Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Developmental Trends: Physical Development at Different Ages

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Mar 10, 2011

Infancy (Birth–2)

What You Might Observe:

  • Emergence of reflexes
  • Initial increase followed by decline in crying
  • Rapid growth and change in proportions of body parts
  • Increasing ability to move around, first by squirming; then rolling, crawling, creeping, or scooting; finally by walking
  • Increasing ability to coordinate small muscles of hands and eyes
  • Increasing self-help skills in such areas as feeding, dressing, washing, toileting, and grooming

Diversity:

  • Children vary in timing and quality of gross motor skills (e.g., rolling over, crawling, and sitting up) depending on genetic and cultural factors.
  • Children vary in timing of mobility as well as in methods they use to get around (some children never crawl or creep).
  • Fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination may appear earlier or later depending on genetic makeup and encouragement from caregivers.
  • Self-help skills appear earlier when encouraged, but virtually all children learn them eventually, and sooner is not necessarily better.

Implications:

  • Celebrate each child’s unique growth patterns, but watch for unusual patterns or differences that may require accommodation or intervention.
  • Provide a choice of appropriate indoor and outdoor experiences to help children practice their developing fine and gross motor skills.
  • Don’t push infants to reach milestones. Allow them to experience each phase of physical development thoroughly.
  • Be aware of serious developmental delays that call for professional intervention.

Early Childhood (2–6)

What You Might Observe:

  • Loss of rounded, babyish appearance, with arms and legs lengthening and taking on more mature proportions
  • Boundless physical energy for new gross motor skills, such as running, hopping, tumbling, climbing, and swinging
  • Acquisition of fine motor skills, such as functional pencil grip and use of scissors
  • Transition away from afternoon nap, which may initially be marked by periods of fussiness in the afternoon

Diversity:

  • Children differ considerably in the ages at which they master various motor skills.
  • Boys are more physically active than girls, but girls are healthier overall; these differences continue throughout childhood and adolescence.
  • Some home environments (e.g., small apartments, as well as larger houses in which parents restrict movement) limit the degree to which children can engage in vigorous physical activity; others may present hazardous environmental conditions (e.g., lead paint, toxic fumes).
  • Children with mental retardation may have delayed motor skills.

Implications:

  • Provide frequent opportunities to play outside or (in inclement weather) in a gymnasium or other large indoor space.
  • Intersperse vigorous physical exercise with rest and quiet time.
  • Encourage fine motor skills through puzzles, blocks, doll houses, and arts and crafts.
  • Choose activities that accommodate diversity in gross and fine motor skills.

Middle Childhood (6–10)

View Full Article
Add your own comment
DIY Worksheets
Make puzzles and printables that are educational, personal, and fun!
Matching Lists
Quickly create fun match-up worksheets using your own words.
Word Searches
Use your own word lists to create and print custom word searches.
Crossword Puzzles
Make custom crossword puzzles using your own words and clues.
See all Worksheet Generators

Washington Virtual Academies

Tuition-free online school for Washington students.

SPONSORED