Core Activation Activities

By Erica Gliga MOT, OTR/L

More core, please! Core strength is foundational for developing an upright posture and motor skill development. Here are some different ideas to inspire activities that will actively engage your child’s core through play and movement. 

Swinging, Climbing, and Sliding

  • Swinging is a great way to activate the core and increase bilateral coordination which is how the left and right sides of our bodies work together
  • Climbing on structures (ex: playground ladder, rock wall) increases core stability in order to provide a base of support for legs and arms to move
  • Sliding requires a lot of postural stability to remain upright


  • Long-legged or wide-legged seat 
  • On tummy, propped up on elbows
    • Books, coloring, card or board games
  • On hands and knees or crawling
    • Crawl to collect pieces of a puzzle in a tunnel and complete puzzle on all fours
  • High kneeling
    • Reach to pop bubbles or color/paint against a vertical surface

Animal Walks

  • Crab Walk – Sit on the floor, lift your bottom up and move around by using your hands and feet only. Move forwards, backward, and sideways. It is challenging!
  • Bear Walk – While standing, bend and reach for the floor with hands
    • Add an animal walk to a daily routine: bear crawl then bath time! You might even roar like bears along the way
  • Snake – Lay on the floor and wiggle your body

Couch Cushions and Pillows

  • Work together to build a fort with couch cushions, pillows, and blankets; fun and playful for adults, too!
  • Make a hill of cushions/pillows to climb up or over to retrieve preferred items
  • Lay cushions/pillows down and walk/run across pillows to challenge balance


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