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Fun Movement Games to Promote Body Awareness, Regulation & Following Directions

The ability to maintain appropriate awareness of our body in space is essential in supporting a child’s attention and following directions. Good body awareness is also essential in supporting our emotional regulation and arousal level. Free-range play, such as the playground, is a great way to promote body awareness. However, sometimes, our children may want and/or need more structured activities. Below is a list of fun activities you can easily do ANYWHERE (at home, on vacation, or even at the doctor’s office while waiting for an appointment)! The best part is you do not need ANY extra materials. There are ways to increase the challenge within the task, of which each activity has an added BONUS listed.

Freeze Tag

This game works best with a group of at least 4 people. Simply, select one person to ‘tag’ or be ‘it’. Once someone is tagged, they must FREEZE until someone can ‘un-freeze’ them.

BONUS: have the participants tag only people on their head or softly. This will challenge the children to become more aware of how hard/fast/slow/soft their body is moving and challenge them to control their body while having fun in an arousal increasing task.

Freeze Dance

This can easily be done with as little as 2 people. Play a favorite song and have one person stop the song. Once the song stops, the other person must stop dancing, and is able to resume dancing only once the music starts again.

BONUS: alter the volume of the song to challenge the child, the softer the song, the harder it may be!

Yoga

You can easily search children’s yoga on YouTube, use a yoga book, or cards. If you are able, provide your child with a mat to complete their yoga. This will provide them will additional boundaries to challenge their body awareness.

BONUS: help your child focus on the breathing within each yoga pose as try not to skip the end parts of yoga which really focus on lowering our arousal and tuning into our body!

Simon Says

This classic game has endless possibilities when it comes to body awareness. You can play this game with as many as 2 people or 20 people! You can also play this game just about anywhere. Incorporate age-appropriate directions/commands (i.e. 1 step directions, or even 3 step directions) and also make it as silly as you can to keep your child engaged. Don’t forget to allow your child to be Simon as well!

BONUS: You can grade this activity, or make it more challenging, by having the participants play in sitting, laying down, with their eyes closed, using soft voices, using loud voices, using singing voices, or giving them a physical boundary (i.e. a cushion) to sit/stand on.

I hope you find these games easy, fun, and challenging all at the same time!

– Kristen Wilcox, MS, OTR/L