Meaning and Characteristics of Physical Development

Meaning of Physical Development

Physical development refers to the growth and development of body parts to make the body have the ability to perform certain functions for certain skills. Physical development includes large muscle movements as well as small movements. It involves the changes in the body, brain, motor skills, senses, and the wellness of an individual. Childhood is the period when most of the physical development takes place. When a child goes through physical development, they gain self-confidence which boosts their emotional and social development.

Characteristics of Physical Development

The characteristics of physical development are as follows:

  1. Physical development begins during infancy and continues till adolescence focusing on both the gross motor skills and the fine motor skills.
  2. Physical development includes the development of the ability to have body control. It specifically involves the development of muscle control and physical coordination.
  3. Physical development takes majorly during childhood. Childhood is an important time for body coordination and brain development allowing individuals to develop certain abilities such as crawling, walking, grasping, and writing.
  4. During youth, physical development is rapid. During this stage, the bone and muscle size change and develop. Different body parts grow and develop at different rates.
  5. Physical development and abilities may vary during different stages and it may happen at different rates but it takes place in a sequential manner. For instance, a child first learns to crawl, then learns to walk, and then learns to stand.
  6. Motor skills continue to develop in children through activities such as sports, playing musical instruments, and the like. These activities allow children to develop an awareness about their body, direction, and space.
  7. Physical development is also related to social and emotional development. When children gain control over their body and become aware of their body’s functions, they start gaining self confidence. This promotes emotional and social development among children.


These are some of the most important characteristics of physical development. It is important to engage children in activities that boost their physical growth and development.