From a baby your child starts to practise balancing as they sit, crawl, stand and walk. As your child gets older they should continue to practise balances to continue developing their awareness of their body position in space and their ability to move around in different ways. Practising balancing will help your child with other physical skills such as throwing, catching and kicking balls, riding a bike, jumping rope or climbing.
Balancing games are also great fun with lots of potential for laughter. My son and I have been falling over all week trying balances and some of them are harder for me than for him – so try these activities yourself. Many of these balances are suggested in The Wiggle and Giggle Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. For more detailed instructions read the book.
Start with the simplest balances on a wide stable base and progress to balances on narrow unstable bases. Start on the ground and progress to balances on heights. For safety, be nearby and ready to steady your child.
Challenge your child to hold these static balances for 5 or 10 seconds
- on hands and knees, balance on two hands and one knee, then balance on one hand and one knee
- balance on tiptoes
- stand on one leg
- lift one leg to the side and spread arms to the sides so you look like a star. Can you transfer from one side to the other?
- raise one leg behind you
- stand like a stork with one foot resting against your inner thigh
- lift one knee until it is level with your hips
- stand on a small stool. Try balancing on one foot, crouching down, standing on tiptoe, turning around, jumping and bending to pick up an object.
- sit and grab your big toes, lean back until you are balancing on your bottom in a V-shape. Straighten your legs and extend your arms to the side.
- stand and fold your arms across your chest. Cross one leg over the other. Now, sit down. Can you stand up again?
- walk along a chalk line or rope. Try walking fast, slow or backwards. Make the line a zigzag or into a shape.
- lay a ladder on the ground and walk between the rungs of a ladder. Walk on the rungs of the ladder.
- walk along a balance beam or log.
- Simon Says (do various static balances)
- a creative version of Follow the Leader
- Freeze or Musical Statues