Balance is essential for participating in many daily tasks as well as maintaining proper posture for tabletop activities. It is also crucial for involvement in physical activities that children may partake in at school, during gym class, or at recess.
Here are ways your child can improve their skills with fun activities or during their daily routine.
Fun Activities to Help Your Child Improve Balance Skills
Hopscotch is a simple and easy game to play to help improve your child’s balance. Play it indoors by putting tape on the floor or outdoors by drawing it out with chalk out on the sidewalk. Throw an object onto one of the spaces. When your child gets to the object, they have to bend down and pick it up while keeping their balance.
Start a dance party at home with your child’s favorite music. When the music stops, everyone should stay in the position they are in and hold it until the music starts again. This activity will help challenge the body’s ability to stop quickly when they’re moving.
Yoga poses – tree pose, airplane pose, boat pose, crescent moon pose, eagle pose, and mountain pose – are great for challenging your child’s stability as well as cultivating body awareness and relaxation.
Create an obstacle course at home. Make a trail of pillows that your child has to balance on while getting to each activity. Double up on the pillows and vary the spacing between them to increase the challenge.
Stand on One Foot
There are many ways to make balancing on one foot more fun than just standing in place. Try playing balloon volleyball using only one foot. Knock objects over and place then upright again without putting your foot down. Or, make picking up dirty clothes into a game by having your child lift the clothes into the laundry basket with the top of one foot.
Have your child walk across a balance beam or use tape on the ground to practice heel-to-toe walking. Use either or both as part of an obstacle course. Challenge your child by having them walk heel-to-toe forward and backward, or sidestep on the beam.
Place stepping stones or floor markers around the house. Then have your child take giant steps to get to the next one without any steps in between.
Find a park near you that has a jungle gym with different types of climbing structures, such as a rock-climbing wall or suspended climbing ladders.
You can purchase a balance board or make your own using a flat surface made of wood with a ball or 5-7” PVC or ABS pipe with thick walls placed underneath it. Quiz your child on math facts or spelling words while they try to keep their footing on the board!
Balance on a Trampoline
If you have a trampoline at home, have your child stand on one foot. To further challenge them, have someone walk on the trampoline while they still try to keep their balance.
Ways Your Child Can Improve Balance In Their Daily Routine
During the school year, it’s harder to find time to plan and execute activities to work on your child’s balance, so here are some ways you can incorporate balance activities into your child’s daily routine:
Encourage your child to put their pants on while standing up.
Have your child stand on one foot while they brush their teeth before school and at night. The act of moving their arm to brush and holding their balance will be a great challenge for them!
Walking to Bus Stop
There are many ways to challenge your child’s balance while walking to the bus stop, such as hopping on one foot, walking backward (with parent supervision) or walking heel-to-toe (if you have the extra time to get to the stop).
If your child has a scooter, have them ride it to the bus stop by balancing on one foot and propelling the scooter with the other.
Have your child sit on an exercise ball, wobble stool, or pillow to challenge their core while reading their favorite book before bed.
About Skills 4 Life:
Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services in the Boulder & Denver area to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at email@example.com or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.