Therapeutic Activities

Therapeutic Activities

Upper Body Exercises

Below are listed a number of different exercises and activities that can be tried to improve upper body strength and coordination. There may be some here that your child will not enjoying doing that you can pass on and hopefully there will be a lot he/she will enjoy doing. Many activities can be done "incidentally". This means incorporate them into your day and try not to make them become "work". Others you may want to pick at least one activity a day to slowly build up his/her strength and control. Remember, if he/she lets you know he/she is tire, he/she probably is and you can take a break. If he/she really doesn't appear tired, they may not like the activity and you can choose another one. Building up their strength is like most activities-the more they do the activities the better they will get. However, the big difference is in doing too much at one time and fatiguing him/her. You have to find that point and build him/her up from there. Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Gross Motor Play

1. Climbing on a jungle gym-this improves overall strength and coordination.

2. Wheelbarrow walking-this should be started for short distances and built up. You may also need to hold them more at their hips and not at their ankles at first to help them move.

3. Crawling through tunnels and under obstacles-anything done on hands and knees is good for upper body strengthening and control.

4. Playing basketball-you may want to start with a lightweight ball and gradually work up to a basketball.

5. Jumping rope-he/she may only be able to do it a couple of times but have them keep practicing. You may want him/her to get the hang of doing the jumping first, so help turn the rope for them and let them practice the jumping before they start twisting it on their own.

6. Trampoline jumping-being able to keep their balance and jump consecutively is very important.

7. Playing catch-throw the ball different ways-overhead, bouncing it once or twice, throwing one handed overhead (make sure you practice both hands, it won't mix up his/her dominance), use different size and different weight balls.

8. Tumbling/gymnastics/coordination activities-practice tumbling, cartwheels, hopping, skipping, hopscotch, Chinese jump rope, twister.

9. Running games-even games like hide and seek or relay races help build overall strength and coordination.

Upper Body Games

1. Play tic tac toe with the magnets on the refrigerator-make sure he/she has to reach above their head for them and let them choose his/her "team" of magnets.

2. Along the same line as the first one, have your child put their VIP papers on the refrigerator themselves, reaching to get the magnets and putting their paper on at head level or above.

3. Easel work-have them work on an easel that is as tall as they are. If you have a smaller one make sure they work at the top of the easel. Have them draw pictures, practice their name or get creative and have it be their message board that they have to leave you "important messages".

4. Playing with wands or batons with streamers-any activity that encourages use of arms moving in repetitive motions or just up in the air. Make a streamer with different types of ribbon or lace and attach them to a dowel with a tack or small nail.

5. Exercise tape for kids or just copying a variety of different arm movements. Even exercising with mom or dad if they are doing an exercise video, but modify it for their level. For example, they may do 5 out of the 10 repetitions you would do.

Fine Motor/Hand Games

1. Playing with dolls-those little dresses and small fasteners are perfect for encouraging small muscle development.

2. Sign language-working on just the letters of the alphabet is a great exercise. Books can be found in the library to help you learn them. Help manipulate their fingers to do it correctly if necessary.

3. Arts and crafts-any type of bead work, cutting, gluing are all good uses of the hand.

4. Paper dolls-you may need to help cut them out or punch them out if they are perforated but again they are good use of small muscles. Even a regular sticker book, start by helping punch out part of the picture and let them finish and move towards their doing more of the work.

5. Coloring, drawing, writing, scissor usage-all the typical hand activities.

6. Puppet play-this is a great way to encourage movement in all the different parts of the hand.

7. Building-with blocks, duplos, legos, kinex or any of those types of toys.

8. Stationary work-get some paper and make your own cards to sent to relatives. Work on folding, making designs on the front and writing on the inside. Rolling small pieces of ripped tissue paper to form a small ball and then gluing them onto a design makes very nice cards and it is a great fine motor activity. (Shapes can be just a heart or a tree with leaves or a flower, etc.) Generic envelopes can be used.