PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT: Let’s Use Our Hands, Let’s Move Our Bodies

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT: Let’s Use Our Hands, Let’s Move Our Bodies

Let’s Use Our Hands, Let’s Move Our Bodies is the area of learning that refers to a child’s physical growth: gross motor (large muscles), fine motor (small muscles), motor skills development (increasing control over body and bodily functions), and the development of the five senses.

A child’s physical growth is monitored by a pediatrician with regular physical exams beginning at birth. A child is asked to perform certain tasks at the doctor’s office, which informs the pediatrician of the range of a child’s growth, and gross, and fine motor skills.

A child progresses from being asked if he or she knows who Mommy is, to if he or she can say “Mommy,” write his or her name, tie his or her shoes, hop on one foot, brush his or her teeth, and so forth. All these are general indicators of typical and proper development.

When a child enters formal schooling, the “tests” become more specific and these screenings reveal where your child stands in a developmental range.

Indicators of a Child’s Progress through Early Physical Development

Gross or large muscle
• Sits, crawls, stands, walks
• Walks up and down steps with alternating feet
• Hops on two feet to hops on one foot
• Runs with increasing control over direction and speed
• Climbs up or down equipment without falling
• Pumps on a swing
• Skips
• Tumbles
• Catches and throws with aim
• Pedals and steers a tricycle
• Can perform proper jumping jacks
• Jumps over and from objects without falling
• Uses large muscles for balance (walks in a straight line, stand on one foot or tiptoes)

Fine motor or small muscle
• Handedness (dominant hand left or right)
• Grips (with fists or fingers)
• Coordinates eye-hand movement (uses objects with control)
• Hole punches
• Cuts with scissors
• Self-help skills (ties, zips, buttons)
• Uses writing/drawing tools with increasing intention
• Prints letters and numbers
• Folds

The five senses
A child is able to identify:
• Sounds (a cat’s meow, bell, wind)
• Visual cues (yellow is yellow, green means go)
• Taste and smell (sweet, sour)
• Difference in texture (rough, smooth)

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