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Activities to Observe a Child's Physical Development

by Susan Rickey

From the first clinch of the fist as a newborn to his first half marathon as a teen, your child's physical development follows a course of milestones and observable behavior. The practice and acquisition of the physical skills in each age are noticeable through activities that highlight physical development.

0-12 Months

A baby grows in many ways during her first year, but one of the most exciting to observe is her physical growth. Observe her following objects with her eyes as you move them close by. Smile and talk to your baby. Watch her mimic your faces. Place toys near by for her to roll over and grab. Give her a lot of floor time with you. When she holds her head up while lying on her belly, give her a lot of applause. Place toys and other interesting objects in the room. See her learn how to move toward them as she learns to crawl. Sturdy furniture for her to pull up on gives you a chance to watch her gain the physical strength and balance needed to start walking. Transfer a ball from hand to hand and then give her the ball and observe her mimicking your actions.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

From walking to balancing and kicking, children grow by leaps and bounds physically during their toddler and preschool years. Provide the room and exploration time for him to develop his skills. This play time should include taking walks with you and walking up and down stairs in tandem. According to KidsHealth, independent play time on a playground structure gives him opportunities to show his balancing, movement and coordination skills. Play ball with your child. Notice his newly developed skills of throwing and kicking. Smaller motor skills to observe include picking up small objects and using scissors. Ask your child to string beads and cut along a line to observe these skills.

School Children

Children between the ages of 6 and 12 grow about 2 1/2 inches per year and gain around 5 to 7 pounds. They are getting stronger and obtaining new coordination skills. Your child's growth in the elementary years are observed by watching her skip, run and play with balls. She catches, throws and kicks a ball to a target. She progresses to catching, throwing and kicking a ball on the move. Riding a bike is another observable skill. Biking takes coordination, balance and strength. Jumping rope with grace and agility is another skill that shows her growth.

Teens

The greatest amount of growth in height and weight comes between the ages of 13 and 18, according to Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. Chart his growth to see these changes. Puberty occurs in children at this stage. Your child might not be familiar with his new body brought on by puberty and growth spurts of the teen years. Observe him in activities he feels comfortable doing. Encourage exercise to help him become a self-confident and active adult.

About the Author

Susan Rickey started writing in 1994 with a technology feature article for the "Pioneer Press." She was the writer of the Klamath Forest Alliance newsletter, an environmental organization. Rickey obtained her teaching credential from California State University and acquired her Bachelor of Science from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

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