As the shelter in place order continues, children may become increasingly energetic. Being in the house for long periods of time, not being able to go to school, or even have play dates, is difficult on all of us. As children become increasingly stir crazy, they may get overwhelmed or develop sensory issues. Try to provide daily opportunities for heavy work.
Heavy work is any activity that pushes or pulls against the body; it engages proprioception, also called "body awareness." In other words, it helps children understand where their body is in space. Heavy work creates a sense of calm and centeredness.
Many children with sensory processing disorders use heavy work as part of their occupational therapy. That said, you don’t need to have sensory issues to benefit from the type of play involved with heavy work. The most effective heavy work activates as many muscles as possible. Think of heavy work for kids as a good strength training session you might experience through lifting weights or doing strenuous yard work.
Possible ideas for heavy work include:
Raking Leaves or digging
Carrying Laundry up/downstairs in a pillowcase or small basket
Carrying a basket of toys from one level of the home to another or from inside to outside
Taking out the trash
All of these simple chores that are not only helpful and good for their sense of self, it also helps children with their sense of proprioception. You can also come up with your own activities. At school, the children love to use the mats to roll, do the bear crawl, and crab walk. They also love to roll on the hill outside. Rolling is an excellent activity for proprioception. They also like to hang from the monkey bar on the slide and climber.
Other fun activities could include pushing a sibling around in a laundry basket, building a fort,
pillow fights, and digging in dirt to name a few. Almost everything that gets children moving and using their large muscles is good for them and will help with proprioception. I hope everyone is doing well in this tough time and as always If you have any questions, if you need encouragement, or if you have concerns feel free to your preschool teachers.