One of our therapists recently used a ball activity to work on core strength. To make it even more fun, we did an experiment to see what was easier and what was more challenging. We took a variety of different ball sizes and then played catch with them. What made it into a core activity is that the balls were thrown from overhead using both hands!
What we found was the larger the ball, the more the core had to engage. Also the further away the target was, the more the core had to engage. We started with a medium size ball and worked our way up to a therapy ball. We did 10 repetitions with each ball and we ‘graded’ how difficult each ball was after the 10 were finished.
One of the things to look for as the repetitions get higher or the activity goes on longer is for the child to not bring the ball all the way back behind them. They will either rest it on their head and push it forward, or only bring it to their forehead and push it forward. Whenever this happened we re-did that repetition.
If you have a soft weighted ball or medicine balls you can also do this. Make a target on the ground and slowly move further away so that they have to engage their core more to make the distance.
You can also do other variations. For instance you can have your child sitting while you do this. You can change the surface they are standing on (you want to make sure they can do it well on a solid flat surface before you change anything). You can also change what they are sitting on (same rules for changing as with standing).
The other nice thing is this also helps them to work on their eccentric abdominals (as long as your aren’t stabilizing their legs) which is one of the ways we use our abdominals while we do walking!
What other variations of this activity have you had your kids do?