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

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.

Marvellously messy!

  • Annette Rawstrone

Don’t be surprised if your child comes home from pre-school looking a little grubby. They will have been exploring messy play, an activity which is all about tactile exploration, says Annette Rawstrone.

Chip off the block

  • Jenni Clarke

The final article in this series focuses on children using real tools while creating and building outside. The benefits include building core body and arm strength, hand-eye co-ordination and concentration.

Latest Features

Autumn leaves – free and versatile!

Autumn leaves – try these five creative activities!

  • Karen Faux

Autumn leaves are a key sign of the changing seasons and make a colourful, accessible and versatile resource for play and exploration. The beauty of them is that at this time of the year they are available in abundance – and completely free.

Poor eye-sight must not be a barrier to learning

  • Karen Faux

A new report takes a practical approach to recommending strategies to support the development of literacy in pre-school. As part of this it flags up the need for regular, universal eye tests.

Physical development

  • Penny Webb

With Ofsted’s recent announcement that its inspectors would put a greater emphasis on movement, exercise and control activities, how can childminders get children moving?

Providing a ‘secure hub’

  • Joelle Bergin

What should practitioners begin to think about when a two-year-old in their care is diagnosed with a muscular degenerative condition? Joelle Bergin suggests a practical approach that supports the child, family and staff.

Planning menus to meet the voluntary guidelines

  • Edwina Revel and Georgia Leach

The foundation stage includes a requirement for food and drink. We must ensure children are offered a healthy, balanced diet, based on a variety of foods from the four food groups from the Eatwell Guide.

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