movement, handling of objects, understanding of their own body and health and levels of self-care. Children do this in range of ways including spacial awareness when moving, co-ordination of small and large movements, how to effectively use tools and equipment, saying when they do or don't need help, how show their feelings, learn that some behaviour is unacceptable and its consequences, how to play co-operatively and form positive relationships with adults and children.

Below you will find a range of practical articles and expert features that cover personal, social and emotional development to help you develop these skills and overcome challenges you might encounter. For more information on the EYFS you can download latest version of the statutory framework here.

Latest Practical

Badminton develops children's hand-eye coordination and encourages co-operative play

Physical development: A smashing game

  • Jenni Clarke

Badminton is a great way to introduce racket sports to young children, helping them to practise the hand-eye coordination that will come in useful for different games as they develop their sporting prowess.

Parent: Weighing up dummies

  • Annette Rawstrone

Parents should give careful thought about whether to introduce a young child to a dummy and they also need to think about how their child will be weaned off it at a later time, says Annette Rawstrone.

Exterminate the germs

  • Jenni Clarke

At its most fundamental level, mastering hygiene and self-care practices involves children working on physical development skills. Jenni Clarke suggests activities that will build their confidence.

Nets provide a great material for creating dens that can be constructed quickly and easily

Catch a star in your net

  • Ann R Roberts

Nets are a cheap, readily available, versatile resource. Use them to make dens, catch carboard stars and all sorts of other objects. Talk about how they keep us safe and have fun crawling beneath them.

Children will enjoy discovering which plants can grow in pots

‘Let's get gardening’

  • Sarah Davies

National Gardening Week is an excellent opportunity to showcase to the local community what you do in your setting to grow and use produce, and to encourage a healthy and productive outdoor experience.

Physical development: All dressed up

  • Jenni Clarke, author and consultant, France

Mastering the skill of dressing involves fine motor skills, body awareness and co-ordination. These games deliver the fun factor and the impetus for children to become independent.

Physical development: Full speed ahead

  • Jenni Clarke, early years consultant and author, France

Extending conversation around exercise is a great way to help children to make connections with how their body works. It also helps them to focus on setting their own physical challenges.

Latest Features

Tune in to children's natural curiosities

  • Yasmin Mukadam

In the part two of her series exploring high quality provision for babies and children, Yasmin Mukadam looks at the importance of them being actively involved in planning their own learning experiences.

Everything under the sun

  • Ailsa Chapman

Make the most of the warm and sunny days of summer to introduce the topic of holidays and travel, and organise a variety of outdoor activities, including water and sand play, picnics, sports and trips.

Children will enjoy discovering which plants can grow in pots

‘Let's get gardening’

  • Sarah Davies

National Gardening Week is an excellent opportunity to showcase to the local community what you do in your setting to grow and use produce, and to encourage a healthy and productive outdoor experience.

Children enjoy time spent in the mud kitchen at Busy Bees Hartham Park Nursery.

Glorious mud!

  • Karen Faux

Winter is nearly over and if you’ve recently done an audit of your outdoor space, you might now be thinking about giving your mud kitchen a revamp, and introducing some new resources. If you haven’t yet set up a mud kitchen, now is definitely the time to start planning one.

Brilliant ideas for sand play!

  • Karen Faux

Sand is a tactile, sensory and endlessly versatile resource. Try some new ideas for making the most of it in your setting.

Debbie Giles reads Sammy Squirrel to her pre-schoolers.

How imaginative resources ‘motivate’ home learning

  • Maureen Lee, early years adviser to Best Practice Network

Find out how one setting sent ‘borrow bags’ home with children to help parents understand how they could support their ‘fundamental movements’ as a precursor to skills used in games and specific sports.

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