Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roller Coaster

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The idea for this activity came from a couple of different places. This is something I did as part of our daily occupational therapy routine for one of the special needs students I used to work with, and I also saw the idea HERE as I was looking around for ideas. The link I posted has great details about how and why to do this activity if you're interested.
Let's gather our supplies:
-As you can see, I used a large exercise ball for this little game, and it works really well. It's a comfortable height for me to sit in a chair and have the ball positioned between my knees.

If you've never done this before, make sure you are holding the ball firmly between your knees as you place the baby on it. Make sure you always have a firm hold on the baby, both so they are safe and so they feel secure and comfortable enough to have fun. You can either place the baby laying down on the ball with your hands holding firmly on either side of the baby's chest, or (this can be a little trickier, so maybe work up to this one) hold the baby in an upright sitting position, with your hands placed on either side of the baby's waist or hips (how high up the baby's torso you hold them will depend on how well they sit up alone. The lower your hold the more work baby has to do) Let baby just sit and get used to feeling the ball under her for a minute before you start moving it slowly around. Rock it back and forth or side to side, or even bounce the baby gently up and down. Remember to always watch your baby, and when she is done don't push it, just let her be done!

The benefits of this activity are amazing. Having to balance on the ball helps to strengthen baby's neck and back, making sitting up and rolling over easier in the future. When you are holding your baby in a sitting position and rocking the ball, you are helping them to learn to lean to one side or the other to help keep their body balanced and avoid falling over (a handy thing to know how to do as baby is sitting, crawling, and walking). Babies crave rhythm, so using a gentle bouncing motion can help soothe a cranky or upset baby. You are also helping your child learn about their surroundings in a new way as they get a new point of view from the different angles presented by the moving ball.

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

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