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Child Developmental Topic Growing stronger every day Stages: 3 to 5 years

What’s going on for baby?

‘He iti, he iti kahikātoa.’

‘Though little, it is still a mānuka tree.’

Our tamaiti is now developing more control of their body and more strength in their muscles. They may also go through a growth spurt.

Their skills will continue to consolidate through repeated practice while they play.

They’re also likely to show more confidence, having moved from a wobbly toddler to a young child with less fat and more muscle.

New large motor skills will usually develop during this time, including:

  • more accuracy throwing and catching a ball
  • walking on tip toe
  • walking backwards
  • hopping
  • dancing
  • steering a balance bike
  • pedalling and steering a tricycle
  • walking up and down stairs one foot after the other.

Their fine motor skills also become more controlled, so our tamaiti will be more capable and confident when using scissors, paint brushes, building with blocks, and using pencils, pens or crayons. They can also copy vertical lines and circles.

They can likely prepare and serve some of their own food and drink.

Vision and hearing checks are still important.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Keep providing tamaiti with plenty of time outside to play and explore in safe environments.
  • Visit parks, beaches, playgrounds and other open spaces where they can run, jump, climb, dig, balance, slide and swing.
  • Have lots of opportunities for ball play — throwing, kicking, aiming and catching.
  • Check where they’re playing for possible dangers, both inside the house and outdoors in gardens, garages and sheds.
  • Be especially careful with road and driveway safety. Remind other whānau members and visitors about this too.
  • Think of ways to provide vigorous play opportunities when it’s not possible to be outside. For example, make an indoor obstacle course or start a game of balloon volleyball.
  • Give plenty of opportunities to use paper, scissors and drawing tools like pencils, crayons, chalk and felt tips.
  • Talk to them about where it’s okay to draw and what is okay to cut.
  • Have paint brushes, glue, scissors and collage materials available for them. Regularly using the small muscles in their hands and fingers consolidates their fine motor skills.
  • Continue to keep appointments for Well Child/Tamariki Ora health checks.

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