So, why is core strength so important for development?
Well, here are a few reasons:
1. Core strength supports fine motor and gross motor skill development. If we are not secure and stable in the center of our bodies, movement away from center becomes much more difficult.
2. It helps a child maintain balance in static positions like sitting, standing, and kneeling. This allows for various positioning during play activities.
3. Core strength supports organized dynamic movement. Any time we move dynamically in space, we need our core to stabilize us and keep us centered and balanced.
4. Core strength helps kids regulate their emotions. If kids do not feel centered or "at home" to themselves, regulating emotions becomes challenging.
5. It provides a stable base for the head and visual system. We rely on vision and the position of our head for so many functions in life. Having a stable base supports those structures.
How do you know if your child has low core strength? Here are some common signs:
1. Child slouches and has poor sitting posture
2. Child frequently leans on furniture or tables for support when sitting or standing
3. Child is frequently "on the go"
4. Child is showing gross motor and find motor challenges
5. Child has difficulty with balance
6. Child's preferred sitting position on the floor is w-sitting
There are lots of simple activities that can help boost your child's core strength, whether it is weak or strong!
Here are 20 ideas for your toddler or preschooler:
1. Do a puzzle while laying on the belly
2. Belly bowling using rolling pin to hit ball toward block towers or plastic water bottles filled with water
3. Erase letters and shapes from the window
4. Help load wet clothes into the dryer
5. Build towers with canned food
6. Pile pillows and cushions on the floor, crawl over them
7. Build an obstacle course or a fort
8. Scoop and pour water, sand, beans, rice
9. Toss wet sponges at a fence
10. Finger paint at an easel
11. Do animal walks around the house
12. Build giant towers with cardboard boxes
13. Play catch with a pillow
14. Do yoga
15. Load a laundry basket with toys and pull or push it
16. Sit on a therapy ball or peanut ball
17. Play with a balloon in tall kneel
18. Fold/roll a towel lengthwise to create a balance beam and walk/sidestep/tip toe across
19. Play catch with a beach ball
20. Wash the windows or wipe down the table
Grab my extensive activity lists for 2 year olds HERE, 3 year olds HERE, and 4 year olds HERE.
Hope this was a valuable read for you.
Until next time, air hugs!
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Hi! Austen here. Pediatric OT obsessed with leggings and all things child development. Welcome to my journal! I hope to educate and empower parents and caregivers with science inspired insights, effective strategies, and confidence.