What are some ways we can help students improve body awareness?
Check out how to incorporate these 11 body awareness activities into what’s already going on the classroom!
1. Sing/dance to songs that refer to body parts (head shoulders knees toes, hokey pokey)
This is a fun way to identify body parts. Additionally, as students are moving around and executing the motor sequences there are so many opportunities for midline crossing, bilateral coordination, and vestibular input.
2. Mat Man for spatially organizing where parts of the body go
Building a person is much different than drawing one. Eliminating the fine motor pencil manipulations removes challenges that might otherwise prevent a child from attempting to “make a person”. Using the wood pieces by Learning Without Tears helps understand and improve spatial relations and bodily proportions.
3. Encourage students to work on their tummies
When any surface of the body is in contact with another object (wall, couch, another person, etc.), the body receives information about where it is in space. Laying in prone also activates the back-extensor muscles…BONUS!
4. Properly size their desk and chair to improve body awareness
In order for kids to have a good understanding of where their body is in space, they need to have multiple points of contact. A child whose legs swing below them all day has a difficult time figuring out how to maintain posture and attention as opposed to those whose feet are able to rest the floor to ground them and support postural adjustments. (DOWNLOAD THE DESK CHECK!)
5. Have them draw 2 self-portraits-one with their left hand and one with their right hand-compare!
This is activity is definitely for the older students who are more proficient with their visual-motor integration. But through this activity, they might show more appreciation for and effort when using their dominant hand.
6. Play Simon Says! using instructions such as “Touch your left ear with your right pinky”
This will not only improve body awareness but will also work on laterality, motor planning, and midline crossing.
7. Then try it with their eyes closed!
This one is my favorite! Challenging kids to do almost ANYTHING (within safety and reason) with their eyes closed will improve body awareness by means of eliminating the use of their most relied upon sensory system. Actions might take longer to execute but that’s a good thing, it means they are putting forth high effort to make the right connections.
8. Encourage chair/wall pushups or hand presses when students need a quick reset
A quick jolt of information about where their body is in space is always helpful. A great way to add in a little shoulder stability/strengthening too!
9. See if they can spell out the letters of the alphabet using their whole body
Figuring out which body parts to move where is a whole lot of fun and targets visual memory.
10. Crumble a piece of paper and have them weave it in between their legs in a figure 8
Any opportunity to work on midline crossing and bilateral coordination should always be taken. There can never be enough communication between the left and right sides of the brain for more awareness.
11. Pair students up students for a game of COPY ME! to improve body awareness
Imitation is a great way to improve body awareness in the classroom. Have each student think of a pose for their partner to copy, then switch. Repeat several times! By doing it with a peer, it’s not only fun but they will try to challenge their friends and ultimately make it much trickier than an adult.
Check out these other blog posts that improve body awareness:
Benefits of Working on a Vertical Surface
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