Toys can be a great way to interact with your child and to teach new skills. Make learning fun! Visit our Retail Site By Clicking Here

Friday, April 28, 2017

Gross Motor Development in 7-12 Year-Olds By Trisha Roberts

When we think of developing gross motor skills, we often concentrate on the first three years of life.  Certainly this is the time of greatest change and advancement, yet children continue to develop new skills and refine existing skills through adolescence. A person’s peak physical performance is usually before 30, between the ages of 18 and 26.

What should a 7 to 12 year old be able to do? By 7 years of age, a child should be able to skip, walk on tip toes, jump, ride a bicycle, skate, and bounce a ball several times in a row (dribble).  In these elementary years, running speed increases as does the accuracy and distance of throwing and kicking skills. Balance, coordination, and motor planning skills continue to advance. 

Biking starts at 7 years of age

Practicing baseball throwing and catchingBatting SkillsIf your child is struggling to keep up with other children or does not seem to have the same abilities as their peers, it might be advisable to have a thorough evaluation by a Pediatric Physical Therapist.  I also encourage parents to be very actively involved with their children’s teachers, especially the Physical Education Instructor.  Find out what units will be presented during the year and when.  If you know your child will be playing baseball in May, start working on the skills that they will need in April.  Practice throwing and catching, running bases, batting, etc.  We all have a “learning curve”.  Some children take more time to learn something new; if the skill is introduced several weeks in advance, your child will have a bit longer to master the activity and will be more on par with the rest of the class when the unit starts.

Sliding skills in baseball for children

It is important to encourage physical activity at an early age.  A variety of health organizations and studies suggest at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise several days per week.  Team sports in the community or school can help, but any physical activity with benefit your child’s health.

Playing soccer as a family

 I encourage families to make exercise a part of their routine.  After school or after dinner is a great time to go for a walk together.  Find a local park or playground and become regular visitors.  Ride bikes around the neighborhood.  Find a family-friendly walk-a-thon or mini-marathon and participate as a family!

Walking together as a familyActive Family Fun

Family Marathon Run

 Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Featured Products: Bocce Ball By Trisha Roberts

Bocce Ball (or Bocci Ball) is a fantastic outdoor game originating in Italy that has been played for generations.  It is a very simple game that can provide fun for the entire family--from young children to teenagers, adults, and elderly.  

In the traditional form of the game, the game is played on natural soil and asphalt courts that measure 90 feet in length and about 13 feet wide, but a relaxed game of Bocce can be played anywhere there is an outdoor open space.  It can be played at the beach, in a park, in the school yard, or in a backyard.  Take it on vacation,  a camping trip, or use it as part of the entertainment for a family reunion, birthday party or graduation party.  It can be played by 2-8 players at a time.

Bocce is a strategy game that resembles lawn bowling.  The game starts by throwing the small “Pallino” ball into the playing field. Each player then tries to throw their larger ball as close to the Pallino ball as possible.  Points are scored by the player whose ball is the closest.

Children 3 years and older can easily participate in this game.  Bocce is easy to learn and can help children improve Gross Motor Skills, strength, Perceptual Motor Skills, motor planning, strategy, and throwing skills.  It is small and portable—keep it in the trunk of your car for spontaneous games wherever you go!

 Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Balance and Motor Planning Part 2—Strategies for Children with Difficulties by Trisha Roberts

Last week we discussed the importance of balance and motor planning. This week let’s look at activities that might help develop better balance and motor planning.

Things to keep in mind with children with motor planning deficits:

  • Cueing and reminders are important for anyone learning a new skill, but even more so with children who are struggling with motor planning.
  • Demonstration is helpful with children with motor planning deficits.
  • Repetition is vital.

Your Physical or Occupational Therapist will have lots of ideas and suggestions—make sure that you are given activities or exercises for home every time your child has a therapy session. 

Some things you can try even if your child is not receiving direct therapy services:

  • Simon Says
  • Go/Stop games: Tell your child to walk/run/jump, then say, “Stop”.  See how few steps it takes before they are able to come to a complete stop.
  • Alternate ways of tying shoes; practice on a Shoe Board.
  • Carrying a jiggly ball or water balloon on a dish towel held by two children (one walks forward, one walks backward)

Water balloon carry

  • Enroll your child in a gymnastics or swim class.  Let the instructor know that learning new skills is challenging for your child.
Balance Bike is a good way to learn the components of bike riding

Playing in a tunnel can help children with motor planning
  • Play catch while standing on a Balance Dome
Use a balance dome to improve standing balance

  • Set up an obstacle course in the house; practice walking, jumping, hopping, walking backward, etc. through the course
  • Practice a variety of Yoga Poses

  • Scooter board around the house or at the park.  Try it in sitting using heels to move forward or push backward.  Have child use their arms to propel themselves while on their tummy.
Scooter Board can help improve motor planning skills and strengthen core muscles

 Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Balance and Motor Planning--Vital Developmental Skills Part I By Trisha Roberts

Balance and Motor Planning are vital skills

What is Balance and how does it affect our lives?  What is Motor Planning? What does it mean when the therapist says that my child has ‘balance issues’ or trouble with ‘motor planning’?

Balance and motion are terms that refer to the practical function of the vestibular sensory system.  The vestibular system controls and regulates a child’s ability to maintain balance and upright posture by sensing a person’s orientation with respect to gravity.  The brain is also given information by the body’s joints with regard to their position—this is called proprioception, or the awareness of our position in space.  The proprioceptive and vestibular systems work hand-in-hand with the execution and control of  coordinated body movements, such as running, jumping, negociating stairs, or throwing a ball as well as fine motor movements like tying a shoe, cutting out a shape, or tracing a letter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Stair climbing is a skill requiring coordinated movement of the whole body

Many different systems work together to enable a person to tie their shoes

Children who have problems with balance frequently move with poor control, seem fatigued or weak, and they may appear clumsy and uncoordinated.  Such a child may also display a fear of having their feet off the ground, experience anxiety when attempting a new task, and have difficulty participating in sports and other activities that require coordinated movements.

Tripping and falling can indicate a motor problem

Motor planning refers to praxis, or the ability to conceptualize, plan, and organize movements in order to complete unfamiliar motor tasks in the correct order from beginning to end.  Praxis is a higher-level cognitive function that depends on the integration of multiple sensory systems, including the vestibular and proprioceptive system.  Incoming sensory stimulation needs to be processed correctly in order to form a coordinated motor response.  

Correct processing of incoming signals

Children who are apraxic or dyspraxic will have trouble figuring out how to carry multiple items at the same time, fail to perform tasks in proper sequence, and have difficulty imitating demonstrated actions. They have difficulty learning new activities and often perform activities in an awkward or hesitant way.

Difficulty in the timing of catching a ball

Balance and motor planning are intimately tied; it is difficult to say that a child has just a balance issue or their only deficit is in the area of motor planning. 

There are Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists who specialize in treating children with these types of problems. They can evaluate your child’s problems and design a treatment plan to address the areas of difficulty and provide strategies to help the child.

Physical Therapy can help your child develop better motor skills

 Next week in Part 2, we will discuss possible treatment strategies and what parents can work on at home.

 Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.