5 Summertime Activities to Build Core Strength
“Core strengthening activities” can sound a little intimidating and overwhelming, I get it, but it is simpler than you think, grab some sunscreen, don’t forget the chalk, and get outside!
We have discussed why core strength is important from infancy on into childhood. If you missed the blog post a couple of weeks ago, please refer back to The Importance of Core Control. In therapy, a child’s core strength is the trunk of the tree of development, especially when it comes to sitting in school, and handwriting. Physical activity engages the core, this means playing outside is PERFECT for improving core strength in children and summer is PRIME time to spend your days outside! Below are 5 Summertime Activities to Build Core Strength for all ages and abilities!
Having summertime themed activities for an infant or baby is obviously a little more difficult, but moving tummy time outside is a nice change of scenery and engages your baby’s senses to nature and new environments.
Lay a blanket down, spread some toys out and enjoy some tummy time in the sunshine!
Have them reach out to grab toys by placing them a little beyond their reach. Placing the toys on either side will also help encourage reaching movements and engage different muscles.
⇨ Tummy time is often time mainly associated with infants but it’s great for kids who may have more severe or profound needs and require more assistance or are non-ambulatory. Their way of getting from point A to point B might be a wheelchair but building any muscle strength is always great for overall growth and getting out and stretching is always a positive.
Water mats are a personal favorite of mine for making tummy time a little more exciting and challenging. The objects in the mat encourage the child to reach and engage with them while the movement of the water challenges their body to maintain balance. You can also lay your baby on their back, hold their hands and allow them to pull against you pulling themselves up against gravity.
the classic core builders
Hopscotch ⇨ There are plenty of ways to switch up this oldie but goodie. For example, only jump on even or odd numbers, begin by jumping with both legs then switch to one leg to increase the difficulty, jump forward then backwards. This classic game is great for engaging the core muscles to maintain balance while also working on number recognition, coordination, and following directions.
2. square scooters
Square scooters ⇨ Another classic from elementary school PE but a tried and true therapy tool. Have your child sit criss cross and either maneuver themselves with a bat, racket, or broom “row your boat” style. They can also lay on their stomach guiding themselves with their feel and reaching out to collect items, draw with sidewalk chalk, or maneuver through an obstacle course.
⇨This can also be modified for children of all abilities, for non-ambulatory kiddos lay them comfortably on their stomach and help them use their arms or legs to move around. Whatever your child’s ability you can provide them with the assistance they need and they will LOVE scooting around!
3. animal walks
Animal walks ⇨ Crab walks, Bear walks, and frog jumps oh my! Make the yard a zoo! Call out the animal name and have your child imitate that walk. You could also make it a race between kids or between you and your child, and don’t forget the animal noises!
4. Tug of war
Tug of war ⇨ We are throwing it back to the recess days! A blanket, towel, rope, or even a pillow will do. This game is so much fun and really engages those core muscles
Swimming ⇨ A summer activity guide wouldn’t be complete without some water! Swimming engages just about every muscle. However, the core keeps the body balanced in the water. The trick about water is while swimming, whether independently swimming or using a noodle or float for assistance, it feels easier but in reality the water is adding resistance making the body work harder. The only directions for this activity is to be creative! Creative ideas: use floats, swim laps, race from one end to the other, or dive for toys.
Summertime is about having fun and playing in the sun!
Be sure to enjoy the sunshine and use these 5 summertime activities to build core strength.