Core strengthening for kids continues to be one of the top search terms people use to find their way to The Inspired Treehouse. And…we are SO glad!
As pediatric therapists, we are all about core strength! We have written about why core strengthening is so important for kids, we’ve featured great toys and games that promote core strength, and we’ve even showed off some super creative homemade ways to strengthen the core.
But what if we told you that there are also lots of easy ways to strengthen the core through simple play at home? We’re talking about all of the fun stuff your kids might already be doing that really target those core muscles and make them strong. But first, let’s get a refresher about why strong tummy, back, and pelvic muscles are so crucial.
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Core strengthening is essential for the progression of other developmental skills and is the center of control for everything else the body does. In order to keep your balance, perform coordinated movements on both sides of the body, sit up straight in a chair, control a pencil or scissors, or jump, you need a strong core!
So let’s explore some of the ways that your child can build core strength every single day through play!
–Picking up objects from the floor. Do you know that you can’t squat down to retrieve an object from the floor without engaging your core muscles? Yep, it’s true. Whether kids are competing in a relay race where they have to retrieve an object from the ground and return it to a container…or just cleaning up toys in the living room, they’re strengthening their core!
–Climbing up a slide. I know, I know…not everyone likes this one because of safety, but hear me out. Climbing up the slide rocks for so many areas of motor and sensory development, including helping to form a strong middle! Check out some more of our other playground rule-breaking ideas here!
–Rolling down a hill. Or any rolling at all! This is just plain old kid fun! And, really, you adults should try it too!
–Lifting something heavy. Kids can help bring groceries in from the car or take out the garbage – or make it even more fun – can they use a sheet to make a swing with two friends (two to hold the ends and one friend in the middle)?
–Pushing and pulling activities. Pushing a chair out of the way to sweep after dinner, pulling a heavy laundry basket across the room to move it out of the way, pushing a sibling or friend (or stuffed animal!) in a stroller or pulling them in a wagon.
–Being on all fours. Give your child a section of the floor to scrub squeaky clean! They will love the responsibility and they will get a hefty dose of core work. Playing in an all fours position also works – try doing a puzzle or playing a board game in this position.
–Doing somersaults! So. much.fun!
–Climbing the stairs on all fours. My kids love to race up the stairs this way – little do they know that they’re also getting a great core workout!
–Sweeping or mopping floors, raking leaves, or shoveling snow — check out these chores for kids for some other great ideas to keep your child helping around the house while strengthening their core!
Most kids develop adequate core strength simply by being kids and engaging in play activities like the ones listed above. Unfortunately, due to busy schedules, an increase in screen time, and a variety of other reasons, we’re seeing less and less of this kind of play in kids today. And we’re seeing more and more kids in therapy who need intervention targeted at building the core muscles.
Over the years, we’ve developed tons of fun, creative core strengthening activities for kids and we are so excited to be able to finally share them with all of you! The Core Strengthening Handbook is an awesome resource full of more than 50 activities to help kids develop strong core muscles.