Core Strengthening at the Park: For Kids
Getting outside and playing at a local playground or park is a great way to let your kids be active while working on a variety of motor skills. As kids play, they strengthen their muscles, including their core muscles. It is important for kids to have good core strength to develop new motor skills, refine current motor skills, have good posture, and be able to stabilize themselves for any motor activity. Below are some great activities that can be done at your local park or playground to build core strength.
- Climbing: Climb up, on, over, and under the equipment where safe. Climbing in all positions is a great way to build strength and stability.
- Sliding down slides: This works great for young kids! Learning to stay in a sitting position on the slide requires strength and postural control.
- Swinging: In order to swing high without help from an adult, a child has to learn postural control and coordination to create movement.
- Monkey bars: You can provide assistance to a young child by holding onto his or her hips, as they learn how to swing from one bar to the next.
- Running on different surfaces: A coordinated run starts with a strong trunk! By running on different surfaces, the body has to respond appropriately.
- Animal walks: If you have a grassy area at the park, try doing animal walks, to build strength.
Creating an obstacle course with the above activities can help your child build strength while playing and running around. Encouraging play with other children the same age not only builds strength, but can help develop social and emotional skills. With any play at your local playground, please remember to provide adequate supervision to keep kids of all ages safe.
If you have questions about a child you know that can’t seem to keep up with his/her peers, dislikes participating in physical activity, or has difficulties with the activities above, one of our pediatric physical therapists can help answer your questions. We are available for phone or in-person consults as well as evaluations if necessary. Contact us at (503) 496-0385 for more information.
(Blog post courtesy of Crystal Bridges, DPT)