Let's Get ABSolutely Strong!
As grown ups, we’ve all heard about the importance of core strength. It helps prevent and decrease back pain. It helps improve posture. It helps you get that six pack you’ve always wanted.
And guess what? It is just as important if not more important for kids to have a strong core.
Let’s talk about the benefits!
It helps them sit up and pay attention at circle time
It helps them be better eaters. Yes, when your kid has a strong core they don’t have to work as hard while they’re eating.
It helps with overall balance and coordination, making it easier for them to run around and play with their friends!
How do we do this?
Crawling and Tummy time
Any opportunity your child has to crawl or play on their tummies, encourage it! Even as they get older. Being in these position forces the body to work against gravity and that little bit of extra effort makes them stronger! Here are some examples:
Having “snake” races (i.e. army crawling from one end of the room to the other).
Pretending to be bears/puppies/kitties going on an adventure.
Rolling over the ball on their tummies, onto their hands, walking on their hands forward and backwards. You can hold onto their ankles/legs/hips if they need the extra stability. You can have them collect stuffed animals/cars/etc. in front of them so every time they walk back, they can place the item into a basket.
Playing catch while sitting on the exercise ball (this can also work with a bosu ball or a wobble disk).
Have them lay on their back, with their elbows propped behind them (like you are lying on the beach) and use both feet to push the ball back and forth.
Swings at the park
Having your child sit on the swing like they normally do is a great way to engage their core, especially if they can use their legs to pump
Having kids lay on their tummies and using their legs to push themselves is a great way to engage their core (especially, if they are working to keep their head up and look at you). One way to expand this activity is to have a bunch of animals laying on the ground around the swing. They can pick up the animals with their feet or their hands and pass them to you or throw into a target (like a laundry basket or hula hoop)
Playground size ball
Use a playground size ball to play “Over, Under” and “Around the world” This is a great one for siblings or peers. Have the children stand back to back, keeping their feet glued to the floor.
For Over, Under, have both children bend over and pass the ball between their legs, then have both stand up and reach overhead and back to pass the ball. Make sure each kid has the chance to pass the ball in both positions.
For Around the world, have both children turn towards one side of the room, while keeping their feet in the same spot, pass the ball. Have the children turn to the other side of the room. Again, make sure the ball goes both directions.
Big Bear walks
It’s like crawling, but only your hands and feet are on the ground!
You can do this as a race, going on an adventure, learning about fast and slow, etc.
This is a great fun way that works a lot of the same muscles as planks do but in a kid friendly way.
These are just a few ideas. We hope they encourage lots of fun play time while also helping your children get stronger!