3 – 4 years physical development

Pre-schoolers are all about the physical – they love to jump, skip, run, climb and dance. In fact, anything that’s new and that won’t require them to sit still for too long. But they’re also like puppies – running full steam until they completely run out of energy, at which point they’ll collapse somewhere utterly exhausted.

Developmental milestones include:

  • Balancing to walk along a plank
  • Pedalling a tricycle
  • Rolling and bouncing a ball – and a few can catch a ball, too
  • Holding a pencil with the correct grip
  • Buttoning up clothing
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Climbing a ladder and trees
  • Standing, walking and running on tiptoes
  • Balancing on one foot for several seconds
  • Using a spoon and fork correctly
  • Building a bridge using three blocks

How can I encourage his physical development?

    • Ensure that he has plenty of physical freedom where he can develop some independence.
    • Teach him some skills that will open new doors for him – how to swim, how to pedal a bike, how to hit a ball with a bat.
    • Give him the space to work things out for himself. He’ll build his self-esteem if he can work something out on his own.

Allow him the time he needs to ‘get things right’ himself. Some pre-schoolers really resist help, so don’t jump in unless you’re asked.

Signs there could be a developmental problem include:

  • He isn’t interested in interacting with other children or with adults while he plays.
  • He’s either overly aggressive or introverted when he plays with other children.
  • He plays in a repetitious way that shows little use of his imagination.
  • He has difficulty keeping up physically with children his own age.
  • He isn’t able to jump with his two feet together.



All children are different and develop at different rates, so don’t be overly concerned if your pre-schooler is acquiring new skills at a different rate to those around him. But if you are worried about his development, or it seems to have stalled or be going backwards, talk to a health professional.

Leave A Comment