Sub-domain: Physical Development

The Physical Development sub-domain covers goal twenty-one of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines. 

Using this guide

Scroll down to see the age group you are most interested in. Click on the goal to learn more about the goal's:

  • developmental growth
  • child indicators
  • caregiver strategies

There is an option to download the information at the end of each goal. When you click the link you will be brought to a new page where you can download the goal as a PDF.  

Happy girl playing on a swingset

0 - 8 Months

Goal 20: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Sustain strength for purposeful movement.

Child Indicators: Walks, runs, climbs, jumps in place, crawls, squats, and rolls throughout the day.Alternates quiet and active movement.Indicates fatigue or desire for movement by seeking rest or unrestrained movement. Initiates and maintains active play and exploring and interacting with the environment.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s cues that indicate the need for quiet or active time.Provide opportunities and a variety of toys that encourage movement and physical activity on a daily basis.Show encouragement when children try new motor activities.Model daily physical activities (walking, running, lifting). Provide child with regular nap and bedtime routines.Offer water throughout the day.Offer snacks and meals at least every 2½ hours.

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Goal 21: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Child moves reflexively, then with intentionality.

Child Indicators: Reaches for items, and kicks items with intention. Child’s body responds as reflexes are stimulated (grasping, rooting, and sucking reflexes).

Caregiver Strategies: Provide a variety of materials and toys for child to explore and play with. Rotate toys and materials on a regular basis. Make play a part of the child’s daily activities (during a diaper change, lift the baby’s legs and make marching movements as you chant). Avoid screen time for child younger than 2 years old (TV, videos, computer activities, DVDs).

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6 - 18 Months

Goal 20: Children demonstrate the stamina and energy to participate in daily activities

Developmental Growth: Sustain strength for purposeful movement.

Child Indicators: Walks, runs, climbs, jumps in place, crawls, squats, and rolls throughout the day. Alternates quiet and active movement. Indicates fatigue or desire for movement by seeking rest or unrestrained movement. Initiates and maintains active play and exploring and interacting with the environment.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s cues that indicate the need for quiet or active time. Provide opportunities and a variety of toys that encourage movement and physical activity on a daily basis. Show encouragement when children try new motor activities. Model daily physical activities (walking, running, lifting). Provide child with regular nap and bedtime routines. Offer water throughout the day. Offer snacks and meals at least every 2½ hours..

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Goal 21: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Participate in a variety of age appropriate movement and physical daily activities.

Child Indicators: Shows excitement when toys and objects are used in play. Runs, climbs, jumps in place, crawls, squats, and rolls throughout the day. Participates in simple movement games. Demonstrates willingness to try new games and toys.

Caregiver Strategies: Show enthusiasm and encouragement when child tries new motor activities. Encourage child to play both inside and outside, on a daily basis. Engage child in simple movement games (So Big, Pat-a-Cake, Ring- Around-the-Rosie). Share child’s excitement about and enjoyment of physical activities. Talk with child about the positive effects of physical fitness. Encourage child to play both inside and outside, on a daily basis.

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Children need access to free time, play opportunities, adequate space, and challenging materials to pursue their physical development needs.

16 - 38 Months

Goal 20: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Sustain strength for increased periods of time.

Child Indicators: Participates actively in simple games, and uses simple, active play materials and toys.Runs spontaneously on sturdy surfaces. Engages in unstructured physical activities (playing on slides, swings, or tricycles; climbing and running games, dancing, and marching). Sleeps well; awakening rested and ready for daily activities.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide child with physical activity throughout each day (including outdoor play on slides, swings, tricycles, climbing equipment, and running games; as well as tumbling mats and foam risers for indoor use). Provide a safe and inviting play area that encourages sustained movement and balance. Provide common objects for structured physical activity (child-size equipment, musical instruments, active follow-along songs, and basic rhythms). Provide child with daily calm and rest periods or nap times. Limit child’s screen time (watching TV and videos, playing computer games) to no more than 2 hours of quality children’s programming in each 24-hour period. Take daily short walks with the child. Model physical activity by playing with the child rather than watching the child play.

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Goal 21: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth:  Participate in a variety of age appropriate movement and physical daily activities.

Child Indicators: Attempts new activities that require physical movement, with or without adult assistance. Participates actively in simple games, dance, and movement activities. Initiates physical activities. Develops a sense of games, and starting play in games like “chase,” or being active characters (firefighter or hero figures).

Caregiver Strategies: Talk with child about the positive effects of exercise. Model enthusiasm for a variety of physical activities. Provide support as child attempts an activity that is challenging. Play a variety of active games with child (simple and safe obstacle course or running with scarves as parachute play). Limit child’s screen time (watching TV and videos, playing computer games) to no more than 2 hours of quality programming each day. Move to music or sing songs with the child that involves physical movement.

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36 - 60 Months

Goal 20: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Sustain strength for increased periods of time

Child Indicators: Carries light objects, bags, or backpacks for a short distance. Repetitively practices new skills. Engages in sustained unstructured physical activity on a daily basis.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide a variety of daily opportunities for the child to engage in noncompetitive physical activities. Provide at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activities each day. Make physical activity interesting and challenging (set up a simple and safe obstacle course outside or inside where child climbs over, under, and through things; incorporate movement to music).Provide balance between stimulating and restful activities.

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Goal 21: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Participate in a variety of age appropriate movement and physical daily activities.

Child Indicators: Participates in different physical activities (walking, climbing, throwing, dancing) with varying levels of engagement. Initiates structured and unstructured physical activities throughout the day. Incorporates various physical activities while transitioning from one place to another (marches between the kitchen and the bathroom). Participates in cooperative games with peers.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in group exercise times/activities (bike rides, family walks). Engage child in different kinds of physical activities (throwing balls, climbing playground equipment, helping with chores, dancing). Provide child the opportunity to play in different settings (neighborhood park with outdoor play equipment, play groups with other children).

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Children need access to free time, play opportunities, adequate space, and challenging materials to pursue their physical development needs.

60 Months - Kindergarten

Goal 20: Children demonstrate the stamina and energy to participate in daily activities.

Developmental Growth: Sustain strength for increased periods of time.

Child Indicators: Runs 50 to 75 yards, without stopping. Engages in physical activities (active games, bike riding, vigorous peer play) for up to 60 minutes throughout each day. Engages in sustained physical activities (movement games with other children, dancing to music).

Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for the child to engage in daily physical activities.Engage the child in activities that require physical exertion. Provide opportunities for the child to reach new physical goals (hopping on one foot repeatedly, jumping over small boxes). Encourage the child to reach and exceed personal goals rather than to compete with others.

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Goal 21: Children engage in a variety of physical activities.

Developmental Growth: Participate in a variety of age appropriate movement and physical daily activities.

Child Indicators: Participates regularly in physical activity (walks, dances, and plays organized or informal sports). Helps with physical chores (raking leaves, sweeping the floor, carrying laundry, putting away toys). Participates in cooperative games with peers.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for child to play song games incorporating music, movement, and social interaction. Participate in regular physical activities with child (swimming, walking, skating, hiking, playing ball, drumming, skiing). Provide opportunities for child to participate in activities that require new skill development.

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