Physical Development in Infancy & Childhood

Updated April 17, 2017

The physical development of infants and young children refers to the growth in height and weight as well as the progression of gross- and fine-motor skills. Gross-motor skills are usually large-scale movements that involve at several body parts working simultaneously. Gross-motor skills include crawling, walking and jumping. Fine-motor skills are smaller movements that typically require the use of the hands. Examples of fine-motor skills include scribbling, self-feeding and building with blocks.

Height and Weight

According to KidsHealth by Nemours, from birth to the first birthday, the average child's weight triples and the height increases by 50 per cent. Still growing steadily, a child will gain an average of 227gr and grow between one-quarter and one-half inch each month from 1 year to 2 years old. Children usually gain about 1.81 Kilogram and grow 2 to 3 inches each year from 2 years until 5 years old.

Birth to 1 Year Old

Infancy is a period of tremendous physical development. Fine-motor skills acquired during this age are holding a rattle by 4 months, transferring objects between hands by 8 months, and picking up small objects by 11 months. Gross-motor skill development includes rolling over in one direction by 5 months and in both directions by 7 months, movement from sitting to a standing position by 10 months and walking with support by 12 months.

One to 2 Years Old

Toddlers in this stage can perform such fine-motor skills as building six-block towers, stringing together up to four large beads, and copying horizontal and vertical lines. Gross-motor skills acquired include climbing, walking up stairs while holding on to the railing, and assisting with dressing.

Two to 3 Years Old

Toddlers in this age range are able to perform such fine-motor tasks as building a nine-block tower, drawing a circle and cross, and using scissors to cut paper. Gross-motor skill development includes jumping with both feet, kicking a ball placed in front of her and riding a tricycle.

Three to 4 Years Old

Fine-motor skill development of preschool age children include building 10-block towers, stringing together small beads, and self-dressing and undressing, with the exception of buttons and zippers. Gross-motor skills include hopping on one foot three times and playing catch with a large ball.

Four to 5 Years Old

Fine-motor skill development of children 4 to 5 years old includes bouncing and catching a tennis ball, building 12-block towers, and drawing triangles. Gross-motor skills include walking on a straight line, hopping three times on each foot and riding a bike with stabilisers.

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About the Author

Marcie Doyle is a copywriter, editor and proofreader from Chicago with 10 years experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, web sites, catalogs, print advertisements, direct mail pieces and more. Doyle has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.