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: Kicking around

  • Jenni Clarke, education author and consultant

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

  • Jenni Clarke

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

  • 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.

Physical Development: Bowled over

  • Jenni Clarke

The official rules of rounders can be simplified for young children, enabling them to learn the basics of the sport, be active, concentrate on developing their skills and, most of all, have fun with their friends.

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.

Latest Features

A trip to remember

  • Elaine Booth, teacher at Latchmere School

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

  • 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.

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.

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.

View all Physical development

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