Involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
This area provides opportunities for children to be active and develop their co-ordination, manipulation and movement. It develops understanding of the importance of being physically active and eating healthily. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships children are supported in their understanding of exercise, sleep and eating to promote health. Activities in Enabling Environments both indoors and outdoors encourage energetic physical play. In Learning and Development, snack times promote social skills and the importance of making healthy food choices.
PD is made up of these aspects:
- Gross Motor skills
- Fine Motor Skills
Gross Motor skills are big movements involving children using their whole body to make movements and it is normally the first thing we concentrate on. Eventually, we move onto fine motor skills which are the smaller movements such as pencil control.
Supporting Physical development at home:
Guidelines on physical activity
The latest recommendations from the Department of Health are that:
● Physical activity should be encouraged from birth, particularly through floor-based play and safe waterbased activities.
● Children of pre-school age who are walking should be physically active daily for at least 180 minutes (3 hours), spread throughout the day.
● All children under five should minimise the amount of time spent sitting down for extended periods, except when sleeping.
Helping your child to develop their moving and handling skills
To encourage children to be physically active, and to help them learn how to use tools and materials, they need lots of opportunities to:
● move around and make big movements using their arms, legs and whole bodies
● handle smaller objects to help develop their small muscle control.
You could use the ideas below as starting points to help you to do this.
Two- to three-year-olds
● Dancing is a great way to develop coordination skills.
● Read a story together and act out what is happening – this is also a good way to develop imagination and creativity.
● Poking and pinching playdough or clay helps to strengthen the fingers, hand and wrist.
● Jigsaw puzzles and toys that fit together are good ways to develop hand control.
● Threading things – pasta shapes, buttons or large beads – encourages fine finger movements.
● Helping with simple chores around the home such as sweeping, tidying up toys, and lifting things develops and strengthens muscles.
● Play throwing and catching games that involve big arm movements strengthen shoulder and arm muscles.
Four- to five-year-olds
● Help your child to learn how to use simple tools such as scissors – practice makes perfect.
● Helping with household tasks such as setting the table builds coordination and control.
● Draw outdoors with chalks or make patterns in the mud with a stick.
● Use a squeezy bottle filled with water to shoot at a target or knock down a skittle.
● Make a place to dig outside where children can develop muscle control and coordination.
● Bikes and scooters are an exciting way to get lots of vigorous exercise.
● Try to make sure your child is physically active for at least three hours every day.