For the kid with energy to spare. For rainy days. For muscle workouts. For fun. For all the other Blake’s in the world. And more.
I haven’t fully shared what’s going on with Blake and the journey we’ve been on recently. This will come, but we have taken some steps to help our little man be the best version of himself. We’ve really taken all of this to heart and are doing everything we can to support him.
Most recently, this has meant creating an obstacle course that spans the entire living area of our home-living room, to hallway, through the dining room, around the kitchen, back to the living area.. For someone who likes things neat and tidy and in their proper places, I’ve had to set that aside, because I know it’s only to benefit him. His Occupational Therapist mentioned we do some specific exercises at home to support what she was working with him on, and Blake has loved the course! We do it each night as a family two times, in this exact order. After he completes it twice, he’s then free to create his own obstacle course and do whatever he would like. At one point he laid all all of his monster trucks out and created an obstacle where he had to jump off the trampoline and over the trucks. Love the creativity and fun he’s having with it!
We built the course with things we already had in the house so nothing was purchased for this particular purpose. If this was something you wanted to do, I am sure you could adapt not only to your particular child’s needs, but also with what you happened to have around.
Here was our obstacle course.
Obstacle #1-Yoga Ball
This is for balancing or bouncing (one or both) for 1 minute.
I purchased this yoga ball at Marshalls for $9.99! It has the built in legs on it so it stays in place when it’s at rest. The box said for ages 5-10, but Blake is a tall 4 year old so it works fine. Plus, we didn’t blow it all the way up so it’s a bit lower to the ground. His OT recommended a yoga ball for him to work on balancing, one of his weaker areas, and to work his core muscles.
Obstacle #2-Punching Bag
Here, B punches with each arm 10 times. This helps with hand-eye coordination.
This punching bag was an Aldi find that I used as a stocking stuffer. He loves to play with it! And it’s Star Wars!
He gets to bounce for 1 minute. This trampoline was actually my husband’s. He used it as physical therapy to recover from his injury. He hasn’t needed to use it for some time, so it’s now found a permanent place in the middle of my living room, helping Blake to get some energy out at a moment’s notice. Really goes with my living room decor. 😉
We’ve had this tunnel for years, from IKEA. For the purpose of the course, we snaked it around so that it would be more of an ab workout to curve through it.
Obstacle #5-Push/Pull with weights
Using a laundry basket, we put some weights in it and had him push the basket forward about 4 feet, and then pull it back the 4 feet. This is, again, good for balance, and using muscle strengthening.
Obstacle #6-Medicine Ball-Picking Up/Setting Back Down
In this obstacle B is picking up and setting down a medicine ball, this is known as “heavy work” in OT. This one is a 5lb weighted one. We set it on a ledge and have him pick it up, set it down, then put it back on the ledge 5 times. This is good for postural stability, and gross motor.
Obstacle #7-Wheel Barrow
In this one, my husband or I walk him to the front door in a wheelbarrow walk. The rule is that he has to tap the door. This is a really hard exercise for him but he doesn’t give up! In fact, on this short little dance he yells out “I’LL NEVER GIVE UP!” It’s so cute! (We really harp on the power of trying and putting your all into everything you do)
Notice one of our dog’s, Elway, following them around!
Obstacle #8-Crab Walk
The last obstacle! Crab walking has so many benefits! Blake has weak muscles in his hands. It’s something his Occupational Therapist is working with him on. He knows how to write and his ability to do so is fine for my little lefty, but his hand muscles are weak, so he switches hands frequently, which has meant he’s become somewhat ambidextrous. He also has trouble using scissors, also due to a lack of fine motor muscle usage but also the coordination it takes. Crab walking helps with hand muscle strength because of the workout required from the fingers. For kids who experience sensory issues, this is an excellent way to help them recover from excess energy, anxiety and overstimulation because it uses practically the whole body. This movement is also known as “Heavy Work,” (just as the medicine ball above) which stimulates the proprioceptor nerves. These nerves stimulate the nerve cells in the brain that facilitate attention and focus. Great for ADHD/ADD or kids just having trouble focusing!
He hasn’t been able to complete this one the full length just yet. If he can’t do it, we’ve allowed him to substitute for the bear crawl, which is slightly easier. He will work up to it eventually. 🙂
I’m so glad he’s enjoyed this obstacle course, and I love that it’s becoming a family activity each night! I love us working with his OT and having that true OT to home connection. I love the possibilities that can come from this. I love the fact that Blake is so resilient and it’s almost as if he has this wise maturity to know that he needs this, too, and he knows it’s good for him. I love his enthusiasm for life and how he handles himself from stuttering, now to this.
He’s one special little boy.