It’s our favorite solution for kids with sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD and other processing challenges: Heavy Work. As adults we understand the need to exercise. But, exercise is much more than fitness. It engages the body, brain and mind. For kids, we call this heavy work. Take a look at our top suggestions to get your kids moving, thinking, organizing and processing.
1. Jumping. Jumping can be highly organizing to the muscles and the brain. Just a few minutes daily or several times a day can be highly beneficial to your sensory seekers and your sensory under responsive kids. Add in some clapping, counting and rhythm to jump time and you may have a new kid when the jumping is over. You can use trampolines, jump ropes, hopscotch boards and jumping boards to get your kids jumping.
2. Swinging. This is not just your back and forth activity. Swinging uses the arms, legs and core in a coordinated motion and, at the same time, provides vestibular stimulation. Swinging can be highly therapeutic to kids of all ages. Choose a swing that requires action and heavy work to really get a workout.
3. Cleaning. As moms and dads, this one is at the top of our list. Put a vacuum cleaner, dust buster, dish rag or broom into your child’s hand and give them a task to help out. Your house may not be spotless, but the heavy work is great and the family participation is rewarding.
4. Get Rolling. Bicycles, scooters and skates are super for heavy work, fun and socialization. If your child is not ready for a serious balance challenge, try a walking bike or a low profile soft scooter. Using their arms, legs and heart in an organized method will provide more than just a great workout. It will have them crossing midline (an important skill for reading and writing), motor planning and balancing.
5. Organizing. Spring is great time to clean and purge. And, why not have your kids help out? Let them dump out their favorite drawer, clean it up and put everything back in the drawer. Maybe they’d like to move their bed to the other side of the room? You can supervise, but let them push and pull to get a super heavy workout. Use a timer to keep them on task and you’ll be amazed at what they can do!
6. Outdoor Play. Grab a rake, or go for a bike ride. Help clean up the yard and push a wheelbarrow. Maybe take a walk. The great outdoors is terrific for heavy work. Don’t let the weather stop you either. Rainy days are great heavy work days and are super for sensory seekers!
Whichever workout you choose, treat yourself to a wonderful before-and-after stretch! Choose from our Soft Resistance Bands, covered in terry cloth, or our Lycra Stretch Bands in three different widths. Both provide a heavy pull and proprioceptive feedback, supporting sensory integration.