Home Page

St Peter’s School

Helping every child to flourish

Positive, Caring, Inclusive

Fine and Gross Motor Skills

Physical development and the EYFS

Physical development is one of the three prime areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). It is divided in fine motor and gross motor skills.




By the end of the EYFS children at the expected level of development will:


Gross motor skills


  • Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others;
  • Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing;
  • Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing


Fine motor skills


  • Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing
  • using the tripod grip in almost all cases;
  • Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery;
  • Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing



Suggested activities to promote physical development


Easy cooking with kids from Cbeebies.


Making homemade playdough from the BBC’s Tiny Happy People.


Early Education has suggestions for outdoor mark-making activities.


Physical activity guidelines for children under 5 years from the NHS.


Learning through landscapes has ideas for outdoors activities.


This leaflet contains tips and ideas on how to develop your child's physical development through play and activities. Move with me leaflet 4 years plus (PDF)


Playdough is another way to support motor development Suggested activities for using Playdough


Fizzy's Training Games: Clever hands



Fizzy's Training Games: Body awareness and co-ordination



Fizzy's Training Games: Balance



Fizzy's Training Games: Ball skills



Why core strength and co-ordination is important

Core strength is children’s ability to keep their position and move from the centre of their body outwards. If core strength is underdeveloped, children will struggle with gross motor skills and fine motor skills, stability and balance. This will affect their ability to coordinate more refined movements.


Coordination is the brain’s ability to control movement of different body parts at the same time. To be confident with movement children must develop both core strength and coordination.


Developing core strength and co-ordination supports children’s ability to communicate, learn language and eventually read and write. Whole body movements contribute to the accurate use of small tools and delicate materials. Writing, drawing and painting should be considered as whole-body skills.


Early movers has lots of physical development activity ideas.

NHS physical activity guidelines for children under 5.