in young children
Parents and early childhood education programs should foster a child’s physical health in motor skills development, fitness and nutrition.
Meals and snacks should meet USDA standards, and children should be given the opportunity for both indoor and outdoor play. Programs should incorporate developmentally appropriate physical activities throughout the day.
The preschool years are the period when children acquire basic motor (movement) skills. Developing both fine (use of the hands and fingers) and gross (mobility) motor skills is an essential part of development—especially when you consider that from birth to age 5, a child literally goes from a helpless little bundle to a running, jumping, drawing and self-dressing person. Make sure your child’s pediatrician checks on the age-appropriate development of these skills.
Examples of physical readiness skills:
Gross motor skills
• Climbs and runs
• Balances on one foot
• Hops and jumps
• Uses bathroom independently
• Dresses self
Fine motor skills
• Fills and empties cups or other containers
• Creates objects with play dough or clay by rolling,
patting and squeezing
• Builds a tower with five blocks
• Uses pencils, crayons, paint brushes and markers
for drawing on blank paper
Young children who develop physical skills are more likely to be physically active throughout their lives.