I know we recently talked about practicing underhand throwing, and as a result, as we were working on the skill with one of our kids recently, we realized that they knew what they were supposed to do but they weren’t able to maintain their arm in a supinated (palm up) position as they went into shoulder flexion (bringing their arm forward). As we did some problem solving and brain storming we realized that they had the range and they could get into supinate but they couldn’t maintain it as they started to move their arm. We realized they were lacking shoulder stability and were going into a pronated (palms down) position to get more of that stability.
We came up with a bunch of ideas, some to work on shoulder stability and some to continue to encourage the motor pattern of shoulder flexion with supination. Here are a few of them:
- Wheelbarrow Walking – This was one of the first ones that came up. They were already doing this activity and it is a great one for core and shoulder strength and stability. What we realized though is the forearm is in a pronated position most of the time during this activity so it doesn’t help with the supination part. I wanted to mention it though because it is a great activity and exercise!
- Elevator Rides – Use a taped phone book, or some other flat surface and have then turn their palms up and place the phone book on their palms. Then use various character toys (or any toy you have) and have them lift them up to shoulder height as if they were on an elevator! If you can get them to keep their elbows straight you will get more of the motion of underhand throwing but you can also have them do it with elbows bent if keeping them straight is too hard to start.
- Weighted Balls – Have them cup both hands together and pretend they are a crane (like the kind you see in the arcade where you try to pick up a stuffed animal) and lift the weighted ball up (keeping arms straight if possible) and then drop the ball onto different color spots. You can have them pick or you can tell them the color. You could also do letters and numbers if you wanted to mix it up a bit.
- Guess Which Hand – Have them hide a small toy in a hand and ask you to guess which hand while they are holding their fisted hand palms up.
- Low Fives – After every good job give them a low five instead of a high five. They will have to keep their palm up. You can make them reach for it by pretending you can’t get to their hand so they have to stretch their arm out into elbow extension.
- Bowling or Rolling – Use a ball to have them roll towards pins or other items to knock over. There isn’t as much shoulder flexion in this activity so they can begin to work in a smaller range.
- Carrying a Tray – Play waiter/waitress or go on a mission to transport and collect items. Carry a tray with both hands keeping palms upturned and arms straight as much as possible. Use your imagination for why they are carrying items on a tray around.
- Ball Hitting – We recently did a post with an activity similar to this but it was for standing balance. You can use the same set up of the balls hanging on strings and hit them with an opened outward facing palm. If this is hard to keep the hand open and facing outward maybe use a velcro mitt. (pretend the picture below is with hands and not feet!) You could also roll a large ball with the velcro mitt on instead of hitting balls on a string. See how far they can make the ball go!
What are some ideas you have used?