Why are balance exercises important?
Balancing is an essential skill in any movement children perform. Standing on two feet requires plenty of balance already! For example, when a child is learning to walk, balancing requires lots of focus.
Children with weaker balance skills may be at higher risk of developing low self-esteem or having trouble taking part in physical activities with their peers.
Balance is one critical skill that often fades with age, so maintaining and practicing it in every age is important. Good balance helps children - and people of all ages - for example to avoid falls and improve coordination skills.
How to practice balance with children?
Here is a list of fun and useful activities that help children to practice their balance. Have a theme week of 'balance' and try them all or vote for a couple of favorites with the children!
- Walk on uneven surfaces such as forest or outdoor trail. Also indoor play parks often offer rooms with materials children can walk on. Walking without shoes maximizes the benefits when even the littlest feet muscles get to work!
- Walk on a low wall, tight rope or on a railing while holding onto adults hand
- Practice yoga with children. Nowadays you can find free online yoga sessions for children for example My Little Pony yoga by Cosmic Kids in Youtube. Yoga is great for calming children down and of course practicing balance.
- Walk along lines - anywhere. Follow the floor tiles or stripes in carpets, draw lines in sand or pavement with a chalk, make lines on the floor with tape... Children will love this line-walking game!
- Dance ballet. Surely many little children enjoy dancing and this type of dance is also great for balancing. See for example Ballet for Kids in Youtube and dance as a true sparkle princess!
- Stand (or jump) on one foot. Count for example up to 5 as you keep on standing with the children!
- Hop on pillows, rocks or colorful cardboard steps on the floor. Make a little obstacle course indoors or outdoors and let children hop from a step to another. As steps you could use rocks, wood stumps, pillows, bean bags or colorful cardboard.
- Hopscotch jumping is great fun and also great for balancing. Make squares and let children jump forward, backwards and even sideways along the route! Children jump alternating one or then two feet. An object may be thrown before the jumps, indicating that the one square must be skipped.
- Ride a bike
- Musical statues game like this: Start dancing when the music starts. Once the music ends, stop moving and “freeze” in the position immediately. Anyone who keeps dancing or moves is called out of the game. Go on until you have a winner!