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Week 3

Physical Development

8 - 20 months old

Engage your child in varied physical experiences, such as bouncing, rolling, rocking and splashing, both indoors and outdoors.

Encourage your child to use resources they can grasp, squeeze and throw.

Support and encourage babies’ drive to stand and walk. Be aware that babies have little sense of danger when their interests are focused on getting something they want.

Use feeding, changing and bathing times to share finger plays, such as ‘Round and Round the Garden’.

Show babies different ways to make marks in dough or paint by swirling, poking or patting it.


16 - 26 months old

Encourage independence as your child explores particular patterns of movement, sometimes referred to as schemas. www.earlyyearsstaffroom.com/schemas-in-early-years-learning-through-play/

Tell stories that encourage children to think about the way they move. Try using music to stimulate exploration with rhythmic movements.

Provide items for filling, emptying and carrying, such as small paper carrier bags, baskets and buckets.

Treat mealtimes as an opportunity to help children to use fingers, spoon and cup to feed themselves.

Help young children to find comfortable ways of grasping, holding and using things they wish to use, such as a hammer, a paintbrush or a teapot in the home corner.


22 - 36 months old

Find opportunities for your child to tackle a range of levels and surfaces including flat and hilly ground, grass, pebbles, asphalt, smooth floors and carpets.

See if you can find a range of large play equipment that can be used in different ways, such as boxes, ladders, A-frames and barrels.

Allow time for your child to experiment with equipment and to practise movements they choose.

Try to create role-play opportunities for children to create pathways, e.g. road layouts, or going on a picnic.

Use a CD player, scarves, streamers and musical instruments so they can respond spontaneously to music.

Play activities that involve moving and stopping, such as musical bumps.

Provide ‘tool boxes’ containing things that make marks, so that children can explore their use both indoors and outdoors.


30 - 50 months old

 Shoe your child how to move with controlled effort, and use associated vocabulary such as ‘strong’, ‘firm’, ‘gentle’, ‘heavy’, ‘stretch’, ‘reach’, ‘tense’ and ‘floppy’.

Play music of different styles and cultures  to create moods and talk about how people move when they are sad, happy or cross.

Enjoy being active together through games such as follow the leader.

Encourage your child to use the vocabulary of movement, e.g. ‘gallop’, ‘slither’; of instruction e.g. ‘follow’, ‘lead’ and ‘copy’.

Create challenges such as ‘Can you get all the way round the climbing frame without your knees touching it?’

Show your child how to collaborate in throwing, rolling, fetching and receiving games.

Use the vocabulary of manipulation, when playing with malleable materials e.g. ‘squeeze’ and ‘prod.’

Explain why safety is an important factor in handling tools, equipment and materials, and have sensible rules for everybody to follow.


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