Heavy work activities for kids include any physical activities such as pushing or pulling. When children do these heavy work activities, they often become calmer, more organized, and more ready to follow through with daily activities.
This is all due to an internal sense our bodies all have, called proprioception, which simply put is our sense of body awareness. This proprioception is sensed by our body through messages sent to our brain from sensory receptors found in our joints and muscles. These sensations help to tell us how our bodies are moving, what is moving in relation to what, and where in space our body parts are. This is activated whenever we push or pull objects, and when joints are stretched or compressed.
Why this is beneficial for children is that this system helps them to understand how much force they are using, or how much they need to. This filters down to simple processes such as colouring in or using a fork.
The proprioceptive input does tend to have a calming and organizing effect on the body, which is also why it is so beneficial for children.
This list of heavy work activities for kids contains some great ideas to get your kids moving at home.
Heavy Work Activities
- Practice different animal walks such as crab walk, bear walk, or frog jumps.
- Do push-ups against a wall or on a carpet.
- Do a turtle walk – place a pillow on your child’s back and see how long they can crawl around with the shell on their back.
- Jump up high and crash into a mattress, beanbag, or the couch.
- Push against each side of the doorway. Stand with arms outstretched on either side and see how long they can push for.
- March or jog in place with a stomping motion.
- Do wheelbarrow walks – this is where the child places their hands on the floor and the adult holds their legs off the floor and helps them walk on their hands only.
- Wrestle with each other (keeping it soft and safe).
- Play with medicine balls (safer for older children and with adult supervision).
- Play tug of war, this can be done standing up, kneeling, or even laying down.
- Have a game of jump rope.
- Jump on the trampoline.
- Climb a rock wall (rock climbing is great for kids).
- Play on the monkey bars or hang off of a single bar.
- Pour items like dry beans, dry rice, sand, or water back and forth between containers. The larger the containers, the heavier the work.
- Play with play dough. They can smash and squish the play dough, which is easy enough to make at home.
- Rip up old newspapers, boxes, or junk mail.
- Ride a scooter, bicycle or tricycle outside in free play. These require heavy work to pedal or propel.
- Build a fort using large pillows and by hanging up large sheets.
- Play catch with a large ball or pillow, throwing and catching back and forth.
- Create an obstacle course in the garden. Creating the obstacle course and actually doing it are two types of heavy work activities.
- Do some gardening.
All of these activities are not only beneficial for children but are so much fun as well!