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What is Physical development?
Physical development refers to the advancements and refinements of motor skills, or, in other words, children's abilities to use and control their bodies. Physical development is one of the many domains of infant and toddler development. It relates to the growth and skill development of the body, including the brain, muscles, and senses.
It relates to the growth and skill development of the body, including the brain, muscles, and senses. For example, babies learn about the world as they develop their physical senses of sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. In fact, babies can hear well before they are born. Newborns like to look at faces and will seek interesting things to look at very early on. An infant can recognize the mother's smell and the sound of her voice within days after birth. From birth, infants are aware of the world around them, and the ability to grow, develop, and learn occurs quickly as infants begin to explore through their senses.

There are many things you can do to help infants and toddlers develop physically in your program:
  • Support infants' bodies and heads when you hold them.
  • Help the infant see your face when you talk and play with her or him.
  • Hold onto the infant's or toddler's feet and rotate them gently as you sing songs like "The Wheels on the Bus."
  • Provide many opportunities to practice and use new skills, such as sitting up on your lap as you support an infant's neck and back (between 4 and 6 months).
  • Spend time together on the floor and provide tummy time.
  • Place things nearby and offer opportunities and chances for infants to reach for things.
  • Create safe areas for infants to crawl around and explore.
  • Offer teething rings, sucking toys, rattles, and other things to reach and grab.
  • Share toys with knobs and buttons.
  • Introduce toddlers to stacking and connecting toys.
  • Spend time with toddlers using four-wheeled riding toys.
What are early Gross-motor skills and fine-motor skills?
Gross-motor skills and fine-motor skills are developed during infancy and toddlerhood. Gross-motor skills involve the mastery of large muscle movements, as well as the building of strength in muscle groups like the arms, legs, and core. Examples of such skills for infants and toddlers include reaching, rolling, crawling, and climbing. Fine-motor skills involve smaller, more precise movements, particularly movements of the hands and fingers, such as grasping. As their bodies grow, infants and toddlers progressively strengthen their muscles and become better able to control their bodies.
Each new motor skill that is developed is the result of an earlier skill and a contributor to new skills. Newborn infants do not have the strength to hold up their heads, however as they learn and develop control of muscles, they will be able to support their heads and move them from side to side to explore. Skill mastery and development are also the result of brain growth and development. Consider an infant who is starting to walk while holding on to couches and round-edged tables. This child must have acquired strength in the large muscles and a certain level of control over body movement. At the same time, the child also relies on vision to determine where to walk and what to cling onto. As infants and toddlers grow, their bodies and minds become capable of simple and mildly-complex movement and experiences.
Importance to encourage the development of gross- and fine-motor skills
Parents, teachers, and caregivers should stimulate toddlers and infants and encourage the development of gross- and fine-motor skills. For example, you may stimulate physical development by holding a toddler upright while moving each leg to imitate walking.
Eventually, the child will become accustomed to the balance and muscle movements that are required to walk and be able to do it on his own. Infants and toddlers depend on their caregivers to meet their needs for safety and security. When infants and toddlers receive consistent, responsive care and attention from nurturing adults, they are able to establish a sense of trust in the world. This sense of being loved and feeling safe is essential to stimulate areas of development, including physical development. When they feel safe and secure, infants and toddlers use their brains, muscles, and senses to explore the world around them.
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