Playing in Prone: Superman Activities for All

Tummy Time for babies is a basic building block to prone extension for children and adults. 

What is that? Prone extension (aka the Superman) is when you lay on your stomach and lift your arms and legs straight off the ground. 

This position helps with balance, attention, and coordination. It’s also a good indicator if your child has postural control issues. 

Here’s some activities that can help your child at any age:

  • Completing activities (puzzles, reading a book, coloring/drawing or doing homework) while lying on their stomach and resting on elbows. 
  • Performing yoga poses, such as Cobra or Sphinx pose. While in this position, have them turn their head slowly from left to right, up and down. For a challenge, try Locust, Snake, or Upward Facing Dog poses.
  • Pretend play while on their belly. Have them pretend they are an airplane, spreading their arms out while lifting their head, upper body, and legs off the floor. They can also pretend that they are in the ocean swimming while singing “Baby Shark”. If your child is older, they might even be…Superman. 
  • Propelling on a scooter board while on their belly. Don’t have a scooter board? A skateboard (just put a towel on top of it) or a mechanic’s creeper could work as well. You can even have them hold a jump rope while you pull them (slowly and smoothly) around. 
  • While on a stability ball, have your child lie on their belly while you roll them forward and backwards on the ball by holding their hands or feet. Keep your grip loose so they can generate the movement. 
Bouncing Baby: Growing an In-Sync Child

If they are older, your child can roll back and forth on the ball by themselves, tapping their feet on the ground and pushing off so their hands touch the floor.

They can also crawl forward while on the ball so that they achieve a push up position, so the ball is underneath their legs. 

Remember, Tummy Time doesn’t have to be long and it doesn’t have to be just for babies. You can incorporate these activities a little every day. 

For more activities, check out our Activities list and the Child(ish) Advice Pinterest page

Prone and Supine Exercises: Doctor attributes Superman to Preventing Developmental Delays“, Integrated Learning Strategies.
Prone Extension Activities“, The OT Toolbox.
Kranowitz, C. and Newman, J. (2010). Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow.

Photo credit: Kranowitz, C. and Newman, J. (2010). Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn, and Grow. p. 64

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