Do you have a Proprioceptive Loving Sensory Seeking Kid? I do! He jumps, bounces, runs…jumps, bounces, runs…but it can be a bit much indoors. He’s over 60lbs and 4 feet tall now. When he was smaller, jumping on furniture, off of the couches and running around indoors wasn’t as noticeable. Now that he’s older and bigger, I’m sure the neighbors can hear him! I’ve had to get creative and come up with ways to meet his proprioceptive needs when it’s below zero outside. When the playground is closed down, running in the yard would mean getting frostbite or I’m simply too tired to go the the bounce house playground, 30m away, I search for directed and safe activities to complete indoors. In addition, many also help work on communication and following multi-step directions. Here are our top Best Indoor Activities for Proprioceptive Loving Sensory Seeking Kids:
Proprioception is a sensation often left out of discussions about senses. We all know touch, taste, hearing, vision and smelling, but what about movement? Proprioception occurs in the joints, inner ear, skeletal muscles and tendons. Sense receptors include golgi tendon organs, muscle spindles and the vestibular system. (1). People who love proprioception (like me) often find movement to be calming, centering and may even actively seek it out. I often tell people that I really enjoy running. The compression on my joints and overall body sensation makes me feel centered.
Children who are proprioceptive sensory seeking are also looking for ways to get their sensory fill. While adults can identify this need, and go for a run, children may be seen bouncing on the furniture, beds, running wild in the house, runs and bumps into objects and people and generally seeking out motion. (2) I can tell when my son needs some sensory fulfillment and we turn to one of our favorite activities. It helps center him, keeps our furniture in once peace and also helps his interpersonal relationships. No one likes being run into by a “rambunctions” toddler. Here are some our favorites.
One of the best items I’ve purchased is a small bounce house. The smaller size bounce house can be safely can be used indoors, and my sensory seeking little ones can bounce safely and not on the bed! We are fortunate enough to have found a small bounce house and have a high enough ceiling for safe bouncing. Making sure to stay away from dangers like light fixtures, I will be at a loss when they get too tall to enjoy bouncing inside! If you go this route, make sure to have a thorough safety assessment before bouncing away.
While the small house, in our house, is great for little ones. We have an indoor bounce house business about 30m away. It has full-sized bounce houses inflated and proprioceptive input galore! The cost is just a few dollars per child and it’s well worth the trip. Now that our infant is bigger, I look forward to taking all of the boys for some much needed bounce time fun.
One of my son’s favorite shows is America Ninja Warrior. We do Jumping Jacks, Push ups and Hopping on 1 Leg for those with advanced balance at home as “Ninja Tasks” for directed and controlled sensory stimulation.
My 4 year old has his own Pandora station and loves moving to the music! Turn on the tunes to practice the disco, move freely to the tunes and encourage enjoyable movement. This is a great free activity, where he can make up his own moves, or more structured to do specific movements of dance styles.
Put your left arm in, take your left arm out, put your left arm in and shake it all about… is full or proprioceptive goodness. Repeat the song multiple times to get your fill of proprioceptive input. I get all of my boys in a group and everyone enjoys this together.
“Simon says, spin around! Simon says, jump up and down. Simon says, bend over and touch your toes.” I really like Simon Says activities because it holds my son’s attention, allows me to direct their movement, works on direction following and gets proprioceptive movement in a safe and controlled way. I can determine the length of the activity, how many times we do it a day and all of the movements involved.
Running inside my house is not ideal. However, the local college has an indoor track! It’s open to the public year-round and I can push the stroller and let my proprioceptive lover skip, bounce, run and have a blast moving around…while I get some exercise too!
As a Mom who hears “Your son wouldn’t stop jumping on the couch!” from Grandma, I can identify with other parents of rambunctious children. Often misnamed and thought to be ill behaved, proprioceptive seekers just need to move! While each child has individual needs, this gives a snippet of how I manage the proprioceptive needs of my own child, always with safety in mind. Make sure to consult your Occupational Therapist for individual needs and come up with a great plan for meeting proprioception safely, in your own environment.