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Hop, skip and jump

Posted on 21st May, 2012 by Admin

Or in actual fact – first jump, then skip and then hop. Did you know that in every repeated activity our children are cementing in their brains and bodies motor development skills that are the building blocks for their future health and exercise lifestyle? During our childcare experience and especially when our children start school we are impacted by the strong emphasis placed on the need for those fine motor skills – holding a pencil or crayon, cutting with scissors and so on (

In fact in our family we regularly have a giggle as we remember one story from when our youngest started preschool at age 4. After settling in happily for a few weeks I had the teacher bowl up to me one morning with clearly something pressing on her mind. In outraged tones the teacher presented me with her accusation: “Your child can’t even cut with scissors!!” (she was not a happy camper trust me). I made my cheerful reply (which definitely incensed her further) “Of course not, he’s the youngest; he’s not allowed to touch the scissors”. You’ll be pleased to know that all turned out well in the end and our son is now a well adjusted and academically excellent grade 4 student whose peers would never be able to guess his dismal beginning.

Not everyone is aware that great development of  those fine finger and hand motor skills is directly linked and responsive to growth in the gross, or large, motor skills which our kids develop through exercise and outdoor play. So, when we’re running about outside with our little kids throwing the footy, catching a large ball or just generally racing around having fun, we are actually directly investing in their future academic ability. As parents we can take the time to understand general developmental milestones (eg jump with two legs, skip, or hop with one leg) and through our time with them in energetic play, build into our kids in a fun way. Also, should it turn out there is some problem, we as parents are the most likely to notice and be able to seek professional help early.

For those of us who enjoy reading, here are a few examples of many sites easily found internet sites that have great information and even helpful activities we can do as parents to get us going:

Sean Brotherson, family science specialist, Understanding Physical Development in Young Children (

Fingergym, Fine Motor Development and Early School Performance (

University of Michigan, Your Child, Developmental Milestones (


Happy reading & happy playing!!