I hope you enjoy reading the third installment of our information about the Early Years ‘Areas of Learning’. Along with Communication and Language, Personal Social and Emotional Development comes Physical Development. Children develop as a whole child and Physical development is as important in young children’s development as intellectual development. Research shows that physical activity in young children can enhance concentration, motivation, learning and well-being. Within Foundation we provide many opportunities for physical play to promote ﬁne and gross motor skills and hand/eye coordination.
Children enjoy freedom of movement and play that is inventive, adventurous and stimulating. Children also learn social skills as they cooperate with one another and show consideration for one another.
Below is a list of activities you can engage in with your child to develop specific areas:
Large Muscle Development – gross motor and locomotor skills
• Walk forwards, backwards and sideways • Walk on tip-toes (balance) • Running, stopping and starting • Climb up steps or a ladder with one foot leading • Pivot around and around on feet • Jump up and down on the spot on both feet • Jump a distance • Balance • Crawl through a barrel or tunnel
Activities develop body management, balance, bodily co-ordination, strength, agility and conﬁdence.
Fine Motor Skills
• Building blocks • Assembling construction materials – Duplo etc. • Putting Jigsaws together • Grip a pencil or paintbrush • Hammer shapes into a pegboard • Pour water or dry sand from one container to another • Thread beads • Manipulate Playdough
Activities promote hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, ﬁne motor control, accuracy, two handed coordination and manipulative strength.
Furthermore, some Practical Play ideas to use at home with young children are:
Young children’s joy in movement leads to healthy growth by encouraging them to challenge and exercise their own bodies. Physical play is fun! Children have lots of energy. They need opportunities to crawl, run, dance, climb, balance and these skills help their bones and muscles develop. You can help by giving them the opportunity to explore space and objects. Going to the park or just playing outside, riding a bike, climbing, balancing, using stepping stones, skipping ropes, bikes, scooters and of course LOTS OF ENERGY!!!
Physical activities can challenge children or be just for fun! Play simple games of catch with your children such as Follow the Leader, throwing and catching games or hide-and-seek.
A great deal also rests on developing ﬁne motor skills. Children need these skills in order to become competent in so many different areas. In order to manage these tasks, children need lots of help and practice in using the ﬁne muscles of hands, arms and ﬁngers.
Children can develop through art and craft activities, using crayons, pencils, scissors and brushes. Also, they can help through helping especially in the kitchen, opening, closing and mixing ingredients. Getting dressed, doing buttons and zips, laces and buckles are also helpful. Simply moving and tidying the room not only helps you but helps them too.