Getting to Know Your Body
By Barbara Greenspan, OT, Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Children love to move their bodies! From the time they are born they are moving and learning how to direct their muscles to do purposeful movements. Newborns have many reflexes and this is where movement begins. Often babies are swaddled tightly and many (not all!) love this! This “tight input” gives their bodies feedback and they begin to feel their own bodies.
As babies grow, they become more active and begin to explore their worlds using their muscles. Sensory input from the muscles, joints and ligaments is crucial for telling us where our bodies are in space. This is known as “Proprioception” and it is an important feedback system that directs our muscles and tells us how where we are and how much force or pressure to place on an object. This system is used when grading how hard to throw a ball or how much pressure to put on a pencil while writing.
When many of us were growing up, we played outside and climbed trees and fences. It was through all the climbing, swinging and running that we all learned about how to move our bodies. That level of play exploration set our bodies up for later learning in school. Because of all the early muscle movement, we were prepared to sit at our desks at school and learn.
Today we (and especially our children) are becoming much more dependent on technology. Our children are feeling this (literally) and are so much more engaged in the 2-dimensional world of television and video games. As parents, we need to be much more conscious and committed to making sure that our children get the physical input they need to their bodies. “Heavy work” activities are tasks that give feedback to the muscles, joints and ligaments. These types of activities require pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying and anything other physical task that requires us to move our muscles.
eBeanstalk is committed to selecting toys that help children learn on so many levels. Both Deanie Barth (our Physical Therapist) and I have specifically selected toys that require a child’s muscles do this “heavy work.” These toys are great at giving them feedback to their bodies so that they will be successful in their lives as athletes, artists and students.
Here are eBeanstalk’s top 10 toys that give the muscles feedback by requiring them to do this “heavy work”:
|Rody the Horse||Mega Maze||Bounce Around||Hop 45|
|Monster Clompers||Pink Princess||Twist Trike||Plasma Car|
|Hop Scotch||Play Foam|
Spring is finally here! This is a great time to climb trees, ride bikes, run up and roll down hills and use those muscles!!!
If you liked this article, you may also want to read our other developmental articles: