Skeleton Fine Motor Activity + Book Read Along

Estimated read time 3 min read

Caldecott Honor winner Steven Jenkins delivers yet another fascinating book made for expanding little minds. In Bones, Jenkins compares various animals (including many human representations) in scaled models of full body and selected skeletal views. This book is long and detailed, but in classic Jenkins style it has various headings and short paragraphs that make it easy to have a quick read version. I always enjoy his work, aside from the beautiful artwork, his text is diverse enough one can easily choose how much time to invest in reading. At the end of most his works there are a few pages of further, specific detailed illustrations for older kids or those who have a peeked curiosity for more.

Bones is a visually driven book, demonstrating the subject matter through artistic renderings rather than heavy text load. The pages have brightly colored backgrounds making the illustrations pop.

We learned about some new animals today: aardwolf, mouse lemur, butterfly fish, and the babirusa. I like to keep a list of interesting things we come across to reference later (in moments of needed youtube pacification). I ask my girl to spell out the words as I write them down to practice her letter recognition and spelling.

My little girls loves activities when I sit down with her and spend special time with her one on one with uninterrupted attention. This activity was just for her.


  • Pipe cleaners
  • Straws (I wash and recycle drinking straws for crafting purposes)
  • Scissors

Begin by making an outline of a hand with the pipe cleaners. We used pipe cleaners of various sizes to represent the palm and fingers. Different sizes can create a child/baby size and scale up to an adult size.

Refer to the illustration as a guide and cut the drinking straw to the appropriate size. Match each “bone” to the corresponding piece.

Thread the straw “bones” on to each pipe cleaner, count out-loud as you go. Practice simple addition and subtraction as the straw pieces transfer from the page to the pipe cleaners.

Fold the ends over the straws to keep them in place and compare it to your own flesh and blood example! Make a mommy size to match.

Skills practiced:

  • counting
  • basic math, addition and subtraction up to five
  • measuring
  • matching, visual recognition of sizes
  • size and scale comparison
  • fine motor skills, threading, bending, and cutting
  • vocabulary as different concepts are discussed

This activity can be scaled up or down to best suit your child’s level of interest. For younger kids, use less bones or make a basic human outline. For older or more advanced learners, add on to the hand to complete the entire arm and extend it to the formation of the rest of the torso or backbone.

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