We have lots of ball pits and we make lots of obstacle course adventures – today one of our Great Kids combined the two!
The challenge is to move over the arch, under the wedge, through the parallel blocks and climb up the rectangles to get through the ball pit and out to the jump deck before the sharks and fish get you.
While creating this course, we built strength, endurance, and balance by lifting and carrying the large blocks to place them in the just right place. Moving through the ball pit and over and under the blocks also works on improving core strength and body awareness. Play in the ball pit also helps to normalize touch sensitivities and provides an overall calming experience.
Through whole body movements of going over, under, through and up children come to understand spatial concepts that are important for academic skills. One example is handwriting – when explaining how to write a letter we often say something like, “start at the top of the page, go under the line and back up”. If a student does not internally understand these spatial concepts then they will have difficulty translating this onto the page. In other words, we feel what “up” is by climbing up. We feel what “under” is by crawling under. These movements of our body help us to eventually create letters. Spatial concepts are also important in math, science, computers and many other academic subjects.
Having fun with the ball pit obstacle course helped this Great Kid with his postural control, motor planning, regulation, and spatial understanding. He thought he was just having a good time.