Developing Motor Skills: Baby Playtime Activities

developing motor skillsThere are many milestones and things to watch for and anticipate as a new parent. One of these areas involves motor skills. Motor skills are defined as an intentional muscle movement—these movements are typically placed into 2 categories, gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve larger movements of the arms, legs, feet, or entire body, such as crawling, walking, and jumping. Fine motor skills involve smaller movements of body parts such as fingers and hands. Believe it or not, there are many easy and fun activities parents and caregivers can do with babies to encourage the development of both gross and fine motor skills. Here are just a few:

Get out the Play-dough

Most kids love play-dough, and it turns out that this activity is more than just crafty fun. It encourages imagination, provides a sensory experience, and builds motor skills. The pinching, stretching, and kneading of play-dough is wonderful for building muscle strength and coordination in little fingers. Once you teach your little ones that play-dough is for playing and not for eating, they can unleash their creative spirit while developing essential motor skills.

Go Swimming

One of the major components of well-developed gross motor skills is a strong core. According to professionals who offer baby swimming lessons in Houston, swimming is an effective way to build core, leg, and arm muscles even in young children and babies. Swimming with your little one will get them used to the water—a huge benefit when they are old enough for swimming lessons on their own. This is a great mommy-and-me class to try with your baby to help them build important muscle groups and learn essential swimming skills.

Coloring

Holding a pencil or crayon the correct way may seem to be a skill not needed for years to come, but it is never too early to begin to develop strong muscles and good skills. By using short nubs of pencils and crayons it encourages little ones to hold them correctly, rather than in a fist. Using thicker markers in the beginning will help them get an idea of how to grasp, and showing them how to color on a page will help with coordination and strength. Then, try cutting down pencils and crayons to help increase these grasping muscles as they grow.

Play Hopscotch

Drawing a basic hopscotch grid with sidewalk chalk can provide hours of entertainment, exercise, and development of gross motor skills. Hopping and jumping are both skills that build strong leg muscles and coordination. Little ones may not be able to actually play hopscotch. Simply drawing a line on the ground and encouraging them to walk along it and jump over it is a great alternative. Not only will this help them burn off extra energy, but they will eventually develop the muscles needed to hop, skip, and jump.

Tummy Time

For very young babies, tummy time is like doing a set of sit ups. Laying a baby on their tummy for supervised play time is extremely important and beneficial to the development of strong core, neck, arm, and leg muscles. These muscles are all needed as the baby learns to sit, scoot, crawl, and walk. Your little one may scream and cry during tummy time, but it is necessary to proper growth. You may dread this exercise, but allowing the baby to get used to this position will help them develop the necessary muscles to support their own body.

Strings and Things

Allowing kids to string materials is a wonderful way to build fine motor skills and build hand-eye coordination. Kids can string things such as macaroni, cheerios, and beads into necklaces and bracelets. If they aren’t quite coordinated enough for this, invest in a few books or games that require strings to be looped through holes repeatedly (you can even make your own.) This action will help with creativity and hand-eye coordination, but can be disguised as a fun game or jewelry making for your little one.

There is nearly a never ending number of ways to work on building gross and fine motor skills with babies. The keys are to be creative, stay active, and have fun! Your baby will develop the necessary skills as you help him or her along in the process, and you can always ask your pediatrician if you are concerned about their development or motor skills.

Dixie Somers, Freelance WriterGuest Blog by Dixie Somers, Freelance Writer/Blogger

Dixie is a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women’s interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters who are the inspiration for her writing.

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Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

We’re Back From Our Cruise!

Last week our we went on a family cruise to the Caribbean! Cruising with little kids could be a little difficult considering the cramped space of the cabins. However, we still had a blast! With Alexa still in diapers and sleeping in a crib, we had to be very efficient in how we unpacked our room. I packed each day of the kids clothes in Ziploc bags to stay organized. That helped a lot.

This cruise had watersides, a ropes course, rock climbing wall, mini golf, and much more! There was so much to do we never got bored! I loved having this family time and we made so many memories. We also celebrated Ryan’s 4th Birthday! I can’t believe how big he is getting! He was so excited when he woke up to a decorated room. We spent his birthday in St. Maartin. It was so hot, but we had fun sight-seeing on the French side of the island.

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Mark and I had an opportunity for some alone time too and we decided to go zip-lining in St. Thomas. That was tons of fun and the views were breathtaking!

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Nothing is better then disconnecting from the world and spending quality time with family!

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footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

7 Labor Day Family Activities

labor day activitiesLabor Day is approaching. It’s the last summer holiday before the kids go back to school (if they haven’t already) and the last chance for celebration until Halloween. This makes it a perfect day to spend some quality time with your family before everyone’s lives pick up the pace again. Don’t sit around the house this Labor Day. Try out some of these activities.

1. Attend a parade.

Many towns throughout the country host an annual Labor Day parade to celebrate the holiday. These parades are usually filled with fire trucks, police cars, marching bands, and floats from local charities, organizations and clubs. Young kids get a kick out of the spectacle. Pick a good seat earlier in the day so your kids can catch the candy that’s often thrown off the floats!

2. Teach some history.

Use this day as an opportunity to teach your kids about the meaning and history of Labor Day, which celebrates the contributions and labors of all the people who have worked to build this great country. We’ve been celebrating it since 1984 with parades, fireworks, fairs, and other family-friendly events. It’s a day where we appreciate each other’s hard work and take a rest.

3. Spend the day at the park.

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, when communities stop planning local events, pools close and school starts up again. If you don’t have a parade going on, your local town center probably has some sort of event planned. This could be a fair, free concert or meet-up. Enjoy this last opportunity to get outside and interact with your neighbors before the weather changes.

4. Host a barbecue.

If nothing is going on in your community, set something up yourself. All you need is a backyard and a grill to have fun. Set up a potluck event. Tell your friends to invite anyone along they like, as long as they bring a contribution to the party, like a dish, drinks, ice, chips, burgers, etc. If you don’t care who shows up, inviting people is easy.

5. Volunteer.

Many non-profits schedule fundraising and volunteer opportunities around times people have off work, like Labor Day. These types of workers also often don’t have the typical days off like most people, so they can always use the help.

6. Attend a food festival.

I promise you some cultural group is having a food festival somewhere near you on Labor Day. Whether it’s the Irish festival, the Italian festival, the Portuguese festival or the Chinese festival (well, I’ve never seen that one, but it could happen!), you’re bound to find a good food experience somewhere.

7. Watch a sporting event.

If your family follows a particular sports team, you probably know that games played on that day usually come with some sort of bonus. They might offer half-off tickets, a free prize when you show up, or a special ceremony or concert during the game. Make a day of it with your family and cheer for the home team!

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Cute Ideas for Moms to Spend Time with Baby

mom and baby play date ideasNow that it’s summer and the warm weather is here to stay, it’s time to spend some time outside with your baby. There are a lot of summery things you can do with your baby to spend some quality time together and strengthen your bond. The next warm (but not hot) day you come across, take your baby on a play date with another mom and parent. You’ll all enjoy the socialization. Here are some ideas.

1. Have a lunch date.

Now that the weather is nice you can finally eat on the patio! This is the perfect time to feed yourself and bond with baby. Talk to your baby about your day, their day or what’s going on around them, which will strengthen the bond between you two. Tell them that you are going to feed them when feeding them. This will help them to associate words with actions and build your trust.

2. Go for a walk

This is the perfect time of year to take walks. Not only will this help you to stay active, but it is also a fun activity to do with baby. Pop the babies in their strollers and get walking. Wear some comfortable exercise clothes in case you build up a sweat. If the babies manage to stay awake, spur their development by pointing out houses and explaining what you pass.

3. Take it outdoors.

Go to the park the next nice day and pack a picnic! This is your perfect opportunity to enjoy the warm weather with baby. Spread out in the grass and catch up with your friend while the little ones explore nature. If they aren’t walking yet, give them some space to spread out with their toys and play a whole new environment. If they’re mobile, give them a little freedom to roll and play in the grass. Don’t worry about messes!

6. Blow bubbles.

Babies love seeing new things and feeling new textures. They’re often amazed by simple games. Pick up a specialty bubble set that lets you create giant bubbles that float all over. Let them chase, pop, and even blow bubbles themselves. This is a perfect activity to enjoy at your picnic.

5. Coloring!

While you won’t be creating masterpieces, any baby who can grip a crayon or marker can color. Make sure you have washable clothes and plenty of supplies. Use big sheets of white paper or coloring books of your child’s favorite characters. If the children are old enough, use sidewalk chalk to turn your driveway into art.

baby headrestGuest Blog by Alicia Overby – Founder & President of Baby Elephant Ears

Alicia is wife, mother, and creator of Baby Elephant Ears. Baby Elephant Ears was created out of parental concern, not financial desire. In 2005, when their second child was an infant, he cried all the time and just couldn’t seem to get comfortable.

After seeking advice and suggestion from the medical community and alternative medicine, they eventually ended up in the chiropractors office where their baby was successfully treated for asubluxation, discomfort most likely the result of the strain during labor, which was now being exacerbated by the normal lack of infant neck strength. Only proper neck, head, and back alignment would offer him relief. When they couldn’t find a product to give their baby the necessary support, Alicia took matters into her own hands and crafted her own infant support pillow. The first Baby Elephant Ears was born!

For more information, visit www.babyelephantears.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

5 Fun Play Date Ideas

fun play date ideasAt a certain age, you will want to begin scheduling play dates for your children. Play dates the perfect opportunity for your children to socialize with other kids and start building lasting relationships. Even if the play dates don’t turn into friendships, they still help his development. It doesn’t take a lot of planning or money to make a play date successful. Here are five fun ideas:

1. Craft Time

Pick a spot in your house that’s easy to clean, like your dining rooms. Set up a craft station for the kids with all the necessary supplies to produce some high quality art. Build birdhouses, make pottery, paint pictures, or create holiday decorations. If your kids are a bit older, use a science or model kit to make something educations.

2. Coloring

Coloring is a simple way to keep toddlers and preschoolers amused, but they would love it if you gave them an interesting surface. Offer large sheets of poster board or construction paper. Let them draw a masterpiece on the driveway with chalk, which is easy to clean up. (If you go with chalk, check out these chalk games.)

3. Build a Fort

Everyone loves forts! Once you have burned through most of their energy, build a quick fort in your living from local items, like tables, chairs, blankets, and pillows. Bring some cushions inside for seating and relax with a few story books, or encourage them to tell their own stories. If they still have the energy, use the fort as part of a game involving monsters, a princess, and valiant knights.

4. Dance Party!

Young children have enormous amounts of energy. They can run, dance, and play longer than any adult. Instead of requiring them to play quietly, crank up some music and let them dance as long as they can. Encourage plenty of healthy activity and get them involved in some silly games like Follow the Leader or Musical Freeze Tag.

5. Play Ball!

If the weather cooperates, there’s no reason to stay inside. By two years old, most children should have the dexterity and motor control to pick up, hold, and toss a ball. They won’t be accurate and they may not be able to catch, but it’s still fun. Older kids may understand the finer points of a game like soccer or Hot Potato. If your child and his/her date is really young, simply roll a colored ball along the floor.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Photo Credit: Belzie via Compfight cc

4 Safe Summer Travel Ideas for Mom, Dad, and Baby

summer travel ideas for the whole familySummer is nearly here, which means your family might be thinking about taking a vacation. However, vacationing with a little one can be tough. Your options are limited because you need to be close to certain amenities and many rides, shows, or attractions are not suitable for babies. That does not mean you have to stay home, you just need to pick a family-friendly destination. Here are four ideas.

1. Take a cruise.

Believe it or not, a cruise is an excellent destination for your baby. While cruise ships are massive, they are quite contained. You won’t need to pack and push a stroller all day. A baby sling or your own arms will suffice. You can return to your private room every few hours for a break or naps. Further, most cruise ships understand that you can’t pop over to the corner store for extra wipes or diapers, so they stock these items. Some even offer babysitting services and family-friendly activities so everyone has fun. Disney is known for offering superb cruises that cater to families.

2. Vacation rental house.

A vacation rental home is often a better option over a hotel room if you have a baby. They are more private, so your crying little one won’t disturb your neighbors. The best part is that a vacation home is more affordable than a hotel. The weekly rate is usually less than the total of a hotel’s daily rate, and you can prepare your own meals instead and eating at restaurants every day. If you’re a new parent, saving money can be important.

3. Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Maybe this isn’t the ideal vacation, but you can make it work. Visiting relatives is perfect for new parents because you can save on accommodations (the biggest cost of any vacation) and you have people who want to mind your baby for stretches of time. When you schedule a week at your parents’ or in-laws’, make sure to book a day or two where you and your significant other can leave the kids behind and do your own thing for a while. You’ll appreciate the break and the grandparents will love the time!

4 Kid-friendly theme parks.

Would you like to see the largest smile on your child’s face? Put him/her face-to-face with his/her favorite story book or cartoon character. Plus these types of places anticipate lots of families, so they stock all the supplies and amenities you could possibly need. Guest services will have diapers and wipes, and the bathrooms will have multiple changing stations. There should be a section of the park designed just for babies with lots of colors and gentle rides. There are theme parks all over the country with plenty of cute attractions and characters for babies and kids, but if you want a top-of-the-line experience, you’ll have to go to Disney.

5. Indoor water parks.

It might be tough to find one of these near you, but they are worth the drive. Unlike an outdoor water park, an indoor park usually has smaller, gentler rides more suitable to young people. This means the crowd isn’t as rough as an outdoor park. There will be plenty of opportunity to lazily float in the shallow areas while your baby splashes.

footed pajamas for fast diaper changesWritten by Lisa Youngelson, Owner of Zippyz

Like most new moms, Lisa had been up night after night changing her newborn son’s diaper. She was so exhausted she could barely function, let alone match up the tiny snaps on her baby’s pajamas.

Frustrated by endless mis-snapping and re-snapping, Lisa found zippered pajamas, and thought her problems had been solved. That night when she unzipped her son’s pajamas, he started to cry from the shock of cold air. Although less time consuming, Lisa hated that she had to expose her baby’s entire body with the zipper. She felt her baby’s comfort should come first and yearned for the perfect footed pajama, which was both soft and cozy for her baby and hassle-free for mommy.

One night while feeding her son she thought of “Zippyz.” Zippyz are patented footed baby pajamas for easy and fast diaper changes with 3 snaps on the chest and a zipper from foot to belly. Finally, a solution suitable for baby AND mommy! Plus Zippyz are a unique baby shower gift! Along with her best friend and business partner Erica, Lisa decided make the diaper changing world a better place for all new parents!

For more information, visit www.shopzippyz.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Zippyz? Send your topic idea to: media@shopzippyz.com.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Zippyz makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information, or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Photo Credit: pixydust8605 via Compfight cc