Physical Development in the Early Years plays a crucial role as children grow. During this time, children will learn how to develop movement, handle new objects and start to gain an understanding of their body, promoting positive self-care routines.

At Fennies, we encourage children to be active throughout the day and you can support this further at home. Epsom Nursery Manager, Danielle Lilley, has helped to implement our Educational Ethos since 2017 and in this time, she has introduced many new and exciting activities for children.

In this post, we outline 5 top activities to enhance children’s physical development, recommended by our Epsom Nursery Manager.

  • Playdough Gym
  • Threading
  • Obstacle Course
  • Animal Walk
  • Hide and Seek

Play-Doh gym

1) Playdough Gym

What you will need: playdough, music

For this activity, you can use playdough you already have or make your own from flour and water. Creating different shapes with the playdough helps to develop their strength as its squeezed between different areas of their hands.

This is a mini workout for small hands and helps develop fine motor skills. To make the activity even more exciting, play music at the same time, and encourage your child to copy your movements in time to the rhythm.

Top Tip – Discover how to create home-made playdough

You will need:

Saucepan, cup, spoon, 1 cup of flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup of water, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, food colouring

  1. Let your child measure the dry ingredients into the cold saucepan.
  2. Add the oil and water and cook the dough on a low heat, continue to stir until the dough starts to come together in a ball.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Once cold you can knead the dough together with a few drops of food colouring.

Threading

2) Threading

What you will need: colander, pipe cleaners

As a busy parent, it can be a challenge to constantly find new activities that can also help with physical development. Threading is a simple yet fun and crafty activity that can be set up quickly. It’s become very popular with the children at our Fennies Nurseries and all you need is a colander and pipe cleaners!

Encourage your child to carefully weave the pipe cleaner through the colander in different directions. These actions reinforce spatial concepts and increase concentration, strengthens hand muscles, and improves hand-eye coordination.

Obstacle Course

3) Obstacle course

What you will need: pillows, blankets, soft toys, hoops, cones

Make a simple obstacle course around your home using pillows, chairs, blankets, and soft toys. For smaller children, this will encourage them to crawl, climb, and create a sensory experience through exploration.

For older children, you can construct an exciting course in your garden using hoops and cones to practice running and jumping which strengthens muscles, develops balance, and improves posture.

For added fun why not try using tape on the ground to form different routes for children’s feet to follow. This will help improve their hand-eye coordination and effectively follow instructions.

Animal Walk

4) Animal Walk

What you will need: yourself and your child

This activity can be done inside or outside, with your child choose an animal and encourage them to mimic how the animal moves. They could jump like a frog, slither like a snake, or swing their arms like an elephant’s trunk. Join in and explore different animals together.

This is a great activity if your child is getting fidgety or restless to keep them active. This is also an opportunity for them to develop in all types of movement, develop their gross motor skills, and practice their balance.

Hide and Seek

5) Hide and Seek

What you will need: yourself and your child

Hide and seek gives children important physical benefits. The task of finding the perfect hiding spot helps them learn how to navigate space and become more aware of their surroundings.  Hide and seek is also perfect for introducing problem-solving, children must think about the perfect hiding spot and whether they can hide in a given amount of time.

“Early Years play a crucial role in physical development and therefore it is important for us to encourage children to take part in activities that teach them how to grasp, move, and build upon coordination. Physical development also lays the foundations for children to learn how to lead healthy lifestyles and to be active in their everyday lives.”

Danielle Lilley, Epsom Nursery Manager.

These activities will help your child to understand how their body moves and works. Just like at nursery, parents can create exciting environments at home where children can still find ways to continue with their development and help them flourish.

Find out how to use effective interactions to make these activities even more fun! 

Elaine Gibbs