Physical Development of Preschoolers: Timeline and Nutrition Tips

August 19, 2022

As a parent, you want to be sure your child is developing the way they should and that they’re healthy. We all know preschoolers are little jumping beans that have tons of energy. So, when it comes to the physical development of preschoolers, you want them to be on track so that they continue bouncing around!

Physical Development of Preschoolers

As with cognitive development, physical development can come at different stages for kids. Some kids may be able to climb, jump and do many other things that their friends may have not mastered just yet. It’s important to remember that but to also speak to your pediatrician if you’re not comfortable with your child’s development.

Let’s look at a timeline for the physical development of preschoolers as well as activities that you can do to help them in the process.

What is Physical Development of Preschoolers?

The physical development of preschoolers refers to how they grow. During the preschool years, there is a steady increase in their height, weight, and muscle tone. As their bodies develop over time, the areas in their brains that control movement continue to mature. This allows them to do things like run, jump, climb, kick, and skip. It also helps them with fine-motor skills like drawing and cutting with scissors.

Physical Development of 3 Preschoolers

Age 3

The Centers for Disease Control outlines milestones and activities that preschoolers should be able to do at age 3. These include:

  • Climbs
  • Runs easily
  • Rides a tricycle
  • Walks up and down the stairs with one foot on each step
  • Kicks and throws a small ball
  • Uses a fork

Physical Development Activities for 3-year-olds

To encourage the physical development of preschoolers, you can encourage outdoor play as well as go to the park or hiking trail. By doing these activities with your child, you can also spend some quality time with them which is always a plus!

Age 4

By Age 4, preschoolers should gain more skills. According to the CDC, these activities can include:

  • Hopping and standing on one foot for up to 2 seconds
  • Catch a bouncy ball most of the time
  • Use scissors
  • Jumps over objects and climbs playground ladders
  • Start to copy some capital letters
  • Can get dressed with minimal help

Physical Development Activities for 4-year-olds

You can help your child’s development by encouraging them to play outdoor games like tag, follow the leader, and duck, duck goose. Playing music and dancing is also a good idea to help to get them moving. Just like hiking, this also allows you to spend time with your kids.

What Influences Physical Growth?

Several factors can influence physical growth and may explain why some children develop faster than others.

Brain Development

Many new motor skills are the result of brain growth. If you can stimulate their brains, they can learn how to do other things that can help them physically. By helping them with meaningful interactions, they can begin to understand how things work and how to do more things.


We’ve all heard the saying, you are what you eat. To reach optimal physical growth and development, it’s important for your child to have a balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals. To serve as a role model, including healthy foods in your diet so your children can see that eating a nutritious diet is something that is done during your entire life.

It’s important for preschoolers to have a variety of fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins in their diet. When packing snacks and planning meals, choose ones that have limited added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

For a better idea of the amounts of certain foods your preschooler should get daily, check out the government’s My Plate resources. These outline specifically what your little one should be eating to be healthy.


Genes also play a role in physical growth, but other factors also play into the physical development of preschoolers. How children interact with their environment also greatly influences their development.

Although all children develop at a different pace, if you ever have a concern about your child’s development, speak to your pediatrician. They will be able to evaluate them and determine if there is something going on or if they’re just taking a little longer to get where they need to be.

Help Your Preschooler Develop at Primary Beginnings

At Primary Beginnings, we offer preschool programs that encourage the physical development of preschoolers. Children at our programs get plenty of activity and are always encouraged to be active.

To learn more about our preschool programs, and infant child care, call us today. Contact our North Hills Drive center or our Spring Forest Center. You can also schedule a tour.  

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