The Inspired Treehouse – Read on to learn how a pair of boxing gloves can go a long way toward encouraging calmer, more focused behavior in the classroom!
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Last week, I was called into classroom by a frustrated teacher. She explained to me that a child in her class couldn’t sit still and was demonstrating some serious problems with self-regulation. As a therapist, my first instinct was to think about what this child was seeking…was it attention or sensory input? I always tend to try to improve situations like this with a therapeutic approach. I am not equipped to handle behavior, but I sure can offer suggestions for the complex sensory system.
When I met this child, I could see that he was “all boy”! He was a mover and a shaker and, as I could tell by the giant, tight hug he gave me, he was seeking some deep pressure!
I had a set of bright red boxing gloves in my therapy bag and he spotted them immediately. So, I went with it. In my head I was thinking, “Oh geez, am I encouraging his aggression by giving him a toy that is associated with fighting?” I ignored my inner voice and started thinking up some ways to use these gloves to calm his body and, hopefully, help him focus within his classroom.
Boxing Gloves for Kids: 7 Ways to Play
We decided to write the following activities onto cards and placed the cards in a baggie that stayed with the boxing gloves in a box in the corner of the room. When the child needed a break, he would get his gloves and go through his moves. It was motivating for him and it worked!
1 || Put them on…
Boxing gloves are a great tool to use for proprioceptive input. They are heavy, awkward and pretty challenging to get onto your hands if you’re a newbie! So even though this one seems pretty simple, sometimes the simple task of putting the gloves on can provide enough proprioceptive feedback/heavy work to calm fidgety hands and bodies.
2 || Name punching
Once those gloves are actually on, it’s time to use them! Place letter stickers on the wall and “punch” out your name! This activity is great for visual processing!
3 || Boxing moves
4 || Punch to the beat!
Put on some music with a great beat and try using your auditory system to punch to that beat. Try songs with fast and slow rhythms to challenge the child to change speeds. This is great for self-regulation.
5 || Jumping jacks
Get a great movement break against resistance by doing jumping jacks with boxing gloves on.
6 || Hand clapping games
Hand clapping games can be twice as fun with boxing gloves and, again, adds a hefty dose of proprioceptive input.
7 || Knock downs
Try setting up a bolster vertically and punch with those boxing gloves until you knock it down!
What do you think? Would you try a pair of boxing gloves with the kids in your classroom or therapy practice? Have you used them before? Let us know in the comments below!