Every time I tried to grab his feet he giggled, until he was laughing so hard he had hiccups. It was another fun time at the playground. But that trip to the park can be more than just a good time for the kids. Climbing up the ladders, doing the monkey bars, and swinging on the swings are simple and fun ways to build core strength.
One of my son’s favorite activities when he went to his occupational therapist (O.T.) was swinging on the variety of swings they had to choose from. Besides being fun, swinging has so many benefits for children. It aids in proprioceptive integration and affects the vestibular system, which helps increase body awareness.
How to Increase Core Strength in Kids Using a Swing
Swinging is also great for building core strength. The action of leaning backwards and forwards and pumping the legs while keeping balanced works those core muscles.
If your child has trouble coordinating their movements to swing themselves, try this simple trick. Stand in front of them and off to the side. Hold your hand in front of them and ask them to lean back and stretch their legs out as they go forward. Tell them to try to touch your hand, and when they do push their legs back down.
You can increase the challenge and make things even more fun by changing how your child uses the swing.
Superman — Have your child lay on their stomach on the swing. See if they can hold their legs and arms up as they fly. Not only will it help build core muscles, but it’s a great sensory experience as well. Take it one step further and add a toy. Place a small ball or other small toy on the ground in front of your child and see if they can pick it up as they swing.
Stand Up — Help your child to stand on the swing and hold on to the chains. Keeping their balance as they stand on the wiggly swing requires the use of those core muscles. Now challenge your child to get themselves swinging. This takes coordination and more core strength. If your child has trouble getting the swing to move you can give it a small push and see if he can keep his balance.
Sideways — Have your child sit sideways on the swing. Can he hold on and keep his balance as you swing him back and forth and side to side?
Next time you head to the park with the kids, listen to them giggle as they work on their core strength on the swing. For more information on Sensory Processing, check out one of the best books on the market, Sensory Processing 101.
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