Many children with sensory processing issues can become frustrated and overwhelmed in environments that are over stimulating. Over stimulating environments may include the grocery store, classroom environment, or crowded areas. For many children, additional proprioceptive input is helpful in calming the child and helping the child to feel more grounded within their body.
Proprioception refers to a person’s ability to know where their body and its extremities are in space. This also includes having a correct sense about the way or direction a body part is moving. Many children with sensory processing issues have difficulty with proprioception and benefit from additional proprioceptive input for regulated behavior. Proprioceptive input can be provided to a child through a variety of activities which can be easily incorporated into the child’s day. These activities are often termed “heavy work”. The following is a list of activity ideas which would provide proprioceptive input to a child.
Carrying a stack of books to another room
Carrying or pulling a full laundry basket
Pulling the garbage can up/down the driveway
“Squishing” between two beanbags or couch pillows
Sit criss cross and back to back with another person and pass weighted ball (5lbs) in both directions
Jump on a trampoline
Roll an exercise ball over the child “steam roller game”
Animal walks (bear, crab, frog jump)
Tug of war
Utilize the child size grocery cart in grocery store and fill up with heavy items such as milk
Vacuum and mop
These are just some examples of everyday activities that can be incorporated into a child’s day to provide proprioceptive input or “heavy work” needed for regulation and body awareness. Try including some of these activities in your child’s day. Many parents and teachers find that a few heavy work activities allow for a much happier and engaged child.