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: Carefully does it!

Through the lens of ‘in the moment planning’ Jenni Clarke outlines scenarios which maximise opportunities for children to challenge themselves physically. It is all about being spontaneous and guided by the child.

Physical development: Do it yourself

Encouraging children to build their own dens and special spaces will help them to extend their physical capabilities, and experiment with ideas and resources. Observe how they persist with trial and error.

Physical development: Get into the groove

In part two of her series on music, Judith Harries outlines ways to tap into children's innate ability to move to the beat. Encourage them to combine singing and movement, and observe how their confidence and enjoyment grows.

Physical development: Kicking around

Try stopping a young child from kicking a fir cone, stone or ball – it's not easy. There is a natural tendency for children to interact with their environment and the objects in it, so encourage them and support their skills by playing football.

Physical development: Take a swing

Hitting a ball with a stick is fun. Add in a target and it becomes a challenge. Use the correct terminology and it becomes a new hobby. Let children experiment with golf equipment and develop their own swing style, says Jenni Clarke.

Let's all wash our hands

As the autumn and winter months bring more opportunities for cold and flu bugs to spread now is the time to be extra vigilant about handwashing in your setting. Try these activities linked to the EYFS which will educate children about the importance of regular handwashing and give them the physical skills to carry it out effectively.

Exterminate the germs

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.

Latest Features

Forest school: Working its magic

Maureen Lee describes how a study visit to Denmark has inspired a group of practitioners to take their forest school practice to the next level and use it as a springboard for important research.

Frame the action

Observing children moving is a wonderful privilege. Visual and audio recordings are two of the most effective mechanisms, which allow for staff collaboration and objectivity.

Join the Big Schools' Birdwatch

The Big Schools’ Birdwatch runs from 6 January – 21 February. It’s an opportunity for children to contribute to the world’s largest wildlife survey, the Big Garden Birdwatch, by spotting and counting birds in the grounds of the setting.

A trip to remember

If pitched at the right level, a trip to a historical or cultural location can be just as valuable in the early years as it is for pupils further up the school, as we found on our trip to Hampton Court Palace, says Elaine Booth, teacher at Latchmere School in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Tune in to children's natural curiosities

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

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.

View all Physical development

Keep up to date with Early Years!

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date with Early Years education, process and events! We promise we won't spam you!