Physical Development (2022)

What is the physical development of a child?

Physical development is the major motor or physical achievements of a child during the infancy and early childhood stages. Physical development is a vital part of growing up as children learn to master control of their body; examples of physical development include sitting, crawling, standing and walking. As infants grow and develop these events are easily observed in their emergence and are viewed as ‘markers’ along life’s journey, hence the reference of ‘Developmental milestones’.

Developmental milestones are a series of milestones that we, as humans, are designed to reach in order to not only survive but live a healthy life. Developmental milestones commonly refer to a set of developmental changes resulting in the improved ability of an infant to coordinate and control voluntary movements (Carruth, Ziegler, Gordon, & Hendricks, 2004). For instance, an infant must have the ability to control the head whilst balancing the trunk in order to sit without support to use the hand and arm in movements that will enable self-feeding, which is a skill necessary for survival.

These motor milestones are then categorized into fine and gross motor movements. For instance, fine motor milestones are related to the arm, hand, and fingers which allow movements that will grasp and manipulate small or fine objects such as food. On the other hand, gross motor milestones relate to a series of accomplishments which allow an infant to transition from being relatively immobile to a capability of bipedal locomotion (lower limbs moving).

What can affect physical development?

Children living with developmental and medical conditions such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Down syndrome and Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder commonly experience delays and impairments in many domains of life, such as typical (normal) physical and motor development (Horovitz & Matson, 2011). Appropriate services, such as occupational therapy, are critical services to engage inearly screen and detection of these conditions in order for interventions to be implemented for your child to reach developmental milestones.

To place into perspective, typically developing infants have an expectant crawl range of 5-11 months with the average at around 7 months. For children with Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy for instance, a study found that these two groups experienced significant delays in onset of crawling.Similarlyfor walking expectancies, a typical infant has an acceptable range of 9-17 months with 11 months being the average range of walking. Subsequently, children with Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome fall just out of this range.

Other factors to consider are variables such as genetic factors, prenatal influences, gestational age and birth size, body composition, nutrition, sex differences, socio-economic influences and cultural values.

What are the different physical development stages?

The age range, where a particular cohort of children reach a particular milestone is commonly referred to as the ‘window of achievement’ for that milestone (Thalagala, 2015). To elaborate, the ‘walk alone’ milestone is between 8.2 months and 17.6 months – thus the window of achievement for that milestone is 8.2 – 17.6 months.

(Video) Simple Psychology - Physical Development

Tummy time is another important physical development stage for infants where the infant is awake and in supervised positioning on their stomach (Hewitt, Stanley, & Okely, 2017). ‘Tummy time’ is recognized by the National Academy of Medicine and both the Australian and Canadian Early Years as recommendations for infants to be undertaking as physical activity. These recommendations indicate that ‘tummy time’ should be provided to an infant less than 6 months of age – every single day. Essentially, tummy time stimulates and enhances their physical motor development and can be done from the time of their birth in small periods of play that is supervised.

Tummy time is a precursor to milestones and motor skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling and pushing to sit as it allows the opportunity for the infant to strengthen their neck, head, shoulder and trunk muscles. It is recommended that the infant engage in tummy time only whilst they are awake and supervised for safety reasons. Again, a good place to start for tummy time is a minimum of 30 minutes a day spent in supervised tummy time when the infant reaches 2 months of age as well as avoiding prolonged supine (face up) time in order to potentially progress the motor development of your child.

Physical Development (1)

Physical Development in infancy

The World Health Organisation identified six key milestones as they were simple to evaluate, essential for upright self-locomotion and universal. It is important to note that there are numerous variations on how these six milestones are defined, however most research on physical development takes into consideration one or more of the following six key milestones.

  1. Sitting without support:Infant is able to sit up straight with head erect for at least ten seconds. The infant also does not use their hands or arms to balance the body.
  2. Hands-and-knees-crawling: Infant moves forward or backwards on hands and knees alternately. There have to be at least three consecutive movements in a row and the stomach cannot touch the ground.
  3. Standing with assistance: The infant is standing in an upright position with both feet whilst holding onto a stable object with both hands – it is important that the infant is not leaning at as their legs must be supporting most of their own body weight.
  4. Walking with assistance:The infant is standing in an upright position with their back straight. The infant is able to make sideways or forward steps by holding onto a stable object with the use of one or both hands. One leg then moves forward whilst the other supports part of their own body weight. The infant must take at least 5 steps in this manner to have achieved this milestone.
  5. Standing Alone: The infant is standing in an upright position on both feet with their back straight. The legs are now supporting the totalbody weight of the infant. The infant has achieved this milestone once they can stand in this position for at least ten seconds without contactwitha person or object.
  6. Walking Alone: The infant must be able to take at least five steps independently in an upright position with their back straight. Again, one leg moves forward whilst the other leg supports the body. There must be no contact or help from another person or object

Physical Development in early childhood

Common gross motor developmental milestones include the ability to roll over at 4 to(Eaton, 2008)6 months and taking their first steps between 8 to 12 months according to the pediatric guideline.

12 months

  • Can stand up and may start to take their first steps
  • Walks holding onto furniture
  • Begins to develop a primitive tripod grip (thumb and two fingers)
  • Responds to “no”

15 months

(Video) EYFS – Physical development – Fine motor skills

  • Begins to walk unassisted
  • Is able to begin stacking bricks

Physical Development in children

2 years

  • a child is able to run around and has the ability to walk down steps with 2 feet to a step
  • A child is able to use a zipper and a tower of 5-6 bricks
  • Child’s behavior may become defiant
  • Pincer grasp begins to develop

3 years

  • Able to catch objects and maneuver around easily – precision develops
  • Is able to hold a pencil or crayon with control and begin to draw objects
  • Develops 2-4 word sentences
  • Make-believe or imaginary play begins to occur
  • Is able to use a fork and knife

4 years

  • Is able to balance and control a tricycle
  • Can fasten and unfasten buttons and build a tower of 10 or more bricks
  • Hand dominance begins to form

5 years

  • Can climb, skip and hop
  • Has good pencil control and can color in neatly.
  • Learns to tie shoelaces
  • Can dress/undress without assistance
  • Can begin to distinguish truth from lies

It is important to remember that there are underlying skills that are required to demonstrate adequacy in fine motor skills. These underlying skills are:

  • Cognition
  • Postural stability
  • Attention
  • Muscle tone and strength
  • Hand/eye co-ordination

How does play support a child’s physical development?

Purposeful and active play

is and must be a critical component in the lives of children from infancy through adolescence. Active play contributes to not only the physical development of the child but the cognitive, social and emotional well-being of the infant.

(Video) Physical Development

There are many types of play such as:

  • unoccupied play
  • solitary play
  • onlooker play
  • parallel play
  • associative play
  • co-operative play
  • rough and tumble play

Although active play does not necessarily have its own category, it can be integrated into many forms of play that are important for infants to achieve their developmental milestones.

Active play is essentially any type of unstructured participation in physical activity. Motor development, social skills, and overall physical activity can be improved or promoted through active outdoor play.

A statement released in 2015 recognises the importance of active play through an active outdoor position statement – “access to active play in nature and outdoors, with its risks, is essential for healthy child development and increases children’s opportunities for self-directed play outdoors in all settings such as school, home, child care, nature and the community”.

Active play is also teaching the children that physical activity is enjoyable, as well as supporting a range of developmental milestones from physical development to language andproblem-solving capabilities (Houser, Roach, Kirk, Turner, & Stone, 2016).


Carruth, B. R., Ziegler, P. J., Gordon, A., & Hendricks, K. (2004). Developmental milestones and self-feedingbehaviors

(Video) Physical Developmental Milestones CDC

in infants and toddlers. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 104(Supplement 1), 51-56. doi:

Eaton, W. O. (2008). Milestones: Physical A2 – Haith, Marshall M. In J. B. Benson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development(pp. 334-343). San Diego: Academic Press.

Hewitt, L., Stanley, R. M., & Okely, A. D. (2017). Correlates of tummy time in infants aged 0–12 months old: A systematic review. Infant Behavior and Development, 49(Supplement C), 310-321. doi:

Horovitz, M., & Matson, J. L. (2011). Developmental milestones in toddlers with atypical development. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32(6), 2278-2282. doi:

Houser, N. E., Roach, L., Kirk, S. F. L., Turner, J., & Stone, M. R. (2016). Let the Children Play: Scoping Review on the Implementation and Use of Loose Parts for Promoting Physical Activity Participation. AIMS Public Health, 3(4), 781-799. doi:10.3934/publichealth.2016.4.781

Thalagala, N. (2015). Windows of achievement for development milestones of Sri Lankan infants and toddlers: estimation through statistical modelling. Child: Care, Health & Development, 41(6), 1030-1039. doi:10.1111/cch.12258


What is physical development Answer? ›

Physical development refers to the advancements and refinements of motor skills, or, in other words, children's abilities to use and control their bodies. Physical development is one of the many domains of infant and toddler development.

How do you describe physical development? ›

Physical development (PD) is the growth and development of both the brain and body in infancy and early childhood. PD is the growth and development of both brain and body and involves developing control of muscles and physical coordination.

How can physical development be improved? ›

Ways to Encourage Motor or Physical Development
  1. Let your baby turn the pages of a book when you read with him/her.
  2. Provide toys with moving parts that stay attached.
  3. Play games and sing songs with movements that your child can imitate.

Why is physical development important? ›

Physical development contributes to cognitive development – as children move and explore the world they learn about the properties of objects and their own capabilities. In the early years children are establishing patterns of activity which will affect their whole future.

What are the types of physical development? ›

Physical Development. Physical development is divided into two areas , growth and development. Growth is the physical changes of, the increase in size, height and weight. Development is how children gain control over their physical actions to do complicated and difficult activities more skilfully and easily.

What is the example of physical development? ›

Examples of physical development are large muscle groups needed for activities such as swimming, running, or skiing. Other muscle development occurs in muscles that are needed for specific tasks, such as cutting paper, writing, or pointing. Development of the senses includes changes to vision and hearing.

What is physical in personal development? ›

It relates to the changes, growth and skill development of the body, including the brain, muscles and senses. Physical development is evident primarily in gross-motor and fine-motor skills. These skills are essential to children's overall health and wellness.

What are physical skills? ›

Physical skills are the accuracy and consistency of how we use our bodies when performing tasks. We use our physical skills in day-to-day activities such as walking, but they come in handy when we do particularly active things such as sports, dancing, and drama.

What is physical development planning? ›

importance. A National Physical Development Plan is a form of planning. “with a spatial, or geographical, component, in which the general. objective is to provide for a spatial structure of activities (or of land.

What physical development happens in early childhood? ›

From kicking and squirming, to holding objects, crawling and standing, the development of fine and gross motor skills starts in the early years. Fine motor refers to small muscles groups, including hands, wrists, fingers, feet and toes.

How can you support physical development in early years? ›

Provide specific opportunities for physical activity, such as tummy time, crawling activities or energetic games, within the early years setting's daily routine. Assess indoor and outdoor environments, and, if possible, rearrange them to offer more free space for active play.

Why is physical activity important for child development? ›

Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as: Heart disease.

What activities will help with development and growth? ›

Examples of these activities include running, climbing, lifting, throwing, pushing, pulling, balancing, and practicing fine motor skills. Physical growth activities also include the development of self-care skills, such as eating, toileting, dressing and undressing. Engage in activities that foster independence.

How does your physical development affect your behavior? ›

Some research suggests that youth who experience faster physical development are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior than their peers and that teens who develop more slowly than their peers may be more likely to face bullying.

What is the importance of physical education as one of your subject? ›

Physical education provides cognitive content and instruction designed to develop motor skills, knowledge, and behaviors for physical activity and physical fitness. Supporting schools to establish physical education daily can provide students with the ability and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

What is physical growth and development? ›

Physical growth refers to the increases in height and weight and other body changes that happen as kids mature. Hair grows; teeth come in, come out, and come in again; and eventually puberty hits. It's all part of the growth process.

How does physical development affect other areas of development? ›

Motor development is important throughout a child's early life, because physical development is tied to other development areas. For example, if a child is able to crawl or walk (gross motor skills), he/she can more easily explore their physical environment, which affects cognitive development.

What are the objectives of physical development in physical education? ›

It aims to develop students' physical competence and knowledge of movement and safety, and their ability to use these to perform in a wide range of activities associated with the development of an active and healthy lifestyle.

How do you promote physical development in adolescence? ›

Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep

Eating healthy and staying active are especially important for supporting rapid body growth during adolescence. Nutrition and exercise are just as important for teens as adults. They set the stage for habits they'll have the rest of their lives.

Which is an example of physical development in a child? ›

Physical development is the major motor or physical achievements of a child during the infancy and early childhood stages. Physical development is a vital part of growing up as children learn to master control of their body; examples of physical development include sitting, crawling, standing and walking.

Which of the following is a part of physical development? ›

It includes traits such as height and weight, complexion, physical structure, the composition of the body, the growth of muscles, etc.

What physical skills develop in the first year? ›

What physical skills develop in the first year? Rolling on their tummy'sH, hand- eye coordination, standing up right, and being able to grasp their own shoes are some physical skills that are developed.

How can you develop yourself? ›

8 self-improvement tips to get your life back on track
  1. Set goals for yourself. ...
  2. Surround yourself with people who want to see you do well. ...
  3. Evaluate what isn't working and eliminate those habits. ...
  4. Learn a new activity or skill. ...
  5. Eat healthily and hydrate daily. ...
  6. Have compassion for yourself and others. ...
  7. Clean your space regularly.
1 Nov 2021

How can I develop my personal skills? ›

How to improve your personal development skills
  1. Overcome your fears. Fear can prevent you from growing and progressing. ...
  2. Read. Reading can expand your knowledge and vocabulary and keep you informed. ...
  3. Learn something new. ...
  4. Ask for feedback. ...
  5. Observe others. ...
  6. Network. ...
  7. Keep a journal. ...
  8. Meditate.

How can you improve yourself everyday? ›

Here's a look at some ways to build self-improvement into your daily routine and let go of negative thoughts about yourself.
  1. Cultivate gratitude. ...
  2. Greet everyone you meet. ...
  3. Try a digital detox. ...
  4. Use positive self-talk. ...
  5. Practice random acts of kindness. ...
  6. Eat at least one meal mindfully. ...
  7. Get enough sleep. ...
  8. Breathe consciously.
24 Apr 2019

What are the most important physical skills? ›

Working on the following skills provides you with a level of fitness that is well-balanced and avoids specializing.
  1. Endurance. Endurance is your body's ability to take up, process and deliver oxygen to your working muscles. ...
  2. Stamina. ...
  3. Strength. ...
  4. Flexibility. ...
  5. Power. ...
  6. Speed. ...
  7. Coordination. ...
  8. Agility.
23 Feb 2021

What physical skills should I learn? ›

While there are many ways that the human body can move, there are arguably 10 skills that form the very essentials of physical competence: balancing, running, crawling, jumping, climbing, traversing, lifting, carrying, throwing, and catching.

What is physical ability example? ›

Examples of physical ability include strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and stamina.

What is 10th physical development? ›

What Is Physical Development? Physical development is an aspect of human development. Human development includes physical, cognitive, and emotional growth and change. Physical development is defined as the growth of the body and its parts, including muscle and motor development.

What is 11th physical development? ›

Physical development: Development of organ systems such as circulatory system, nervous system, muscular system, digestive system etc. Mental development: Physical activities require alertness of mind, deep concentration and calculated movement. This objective is related to the mental development of an individual.

What is physical development Wikipedia? ›

Physical development refers to the physical and biological changes that occur in humans between birth and adolescence.1 As a child grows and changes, he increases his ability to explore and interact with the world around him.2.

What are the physical development for ages 2 6? ›

Gross motor skills, which include running, jumping, hopping, turning, skipping, throwing, balancing, and dancing, involve the use of large bodily movements. Fine motor skills, which include drawing, writing, and tying shoelaces, involve the use of small bodily movements.

What are the types of development? ›

Physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and moral.

What affects physical development? ›

The factors influencing the physical development of a child are as follows:
  • Heredity. Heredity refers to the transfer of genes or physical traits from parents to children. ...
  • Gender. ...
  • Environment. ...
  • Health and Exercise. ...
  • Nutrition. ...
  • Hormones. ...
  • Socio-economic Status.

What are the 4 types of development in physical fitness? ›

Developmental Model of Physical Education
  • 1 Organic Development.
  • 2 Neuromuscular Development.
  • 3 Intellectual Development.
  • 4 Social-Personal-Emotional Development.

What is aims of physical education? ›

The aim of physical education is to develop through natural total-body activities, primarily on the play level, the physically, mentally, and socially integrated and ef- fective individual. .

Is physical education easy? ›

According to the teachers, the Class 12 CBSE Physical Education exam was moderately difficult and as per the pattern shared by the board. Dheeraj Joshi PGT Physical Education, VidyaGyan School, Bulandshahr, said, "The difficulty level of the Physical Education paper was from easy to moderate.

What is physical in personal development? ›

It relates to the changes, growth and skill development of the body, including the brain, muscles and senses. Physical development is evident primarily in gross-motor and fine-motor skills. These skills are essential to children's overall health and wellness.

What is development physical education? ›

• Physical development refers to such things as improvements in movement and manipulation skills and fitness levels, better understanding of the functioning of the human body, and increasing capability in caring for the body.

How does physical development affect behavior? ›

Some research suggests that youth who experience faster physical development are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior than their peers and that teens who develop more slowly than their peers may be more likely to face bullying.

Why is child development important? ›

Healthy development in the early years (particularly birth to three) provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation.

What is the physical development for 7 to 12 year old? ›

Increase in body strength and hand dexterity through physical activities. Improved coordination and reaction time. Increase in large-muscle coordination, leading to success in organized sports and games. Increase in small-muscle coordination, allowing them to learn complex craft skills.

What is the physical development of a 7 year old? ›

At this stage, children typically:

Refine coordination of large and small muscles. Refine hand-eye coordination. Will be able to draw and write with greater control and precision. Move in time to the beat or rhythm of music.

What is physical growth and development? ›

Physical growth refers to the increases in height and weight and other body changes that happen as kids mature. Hair grows; teeth come in, come out, and come in again; and eventually puberty hits. It's all part of the growth process.


1. Physical development in adolescence | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy
2. Physical Development | Child Psychology | Full Explained
(Mathematics Point)
3. Supporting Physical Development in Infants and Toddlers
(CECE Early Childhood Videos at Eastern CT State U.)
(Erica Villagracia)
5. Physical Development
(Dr. Shweta Agarwal)
6. Youth Physical Development Model - Animation
(UK Coaching)

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