Tuesday, June 23, 2015

50 Heavy Work Activities for Kids {Free Printable}

As part of our son's sensory diet, we incorporate a lot of heavy work activities into his day. These activities usually take the form of chores around the house or during play time using heavy objects. These heavy work activities help him focus and/or even calm him if he is headed for a sensory meltdown. So I've compiled a list of 50 heavy work activities for kids that you can try at home and I've even included a free printable list so that you can keep it handy at all times.

These activities are great for all kids, even if they do not have autism and/or sensory processing issues. They also make great ideas for including in your free weekly autism plans.

50 heavy work activities for kids {free printable list of ideas included!} - great suggestions for kids with autism and/or sensory processing disorder from And Next Comes L

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What is Heavy Work?

If you have a child with autism and/or sensory processing disorder, then you are likely already familiar with the terms heavy work and proprioception. However, if you are unfamiliar with the term, then heavy work can be defined as:

"tasks that involve heavy resistance for the muscles and joints. It involves proprioceptive input, the awareness of posture, movement, and resistance relating to the body." - source: Heavy Work Fact Sheet

Basically, heavy work activities are used to calm kids, provide input to a child's muscles and joints, and help increase a child's focus and attention.

I also have a list of heavy work ideas for school and a list of heavy work ideas for home...you know, in case this list of 50 activities here doesn't do the trick for you.



Play Time Heavy Work Activities for Kids

Heavy work activities can easily be incorporated into play time. In fact, a lot of the games and activities that your child is already doing at the park can be classified as heavy work. Here are some play time suggestions:

  1. Climb a tree
  2. Push someone on a swing
  3. Play on a teeter totter or seesaw
  4. Build a fort
  5. Obstacle course
  6. Animal walks: crab walk, lizard crawl (uses hands only)
  7. Pillow fight - You can find more gross motor pillow activities here
  8. Pull a wagon or sled filled with objects or with a person riding in it
  9. Play catch with bean bags
  10. Play catch with a large ball
  11. Climb up a slide
  12. Monkey bars
  13. Climb at the playground (ladders, rock walls, etc.)
  14. Hang and/or swing on a bar at the park
  15. Crawl backwards using hands
  16. Carry bean bags
  17. Climb a chair or couch
  18. Carry a pile of books
  19. Push a bobo doll or punching bag
  20. Play statue (adult stands as straight as possible and child tries to push adult)
  21. Carry a bucket of water or sand
  22. Play tug of war - You can use a rope, blanket, scarf, or even our homemade sensory tunnel or homemade stretchy bands
  23. Wheelbarrow walking
  24. Resistance cycling (adult and child face each other, put feet together, and pedal)
  25. Push a door (adult puts resistance on a door while child tries to push the door closed)
  26. Army crawl (no knees allowed)
  27. Hand pushing game (adult and child place hands together and push back and forth)
  28. Dig in the dirt, garden, or sandbox
  29. Do pushups
  30. Squish, knead, and play with play dough or silly putty or theraputty
  31. Ride a scooter board on your tummy and use hands to move


Heavy Work Activities for Kids: Chores Around the House or While Out & About

Involving your kids in chores around the house not only benefits the household and teaches them responsibility, but you are also providing them with the heavy work sensory input that they may need. Things like yard work, laundry, and grocery shopping are everyday activities that provide lots of great heavy work opportunities for kids.

  1. Pull laundry out of the washer and/or dryer
  2. Carry large bottles, boxes, etc. and/or sort recycling
  3. Carry groceries and/or shopping bags and put away groceries
  4. Shovel snow
  5. Rake the leaves
  6. Gather firewood
  7. Mow the grass
  8. Load or unload the dishwasher
  9. Move garbage and/or recycling bins to the curb
  10. Staple paper together
  11. Use a paper punch or hole punch to make confetti out of paper
  12. Rip paper or cardboard
  13. Push, move, or carry large rocks
  14. Push a shopping cart
  15. Vacuum
  16. Sweep or mop the floor
  17. Push a wheelbarrow
  18. Return library books
  19. Push, move, or drag furniture
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