Playfull Ways to Promote Vestibular Development
Playfull ways to promote Vestibular Development
Vestibu… Say What?!?
In the space between our ears lives a collection of curiously shaped fluid filled canals called our Vestibular System. The movement of the fluid in the canals tells our brain where we are in space. It tells us if we are forward, backward, up, down, tilting, spinning, leaning and how fast or slow we’re moving.
The Vestibular system is so very important in helping with our ability to move smoothly and efficiently. It helps us use our eyes effectively and to process sounds in our environment. Overall, our vestibular system helps us feel confident when moving and interacting with our surroundings.
Vestibular System Development
Crawling is the first experience most children have in the development of the vistublar system. It is vital for very young children to experiences this cross patterning action through spinning, rolling, rocking and swaying in a very slow and calm manner.
If the movement is too fast the vestibular system becomes over stimulated and instead of the experience being valuable and learning for the body and brain it becomes unpleasant, and the child will not want to repeat it. Lack of repetition and practice in this area can be detrimental to vestibular development.
So how do we as parents support our kids through this! As with any children’s activity it should be done through a fun play experience rather than a formal teaching exercise, particularly for under 5's.
Playfull Ways to Help Vestibular Systems
- finger plays
- singing with hand actions
- movement to music - swaying, turning, twisting
- rolling - down a hill, across the floor or bed
- swinging or rocking - swings and piggy backs are great for this
- spinning - alone, with an adult or with friends in a circle holding hands
- play hide and seek games - hanging hide and seek is our favourite
- spinning upside down - from a swing, with an adult
- dancing - pretending to be ballerinas
- play crawling games - race your baby or toddler inside or out
- playing Ring a Ring a Rosie or Duck, Duck, Goose
- being pushed around the house or backyard in a box or the washing basket - don't forget to go backwards, and to turn corners
- attend a playgroup they're a great place for kids to enjoy new experiences in fun ways
Don't forget movement play needs to be done in a slow and calm manner!
This blog has been written as one in a series of articles aimed a increasing the knowledge and skills of parents and early childhood educators within the Wide Bay Region and is part of the Moving Smart Community Project.