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Body awareness

What is body awareness?

It’s when our muscles, joints and tendons help tell us what position our body is in.

Most children develop the ability to integrate information about their body through everyday activities.  An awareness of our body comes from muscle and joint sensations, and touch sensation from the skin receptors.  This information allows the brain to know where each body part is and how it moves without looking.

Body awareness gives smooth and coordinated movements to a child’s actions. It enables them to know how hard and fast to throw a ball to a friend playing catch.  It’s needed so that a child can feel the desk and chair and know where and how to sit.  Body awareness allows a child’s hands to feel and know how to hold a pencil.

Activities to support body awareness

These include things that involve:

  • jumping
  • bouncing
  • crawling
  • balancing
  • negotiating different spaces using different actions.

Here’s a few activity examples of to help develop your child’s body awareness.

Obstacle course

Use different objects around the school/home, for example a chair or table to build an obstacle course.  Encourage your child to watch and then follow you around the course.

For an extra challeng, give verbal instructions such as ‘crawl under the table and then hop to the bedroom’. Reinforce concepts, for example through, front, back, middle, under, over, behind or above

Animal walks

Help your child explore how their body moves, for quickly, slowly jerkily. Ask them to move like an animal (fast, slow, high, and low).  Ask your child to move sideways like a crab, forwards like a crab, forwards like a rabbit etc.


Commercially available from most toys shops. You can also make your own version by placing rows of different coloured circles on the floor.  Make up some instructions cards which say things like ‘place left foot on green circle’ and ‘right hand on blue circle’ for example.

Hide and seek

Encourage your child to hide themselves in something.  This helps to reinforce their body space.


Pour water, rice or dried peas from one container to another. Start with one container on a flat surface and pour into it, then progress to your child holding both containers and pouring.

Family activities

Chose things that involve appropriate types of movement. Children often find doing something with their family more appealing that doing it alone and the whole family may discover new, healthy activities.  Activities may include walking, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, playing tennis or cricket.