3 Therapy Tools to Build Core Strength
Spring often means more outdoor play! Help your child build core strength for confident, skilled play using the same therapy tools as your child’s therapist. Below are therapy tool descriptions and activity ideas from TheraPLACE therapists.
Large Exercise Ball
How can a large exercise ball help build core strength? By supporting your child’s hips on a dynamic surface, you ensure she/he must activate core muscles to remain sitting upright.
Age suggestion: 1-5 years (or as long as their feet can not reach the ground)
Bounce Play: Sit your child on top of the ball and provide support at the hips (for greater stability) or at their knees (for a greater core strength challenge), then you are ready to go! Bounce them, move the ball slightly side to side, and then in all directions to challenge them to keep from falling over.
Sit Ups: Sit your child on top of the ball, supporting at the hips or upper legs, have them slowly fall back so they are laying over the ball belly up. At this point ask her/him to grab a bean bag or small stuffed animal placed behind the ball and pull back to sitting (make a crunch motion). Praise and repeat!
Where can I buy this? Most retail stores like Walmart and Target carry this item, or you can purchase it online.
Average cost? $15-$40
How can a t-stool help build core strength? This therapy tool is essentially an adjustable chair with only one leg. Your child must work to balance on this seating device while feet are planted on the floor with hips, knees, and ankles at a right angle (90/90/90).
Age suggestion for use: 3-10 years (consider weight limit)
• Grab N’ Balance: Ask your child to sit on the t-stool (you may have to hold it upright for them until they get their feet planted). You can hold rings or bean bags above overhead and to the sides to encourage core muscle activation as she/he reaches outside of her/his base of support to grab each object.
• Core Strength during Tablet Play: Ask your child to sit on the t-stool (you may have to hold it upright for them until they get their feet planted) while they play their preferred i-Pad/tablet game. This way they are working on core strength as they play, much better than sitting on the couch!
Where can I buy this? You can purchase it online from Amazon or therapy tool websites like https://funandfunction.com.
Average cost? $45-$100
How can a bosu ball help build core strength? This piece of exercise equipment is great for adults and children alike. A Bosu can help to work on many areas including balance, trunk control, strength, endurance, motor planning, and body awareness. A Bosu is flat on the bottom and round on the top; it can be used either with the flat side down on the floor or with the round side on the floor.
Age suggestion for use: 1 year to adult (consider weight limit)
•Balloon Volleyball: Have your child stand on the flat side of the bosu ball while bopping a balloon back and forth. See how long you and your child can keep the balloon in the air before it hits the ground and/or before your child loses balance.
•Play Catch: Have your child stand on the flat side of the bosu ball and toss a ball back and forth. You can use a variety of size/weighted balls. By mixing it up, your child’s center of gravity will stay challenged.
•Reaching Across Midline: Have you child sit cross-legged on the rounded or flat side while reaching for preferred toys on the right and left side with opposite hand, reaching across their body.
Where can I buy this? You can purchase a bosu ball online from Amazon or a store that sells exercise equipment. You may even be able to find one used.
Average cost? $100
*Special thanks to Arabella on the large therapy ball, John Mark on the T-stool, and Hadley on the Bosu ball for modeling our TheraPLACE therapy tools so well!