Working Fine Motor Skills

Earlier we discussed gross motor skills, so it’s only fair that we talk about fine motor skills. So what are they? Fine motor skills refer to the small movements of the hands, wrists, fingers, feet, toes, lips, and tongue.

During infancy, fine motor movements remain unconscious reflex actions. Baby’s grips are clumsy and everything they touch usually ends up in their mouths. It isn’t until they reach about 12 months that they begin to master the pincer grip, an important fine motor skill that develops the ability to hold objects between the thumb and index finger.

Fine motor skills are largely developed during toddlerhood and preschool. Toddlers begin to develop the abilities to twist dials, pull strings, turn pages, use crayons, and much more. By the time they reach preschool, they are challenged with more delicate tasks like tying shoelaces.

Unlike gross motor skills, which call for boundless energy, fine motor skills require patience, which is in shorter supply.  It’s crucial that you encourage the development of fine motor skills in your child’s life. Weakness in fine motor skills can affect their ability to eat, write legibly, turn pages in a book, or even dress and groom themselves.

Educational Insights has a few early skill development toys and games specifically designed to strengthen these crucial skills. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game!™  is one in particular that helps children develop fine motor skills while learning to match colors and count. (Pictured above)

There are many ways to have fun with fine motor skills; it all just depends on how you and your child use your noggin!


Working on Gross Motor Skills

Although Children’s health month is coming to an end soon, it doesn’t mean that the fun should stop! We highly encourage that you continue to get your kids active and working on those gross motor skills!

What are gross motor skills?  Gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body that are used for walking, running, sitting, crawling and other activities.

They develop over a relatively short period of time, with most of the development occurring during childhood. Encouraging gross motor skills simply requires a safe, open play space, peers to interact with and some adult supervision.

There are a number of activities parents can have children do to help develop gross motor skills. These include:

  • Activities that encourage balancing (jump rope, hop scotch)
  • Activities that develop hand-eye or foot-eye coordination (baseball, football, soccer—anything that involves catching, kicking or throwing a ball)
  • Hopping with a small object in-between their knees and jumping forwards, backwards and sideways.

Young at Heart

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
–Albert Einstein

All Hands on Deck!

Happy Friday! Since there are so many fun facts about hands, we’ve decided to compile them all into one big interesting post! Read and Enjoy.

Here’s one you might have already experienced: Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!

But did you know that the pink under your fingernails is the blood in your capillaries? You did?

Okay how about this: There are no muscles inside the fingers. The muscles which bend the finger joints are located in the palm and up in the mid forearm, and are connected to the finger bones by tendons, which pull on and move the fingers like the strings of a marionette.

Here’s food for thought: About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part of the brain which controls all movement in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands.

Last but not least, did you know that the wrinkles on the back of the finger knuckles are actually dimples? They mark areas where the skin is attached to the tendon beneath the skin.

Now you’ll know the back of your hand a little better than you did before!

Riddle Me This

Looking for a way to spice up your kid’s lunch? In honor of Children’s Health Month, our marketing assistant, Caitlin Hogan, has come up with a whole school week’s worth of fun health-related riddles for you to plant in their lunch boxes! Print out these riddles, cut them as you see fit, and tape it to the inside of the lid! See if your child can solve the riddles at the end of the day. It’s a great way to switch things up (not that they’ll ever get bored of PB&J’s!) and get your kids thinking. Try making a few riddles of your own: ready, set, rhyme!

Riddle #1 – Heart
Take some time from your busy day,
For this riddle game we’d like to play.
Located within that body of yours,
is a sturdy, strong muscle where blood is stored.
Strong as a tennis ball, as big as your fist
If removed … it’d be sorely missed!
What is this body part that we’re speaking of?
Get it correct and I’ll show you some love!

Riddle #2 – Bones
Drink up your milk and gobble that fruit.
Eat all your veggies without any dispute.
These need to be healthy to grow big and strong.
They vary in size – some short, some long.
8 in each wrist and 14 in your face.
206 in all held strategically in place.
Familiar to science classrooms and around Halloween,
The doctor’s office is another familiar scene.
So what part of your body is this riddle about?
Answer it now without a shade of doubt!

Riddle #3 – Muscles
640 in two different groups!
Go pump some iron so they don’t start to droop.
It takes 17 to smile and 43 to frown.
Takes less energy to be happy than it does to be down.
The Skeletal kind help you move.
The Cardiac kind makes your heart groove.
The Smooth ones line what you have inside.
All of these together help you stand straight with pride.
So what part of the body are riddling about?
Use them to jump up and answer with a shout!

Riddle #4 – Blood
Did you know this stuff goes wherever you go?
Moving through tubes, this liquid stuff flows.
With four different types from A to O.
Made up of red and white cells that put on a show.
The red cells carry air to every little part.
And the white cells fight infection, well isn’t that smart?
This stuff makes up 7% of your weight.
Quick guess this riddle, there’s no time to wait!

Riddle #5 – Brain
Put down that iPad and get off that phone!
Use your INTERNAL computer – your mind is now blown!
This human “smart device” helps us think and react.
Surrounded by 22 fused bones that are tough to crack!
This “computer” floats in a shock-proof fluid
to keep it safe and growing under your lid.
So what is this thing with all the smarts?
Guess it correctly and give thanks to this part!