Bear Series: Physical Development and Health

I find many of the standards under Physical Development and Health are covered through the variety of activities I’ve built into most of my lessons. Very seldom are these standards addressed through an isolated activity. With “intention” in my planning the learning happens inside and outside without me needing to push it, such as during snacks/lunches, our yoga practice and directed outside games. I make sure my families understand how learning occurs here in child directed activities, teacher supported activities and our free play.

“Young children love active play. Children age three to five are developing their physical abilities at an extremely rapid rate. Early childhood educators encourage and promote this physical development by providing safe and appropriate physical activities adapted to the child’s abilities, special needs or health concerns, and individual patterns of growth. Children who participate in regular physical activity will have overall better health and confidence in their bodies and what their bodies can do, as well as a more general sense of well-being. Participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity with increased heart rate that is intentionally planned and facilitated increases stamina, endurance and flexibility; daily walking, running, hopping, throwing and catching, turning, twisting and stretching are examples of this kind of activity.”


  • Child serves self, taking food from one container to another, using utensils
  • Engages, as possible, in food preparation  

Fine Motor:

  • Holds drawing, writing and painting tools with fingers and thumb, creating more recognizable drawings (letters, shapes), but may hold the instrument too close to one end
  • Develops increasing strength, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination to use hands, fingers and wrists to manipulate objects
  • Cuts paper in straight line 

Gross Motor:

  • Moves purposefully from place to place with control
  • Moves with an awareness of personal space in relationship to others
  • Develops motor coordination and skill while using objects for a range of physical activities, such as pulling or throwing
  • Combines large motor movements with the use of equipment 

Physical Health Status:

  • Demonstrates body spatial awareness in relationship to stationary objects
  • Participates in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise to enhance physical fitness

Health Knowledge and Practices:

  • Completes personal care tasks with increasing independence
  • Takes off coat and puts it where it belongs
  • Participates in structured and unstructured physical activities
  • Regularly participates in active games, outdoor play and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness
  • Transitions from high-energy to low-energy activities
  • Follows routines independently
  • Regulates own emotions and behaviors
  • Begins to take responsibility for meeting own needs 

“Bear Feels Sick” connects with lessons about healthy habits and germs. I bring the book out for sharing multiple times during the year. I like to use it when we have children and families that are experiencing illness. This simple share allows a chance to talk about caring for others and how that feels for all parties. Again having this discussion multiple times throughout a year supports growing a child’s understanding around supporting each other, empathy and germs.

If you aren’t afraid of a little mess, Confidence Meets Parenting shares her experiment with cinnamon and oil for washing those germs away. I much prefer this to the glitter from similar experiments. Because of my thoughts around food insecurity, I have chosen not to use food in non-eating activities here, but the little oil and cinnamon didn’t cross that line for me.

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