Heavy Work Activities

Heavy work activities involve pushing or pulling against resistance. Heavy work activities can be used to to help calm children and as exercises to promote upper extremity strength and stabilization.

Heavy Work Activities
  • Place heavy objects on a scooter or in a wheelbarrow and have the child push it around the room.
  • Place several text books or other heavy objects (but not too much weight) in a child’s backpack
  • Have the child give you a “ride” by pushing you in a wheeled chair or scooter. Then switch and give him a ride!
  • Have the child lie on his belly on a scooter and propel himself around the room.
  • While lying on the scooter board, pull self up a ramp
  • Pulling games such as tug-of-war or have the child sit on a scooter or swing  and hang on to a rope while you pull with the other end.
  • Squeeze toys such as stress balls
  • Push the walls
  • Pull apart velcro toys fastened by heavy-duty velcro
  • Crawl through the fabric tunnel or push a large therapy ball through the tunnel
  • Therapy putty exercises
  • Pinch, pull, and squeeze
  • Find hidden objects
  • Theraband Exercises
  • Hold theraband with both hands and pull apart to each side
  • Stand on the theraband with both feet and pull up with both arms out to the side or in front

Heavy Work Activities with Small Groups
  • Parachute games
  • Have one child sit in the center of a parachute while another child pulls the parachute around with adult assistance.
  • Tug-of-war games
  • Push and pull peers on the scooter board
  • Have two kids sit back to back, lock arms, and attempt to stand up
  • Have two kids stand facing each other and place hands palm to palm. Have the kids lean into each other holding each other up.
  • Row, Row, Row your boat game
  • Kids sit on the floor facing each other. The kids hold onto a rope or each other’s hands. As you sing the song, one person leans back as the other leans forward going back and forth.
  • Have kids push a large or weighted ball back and forth
  • Have a child push against a large therapy ball while another child gives resistance from the other side
Working in Different Positions
  • Many activities can be modified to involve heavy work simply by changing the "work" position. These positions are great for providing heavy work and proprioception
    • Kneeling
    • Standing at a table or desk
    • Sitting on an exercise ball
    • Laying prone (belly down) on the floor
    • Squat
    • Long Leg Sitting
    • 1/2 Kneel (one leg kneeling)