7 Ways Occupational Therapists Recommend Using an Exercise Ball

1. Prone ball roll (tummy down)
Starting with tummy down, roll your child over the top of the ball. You can support your child by holding onto their legs, shoulder width apart or trunk and having the child roll to touch the ground in front of them with their hands. As your child gets comfortable with the motion, flip to the child’s back. Try to have the child reach over their head till they touch the ground and push off the ground to get back up. It may take some practice!

2. Roll it up a Wall
While standing hip-width apart, the child holds the exercise ball in his/her hands. The child starts with the ball in front of them on the wall and moves his arms over his head rolling the ball to the sky. Great way to work on that strength while keeping balance and using motor skills!

3. Bouncing
While the child is sitting on the ball alone or with support, they can bounce gently up and down to combine proprioceptive and vestibular input which raises the child’s arousal levels. Use your imagination and pretend like you are riding a horse or on a trampoline!

A fun way to work on some proprioception skills is by dribbling the exercise ball! Pushing the ball into the ground to have it bounce up and down. You can increase the intensity level by walking from one side of the room to the other by dribbling it!

5. “Roll out the pizza dough”
While your child is lying on the floor facing upward, an adult or child can roll the ball over your child’s body (not face).  Ask the child what amount of pressure feels good to them. Incorporate tickles and add ingredients to the “pizza” to keep the child entertained and put a smile on their face!

6. Kick the ball
A great way to work on motor skills, proprioception, coordination and task completion! Having the child use reciprocal arm and leg movement, force and control are key goals. To make it a bit more challenging, create a target to aim towards!

7. Partner Trunk Rotation
Have your child stand back to back with a partner or they can sit down to start off. This is a bit more challenging since the child will be working on trunk rotation, visual skills and timing. Have the child work on passing the ball from left to right, and then right to left. The smaller the ball, the easier it will be!