Upper Body Strength and Stability
Effective arm movement and control is only possible when core (trunk)
strength and stability are present.  A stable core provides a solid
base of support from which the arms and legs are free to move with
precision and control.  Core muscles are those muscles that stabilize
the
shoulder girdle, spine and pelvis.
    Postural control refers to the ability to maintain an upright trunk position.  This is an important skill
    needed for developing fine motor skills.  Without good postural control, a child may have difficulty
    maintaining an upright sitting posture and may fatigue easily when sitting at a desk in school.  Plus
    using the hands well will be difficult.  When postural control is adequate, the hands may be used
    effectively for working on tabletop tasks, such as writing and cutting with scissors.  For the hands to
    work well, strength, stability and mobility are necessary in the shoulders and forearms.  So, in
    addition to the shoulders being strong, wrist stability is an important component for having precise
    finger control.
Therapy Street for Kids

Trunk stability
muscles.  Be sure your knees are on a padded surface!
  • Play toss and catch games in a kneeling position.
  • Challenge: how long can you tolerate watching television, or doing some other distracting activity, while kneeling on your knees.  


Shoulder strength and stability
  • Tummy time: We therapists love this!  Playing while laying on the tummy is a great way to develop shoulder strength and stability.  
    Try reading, writing, coloring, working on puzzles, playing with toys, anything!, while on your tummy.
  • scooter board while on your tummy for rolling down gentle hills, sliding around to pick items up off the floor or to pull yourself along
    by "climbing" a rope
  • wheelbarrow walking
  • Crawl on all fours: forward, backward, sideways or change direction on command.
  • Crawl through an obstacle course
  • Animal Walking: Gorilla crouch walking, Bear walking, Inchworm walking, Snake crawling, Bird walking, Crab walking.  These are all
    illustrated here:  Animal & Bug Walks
  • While in a crab walking position, kick a balloon and keep it up in the air for as long as possible.
  • snake or combat crawl (low crawl on your elbows and knees with pelvis flat) to squeeze under a low limbo stick
  • strengthen the arms on the playground: swing on monkey bars, trapeze bar, ladders, climb up the slide (if permitted)
  • in a crawling position, do donkey kicks as illustrated here:  Animal & Bug Walks
  • Shoot baskets with all types of balls
  • Play Zoom Ball
  • Play tug of war
  • Pour water from a pitcher or sand from buckets
  • Push and pull each other while sitting on rolling chairs or rolling stools
  • Draw large shapes and pictures on chalk boards or white boards with both hands simultaneously


Wrist stability
  • Walk or race while balancing a tennis ball on a large spoon; don't let it fall!
  • Play with a Yo-Yo
  • Putting weight into the arms and hands with some of the Animal Walking activities, above, also help the wrists
  • When sitting on the floor to play, lean into one hand and keep the hand open; Reach across your body with the other hand to play.  
    This is a good position for drawing with sidewalk chalk, doing a floor puzzle, playing with blocks and other small toys.
  • Lite Brite is a great toy for encouraging wrist extension while using the fingers
  • Practice opening jars of all sizes
  • Pour water from a pitcher into several cups
  • To keep the wrists straight while coloring, drawing and writing, use a slanted or vertical surface such as an easel or a wide 3-ring
    binder turned sideways.  Paper can be taped to a wall as well.  
Activities
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