Physical – how we move|
“The process of gaining control of our large and small muscles as well as the use of the senses.”
Along with general physical characteristics, it is important to understand youth’s development in relation to their increasing abilities to control large and small muscles, also known as gross motor and fine motor skills. Staff needs to understand how youth’s development is very different at different ages. In addition, children within the same age range will have very different abilities and interests.
Gross motor development refers to a youth’s capacity to manipulate and control large muscle groups. This includes the strengthening and coordination of large motions involving the arms, legs, torso, or whole body. Youth’s capabilities in this area vary greatly depending on their ages and developmental stages. As always, there are no absolute rules when discussing these stages, but the chart below offers some basic ideas for what you might see in each age group.
Fine motor development refers to a youth’s capacity to manipulate and control his or her small muscle groups. This includes the ability to coordinate specialized motions using hands, feet, eyes, and mouth. Like gross motor development, these abilities will vary greatly in youth dependent on their ages and developmental stages.
Activities to Promote Physical Development:
Click on the name of the activity to go to the website for more detail. Bold letters in parentheses indicate the age group (I = Infant, T = Toddler, P = Preschooler, S = School-ager, A = Adolescent) for which the activity is targeted. Of course, with modifications the activity can be appropriate for other age groups as well.