The term gross motor strength conjures images of playing ball, climbing stairs, and running at the park….all activities that require arm, leg, and core strength. But developing strength in these muscle groups is not only important for sports and ball play!
In the classroom, students need to sit on the floor or at their desks for long periods of time , look up at the board during lessons , and have enough hand strength to write with good endurance and pencil grip. These skills can only be mastered when the muscles closer to the center of the body are strong enough. The core, arms, and shoulders (proximal muscles) are needed to give support to the wrist, hands, and fingers (distal muscles) to perform fine motor tasks and sit with good posture.
Here are some activities you can do to help your strengthen those upper extremity and core muscles.
Yoga poses that require upper body weight bearing
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Riding on scooter board!
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Yes! I see this all of the time! I have a few kids that have difficulty sitting during circle time, rolling on the floor, and falling into their friends. Either they just crave movement, or have difficulty sitting still — or a combination of both! Do you have any recommendations for simple things I could do in the classroom to help these students? Thanks!
Yes, we hear this a lot from teachers. Something that I’ve seen work quite well is holding yoga poses. Before your circle, have your kids hold a few simple poses (downward dog, table, and cobra) for 10-15 seconds. Eventually, you may even begin to extend the time. Many of these poses challenge the shoulder, arm, and core muscles, which hopefully will help during circle time. And for those kids that just need the sensory input, those poses offer quite a bit of vestibular and proprioceptive input. Here’s some more info on yoga. Let us know how it goes!!
Thank you!!! I’m going to try some of these simple poses out with my kids! I’m excited because I’m hoping that not only will it help out with their strength, but may improve their : to regulate too! Thanks again!
Yoga is the perfect practice for learning how to self-regulate. And with the added strength bonus, it’s a win win!! Tell us how it goes