What: Proprioception is the concept of knowing where your body is in space (body awareness) and the ability to safely maneuver around your environment. It also includes the use of heavy work activities and the ability to stimulate the joint receptors.
Why: Proprioceptive input is important for a child’s development because it helps them to feel a sense of self, aides in self-regulation and promotes success in both fine motor and gross motor activities. It is also important as it helps a child to be aware of their “personal space” and how to appropriately engage with their peers without overstepping their boundaries (e.g. hugging without asking) or not engaging enough (e.g. decreased eye contact).
Activities to provide proprioceptive input:
- Wheelbarrow walks
- Bear hugs
- Body pillow “sandwich” (have child lay between two large body pillows and provide them with moderate squishes)
- Frog jumps
- Jumping on a trampoline or on a mattress
- Pushing a heavy basket/cart (e.g. fill a laundry basket and have child push across the house)
- Pulling a heavy wagon
- Squeezing or rolling playdough/theraputty
- Bouncing on a pogo stick or on a hippity hop ball
- Climbing a rockwall
- Monkey bars
- Tug of war (e.g. use a towel to play tug of war with a partner using both hands; place pillows behind each child, so that if they fall or lose their balance, they can crash into the pillows)