What Is Physical Development? - Definition and Examples

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  • 0:01 Physical Development
  • 0:56 Childhood & Adolescence
  • 3:27 Aging
  • 4:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Everyone grows and changes throughout their lives. In this lesson, we'll look at some important times in physical development, including childhood and old age, and how physical development contributes to other types of development.

Physical Development

Matthew recently retired, and he's spending all his spare time with his great-nephew Johnny, who is in preschool. Though their ages are far apart, Matthew has discovered that he and Johnny have a lot in common. They are both dealing with new developmental milestones. That is, they are growing and changing every day and have to deal with new physical changes.

Human development is the way that people change and grow across their life span. There are many types of development that people go through. As children learn problem-solving skills, their cognitive (or thinking) development grows. When people age, they often develop wisdom, which means they are better able to handle stress, a process that is part of emotional development.

Let's look closer at one aspect of human development, physical development, and what it means for different people at different points in their lives.

Childhood and Adolescence

Remember Johnny? He's Matthew's great-nephew, and he's at an age where his physical development is rapid. Every day, it seems like he's grown more, and his parents have to keep buying him new clothes because he keeps outgrowing them!

Childhood and adolescence are times of great physical changes. Children grow taller and become better at controlling their bodies. Adolescents develop body hair and other adult features as they make their way into full adulthood. These changes seem pretty straightforward. If Johnny is two inches taller or his hat size goes up, it means that he's physically growing. What could be more simple than that?

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