Practical ideas for helping children and babies with their physical development at home

A Loughborough University academic, Dr Janine Coates, has shared practical tips to help parents and guardians deliver physical development opportunities to children at home following the closure of nurseries and other childcare facilities.

Dr Coates says, as well as keeping children’s mind active during this difficult time, it is important that parents remember to keep children moving and exploring. This is because these activities aid with physical development, which involves developing control of muscles and physical coordination. It is the primary function in all other life skills and enables children to complete simple tasks such as sitting still, holding a pencil, putting on shoes and reading.

In a bid to help parents with children now at home, Dr Coates has shared a selection of activity ideas from the Early Movers website – a free online resource she designed with early years practitioners, external consultants, Loughborough Campus Nursery and SSEHS academics.

She previously outlined three easy-to-do games for different development stages in the following videos:

Babies:

Toddlers:

Preschoolers:

Parents can find a full list of creative and fun activities to initiate with youngsters online under the Early Movers’ ‘Activities’ section.

Ideas range from ‘Feed the Fish’ – a game that sees youngsters test their balance and throwing skills by walking across a bench to ‘feed’ toy fish by throwing a bean bag at them – to ‘Treasure Baskets’ – an activity that utilises a box and simple household items to help with hand-eye co-ordination, picking-up objects and other skills.

Of the website and need to prioritise physical development opportunities, Dr Coates said: “With schools closing and parents under pressure to take over their children’s learning, it’s important to remember that so much of young children’s learning comes from moving and exploring their environment.

“Children aren’t designed to sit still for long periods and whilst we’re spending more time at home during the pandemic, with parents also potentially juggling working from home with childcare, it’s important to build in regular breaks from screen time and table-based activity.

“Our website provides parents with a range of simple and fun ideas keep children busy whilst keeping their minds and bodies active.”

The full activity list, plus additional information on understanding child physical development, can be found on the Early Movers website at: www.earlymovers.org.uk

An overview of the website is also given in the below video: