OT Time!

Core Strengthening


Did You Know? ...

Poor core strength could be contributing to your child’s inability to sit still.

The body’s core refers to the muscles surrounding the abdomen, pelvis and back. It is the foundation for children to be able to assume and maintain an upright posture while standing and sitting without support. Core strength affects head position, shoulder position, elbow position, wrist position, and finger position.


Possible Signs of Poor Core Strength

  • Changing positions frequently
  • W sitting
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Using “helper hand” to prop themselves up
  • Slumping and slouching
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Leaning on chair or other furniture
  • Poor endurance during exercise
  • Struggling to get up and down off ground


 A Stronger Core Can Improve Handwriting! Here’s Why:

  • Children with weak cores often tend to sit with a modified base of support, slumping over on their desks or leaning on their elbows. This inefficient posture can lead to poor handwriting.
  • A weak core can lead to inattention or inability to focus, which impacts alertness levels needed for handwriting.
  • A child’s non-dominant hand cannot support the paper when writing if the core is not engaged. Legibility is impacted when the paper is not stabilized.
  • A weak core can lead to fidgeting, slouching, and slumping, which all impact a child’s ability to sit and complete handwriting tasks.
  • A weak core can lead to weak fine motor skills. When the core is weak, it becomes difficult to hold a pencil or complete in-hand manipulation tasks.


Activities to Help Strengthen Core

  • Pumping legs to swing on a swing
  • Walking, running, or biking to school
  • Climbing on playground equipment
  • Karate
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Bike riding
  • Tree climbing
  • Jumping or hopping games
  • Crawling through obstacle courses
  • Using a scooter board
  • Heavy lifting chores (i.e., carrying laundry baskets and grocery bags)
  • Pushing/pulling chores (i.e.,  sweeping, shoveling)
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Animal walks
  • Playing games while kneeling at table
  • Playing games on all fours (hands and knees)


Specific questions or comments?

Contact your school’s occupational therapist!


Information Compiled by Melissa Lavorgna, MOT, OTR/L


This information is also available as a printable handout.