What is balance?
It’s our ability to keep our body in a controlled position when sitting and performing an activity, and when standing and moving. It’s a foundation skill that we all need
to perform more complex task such as football, skipping and dancing.
Introducing balance activities for your child
It’s important to introduce activities that are not too easy or too hard for your child and think about the following things.
Children need to be able to adjust their balance in many positions. Introduce activities that require your child to balance on all fours, then on their knees, then
sitting and finally standing. The closer the child is to the ground, the easier it is to balance.
Width of base
The wider the base, the easier it will be to balance.
Stability of the surface
A solid surface is easier to sit on than a wobbly surface. Start an activity on solid ground then gradually use moving surfaces like standing on a small
pile of cushions, pillows or a tyre.
Types of balance activities
Any gross motor activities such as swimming, basketball, gymnastics, dance, martial arts, horse riding will help to address balance.
You could also ask your child to:
- follow complex footprint patterns and hold the position when asked to stop
- walking along a line or beam/raised surface for extra challenge
- do animal walks, for example an elephant walk (bending at waist and hanging their arms). Also crab walk, bunny hops, frog jumps, caterpillar crawls, duck waddles and kangaroo jumps.
Other activities include:
Players move around to music, for example hopping, skipping, jumping, walking on tiptoes, or taking giant steps. When the music stops players must freeze in whatever position they’re in. If a player overbalances, it’s their turn to help you with the music and spot the next player to overbalance.
Stand on one leg
Ask your child to stare at one static object while counting up to 10. When they have really good balance, ask them to try counting from 10 to 20 with their eyes closed and without waving arms and falling over.
Jumping on the spot
Ask your child to jump on the spot with or without support, then jump in and out of circles/hoops. To make it harder, see if your child can jump forward and backwards over a line. Progress to hopping on one foot.