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Why should kids work on a vertical surface?

1. Improves wrist extension & allows for a mature grasp pattern

Wrist extension allows for a child to develop a more mature grasp pattern on the writing utensil and improves fine motor control. A flexed wrist limits the child’s use of their fingers due to shortening of the finger tendons that help to stabilize the wrist. With extension of the wrist, more finger dexterity is available for the child, which is a key component for handwriting and other daily functional tasks.

2. Increases bilateral coordination skills:

Bilateral integration skills are developed when working on a vertical surface as a child stabilizes the surface with the alternate hand.

3. Promotes upper body strengthening:

Working on a large surface allows for the child to increase upper body strength through performing tasks against gravity. Vertical surfaces also promotes shoulder stability and range of motion.

4. Encourages postural stability and core strength:

Tasks performed on a vertical surface require activation of a child’s abdominal muscles to maintain an upright posture. Having a child stand on a stability pad or tall kneeling at the vertical surface requires even more core strength and dynamic balance skills.

5. Allows for crossing midline:

Voluntarily crossing midline helps to make vital right and left side of the brain connections that influence a child’s ability to perform complex bilateral movements of their upper extremities. Some important tasks that require crossing midline are tying shoes, reading, writing and developing a hand dominance, to name just a few!

6. Helps increase attention to tasks and improve sensory regulation:

When a child’s eyes are closer to the task and they are in standing, it is common for their visual attention to the task to increase and their bodies to feel more regulated.

Activities to try on a vertical surface at home:

  • Playing with shaving cream on the mirror

  • Finger painting or painting with a brush on an easel

  • Playing with magnets or magnatiles on the fridge

  • Using a spray bottle to make letters, number or shapes "disappear"

  • Hang up a large piece of paper to the wall and have your child play with stamps, stickers or even stick pom poms to the paper

  • Hang up bubble wrap and allow child to pop the bubbles with their fingers

  • Dot painting on paper

  • Create letters, shapes, and pre-writing strokes via wikki sticks or play doh to stick to the mirror

  • Connect the dots, numbers, or letters

  • Hang sensory bags to the wall and allow your child to explore the bags

  • Drawing on a chalkboard or dry erase board

  • Using a slant board for coloring and writing tasks

  • Roll a ball up the wall using both arms without making it fall

  • Sticking on reusable stickers on glass doors

  • Encourage your child to help clean the windows, mirrors, your car or any large surface areas

Any of these activities can be performed in standing, tall kneeling, sitting on a therapy ball, prone on a therapy ball or standing on a stability pad for added core strengthening, postural control and stability, as well as balance.


The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at


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