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Home > Muscle Coordination, Muscle Tone, and Strength > Activities for Young Child with Low Strength and Tone

Activities for Young Child with Low Strength and Tone

Therapy Home Exercise Plan ideas to help increase muscle tone for under 2 years old:

Vestibular input: make sure that the child swings at least two times daily for 15 minutes each time, try some spinning slowly and go a little faster each time if they don't get upset. Make sure that you spin in equal directions (10 rotations to the left, stop wait for a few minutes, then due 10 rotations to the right). If there are any signs that the child is uncomfortable then STOP, this includes up to 12 hours after spinning. This will help increase muscle tone and balance reactions.  

Movement games:  doing games and play that includes rolling, hanging upside down (hold their feet, do somersaults over couch pillows or bed safely), dancing and moving in all different directions, and plenty of movement exploration time.  Avoid long periods in car seat, bouncers, walkers, or play pens. 

Bouncy houses for indoors such as the Jump-o-lene are great!  

Proprioceptive (joints and muscles): give a lot of opportunities to continue to weight bear on hands even after they are upright walking, to help build up palmar arches and strengthen web space (muscles between thumb and first finger).

Example:  belly time in floor, safe place to creep, crawl through tunnels, cut out holes on the sides of boxes and make crawl through houses, throw down all couch pillows and extra pillows on the floor and "chase" each other creeping on hands and knees, make tents for playhouses over tables and chairs to crawl around in, wheelbarrow walking, rocking over a playground ball onto hands and feet, bounce safely on a therapy ball all directions, and playing basketball with a 1-2 lb med ball.  

 

Tactile play: make sure there are many opportunities for touch play in many different textures. This includes edible foods, puddings, jellos, kids shaving cream called Fun Foam, and combine texture play with fine motor work such as placing marshmallows in a bottle or sticking them to a snow picture.  Allow your child to get MESSY, especially with foods!  Use a small baby pool to have fun with different textures!  

Fine motor strengthening:  put anything they may color, paint, or puzzles on an incline such as on a painting or chalk easel, tape paper to a mirror, or play with removable stickers on the windows.

Velcro puzzle pieces! 

Put up large magnetic letters and pictures on the fridge for incline work to help the wrist and fingers gain more stability!

Play with play dough and modeling clay often, helping the child to squeeze it, roll it, and pinch it. Hide objects in the play dough to find by using fingertips and small hand movements, pinching, pulling, squeezing, etc.

Use play-dough scissors and cutting utensils in a play kitchen.  

Put snacks in a smaller opening snack cup to force using finger isolation (one finger) and fingertips to reach in and try to get them out.

Make a scarf bottle, put pretty colored scarfs or pieces of brightly colored materials in a tall creamer bottle, close the lid, and have them pinch and pull them out with their fingertips and thumb.

Toys that vibrate or have to be squeezed are great muscle tone and "hand wake ups" to help wake up the joints.

Dog squeeze toys and pull mouse vibrating cat toys are great as well!

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