We love tunnels and our kids love tunnels so we often find ways to incorporate them into therapy. We have standard tunnels with a ‘solid’ form and we have lycra tunnels that provide resistance that the kids have to work against. I thought I would take a moment and share one of the activities that we use our tunnel for to work on core strength (primarily) but other things as well.
We love to put the tunnel over top of our crash pad, although you can use pillows or couch cushions instead. Then we have them crawl through the tunnel over the crash pad. Often times they won’t be able to maintain hands and knees because it is a bit challenging but with practice their core gets stronger so they can crawl all the way through. If you have them doing reps you may notice that they will start off maintaining hands and knees but with increased repetitions they aren’t able to maintain it. This is because they don’t have the endurance in their core muscles to complete higher number of reps. Since core muscles are mainly used in an endurance type fashion, to help keep our trunk stable as we go about our day to day activities, making this a high repetition activity is a must. We use puzzles or toys with multiple pieces to keep the kids going over and over and over.
Some things to consider when you are setting up. The softer the surface, the harder it will be for the child. If you want to ease them into it find something that is a little firmer. Next would be the steeper the incline or decline the harder it will be. For a kiddo just starting out using a flatter surface will be easier. You can also start them out on softer and steeper and as the repetitions increase make it firmer and flatter.
In addition to working on core strengthening it also gives kiddos a chance to crawl which many kids skip in this day and age. With crawling they get to work on motor planning between their left and right sides as well as between their arms and legs and use reciprocal patterning. All in all we love this activity!
How have you used tunnels?