Clap, Jump and Skip! Physical Health & Growth in Young Children

How We Promote Physical Growth and Healthy Habits for Little Learners

Playing and riding trikes looks like a lot of fun, but the secret about the movement for children is that it’s also a key piece of learning. In our Day Early Learning centers, we encourage children to move their growing bodies early and often. Physical activity helps them lay a foundation for lifelong health, explore cause and effect, and even regulate their emotions.

Children participate in physical play both indoors and outdoors in Day Early Learning’s classrooms and playgrounds — each arranged with your child’s physical and academic needs in mind. Children have outdoor time for at least 30 minutes, twice a day, barring inclement weather.

At Day Early Learning, we focus on the development of children’s large muscle (or “gross motor”) skills, like crawling and running, and small muscle (or “fine motor”) skills, like grasping pencils and buttoning clothes. Read more below to learn what physical skills your child develops at every age and stage.


In our Day Early Learning classrooms, you’ll see teachers and babies participating in lots of floor-time activities — engaging babies during tummy time and encouraging them to roll over, sit up, clap, crawl, stand and walk. Below are a few examples of how we boost your baby’s physical growth in our classrooms.

  • Through music, teachers encourage babies to clap and move their bodies.
  • Teachers provide a variety of toys for your baby to explore important actions, such as learning to grasp, roll, stack and plush toys.
  • Tunnels, slides and climbers provide older babies with opportunities to explore and move their bodies.
  • Bubble play encourages babies to track movement with their eyes and reach for and catch bubbles.
  • Teachers will touch or tickle your baby’s feet, head, knees or nose while naming the parts of the body. This helps your baby understand the parts of their body, how they move and what they do.
  • Once solid food is introduced, teachers help babies learn to feed themselves with their fingers.


On-the-go toddlers are practicing coordination and balancing skills and laying the foundation for an active, healthy life. Below are a few examples of how we boost your toddler’s physical growth in our one- and two-year-old classrooms.

  • Teachers set up obstacle courses for children to practice different types of movement. Crawling through tunnels, going over and under low obstacles and moving up and down ramps help your child learn how to move their bodies.
  • Toddlers develop their grasp and practice fine motor skills through the use of various toys and writing tools. Grasping crayons, puzzles, stickers and stacking toys all work on their small muscle development.
  • Children learn about their bodies and the importance of self-care. Toddlers will learn how to feed themselves using utensils, wash their hands, blow their noses, brush their teeth, throw their trash away and begin to dress themselves.
  • Classroom and outdoor equipment encourage toddlers to practice coordination and balancing skills.
  • Teachers guide children to use their bodies to hop like a bunny, practice yoga poses and dance to music.
  • Children learn about their body — naming and pointing to arms, legs, noses and more — and understand how different types of food help them grow.

Preschool and Pre-K

Confident, independent preschool and pre-k students are refining their motor development while learning to stay safe and establish a healthy lifestyle. Below are a few examples of how we boost their physical growth.

  • Children practice fine motor skills by using droppers and scissors, as well as through drawing and writing.
  • Teachers talk about healthy foods and demonstrate basic health and safety practices.
  • Children practice ball skills and develop accuracy by throwing, bouncing, dribbling and catching balls and bean bags of different weights and sizes.
  • Through games, teachers guide children to use their bodies. Children learn how to roll, balance and control their movements.
  • Children are encouraged to attend to their own personal care needs. Handwashing, bathroom time and buttoning their clothes are done independently.
  • Teachers play music and offer children musical instruments to practice marching to the beat of music and encourage movement.

Curious about how we work on different areas of development in our classrooms?

Learn more about our curriculum by visiting our program pages.

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