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Motor development

Rather than focusing on the motor milestones we take a developmental movement approach, exploring the building blocks that create the capacity for all complex movement. We look again at lots of familiar little movements and rethink their importance. And if a child is finding the milestones challenging, we return to the building blocks to build the foundations they need.

Movement Play

Decades of observation and research have shown us that babies and young children are experts in creating opportunities to build sound sensory and motor foundations. Spontaneous, freeflow movement play, using whatever is in the environment around them, is one of their best tools. We look for ways to value and support this more; and ways to create environments that support their work.

Sensory development 

Children need great body awareness in order to develop skilled and confident movement - and a strong sense of self. But they are not born with it in place - they have to build it. So we begin by looking at how this happens and how we can best support them. This is a vital component of physical development - but one that is easily missed.

Developmental Movement Play

Physical development and wellbeing

A fresh look at physical development

Developmental Movement Play was first developed through a 10-year R&D project which brought together movement specialists and early years practitioners to explore and generate new ways to support children’s whole-hearted physicality.


The approach has developed a great deal since the final report and recommendations were published in 2009, but many of the original findings are as relevant as ever.

Developmental Movement Play Research


100% of those taking the DMP training reported increased (and high) levels of confidence in supporting children’s movement play both indoors and out.

All settings reported children were moving more - much of this with the addition of an indoor focus.

There was significant change in the value given to child-led movement play.

Movement play became an important part of curriculum and planning in all settings.

Develop your knowledge and understanding - and let this help you meet your aspirations for your children's physicality

Enhance your provision, and your children's development, by creating beautiful indoor movement play spaces

Use the DMP 5-part framework to structure observations and reflective practice

How to use Developmental Movement Play

Understand how to support children with additional needs more fully

  • Build teams who understand more about children's physical development

  • Enhance your understanding of sensory development, sensory processing and sensory play

  • Learn about the basic building blocks of motor development that combine to create the milestones

  • Reflect on why children need to move more indoors, as well as outside

  • Look again at your learning environment and find ways to support more spontaneous, freeflow, child-led movement play

  • Discover how to create an indoor Movement Play Area in the most effective way

  • Know how different kinds of movement play build sensory and motor foundations

  • Structure observations to see which kinds of movement play particular children favour

  • Create sensory and motor profiles and use these to inform your planning

  • Recognise the signs that tell us a child needs more time to build sensory (and motor) foundations

  • Find new strategies to support them, in a way they will love

  • Help them to build the developmental foundations they need to move on

Upright Play

Halfway Play

Spin Tip Play

Push Pull Play

Floor Play

A daily movement play diet 

There is lots of detail in the Developmental Movement Play approach - and a simple framework to hold it all.

Children need five kinds of movement play to help them build both their body awareness and their physical skill. Discover why each is important and how they fit together. Reflect on how to create learning environments that invite all five - everyday.

Use this framework to support observations and planning within a Developmental Movement Play approach.

We love to inspire deep interest in the body and movement

Look with fresh eyes. See more of what your children's bodies are telling you

Be curious. Ask why a child is moving as they are? What do they need? How can you support them?

Create more opportunities for Movement Play

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