|"Funny Football" is a fun game that|
helps kids build core strength
When looking for activities & exercises to help encourage a stronger core for children, keep in mind that the major abdominal muscles have very specific & limited action. There are many different minor muscles (and ligaments, tendons and nerves) that assist in stabilizing the spine and pelvis, and run the entire length of the front & back midsection of the body. Exercises, games and other activities need to focus not just on the front abdominal region, but on a variety of groups of muscles that run from the hips up to the shoulders & neck.
Signs of poor core strength are: tiring easy, poor posture, decreased body awareness, head hanging or holding up head while sitting, poor self image, constipation and frequent injuries. Poor core strength results in poor proprioception, motor planning and balance due to unnecessary torso movement and swaying during all other body movements. This is tiring and frustrating to the student and can lead to de-motivation.
Good core strength will improve posture, digestion & elimination, confidence and concentration, increase energy level and improve balance and motor planning. The key is to keep in fun and challenging. I like to call the exercises & activities "Games" to young children because exercise should always be fun. Try these beginner, intermediate & advanced activities for younger children:
Photo by B.Gini @2009
Funny Football: (Beginner/Intermediate) Pass a spiky colorful ball around in a circle using only your feet. For added challenge, use a balloon, football or beach ball. Have each person say a letter to spell a word or say the alphabet as the ball passes round the circle. (See Photo at Top of Article)
To keep this fun for young children, limit the number of repetitions by having them count to their age. (If they are 5 have them hold "Bridge Pose" for 5 big breaths.) It’s better to do a few repetitions & move on to another activity, and then come back and repeat. This keeps the kids interested & engaged.
Also remember to always remind the children to breath IN through their noses. Its very important for proper respiration, filtering & warming of air, mind/body integration and improved concentration.
For teens or advanced learners, who need a little more of a challenge, here is a down-loadable file showing how to do "Yoga Sit Ups". I showed this to a teen boy who was going through a sensory-motor therapy program and had reached a plateau with sit ups and "Boat Pose". He started to become bored and de-motivated and needed an additional challenge to keep him interested. He liked this activity and stated that it made him feel "awake" & "powerful", like he wanted to "run a race". It will provide the additional challenge he needs to take him up to the next level of his therapy.
Keep in mind that any of these postures and activities can be adapted to slower learners and children with lower tone and underdeveloped motor planning. Use bolsters, pillows, props and mats as needed.
For more information on how to adapt activities for children of all abilities, visit our website: www.bodylogique.com or Subscribe to S.M.Art Kids / Healthy Kids by Email