From sitting up on their own to throwing a ball, children gradually develop the physical skills needed for their adult lives. Physical development includes both growth and the ability to use muscles and body parts for particular skills. Both gross (large muscle movements) and fine (small movements) motor skills contribute to physical development, and children often learn a set of skills by a certain age.
Participate in activities that foster fine motor development
Fine motor skills are things done with your hands, including imitating actions with objects, coloring a picture, grasping a pencil for writing, painting, typing, texting, playing the piano, and so on.
Perform fine-motor tasks that increase muscle strength & control
Use eye-hand coordination to perform fine-motor tasks
Exhibit manual coordination
Most children develop the following fine motor skills by four years of age:
demonstrate a hand preference;
hold a marker/crayon with thumb, index, and middle finger (static tripod grasp);
imitate a square;
match 6 colors;
cut out a small square/triangle;
button front-opening clothing;
dress independently when asked;
undress daily at designated times without reminders;
verbalize feelings prior to physical expression;
participate in cooperative play;
comfort playmates in distress;
quiet down after active period and waits for instructions;
return objects to assigned place when asked;
Participate in a variety of gross-motor activities to develop control, balance, strength, & coordination
Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body that enable such functions as walking, kicking, sitting upright, lifting, and throwing a ball.
Develop coordination and balance
Coordinate movements to perform tasks
Participate in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that increase strength, endurance, and flexibility
Most children develop the following gross motor skills by four years of age:
stand on one foot for 5 seconds;
stand on tiptoes with hands overhead more than 3 seconds;
hop on one foot forward 1-3 times;
walk downstairs by placing 1 foot on each step (alternating gait) 4 steps;
walk on 2" line for 10 feet without stepping off once;
throw a tennis ball underhand 10 feet using upper trunk rotation, arms and legs moving in opposition and initiating throw by moving arm down and back;
pedal a tricycle for long distances and able to turn corners and make u-turn;
galloping 5 feet;
Understand healthy and safe living practices
Participate in activities related to health & personal care
Participate in activities related to nutrition
Discuss and utilize appropriate safety procedures
Ways to support instruction at home
Talk about the different colors of healthy foods. Make a simple chart and have your child color in a square for each food she/he eats during a day - a brown square for cereal or a green square for broccoli. At the end of the day, have him/her decide if she "ate a rainbow".
Talk about ways to stay safe before going on outings to stores, restaurants, or playgrounds.
Show your child how to roll socks together to make a ball & practice tossing them into a laundry basket.
Make a bean bag by filling a small Ziplock bag with beans or rice taping securely closed. Encourage your child to balance the beanbag on different parts of his/her body. Can he/she walk with it on his/her shoulders? Jump with it on his/her head?
Play the mirror game. Face your child and ask him/her to copy your movements - put hand on head, touch nose, etc. Then switch places and you copy his/her movements.
The kitchen is a great place to develop the fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination needed for handwriting. Give your child lots of opportunities to use tongs, tweezers, spatulas, hand juicers, and clothespins. Learn to use chopsticks together if you don't already know how.
Let your child cut magazines or newspapers before you recycle. Cutting also develops small muscles in the hands necessary for writing.
String O-shaped cereal on lengths of yarn and hang over and outside bush or tree limb for the birds and squirrels to enjoy. Stringing also helps to develop small motor skills.
Make healthy snacks with pretzel sticks and cheese cubes. Spear the cheese with the pretzel and enjoy.