Writing on a chalk board, painting on an easel, playing with shaving cream on a bathroom wall, or manipulating magnets on the refrigerator are all examples of playing at a vertical surface. Working in this position provides many benefits to your child.
Postural Control and Core Strength are improved, as children need to use their trunk muscles to maintain their equilibrium and to free their hands for play. This position encourages weight shifting from one foot to another and can help improve balance and stability for children with low muscle tone.
Increased Stability of the Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist because children can make larger movements on a bigger surface like an easel or whiteboard, thus strengthening the arms and improving flexibility. The wrist is in a position of extension which helps secure a crayon, pencil or paint brush with better control. This can lead to improved handwriting and better use of scissors in the classroom.
TIP FROM THE THERAPIST:I love using a Paint With Water Books for my young children. It can be taped to a wall, refrigerator, or any other vertical surface. I can encourage a squat-to-stand strengthening activity by placing a small cup of water on the floor for wetting the paintbrush, or I can place the cup of water to one side or slightly higher than the child's chest to encourage and strengthen reaching skills, crossing mid-line and challenging a child's balance. It is a fabulous, fun activity with very little mess, as the paint is impregnated into the paper and is activated by the water.
Visual Attention can improve, as children have a better view or aspect of what they are doing and can adjust the distance between themselves and their work, as needed. This can also lead to better eye-hand coordination.
Increased Opportunities to Cross Mid-line occur as children stretch and maneuver to reach all the work space with their dominant hand.
Improved Proprioceptive Awareness. The internal sense that our joints give to our brain to tell us where we are in space is active in standing. Working in a standing position can help children develop a better sense of their body and how to make better-controlled movements.
Increased Attention to Task. Working in a standing position can be helpful to some children who find it difficult to sit still. They can move around and get increased sensory input to their bodies, which can help them focus better.
Enhanced Understanding of Spacial Awareness, or the ability to understand directions like left and right, up and down, diagonal. Children can relate the terms to their own body.
Blog Administrator: Trisha Roberts
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