The Proprioceptive System & 15 Helpful At-Home Occupational Therapy Activities

Proprioception is the sense that provides awareness of our body’s position in space. Our body processes this information by receiving input through our joints and muscles. Proprioceptive input also allows us to know the amount of force required of our muscles to complete everyday tasks. 

Signs of difficulty with proprioceptive processing:

  • Overstuffing their mouth when feeding
  • Pushing their writing utensils down so hard that they break or rip the paper
  • Difficulty judging the amount of force required to complete a task 
  • Frequently crashing in to things
  • Decreased body awareness

It is very important to make sure that your child gets opportunities to receive proprioceptive input throughout their day (especially if your child is a sensory seeker) as deep pressure input can help to organize and regulate your child’s body making them attentive and ready to learn! ‘Heavy work’ activities involve deep pressure or weight to the muscles and joints which provides proprioceptive input. Listed below are 15 heavy work activities that can be done at home to help your child get the input they need:

1. Animal walks

2. Yoga poses

3. Wheelbarrow walks

4. Rolling your child in a blanket to create a “burrito”

5. Crashing into pillows, cushions, or a mattress

6. Bear hugs

7. Chair or wall push ups

8. Playing with play doh, theraputty, or clay

9. Helping with chores at home such as pushing the laundry basket, carrying groceries, pushing in chairs, etc. 

10. Weighted blankets, vest, or lap pads 

11. Playing hopscotch

12. Monkey bars at the playground

13. Marching by stomping feet

14. Jump on a trampoline

15. Wrestling or rough housing (but keep it safe!)

These activities are to be used as a fun resource. If you suspect your child is having difficulty with sensory processing please consult a qualified occupational therapist who can help to meet your child’s sensory needs. 

Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow