Physical and Creative Development

This booklet aims to explain the last two areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

Physical Development:

This is about improving skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement.  It helps children to be active and encourages them to understand about their bodies and staying healthy. 

This area of the curriculum is divided into three sections; Movement and Space, Health and Bodily Awareness and Using Equipment and Materials.

During the year we work towards these Early Learning Goals for Physical Development:

Movement and Space
• Move with confidence, imagination and in safety.
• Move with control and coordination.
• Travel around, under, over and through balancing and climbing equipment.
• Show awareness of space, themselves and of others.

Health and Bodily Awareness
• Recognise the importance of keeping healthy and those things that contribute to this.
• Recognise the changes that happen to their bodies when they are active.

Using Equipment and Materials
• Use a range of small and large equipment.
• Handle tools, objects, construction and malleable materials safely and with increasing control.

What do we do at school?
• Have a large outside area that provides a range of activities such as the climbing frame, digging pit and playground.
• Teach children to use the ride-on – pedalling, negotiating around obstacles.
• Teach playground games and dances.
• Teach how to use hoops, balls, skittles, quoits, bats, beanbags, skipping ropes, and balancing stilts.
• We play circle and ring games inside and out.
• In Reception we have PE once a week to teach gym, dance and games.
• We use the parachute and ribbons.
• We learn about our bodies by having a warm up and cool down.
• We also provide a wealth of activities for fine motor skills and hand eye coordination such as construction, play dough, clay, threading, sand and water, cutting, painting etc.


Gross motor skills:
Gross motor skills are the large body movements and include areas like climbing, balancing, hopping, walking, pedalling, swinging and being able to stop.  Children need to develop these before they can start to develop their fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills:
These are the development of the arm, wrist and hand muscles.  These allow children to hold a pencil and begin to write.  Some children find these extremely difficult and need lots of fine motor activities to help develop these skills.  We do hand and finger exercises to build up strength as well as activities that encourage children to manoeuvre their wrists – taking off lids etc.

What can you do at home to help?

• You already do lots of this – riding a bike, going to the park and using the swings, playing football or catch in the garden.
• Encourage and help your child to use tools such as scissors, cellotape, paint brushes, hammers, screwdrivers etc.
• Fun and messy activities are great – cooking biscuits and rolling out the dough, using flour on a table and making patterns with fingers or shaving foam!


Creative Development:

This is such a magical area of development and an important one.  Creativity helps children to explore and express their emotions, understand how others might feel, interpret others work, gain preferences, and begin to make connections between one area of learning and another.  It really does provide a feel good factor and helps children to relax.  It encompasses 5 areas:
• Art
• Music
• Dance
• Role-play
• Imaginative development

Children use their imagination all the time.  At home they will use small world items such as doll’s houses to act out stories or sing songs to themselves as they are doing activities.  They also use you as role-models for their role-play.  They act out scenarios that they see you do at home such as ironing, making a shopping list, washing the car.  They are able to practise skills that they need for adult life safely.

During the year we work towards these Early Learning Goals for Creative Development:
• Explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two or three dimensions.
• Recognise and explore how sounds can be changed, sing simple songs from memory, recognise repeated sounds and sound patterns and match movements to music.
• Use their imagination in art and design, music, dance, imaginative and role-play and stories.
• Respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and feel.
• Express and communicate their ideas, thoughts, and feelings by using a widening range of materials, suitable tools, imaginative and role-play, movement, designing and making, and a variety of songs and musical instruments.

What do we do at school?

• Far too many to list!
• Painting – different styles, techniques and tools – finger painting, using ready mixed, powder, block paints etc.
• Drawing – observational, imaginative using tools such as pencils, charcoal, pastels.
• Modelling – from recycled materials, clay, playdough.
• Collage
• Printing – with hands, feet and objects.
• Have specific role-play areas – shops, garages, home corner, as well as topic related role-play – Cinderella’s house, castles, etc.
• We use puppets to act out stories and make our own ones related to stories.
• We have drama sessions to do things like hot seating, acting out stories or freeze framing.
• We learn games and dances as well as listen to music and move, draw, discuss.
• We learn lots of songs.
• We learn about musical instruments and play clapping games.
• We also talk about how we feel about art and music such as work by famous artists or composers.

What can you do at home to help?

• Again, you probably do lots of these things already!
• Encourage your child to paint or draw – finger painting, using flour and water.  Glitter and sparkly pens can be quite an incentive!
• Children can use the computer to draw – this helps if children find drawing quite difficult.
• Role – play – children love this and simple things can be making a den using a sheet or just letting them use things around the home.  When you do things, let your child watch you and explain what you are doing.  Ideas could be washing the car, making a shopping list, folding the clothes, doing the washing.
• Listen to music – all kinds and sing along!
• Children can use items around the home as musical instruments – saucepan lids, hoover pipes with a stick to scrape along, spoons etc.  (Do remember to get the aspirins for your headache with this one!)


As with all aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, children will learn these creative and physical skills through both structured teaching and through self-initiated activities (their play).