Last weekend I spent a day chopping down an overgrown hedge and trees in our garden.  It was hard, physical work.  Physically I felt shattered, my muscles ached, I was so stiff – but I actually felt good, in fact I had much more energy and felt a lot less tired than usual.  It led me to think again about how important proprioception (heavy muscle work) is for our well being, and how for most of us it is missing in our modern sedentary lifestyle.

When we contract our muscles, messages are sent from our muscles, joints and tendons to our brain to provide a map of where are body is moving.  This sensory information allows us to move in a coordinated manner, to plan and time our movements, to judge the correct amount of force to use, to know where our body is moving.  This sensory input is known as proprioception.

Why do we get a feel-good factor when we do heavy muscle work?  Proprioception has a regulatory role on our arousal level in general, and is also thought to have a regulating role of other sensations such as tactile and vestibular input.  It is thought to help regulate over responsivity to movement and to decrease over responsivity to touch.

To find out more about proprioception and its role in motor coordination and regulation see the Autumn Term courses.


Proprioceptive Activities

Here are a few ideas of heavy work activities for home and school.

Physical Activities

  • Swimming
  • Gymnastics
  • Martial arts
  • Climbing
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Trampolining
  • Horse riding
  • Hill walking


  • Go to the park
  • Climb on a climbing frame
  • Climb up a slide
  • Hang on monkey bars
  • Make an obstacle course
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Bounce on a space hopper
  • Play with wet sand
  • Carry bucket of water or sand
  • Run on the sand at the beach
  • Wade in the sea
  • Rough and tumble play
  • Go to a soft play park


Indoor Chores

  • Carry the laundry basket
  • Load and unload the washing machine
  • Unpack groceries
  • Carry heavy items
  • Hoover
  • Sweep
  • Dust
  • Stack chairs
  • Rearrange furniture

Outdoor Jobs

  • Push a wheelbarrow
  • Sweep
  • Dig the garden
  • Carry buckets of water
  • Wash the car
  • Put large toys away
  • Put the bins out

Classroom Activities

  • Wall push ups
  • Chair push ups
  • Push on theraband round chair legs
  • Wear a weighted jacket
  • Clean the blackboard
  • Rearrange the furniture
  • Put chairs on top of desks
  • Squeeze playdough
  • Carry books
  • Animal walks
  • Squats
  • Star jumps


Autumn Term Courses

There is a programme of courses arranged for the Autumn Term including an advanced two day course on behaviour.   All the courses are held at The SPACE Centre, Preston and are open to teachers, professionals and parents. Applications are now open for all courses and places are allocated on a first come first served basis.

All courses are also available as INSET or in house training, please contact us for further details and prices.

Setting Up Motor Programmes in Schools

More about this course

3 October 2017

Many children in education have not developed the basic motor skills that lay the foundation for academic learning to take place.  Research has shown that by developing children’s foundational motor skills, through motor programmes in schools, progress is seen in academic and learning skills such as handwriting, reading, hand-eye coordination, concentration and attention. The aim of this course is enable school staff to identify children with motor learning difficulties and equip them to set up appropriate individual or group  motor programmes in school. The course also gives staff the necessary tools to screen children’s motor skills so enabling potential problems to be detected early in the child’s school life.  There will be a practical session in the large sensory room at SPACE.

Introduction to Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorder 

More about this course

18 and 19 October 2017

Some people don’t behave as we expect them to – not because they won’t, but because they can’t. Inefficient processing of sensory messages that come from their body and environment often cause this unexpected behaviour. These people may withdraw from physical contact, refuse to participate in typical classroom and playground activities, or respond in an unusual way to ordinary sensations such as touch, movement, sights and sounds.

This popular two day course will provide participants with an understanding of sensory processing disorder and the everyday difficulties that children and adults experience at school, home and other settings. The main focus of this course will be to give participants the tools necessary to identify and analyse sensory behaviours, and then set up simple and appropriate sensory strategies. There will be a practical session in the large sensory room at SPACE on Day 2.

Making SENSE of Behaviour

More about this course

22 and 23 November 2017

How do we make sense of some of the difficult behaviours we see in children and adults that we work with?  Is it just behaviour? is all behaviour “communication”? or is it more complex than this?

For example, how do we make sense of:

  • A child who appears to be consistently defiant and manipulative
  • A young person who head bangs without any apparent trigger
  • A child who never sits still, seems to be constantly distracted and unable to concentrate

Understanding why individuals behave in the way that they do, and how it may be linked to sensory processing difficulties, is fundamental to developing appropriate and effective strategies and interventions that will lead to effective change.

The aim of this two day advanced course is to provide teachers and health professionals with a structured framework to develop an understanding of an individual’s behaviour, drawing on ideas from a variety of approaches to develop an individualised formulation. This will inform a clear intervention involving developing and implementing appropriate and effective strategies and programmes to assist the individual in school, home and other settings. Understanding and integrating sensory integration theory into the formulation and intervention will form a key part of the course. There will be a practical session in the large sensory room at SPACE on Day 2.

This course provides an extension to the knowledge gained on the course ‘Introduction to Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorder’.