Published January 19, 2009 by Nancy
Belly-boarding is a great sensory exercise, especially for older kids. I read about this in Love, Jean, a book about Dr. A. Jean Ayres, who got the whole sensory thing started. This was the exercise she developed for her nephew Philip.
Philip was a young teen, but the exercise works for younger kids too. It gives a workout to the two biggies: the vestibular (gravity) sense and the proprioceptive (muscle) sense.
Here’s what to do:
- Buy a wheeled board for doing repairs under cars.
- Clean out your garage. Completely. Nothing on the floor, sweep it to perfection. Make sure nothing is hanging on the walls that comes within 2 ft / 60 cm of the floor.
- Buy some strong gardening or work gloves.
Lie on your belly on the board, wearing the gloves, and use your hands to push the board around. Make it as much like swimming as possible. Push off the walls with your feet so that you can glide right across the floor. Turn and go right back again. Stop yourself midway across the floor and turn. Try turning without completely stopping.
When you are good at it, add some obstacles to course around, or objects to pick up as you whizz by.
Keep it up for about 20 minutes.
What does it do?
- pulls you out of a grouchy mood, especially after a long day at school
- calms you out of a wild and crazy mood, especially if you are feeling out of control
- gets your cardiorespiratory system working, which makes your whole body feel good
End it with a “mouth tool” snack — something crunchy, chewy, cold, hot, whatever works for you. You should feel refreshed and energized.
You can do this exercise indoors too if you have a smooth basement floor. In Love, Jean, Philip used the church hall.