7 Great Exercise Videos Stimulating the Vestibular System for Children with Sensory Challenges
Exercise has great physical benefits. It maintains cardiovascular health (preventing conditions like stroke and heart disease), boosts strength and gross motor skills and assists our bodies in managing blood sugar and insulin levels, which can help with weight control. In addition, exercise can help regulate our sensory and nervous systems, and boost mental health and self-esteem.
While beneficial, exercise can sometimes be challenging for children with sensory processing issues. If our child’s vestibular system is not functioning correctly, they may be fearful of movement, and have issues with balance and coordination. Problems with proprioception (body awareness) can also have an impact, as our child struggles to ‘feel’ what their body is doing while moving.
Other sensory issues can also factor. Our child may get upset or distracted if the environment they are exercising in is too noisy or has a strong smell, or if there are other children shouting or brushing up against them.
Exercising at home can therefore be a nice option for our children. The Internet is a great place to start – there are lots of freely available exercise videos online, some of which are specifically aimed at children with additional needs. We share some of our favourites below.
As an alternative to screen-centred exercise, we have also put together a big list of fun physical activities and games to try at home.
Exercise and Workout Vidoes
This brilliant 28-video series from the US-based National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) goes through many aspects of exercise, including some sensory integration information. While the videos are designed with Autistic children in mind, they would be beneficial for any individual with sensory processing needs.
This is a great series for keeping your younger children fit. There are some nice easy exercises which are well explained and demonstrated with lots of time to get it right. These are nice to do with your child.
This is a brilliant resource by Cosmic Kids is helpful to teach yoga and mindfulness to smaller children. There are lots of great themes to keep it fun and engaging for children with all interests. They use simple instructions so this may also work for some older children with learning difficulties.
Lucy includes drawings in her workout videos to add interest for children.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo includes a very large series of videos.
They have some fun songs and some easy to follow dance moves or you can just do your own thing. There is something for any child’s taste.
This channel boasts “healthy music for a child’s heart, body and mind”. It is aimed at toddlers and pre-school children with lots of songs to sing and dance along to. Lovely simple movements so easy to follow or just freestyle dance to.
Joe Wicks is a popular fitness trainer. Over the first lockdown, Joe streamed a live “PE class” every week day for children to exercise along to. They are all available on his YouTube channel.