Can your home become a place of chaos? Kids bouncing off the walls? Does it seem like your words sometimes go in one ear and out the other? Especially if they’re in “play mode?” Does it feel like they’re all over the place or like they have a hard time understanding what their bodies are doing?
What about outbursts or tantrums? Can your kids become emotionally charged faster than the speed of light?
Or maybe they’ve been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
Whatever your reason for stumbling upon this post, I hope these ideas for heavy work activities help bring a sense of calm to your household!
What is “Heavy Work?”
Heavy work activities push or pull against the body. Usually, they’re used to help kids who have trouble with sensory processing to feel more centered. But heavy work can also be great for any child who maybe just has some extra pent up energy or who is having a hard time focusing.
Heavy work helps with a sense called proprioception, which is basically self-awareness. If you’re finding that your little one is all over the place, heavy work activities could help!
Of course, there are different forms of heavy work. Some help to bring down their systems while other activities may charge them up (for kids who are particularly low). In my home, we don’t need any help with high energy. Instead, we need to bring it down. Sometimes wayyyy down.
We do heavy work activities 4 or 5 times a day. It doesn’t have to be any crazy carved out amount of time. We just do a couple off the list every few hours. For my kids who are still at home during the day, it helps to do chore-based heavy work in the mornings (when I’m also cleaning). Then in the afternoon, we do more fun activities like animal walks or outside activities.
Heavy Work Activities that Limit Chaos in Our Home
Again, this list is based off what works for my high-energy kids. You won’t see things like running and jumping on this list (although they do those things too, just not during heavy work time) because those activities tend to act as uppers. That’s the opposite of what I want. If your kids are high energy, you know what I mean!
- Animal walks (bear crawl, crab walks, duck walks, etc.). Tell them to be slowwwww bears or slow ducks. Keeping it rhythmic and slow-paced will help their bodies settle while being silly and going through the activity quickly will likely rile them up…
- Slow crawl backwards
- Wheelbarrow walking. Side note: I tried to have my two oldest kiddos do this together (they’re super close in size), but that was definitely a no-go. It actually made them more hyper! So we now always do this activity with an adult/child pairing.
- Build a low fort, then army crawl under it
- Load a laundry basket with toys, push it across the floor, unload it. Then repeat!
- Carry a stack of books from one room to another (holding them against the chest)
- Hand pushing game (adult and child place hands together and push back and forth)
- Doing push-ups against a wall
- Pushing an exercise ball against a wall or against an adult who is pushing back
- Squish, knead, and shape play-doh. Pro tip: Use homemade aromatherapy play-doh with essential oils like this one from the Vintage Modern Wife.
- Carry a bucket of water or sand
- Dig in a sand box, using scoopers & hunting for buried toys
- Pour sand or water back and forth between two or more containers
- Do a back yard obstacle course
- Carry groceries
- Wipe down your spot at the table
- Rip cardboard & mail for recycling
- Chewing gum (if your child is old enough)
- Munching peanuts, baked chips, or other crunchy snacks
Every kids is different, so these may or may not be the answer for you. But it’s a place to start!
Need help incorporating these heavy work activities into your day? I created a quick and easy worksheet to help you figure out what works best for you. Subscribe to get it sent to your inbox:
Have you tried heavy work activities in your home? What works to calm your little ones?
Until next time,
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