What Is Body Awareness?
Body awareness for kids is being aware of their body parts. It is how connected or conscious they are of their own bodies. It is alternatively termed kinesthesia or the awareness and movement of body parts in relation to joints and muscles.
This awareness lets your kids know how close they need to move to be able to reach something, how to walk without watching your feet and how high they need to step up onto a curb.
You might notice that your child is more conscious about their regular movements as they are younger, for example, when they are starting to walk or step over curbs. However, these movements then become more natural and happen without conscious thoughts as they grow older.
Why Is Body Awareness Important?
The importance of body awareness varies to a great extent, all the way from physical to the emotional well-being of your child. Some prime benefits of body awareness include:
Provides better stability and balance
One of the prime benefits of good body awareness is that it helps your kid have a better body and mind connection.
When they know and feel where their body is in space, they are able to direct it better to perform specific activities.
From sitting still in class to walking across a balance beam, good body awareness provides your child with the stability and balance they need.
Eases anxiety and stress
Anxiety and stress can be quite overwhelming for kids, but with good body awareness, they know how to focus on the present. When they are aware of their own bodies, they are less likely to worry about tripping, falling over, or peers making fun of them during PE class.
Awareness of the body helps kids know their capabilities, which in turn, boosts their self-confidence. When they are able to control their bodies, they know what they are capable of and feel more confident about themselves.
This is especially beneficial for kids who are shy or have low self-esteem.
Improved emotional and mental well-being
Good body awareness not only helps in managing pain but also reduces stress and anxiety. This, in turn, leads to improved emotional and mental well-being.
When kids are aware of their bodies, they know how to control their emotions better. This allows them to regulate their emotions and have a better sense of self-awareness.
It can reduce:
Meeting and identifying their needs
Kids who are aware of their bodies are able to identify their needs better. They know when they need to rest, how much they need to eat and when they need to drink water. This means they are able to understand their bodily needs from moment to moment.
This is a very useful skill for kids as it helps them take care of themselves better. In fact, when your kid is bodily aware, they are able to reach out to you much better in times of emotional and physical distress.
Having said that, there is a list of body awareness exercises that your child can perform for improved body awareness.
11 Best Body Awareness Activities for Kids
- Tightrope Walking
- Mirror Mirror
- Simon Says
- Keep up the Balloon
- Dance to Action Songs
- Single-Leg Balance
- Imitate Animal Movements
- Ride A Bike
- Improve Your Child’s Lateral Movement
- Play Catch
This is a classic game that requires your child to be aware of their body and its movement in space. The game is a form of physical therapy that helps improve your child’s coordination, balance, and focus.
Create a hopscotch grid with cement or chalk. You can also mark it with tape on your floor. Use a basic 8 to 10 square pattern. Depending on the number of squares that you have made, your child will simply hop on one or two feet.
If you throw a minor object on one of the squares, your child must skip over that particular square. The purpose of the game is to improve hop, coordination, focus, and balance.
This fun activity requires your child to focus on their movement and also helps with balancing their body. All you need is a long rope or a balance beam! Just make sure the rope is taut and not loose.
Tightrope walking helps your child focus on their movement and also develop a sense of balance. It improves coordination and develops gross motor skills.
To set up, secure the rope at two different points. You can use chairs, tables, or even walls to do so. The rope should be at hip level or a little lower so that your child can focus on walking without worrying about falling.
For younger children, you can use a balance beam which makes walking along the beam slightly higher than just walking on the floor.
Stand in front of your child and get them to copy what you are doing, like they are your “mirror”.
Depending on your child’s age and ability, they may find certain movements tricky like standing on one leg or moving slowly. This game can encourage them to practice these difficult movements in a fun way!
Alternatively, if you are working with a group of children, you can play Simon Says.
If you are not familiar with Simon Says, it requires a leader to call out Simon Says to [insert action]. Then the rest of the group needs to do the action. However, when the leader just calls out the action without “Simon Says” in the beginning, the group should NOT do the action. Those who do the action are out of the game.
To make it trickier and to continue working on the body awareness skills, you can get them to practice these while they have their eyes closed.
When you have your eyes closed, you aren’t able to look at where you are touching, therefore enhancing your body awareness skills.
Keep up the Balloon
This is one of my favorite activities! Keeping up the balloon is great to encourage changes in body position, spatial awareness, balance, and general coordination skills.
Keep up the balloon is where everyone is trying to keep the balloon up and not touch the ground. This can be fun when you have one child or multiple children playing the game.
To make it harder, you can also increase the number of balloons that they need to keep up in the air.
For older children, you can call out different body parts and get them to only touch the balloon with that particular body part. For example, when you call our “arm”, they can only keep the balloon up using their arm and no other part of their body.
You might want to encourage them to have some personal space to avoid bumping into each other!
Dance to Action Songs
There are so many action songs that you can dance to. For example, the most common ones are If you are happy and you know it, Head shoulders knees and toes, or Hokey pokey.
This action song encourages the children to do different actions with their body parts. The speed of the song also encourages them to do it within a specific time frame.
This is a great activity for children who enjoy singing and dancing. It is also great for bilateral coordination, crossing mideline and motor planning.
This is a great game for children who are older and can balance on one leg already (with their eyes opened).
To set up, have your child stand on one leg with their eyes closed. If they are able to do so without losing balance, increase the time for which they need to stand on one leg. If your child is struggling to balance, you can hold their hand to help them.
This is a great activity to help them improve their body awareness and balance skills.
Imitate Animal Movements
This is a fun activity that requires your child to imitate the movements of different animals. This helps them be aware of their body and also develop gross motor skills.
To set up, ask your child to imitate the movements of different animals such as a cat, dog, snake, or bird. You can also create a game out of it by asking them to imitate the movements of different animals in a sequence.
For example, you can ask them to first crawl like a snake, then walk like a dog, and then jump like a rabbit.
This activity is not only fun but also helps your child develop gross motor skills.
Ride A Bike
This is a great physical exercise to help your child develop coordination and balance. Cycling also helps improve fitness levels and cardiovascular health.
You might want to bike in your backyard or at the local park. As they pedal, make sure they are aware of their surroundings and avoid any obstacles.
To make it more difficult, you can create an obstacle course using cones or other objects. Encourage them to manouveur their bike so they avoid those objects.
Improve Your Child’s Lateral Movement
To develop your child’s sense of laterality, ask them to kneel on the floor and then crawl sideways like a crab. This helps them be aware of their body in space and also develop gross motor skills.
To set up, have your child kneel on the floor with their hands behind their back. Then, ask them to crawl sideways like a crab. You can also ask them to crawl forward and then backward.
As they crawl, make sure they are aware of their surroundings and avoid any obstacles.
This activity is not only fun but also helps your child develop their sense of laterality.
Playing catch is a great way to increase body awareness, improve coordination and motor planning skills. It also helps children be aware of their bodies and surroundings.
To set up, find a place where you can play catch without any obstacles.
Once you have found a suitable place, start playing catch with your child. As you throw the ball, make sure they are aware of their surroundings and avoid any obstacles.
This activity is not only fun but also helps your child develop coordination.
These are some of the best activities that promote body awareness for kids. These activities not only help them be aware of their body but also develop gross motor skills. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try these activities with your child to develop body awareness today!
If you think your child has difficulty with their body awareness, contact your child’s local doctor, occupational therapist, or physical therapist.
Hoshaw, C. (2021, February 26). Body awareness: How to deepen your connection with your body. Healthline. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mind-body/body-awareness#benefits
Greutman, H., & Kurhade, N. (2021, September 16). 10 body awareness activities for Kids. Growing Hands-On Kids. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://www.growinghandsonkids.com/10-body-awareness-activities-kids.html
Mcilroy, T. (2022, February 23). 25 simple body awareness activities for young kids. Empowered Parents. Retrieved March 25, 2022, from https://empoweredparents.co/body-awareness-activities/#:~:text=Body%20awareness%20for%20kids%20is,they%20are%20located%20in%20space.&text=What%20is%20this%3F&text=Body%20awareness%20helps%20us%20know,walk%20without%20watching%20our%20feet.