Physical Development

Activity - Balloon 'keepy-uppy'

Words to use with your child: balloon, up, down, behind, in front, elbow, knee, nose, forehead, top of head, ear, knuckle, wrist, ankle, stomach, thigh, calf, float, hand, how long? One minute, ten seconds, time.

Balloon keepy uppy – Blow up a balloon.  Explain that if the balloon falls onto the floor a ravenous beast will try to eat it (see last weeks storytime video). 

You will shout out different parts of the body and they can only keep the balloon up with that part.  Use the more obscure parts above so that children can learn these words. 

Add in an extra layer of learning by timing them on your phone stopwatch and writing it down each time.  This way children will be hearing the language of time and seeing how numbers are written down.

Guaranteed giggles

Activity - Making a caterpillar cocoon

Words to use with your child: lines, circles, swirls, zigzag, next to, behind, on top, underneath

Make your own caterpillar.  If you have lots of craft materials why not wrap pipe cleaners around a stick to make a caterpillar, you could alternate colours to make a repeating pattern. 

If not how about gathering up all the odd socks in your house and wrapping them into buddles with string or wool, into a caterpillar shape. 

This activity is really good for helping children to build their concentration levels but also for strengthening the small muscles in the wrist, hand and fingers that are essential for writing, using scissors, using cutlery and for fastening buttons and zips.

Activity - Making shapes

Words to use with your child: square, circle, triangle, rectangle, semi-circle, diamond, kite, curved, straight, corner, angle, round, edge, surface, flat, join, weave, around, tight, keep going, pattern.

Next time you are in the woods with your child gather some sturdy sticks and take them home.  Let your child use them to lay out a shape on the ground, it will probably need to be square, rectangular or a triangle unless you have very bendy sticks that you can use to make a circle.  Use some string or wool to join the sticks together to make a frame.  You may need to help your child with part. 

Once the sticks have been secured together, children can use wool, bendy branches, string, ribbon or lengths of fabric to wrap the shape.

This will help to strengthen many of the fine motor muscles in their hands that are essential for holding a pencil, fastening a coat or shoe and holding a knife and fork correctly.  It helps to make the wrist more mobile for greater refinement in the movements needed for writing each letter. 

Your child may need to rest and come back to this activity over a number of days.  Once completed hang it in a bedroom or even in the garden. 

(Aldi currently have lots of cheap wool on their special buys section or you could unravel a jumper with a hole in it).

Activity - Beans Game

Words to use with your child: chilly, jelly, baked, French, runner, string, broad, bean, wiggle, jiggle, low, high, stretch, tall, wide, spread, jumping, jump, wobble, shiver.

This is a game we play in nursery to help children develop their physical skills as it works the whole body.  You have to shout out the name of each bean and your child will pretend to be that bean for roughly 10 to 20 seconds before you shout out the next bean.   It also helps children to understand what different verbs (doing words) and adjectives (descriptive words) mean as they physically act them out. 

Jelly Bean, chilly bean, runner bean, French bean, string bean, broad bean

Talk to your child about how they feel at the end, ask if they are huffing and puffing or encourage them to put their hand on their heart to feel how movement affects their body.


Words to use with your child: cut, snip, chop, stalk, stem, petal, leaf, bud, veins, furry, soft, smooth, prickly, rough, hairs, knobbly, bobbly, stir, mix, rhyme.

Using the petals, stems and leaves from the previous day make a potion.  Children can use scissors or a knife to chop up the different pieces and then add water before mixing it all together using a large wooden spoon.  You could even make up a rhyming spell e.g.

“Bendy Wendy has smelly feet

Let’s make a soup for her to eat!”

Write the recipe down at the end and post it on the page to share with everyone else.  Encourage your child to make marks to represent the words for petal they could try writing the p. 

Using scissors or knives if a fantastic way to strengthen the tiny joints in children’s fingers, which are used when holding a pencil.  Stirring with the spoon will strengthen shoulder joints that enable good stability as children learn to write the fiddly shapes of letters. 

Activity - Walking/scooting/skipping – whatever takes your fancy!  

Words to use with your child: bluebells, clematis, blossom, tree, branch, grow, Spring time, look, notice, flower, walking, skipping, running, riding

This activity is best undertaken in May.  Go for a walk or bike ride as part of your daily exercise allowance.  Make a list before you go out of things you want to find this will help children to give meaning to marks and to see how the letters look that make the words that they say.  A good starting point this week would be spotting:


  • A pink blossom tree and a white blossom tree
  • Bluebells
  • Pink clematis growing on a wall or garden.