What are 5 development areas of skills to teach toddler and preschool kids?

Don't let where to start and what to teach toddler or preschool kids overwhelm you. Children do not learn skills in isolation or by subject.


Rather, they are naturally born curious and learn through a whole child hands-on approach.


This means that you can think about experiences that address the developmental domains. Just think about your child and these 5 key areas of skills and creating an activity will come naturally.






The 5 developmental domains can be represented in the acronym PILES. This stands for physical, intellectual, language, emotional, and social.



P is for Physical


It’s the Physical Body growth and often put into two categories; Gross motor and fine motor.


  • Gross motor which are entire body movements used in things like running, walking, throwing, jumping, skipping or climbing.


  • Fine motor are those smaller muscles in arms, hands and fingers used in activities such as eating, drawing, cutting, grasping, zipping zippers or fastening buttons.


I is for Intellectual

  • This area involves the processes such as memory recall, conceptual thinking, imagination, organization, critical thinking and being able to solve problems.

L is for Language

  • This is about communication and expression. Also connected to understanding vocabulary and includes things like reading and writing.

E is for Emotional

  • This area is about emotional regulation which is the ability to manage and express emotions. Includes feelings of self-perception and awareness of others.




"The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn


is a wonderful book to help children manage feelings of separation from their loved ones.


Click on the picture to learn more.










S is for Social

  • This is about the relationships with others as their ability to interact with adults and peers to encourage healthy relationships and ability to regulate conflict and a sense of being in a community.

Check out this page for more activity ideas to teach or entertain kids.