Jumping on a trampoline has many health and therapeutic benefits for individuals age 2 years and older that are outlined below. As a parent, you need to consider both the benefits and safety risks of using a trampoline to determine if using a trampoline is in the best interest for your child.
Safety First: There are a few diagnoses that jumping is a contraindication for such as Down Syndrome, Chiari Malformation, Spine conditions, lax joints, etc. Risk takers may overlook their own safety, however ANY child using a trampoline should always be supervised by an adult.
Inspect your trampoline before each use to make sure the springs are adequately covered for safety. Please consult with your doctor if you have any questions about your child’s use of a mini trampoline.
*Strengthening – Jumping strengthens core and leg muscles
*Bone growth – Weight bearing, such as jumping, strengthens one’s bones
*Proprioception – Jumping gives sensory input to one’s muscles and joints to understand where their body is in space to improve gross motor and fine motor skills. Proprioceptive sensory input is also organizing and calming to one’s nervous system to assist with obtaining an optimal level of alertness and focus.
*Vestibular – Jumping gives sensory input through the stimulation of the inner ear as the head moves through positional changes. Vestibular sensory input helps an individual perceive their movement so they can move smoothly, maintain balance, and be confident with gravitational security.
*Self-regulation tool – Jumping is a form of proprioceptive sensory input that can be either calming for overresponsive or alerting for under responsive individuals
*Neurochemical Regulation – Jumping releases serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the brain that reduce stress and increase positive feelings
*Cardiovascular health – Jumping contributes to keeping your heart healthy
*Social interaction – turn taking and following rules
*Expressive Language – work on action words (“jump”, “stop”), counting jumps, requesting
*Mastering age appropriate skills – jumping is age appropriate for a 2 year old child and can sometimes be easier to learn on a trampoline versus on the ground
Expanding use of trampoline beyond just jumping (sensory motor learning):
*Play catch with your child while they are jumping
*Use chalk to draw shapes, letters, or math problems on trampoline, take a movement break by jumping on the trampoline, and then wash off with a wet sponge and repeat these steps
*Jump while spelling out loud one’s spelling words
Written by Lisa Herrmann, M.S. OTR/L