Physical Environment for Children: Definition, Characteristics & Examples

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  • 0:04 Definition
  • 0:50 Characteristics
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Duane Cloud

Duane has taught teacher education courses and has a Doctorate in curriculum and instruction. His doctoral dissertation is on ''The Wizard of Oz''.

A child's surroundings have an important impact on their well-being and development. This lesson defines the physical environment and explores some of that impact.


Every parent wants their children to have every possible advantage when growing up. From accelerated learning videos to other learning aids, there are a variety of products sold that claim to help in a child's development. However, a very important part of this cannot be bought from any store. The physical environment surrounding the child has a great influence on his or her development.

The physical environment for children refers to the physical components of the area in which youngsters grow, work, and play. The physical environment can be virtually anything concrete that children may encounter in their lives. Though physical in nature, the environment can influence young people's mental and emotional health as well as physical well-being. This is distinct from the emotional, cultural, or learning environments in which children find themselves.


The bare minimum requirement for healthy children is physical safety. In order for young people to grow to adulthood, the environment must be free of physical hazards. Electrical, chemical, and choking hazards can harm or kill children.

Nutrition is important in the development of young people's bodies and minds. Beyond the nutrition necessary for growth, youngsters who get a taste for healthy food earlier in life are more likely to develop healthier eating habits in adulthood. If raised in an environment where physical safety is not nurtured, such as in a war zone, young people tend to develop a reactionary personality. These people tend to overreact and respond vigorously and emotionally to any challenge. This is a result of heightened physical reactions to perceived danger and it is often the case that any adversity is seen as dangerous.

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