Proprioception 101

sensory systems 101

Proprioceptive Sensory Input

Proprioception is one of our sensory systems, which detects pressure/stretching in joints and muscles. You are constantly using proprioceptive sensory input to keep upright, grab items, adjust the intensity of your movements, and detect your body in space. One of the amazing applications of proprioception involves targeting this input to promote a calm, focused, and attentive state of awareness.

A variety of interventions can be utilized to facilitate these beneficial responses, including:

  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Going for a walk or jog
  • Using a weighted blanket, pillow, or stuffed animals
  • Coloring/sketching
  • Giving/receiving big hugs
  • Push-ups (on the wall or the ground)
  • Catching/throwing a ball
  • Jumping jacks
  • Manipulating putty or play-doh
  • Moving heavy boxes, bins, crates, or chairs
  • Riding a skateboard, scooter, or bike
  • Swinging
  • Yoga


Engaging in proprioceptive heavy activities can have calming effects that last for hours. Structure these activities before less tolerable tasks to utilize the benefits for increased function throughout the day!

This may look like:

  • 30 minutes of riding your bike before school
  • Playing at the playground before going to the grocery store
  • Participating in a FREE online yoga class for 15 minutes before a long car ride 
  • Trampoline breaks between homework assignments
  • 15 minutes of dancing before a test
  • Playing with thera-putty or play-doh before completing chores


As with all sensory regulation strategies, trial and error is your best friend. Not all techniques will work the first time, the same way every time, nor for all of time. Be observant to how your kiddo/students/self responds to the activity and adjust accordingly! 


You can find a video from one of our Occupational Therapy Assistants explaining the basics of this sensory system here!


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