I have frequently used picking up marbles with your toes as a tool to strengthen a kiddo’s intrinsic foot muscles to help with their arches however, when I was using this activity with a kiddo recently I realized some other areas it can help in.
- Coordination/Motor Planning – As the kiddos are trying to pick up one or more marbles they need to coordinate keeping their toes closed around the marble as well as moving their leg and foot over the bucket to drop the marble in. Multiple times the kiddo would have a marble in their toes and then they would focus on moving their leg and foot and the marble would drop because they couldn’t focus on both activities at once. It became even more challenging when two marbles were introduced, if they were even able to pick up both marbles at the same time.
- Foot-Eye Coordination – When attempting to drop the marble in the bucket the kiddo needs to be able to focus on the target while aligning their foot and holding onto the marble. Many times the marble didn’t quite make it into the bucket because of miscalculation as to where the bucket was in relation to their foot.
- Body Awareness/Sensory Input – Having to use their feet to pick up the marbles increases the tactile input to their feet as well as encourages them to use their feet to feel for the marble and make sure it is lined up correctly. In addition they will have to know where their foot is in space in order to accurately drop the marble into the bucket.
- Strengthening – Picking up marbles with your toes is a great way to work on the strength of foot intrinsic muscles that assist with foot stability and foot arches. It becomes more challenging the more marbles you add. See how many marbles the kiddos can get at one time!
It can be a great game and you can alter it by seeing how many marbles they can get in a certain amount of time, how many marbles they can pick up at a time, which foot is faster at picking up all the marbles, which foot gets more marbles into the bucket on the first attempt, or any other combination of fun!
What else do you use picking up marbles for?