Balance is an important gross motor skill for the developing child. Balance helps a child gain confidence, and develop skills with physical movement and coordination. Children use balance while learning to jump with two feet, kick a ball, skip, and even dress themselves. Being able to balance on one foot also demonstrates strong back and stomach muscles.
Working on balance:
- Lay down a piece of tape on the floor and have the child walk on it. You can even turn it into a fun pirate game and pretend they are going to ‘walk the plank.’
- When outside have the child walk on the curb (being careful of cars). They can follow you in the beginning.
- Give the child a bean bag and have them put it on their head and walk around the room, making sure not to let the beanbag fall off. Challenge them to keep the beanbag balanced while walking in different ways, such as walking quickly or walking backwards.
- Bean bag game: If you have a group of children, you can play a fun game. Have the children walk around or dance to music with bean bags balanced on their heads. If a bean bag falls off a child’s head, the child must freeze. To unfreeze, another child must pick up the fallen bean bag and place it back on the frozen child’s head. The helper must keep their beanbag balanced while picking up the fallen beanbag. You should allow time for the children to practice balancing the beanbag individually before beginning the game.
- Search the Internet on how to play these two fun games that develop balance: Hankie Hop and Hopscotch.