In the last issue, we looked at the impact of correct postural and shoulder girdle control on fine motor skill development. This article looks at some practical, fun exercises to improve postural and shoulder girdle control.

The following simple exercises can be performed in the classroom environment and no specialised materials are needed.

  • Wall push-ups: The children stand facing a wall. They stretch out their arms at shoulder height and put their hands flat against the wall, fingers facing up. Then they lean forward, bending their arms at the elbows, then straighten them again as if doing ‘push-ups’ against the wall. They need to make sure that they keep their backs and legs straight when doing this exercise.
  •  Tummy-time: Play games or do activities where children lie on their stomachs. They can read books, draw pictures or complete a puzzle.
  • Chair push-ups: The children sit on their chairs and hold on to their seats, with their arms at their sides. They push down onto the chair with both hands, straightening their arms, while trying to lift their bodies off the chair.
  • Wheelbarrow walking: Get the children to work in pairs. One child holds the feet of the other, and they walk forward on their hands, like a wheelbarrow.
  • Cleaning the blackboard: Encourage children to wipe the board clean using big sweeping movements and to stretch as high and wide as they can. This activity also helps to encourage mid-line crossing.
  • All four crawling: Encourage children to crawl forwards, backwards and sideways. Make it fun and get them to crawl through an obstacle course.
  • Animal walking: Get the children to copy and move like different animals. Bear walking (bum in air, arms straight), snake crawling (right arm and right leg move at the same time), crab walking (lie on back, tummy to ceiling), worm wriggling (on tummy, knees to tummy and straighten), elephant walking (reaching forward with trunk).
  •  Jungle gym: If your playground has a jungle gym, encourage children to play on the monkey bars, ladders and climb up the slide.
  •  Tug-of-war: Divide the class into two groups and play tug of war with a rope.
  • Water/sand play: Use plastic milk containers that have handles and encourage children to scoop and pour water/sand.