Help kids work on building core stability and strength with these fun, easy, and playful activities!
Core stability is important for many aspects of child development. However, unlike adults, kids don’t always want to do high reps of traditional core strengthening exercises to get their tummy muscles strong. Studies show that core strengthening improves motor proficiency and promotes physical activity with kids. Training the core also improves strength, balance, coordination, extremity function, proximal stability and endurance.
Here’s how a child can strengthen their core through exposure to fun activities that they won’t hate doing!
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Building Core Stability Through Play!
RIDE A BIKE || It takes a strong core to maintain an upright posture and maintain balance on a bike — especially a two wheeler.
HEAVY WORK || Grab a laundry basket and turn it into a sled to push a sibling across the room. You will be surprised how hard the core has to work to control that basket! There are tons of heavy work activities that are great for strengthening the core.
ANIMAL WALKS || A crab, a bear, an inchworm…all are great animals to mimic when moving from one room to another.
BRIDGING || Grab some favorite cars or stuffed animals and try a few body bridges. Breathe out, activate those tummy muscles and lift that bridge up high so that the objects can go under. Progress this skill, if it’s too easy, by trying to bridge with one foot off of the ground. If the pelvis tilts to one side, it’s too hard, try again when you are a little stronger!
PLAY ON YOUR TUMMY || Lay on your belly on the floor with your legs out straight behind you. Now prop your upper body up on your elbows. Holding this position can be challenging enough for some kids (and some will wiggle out of it VERY quickly). Try progressing from up on elbows to reaching while playing a game, coloring, playing with play dough or even just watching a show on TV! The prone position is great for core strengthening and endurance.
GET OUTSIDE || Many movements in outdoor play are natural core strengtheners. Climbing up slides, swinging on swings, walking on a curb, rolling down hills (and walking up). Take your play outside for some sneaky strengthening of those middle muscles.
GRAB A BALL || Find your favorite ball and play catch with a partner while you are on your knees (tall kneel). This kind of fun can be easy or hard depending on how accurate your teammate can throw! Here are some other ideas for how to strengthen the core with a ball.
PLAY WITH STICKERS || Kids love stickers! Place stickers around the room and squat to retrieve them one by one. Squatting activates the muscles of the core which keep you from falling over or down. You can progress this skill by putting the stickers on your foot and trying to pick your foot up to meet your hand to peel them off! Tricky tricky. Add a visual motor component and some vertical surface work by putting the same stickers on a paper on the wall so kids have to find the match!
SCOOTERS || Ride on your belly to strengthen those extensor muscles or on your bottom to hit the frontside of your core. Staying on a scooter is tricky business but it’s so very fun! Try these fun scooter games!