Facilitating Physical Development: Child Development in The Early Years
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Facilitating Physical Development: Child Development in The Early Years

Child development is extremely important in the early years. How can we encourage physical development through play?

In the early years it is extremely important to encourage and facilitate development. Physical development can be encouraged through play. During play children are free to explore themselves and their surroundings. In a nursery or daycare setting it is extremely important that children are given as much freedom to express themselves as possible. As adults we can help to encourage their development by providing ways for children to move on to the next stages of development.

Outdoor Play

Outside space is hardly ever used to it's full potential. In a perfect world children should be free to come and go as they please between outdoors and indoors. Depending on staffing levels and the layout of the setting this may not always be possible. It is important however to allow the children as much time as possible outdoors, come rain or shine! Children have a great sense of imagination and are able to use simple objects to create whatever they want. Children may use crates to jump off of, helping to develop their lower body strength and balance. A different child may line up crates to create a 'bridge'. This will enable children to develop balance and co-ordination skills. Children tend to work as a team to problem solve when left to their own accord with a few items.

Common items for facilitating play outdoors are:

* empty plastic crates

* old tires

* cardboard boxes

* buckets

* marbles

Developing Fine Motor Skills

Children develop fine motor skills in many ways.It is important to asses the child's level of development and provide them will tools that will allow them to move on to the next stage of development through their own exploration. Children are natural born problem solvers and are often not given the credit they deserve. Some ways of encouraging fine motor skills are as follows:

* Provide a child with some lengths of string or wool and wide eyed beads. The child will discover how to thread the beads onto the wool. This will develop hand-eye co-ordination which is extremely important.

* Provide bricks and allow the child to build and knock over the bricks. Children may also begin to sort bricks into different colours if they are at this stage of cognitive development.

* Provide pencils and/or crayons and paper at all times to allow children to develop their fine motor skills and unleash their creativity.

* Playdough is another great way of allowing children to use their fine motor skills as well as developing their creativity. Children also use playdough as a way of facilitating imaginative play. For example a child may make the dough into balls and 'bake' them in the 'oven'.

Developing gross motor skills indoors.

It is easy for children to develop skills such as running and jumping outdoors, however this may prove to be more difficult indoors. Children are active beings and are always on the move. It is important that they are given the opportunity to develop their gross motor skills which will become important in later life.

Things to try:

* Set up a mini obstacle course. Think crash mats for rolling, benches for balancing, tunnels for crawling through, and hoops for jumping in.

* Have one area of the nursery where children are allowed to be active, perhaps a dance corner with some appropriate music playing which allows children to explore their creativity whilst developing gross motor skills.

* Children may also enjoy a music and movement session such as sticky kids. This is enjoyable for children and adults alike as the moves are read out on the tape. This also encourages children to listen and follow instructions.

Children Learn Through Play

Children learn through exploring their world and incorporating it into their play. Adults should always be available to supervise and encourage development however children are capable of inventing their own ways of learning.

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Comments (1)

I'm a little concerned her, when you say.."left to their own accord with a few items" and then list items such as marbles, old tires and plastics, I thought to myself, are these really safe items to be leaving children alone with on their own in their early years???????

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