Many aspects of development are strongly influenced by oral functions and respiration, including sensory integration.  When children do not have adequate respiration they may fatigue quickly as their muscles are not getting enough oxygen. They may also have difficulty with self regulation and encouraging deep breathing can help to calm a child. As a result, including respiratory activities into your child’s routine may have a positive impact on his or her participation in daily activities.

·         Human Drum: Have child lie on back with neck flexed. Make jungle sounds while gently drumming on belly, under ribcage, or on chest and listen to sound changes.

·         Boat Ride: Have child lie on back on inner tube or pillows and pretend to make the sounds of a motor boat by vibrating lips together.

·         Animal Noises: Either seated or crawling, you can facilitate diaphragmatic action with animal noises (grunting pig, sniffing dog, purring cat, donkey he-haw, owl hoot)

·         Rescue Game: Pretending to be a firefighter, policeman or EMT provides a creative way to help children feel good about saving someone (toy or stuffed animals). This activity provides the opportunity to make loud vibratory noises and the child can change the pitch of the sound while working on coordinating musculature of abdomen and chest.

·         Belly Dancing: Have child lie on back with neck propped up. Place lightweight stuffed animal on belly and see if they can move their belly and make the animal dance until it falls off.

·         “I Smell A…”: Encourage child to do sniffing activities to encourage diaphragm contractions while pretending to smell silly things.

·         Laughing and Play: Gets respiratory muscles working, especially when child is reduced to snorting

·         The Laugh Game: A game for 2-4 players.  The first person says “Ha”.  The 2nd person says “Ha-Ha”, the 3rd person says “Ha-Ha-Ha”, and it goes on , adding a Ha on each turn until everyone is laughing.

·         Silly Songs: Incorporate singing into play whenever possible. Songs with exclamations in them (pop goes the Weasel!, No more monkeys!), facilitate stronger exhalations. Songs with repeated words encourage sound sequencing and longer inspiratory checking.

·         Ghost Tag: You can’t be tagged if you are making ghost noises (“Ooo”). Encourages sustained exhalation.

·         Whistles, Puffamils and Bubbles: Great tools to facilitate respiration

·         Playing in the Band: pretending to be in a marching band using different household items (paper towel rolls, paper cups, water bottles).

·         Bubble Mountain: Fill a container with lukewarm water and dishwashing soap. Using a straw, blow bubbles in the water/soap mixture to make a mountain of bubbles.  

·         Bubble Paper Printing: Set up Bubble Mountain and have liquid food coloring and paper available.  Once you blow a mountain of bubbles, drop several drops of food coloring and press white paper into bubbles.

·         Balloons: once a child has good respiratory strength for force exhalation and adequate jaw and lip closure, they can work on blowing up balloons.

·         Blowing Relay Races: While on scooter or crawling, use straws to blow cotton balls, ping pong balls, or other lightweight objects down the hall or across a table.

·         Straw Pick-up games: Using short straw and lightweight objects, try to inhale to pick up objects and place at another location.

·         Jump and Count: Create rhythmical jumping activities where child can jump and count out loud to increase respiratory volume and endurance.