Physical Development

To promote large motor development, caregivers need to provide children with plenty of space in a safe, developmentally appropriate environment where they are free to explore and practice new motor skills.

tummy timeThe large motor development that occurs in young childhood generally follows a predictable pattern, but each child has their own individual timeline.
Small motor development occurs only after a toddler has gained control and coordination of his large muscles. When he can coordinate his vision and hearing along with his large and small muscles, the child can move around and explore his environment, gaining the sensory experiences necessary for cognitive development.

As the toddler moves through his environment, manipulating materials and maneuvering his body up and down, in, and around objects, he is learning about how his body works, how it feels, what it can do, and the impact he can make on his environment. Climbing comes naturally to a toddler and experiencing the sensations of gravity and movement enable him to develop visual space perception and a sense of self.

Gross motor experiences are necessary for a child to learn, develop self control, relax, and build self –esteem. Children need opportunities to run, balance, crawl, throw, catch, climb and hop. Rocking, spinning, water play and swinging are activities that allow children to calm down and are much more effecting that the over used ‘time out’.

The fundamental movements, running, walking, jumping, climbing, reaching and kicking, lead to more complex movements and coordination. Stability movements require skills such as bending, stretching and turning. Locomotor movements include hopping, skipping and sliding, while manipulative movements include throwing, catching and rolling a ball. Gross motor activities enable children to develop coordination and control in each of these types of movements.

Children must master fundamental movements and coordination before they can develop small motor coordination, including drawing and handwriting. Once a child has mastered sensory motor and physical growth and development, he has most of the skills necessary to grow and be successful in the other developmental domains.

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