8 Simple Activities That Provide Body Awareness Input

Proprioception (also known as body awareness) is one of the body’s internal senses and allows us to feel where we are positioned in space.  We use our body awareness for activities such as:

  • Swimming
  • Sports
  • Gymnastics
  • Riding a bike
  • Sitting still

Proprioceptive receptors are located in the joints, muscles, and tendons of the body, including the jaw and spine.  These receptors are activated by activities that place the muscles under strain, provide compression through the joints or deep pressure touch.

Children who have difficulty processing proprioceptive input can often appear clumsy.  They also have a tendency to compensate by seeking out addition touch and movement input which can affect attention levels.  Incorporating appropriate ways of gaining body awareness input throughout the day can assist kids to reach and maintain a calm and alert state.

Deep Pressure:

  1. Hot Dogs
  • Roll your child up in a blanket, pretending that they are the sausage and the blanket is the bread.
  • Provide deep pressure massage down their body as you pretend to apply the sauces.
  1. Sandwich
  • Turn your child into a sandwich, pretending that they are the fillings and the cushions are the bread.
  • Ask your child to lie on a cushion or mattress and add another on top.
  • Apply deep pressure as you squeeze them between the cushions.
  1. Pizzas
  • Ask you child to lie down on their stomach.
  • Use a large ball to roll over your child’s body as you pretend to turn them into a pizza, rolling out the dough and apply the toppings.

Joint Compression:

  1. Jump and Crash
  • Ask your child to jump on the spot 10 times and then jump onto a bean bag or mattress.
  • If space allows, you could use a small rebounder trampoline.
  1. Arrow Patterning & Jumping Game
  • Make up some simple arrow cards.
  • Place the arrows in different directions on the ground to create a pattern.
  • Ask your child to follow the arrows and jump in the different directions.

Heavy Work:

  1. Tug of War
  • Ask your child to grab hold of one end of the towel while you grab the other end.
  • Challenge them to pull as hard as they can!
  • Complete this whilst standing, sitting or kneeling as different variations.
  1. Human Wheelbarrow
  • Ask you child to kneel with their hands and feet on the ground.
  • Lift up your child’s feet and see how many steps they can take with their hands.
  1. Crab Walks
  • Ask your child to sit on their bottom with their hands and feet on the ground.
  • See if they can raise their bottom off the floor and walk across the room like a crab.

-Kate Kleinau, Occupational Therapist

kate headshot

Please feel free to ask questions or give me your feedback.  I am always more than happy to answer any emails personally.


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