Physical Child Development Activities for 3- to 5-Year-Olds

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are typically vivacious and enjoy turning almost everything into a game. This innate playfulness is beneficial, because physical activity helps them develop the motor skills and confidence they’ll need for the rest of their lives. Foster your own child’s physical development by inviting him to participate in developmentally appropriate activities.

Obstacle Courses

Gross motor skills are physical skills that involve large muscle groups. Walking, jumping, leaping and climbing are just some examples of gross motor skills that children must work on to perfect. Encourage your small child to practice these skills by setting up an obstacle course with objects such as shoe boxes to jump over, tables to crawl under, step stools to jump from and hoops to crawl through. Request various methods of movements between obstacles, such as tiptoeing, bouncing or riding a tricycle.

Art Projects

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Tumbling Activities for Toddlers

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Fine-motor skills are physical abilities that require the use of small muscles. Grasping objects, drawing a circle and using scissors are a few examples. A vast array of artistic opportunities will provide your young child with a chance to perfect her fine-motor skills. For example, show your child how to create puppets out of old socks or paper bags and put on a puppet show from behind a table. Finger painting, playing with clay and using sidewalk chalk are also open-ended activities that can provide hours of entertainment and developmental opportunities for your child.

Play-Pretend Activities

Your preschooler is becoming a pro at using his imagination. Foster his innate creativity and encourage development of both fine and gross motor skills by encouraging him to make believe. Play “zoo” and ask him to crawl and pounce like a tiger, eat like a squirrel, flap his wings like a bird and gallop like a horse. Take a walk with your youngster and make up an adventure story as you stroll, including fanciful ideas like walking through a jungle and spotting a monkey swinging from the tree branches. Don't forget favorite games such as Simon Says and freeze dance to give your child imaginative and active play time.

Outdoor Free Play

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Fine & Gross Motor Skills Activities

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Simply allowing your child to play outside will help her develop physical skills. Basic activities such as spinning in circles, running and skipping require no fancy equipment. Still, encourage diversity by taking your child to a playground or inviting her to participate in activities such as washing the dog, playing with bubbles, tossing a ball or going on a nature walk with the family.