Physical Development and Health Slides

Illinois Early Learning has created a bank of slides based on Standards Start at Home: A Guide to Early Learning for Parents/Families. These slides contain simple suggestions for parents of young children. The Standards Start at Home slides are available in PDF format (31MB). Feel free to share the full document.

Tips for Developing Good Health and Safety Practices  

  • Sing the alphabet song together while your child washes his hands. It takes 25-30 seconds for soap to kill germs, about the same amount of time the song takes. 
  • Wash hands before eating, after toileting, and very often when anyone in the family is ill.  

Tips for Developing Good Health and Safety Procedures   

  • Make a game of naming body parts. Discuss what each part does. “Our ears help us hear. What do you hear?” 
  • Teach your child to cover his coughs and sneezes, with a tissue whenever possible 
  • Check with your local health department for free resources to help your child learn good health habits 

Tips for Helping Children Develop Motor Skills (slide 1) 

  • Keep activities enjoyable and safe! Enthusiasm is more important than skill level. 
  • Allow your child to do well with one skill before trying a harder one. Provide lots of chances for practice! 

Tips for Helping Children Develop Motor Skills (slide 2) 

  • Show your child how to do a new skill if they are nervous or have a hard time with it. Don’t criticize or constantly correct your child. Mistakes are a part of learning. 
  • Join your child in motor activities as often as possible 

Tips for Helping Children Develop Motor Skills (slide 3) 

  • Provide opportunities for group physical activities, which help your child learn to follow rules and cooperate with others. Such activities may be available through preschools or day cares, the park district, library, YMCA, parent center, church, or synagogue. 
  • Remember that it is not good for children to sit still for long periods of time when practicing fine-motor skills 

Physical Development and Health Activities: Let It Rip (Paper Tearing) 

How it will help your child: Develop hand muscles for future writing and cutting 

Materials: 

  • Any type of paper (e.g., construction paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper) 
  • (Optional) Glue, glue stick, or paste 

Instructions: 

  • Have your child tear the paper. They can tear big pieces, little pieces, skinny pieces, round pieces, square pieces, very small pieces, and long pieces 
  • Pick up all the pieces 
  • (Optional) Have your child glue the pieces onto a large piece of paper or poster board 

Physical Development and Health Activities: Obstacle Course 

What your child will learn: Large muscle control; following rules when participating in group physical activities 

Materials: Some of the following items: boxes, ropes, string, chairs, table(s), plastic jugs, yard sticks, objects to jump/crawl over, etc. 

Instructions: 

  • Arrange an obstacle course in a large circle as space allows 
  • Have your child follow you, the leader, as you move through the course and do what you do. Be creative! 
  • Try some of the following: step over a box, hop on chalk marks, walk between chairs, jump on masking tape, shapes, etc. 

Physical Development and Health Activities: Smiling Faces and Healthy Teeth 

What your child will learn: Independence in caring for personal needs 

Materials: Mirror; toothbrushes; toothpaste 

Instructions: 

  • Standing in front of a mirror, help your child name and touch all the parts of her mouth: lips, teeth, tongue, and gums 
  • Ask your child to try to smile without opening her mouth 
  • Brush your teeth together and share this rhyme: “Even if you’re in a rush, don’t forget to swish and brush” 
  • Remember to rinse well 
  • Smile and show off your clean teeth! 

Activities for Developing Gross Motor Skills (slide 1)

  • Have your child imitate animals, vehicles, or machinery (e.g., hop like a bunny, crawl like a turtle, or move like a car with a flat tire).
  • Provide rocking or riding toys at an appropriate height for your child.

Activities for Developing Gross Motor Skills (slide 2)

  • Try jumping in different directions, over small objects, down from surfaces that are safe heights, and up onto sturdy surfaces.
  • Build structures with large, hollow blocks. You can make them with taped-up cereal boxes. Play in sand or dirt. Digging, building a castle, and pushing trucks all build motor skills.

Activities for Developing Gross Motor Skills (slide 3)

  • Throw and catch balls and/or beanbags. Have your child throw harder and farther, in different directions, and at targets (e.g., chalk marks, big or little baskets). 
  • Count together the number of times your child can bounce a ball or jump up and down. 
  • Provide chances for your child to balance on surfaces that are of different sizes and heights. Watch closely to prevent falls. 

Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills (slide 1)

  • Encourage your child to scribble, draw, and “write.” Provide different types of paper (plain paper, index cards, cardboard) and writing tools (pencils, crayons, chalk, nontoxic markers, pens). 
  • Cut with blunt-end scissors. Cutting is a complex skill that requires much practice. It is easier to cut Play-Doh, stiff paper or cards, or plastic straws than regular paper. 

Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills (slide 2)

  • Paint with water, tempera paint, watercolors, or finger paint. Different brush sizes and paper require your child to use different muscles. 
  • String spools, beads, Cheerios, macaroni, etc., on a shoelace, yarn, or pipe cleaner.

Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills (slide 3)

  • Play with blocks of various sizes and shapes. Block play enhances muscle control, hand-eye coordination, and perceptual and sensory-motor development.
  • Choose puzzles that are easy for your child and then build up to harder ones. Some libraries have puzzles that can be checked out just like books.

Activities for Developing Fine Motor Skills (slide 4)

  • Sort small objects. Picking out small items such as coins, beads, or pieces of yarn from a tray of sand or salt is a fun “treasure hunt.” Supervise to make sure items don’t go in the mouth.
  • Find things such as sponges, turkey basters, and play dough to squeeze. Squeezing increases hand and finger strength. 

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Family Child Care
  • Home

Intended audience(s):
  • Parents / Family

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
  • Preschoolers (Age 3 Through Age 5)

Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards:
Reviewed: 2021