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  • Writer's pictureLittle Bird

Heavy Work Activities

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Heavy work activities- using the body against resistance (also called proprioceptive input)- are regulating for most children, especially when they are purposeful and goal directed. They can be used to either calm an over stimulated child, or to energize an under stimulated child. Try integrating heavy work activities throughout your child's day to help them with attention, and emotional and behavioral regulation. Here are some examples:

Carry and push/pull heavy items such as:

  • Grocery bags.

  • Boxes or bins with toys or books.

  • Pillow cases few stuffed animals or toys.

  • Other kids around on a sheet or blanket.

  • A friend or heavy items in a wagon or wheelbarrow.

  • Heavy cushions or a beanbag chair (such as making a fort)

  • A child’s suitcase with items in it.

  • A child's cart with items in it

  • Large foam blocks

  • Tires

  • Push against a wall.

  • Do Chair or wall push-ups.

Help out around the house or yard

  • Mop/Sweep the floors.

  • Clean windows or the front of appliances using a spray bottle.

  • Rake grass/leaves, push wheelbarrow.

  • Vacuum or mop

  • Carry buckets of water to clean with or to water flowers/plants/trees.

  • Shovel sand into a wheelbarrow, wheel the wheelbarrow to a spot, dump out sand and use a rake to level it out.

  • Scrub rough surfaces with a brush.

  • Push in chairs to a table after a meal

  • Bathe the dog.

  • Wash the car.

  • Carry the laundry basket.

  • Help change the sheets on the bed.

  • Help rearrange furniture.

  • Put large toys or equipment away.

  • Wipe the table and counters.

  • Help dust the furniture.


  • Roller skate (uphill).

  • Make forts or play sandwich games with sofa cushions

  • Play in sandbox

  • Swim

  • Gymnastics.

  • Make forts with blankets and cushions.

  • Climb

  • Build walls with large foam blocks

  • 'Grocery shopping' with a child's cart

  • Have the child color a “rainbow” with large paper on the floor or with sidewalk chalk outside while child in on his/her hands and knees.

  • “Hot dog game” where the child lies across the end of a blanket and is rolled inside (ends up inside the rolled blanket with head outside).

  • Squeeze toys like stress balls or putty

  • Animal walks such as crab walk, bear walk, army crawl.

  • Play “row, row, row your boat” both sitting on the floor pushing and pulling each other.

  • ‘Exercises’ with theraband

  • Catch with a medicine ball

  • Pushup or sit up competitions

  • Use a body sock or resistance tunnel


  • Allow your child to chew gum, eat chewy or crunchy foods, or sip water from a water bottle with a straw while doing homework.

  • Drink thick liquids through a straw

  • Blow bubbles or play games requiring blowing through a straw

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