Physical development is a crucial part of a child’s overall development; it takes place automatically as they grow up. Many of the skills will develop naturally, but it is important that each child gets plenty of opportunities and support to develop their skills in different ways. The two groups of physical skills a child needs to develop are gross motor skills, and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills require the use of the larger muscles in the body, such as arms and legs. Examples would be throwing, walking, jumping and rolling. Fine motor skills use the smaller muscles, such as those in the fingers. Examples of this can be tying and untying shoe laces, doing the buttons on clothes, using eating utensils like knives and forks and being able to use a pencil. These skills are called milestones, and there is an expected pattern of development, but each child will learn and progress at different rates and in their own individual ways. Age (years)Gross Motor SkillsFine Motor Skills
0-1Brings feet to hands.
Can begin to sit steadily unsupported.
Can stand whilst holding onto furniture.Tries to reach for object. Holds rattle momentarily.
Can clasp hands together.
Picks up toys from floor without falling.
Moves to music.Scribbles on a piece of paper.
Builds towers of three small blocks.
Makes strokes with a paintbrush.
2-3Kicks a ball forward.
Stands on one foot with help.
Jumps in place with two feet together.Turns single pages in a book. Cuts with scissors.
Holds crayon with thumb and finger rather than fist.
3-5Walks on a line.
Walks up and down the stairs independently.
Throws a ball overheard.Can copy a circle onto a piece of paper. Can cut along a line with a pair of scissors.
Builds a tower using around nine small blocks.
5-7Kicks a ball with greater accuracy.
Bounces a ball and catches with one hand.
Can walk on tiptoes for longer distances.Can print own name. Cuts food with a knife.
Able to tie shoelaces.
7-12Can ride a bicycle.
Accurately jump and hop from square to square.
Able to skate.Can draw with greater detail.
Able to use their hands to thread.
Learns to join letters whilst writing
Taking part in martial arts.Texts using a mobile phone.
Types much quicker and more accurately on a keyboard.
Plays a musical instrument.
Learning to cook.Playing computer consoles.
Probability of acting on sexual desires will increase.
Communication and Intellectual Development
Communication and intellectual (or cognitive) development is another vital component of a child’s growth. This area involves speech, their thinking capacity and mental awareness. There are many activities that can help develop these areas, like watching cartoons, colouring books, engaging in activities with their friends and family, and reading story books. The communication aspect is split into two groups, pre-linguistic and linguistic. The pre-linguistic stage is before a child can speak, usually lasting up to about 12 months old. The linguistic stage is the point at which a child will now start using words with meaning. AgeCommunication Skills
Pre-linguistic stageBirth to 12 months
Birth to 4 weeksThe child will cry when he/she needs attention for basic things such as hunger, distress and tiredness. 1-3 monthsStops crying at the sounds of human voices.
Vocalises when spoken to and when alone.
Makes noise in response to a carer talking.
6-12 monthsImitates adult vocal sounds such as coughs.
Understands ‘no’ and ‘bye-bye’.
Laughs, chuckles and squeals aloud when playing.
The child will know its own...