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

Physical development: Against the grain

  • Judith Harries, teacher Northamptonshire

Revisit your sand trays with these new ideas to promote concentration, hand-to-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Children can also get to grips with how tools can effect changes to materials.

Physical development: Stepping outside

  • Karen Hart, teacher and education writer, London

In this new series on making the most of your outdoor space, Karen Hart suggests foraging for materials to make a woodland sensory play area, building a bug box and making a fun assault course.

Sports Warehouse provides a good selection of beanbags including bumper boxes (pictured) 

Physical development: Full of beans

  • Jenni Clarke, early years author and consultant, based in France

Beanbags are easy for young children to hold, catch and throw. They can be visually pleasing, tactile and can have the added element of weight, smell and sound. Jenni Clarke shares some simple, fun and increasingly challenging physical activities to share with young children.

Steady under foot

Steady under foot

  • Kathy Brodie

When we talk about fine motor skills and coordination, it is often only hand-eye coordination that we consider. However, foot-eye coordination is just as important, says Kathy Brodie.

At full tilt

  • Jenni Clarke

Challenging play is all about opportunities for extending physical limits and experiencing excitement – along with a little fear and uncertainty. From this children ultimately gain self-esteem and resiliance.

Ground patrol

  • Jenni Clarke

Taking risks is how young children develop strength, balance, co-ordination and body awareness. In part two of this series Jenni Clarke investigates how loose parts placed outdoors can build and challenge skills. For three-years and older.

Latest Features

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.

Extend schemas to make children feel empowered

  • Dr John Siraj- Blatchford is honorary professor at the University of Plymouth and partner of community interest company, SchemaPlay

A project in Walsall highlights how practitioners are successfully building upon children’s favoured schemes and schema to build in new challenges, extend learning and improve EYFS outcomes.

Children enjoy being active outdoors at the Old Station Nursery

Get ready for a fresh start in January

  • Karen Faux

It may come as a shock having to match your energy levels to the children’s when they arrive back after the Christmas break – so lay plans to get them outside and letting off steam, while supporting their learning and physical development.

Wrap up!

  • Karen Faux

'There's no such thing as bad weather – just inappropriate clothing,' as the saying goes. Use children’s colourful winter clothing as a link to many areas of learning.

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