We love using the exercise ball! It is so versatile and you can make activities easier or harder by how you move the ball. Below are four exercises you can do to help strengthen the core!
Have your child lie on their belly on the ball. The goal is they are going to reach for something in front of them and work to lift their body up off the ball. You can choose whatever motivates your child. Bubbles can be great, so can puzzle pieces, squigz, etc. Ideally something that will get you a lot of repetitions!
The easy version of this is they are in a more upright position and you are giving them a lot of stability at their hips. The more forward or horizontal you roll them the harder they have to work. The hardest would be for them to be bending forward to pick an item up off the ground and then coming up to place it at shoulder level! You can also have them hold the position while you move it from an easier position to a harder position and back again!
Have your child lie on their back on the ball. If the ball is small enough you can have them place their feet on the floor and then do typical sit ups while maintaining their balance on the ball. Or if they are younger or the ball is too big you can stabilize them on their back on the ball. Then you would help them do the sit up by giving them one or both hands. Try to make them do most of the work and only use yourself as a guide. Just like above, the further back you have their head (closer to the floor) the harder it is. The more upright their head is the easier it is. You can use toys mentioned above for motivation. We also sometimes like to put a toy on a surface behind their head and have them go back to try to pick it up and then sit up with it!
Have your child lie on their belly on the ball. If your therapy ball is too big you can try a larger playground ball or a peanut (if you want more stability). Place a toy in front of them that they can activate or engage with and have them walk their hands out so that part of their chest and trunk is off the ball (the further out they go the harder it is). This is great because it also promotes weight bearing through the arm. You can have them walk out and pick up a piece and return back to the start but beware they often try to glide and use momentum for this activity which decreases the work of the core. If you want to get really challenging you can have them start with their hands on the floor and body off the ball and slowly use their feet to pull the ball closer to their hands and then move back out! Man, it’s a tough workout!
Have your child sit on the ball and support them at their hips, legs, or trunk. You can move the ball in any direction to get them to turn on their righting reactions at the core which will make it stronger! The faster you move the ball and the larger the motion, the harder it is. You can also move them and have them hold a position off center to work on endurance! Bubbles are great with this activity but you can have them reach for any toy. If they tend to want to hold your hands just give them a toy to hold in each hand! If you have a small enough ball you can also just have them sit on it and play and hold their balance.