Balancing

Stages of Development
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Balance is an essential part of everything we do. Balance starts developing soon after birth as children start acquiring skills such as rolling, sitting and walking. It is very important to focus on the skill of balance with young children as it underpins the development many of the other locomotor and object control skills that children need to develop, as well as helping children feel confident and safe when moving around. For example, if you can't balance, you won't be able hop or kick well. 

There are two types of balance:

  1. Static Balance is balance while you are still, for example standing on one leg
  2. Dynamic Balance is balance whilst on the move, for example walking along a balance beam
Teaching tips

Use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary to help children develop their static balance while practicing balancing on one leg.  Children may need to use a wall or chair or hold a hand for support initially.

  • Head up
  • Aeroplane arms
  • Eyes forward looking at something ahead of them e.g. tree
Developing Balancing through play

Good balance needs good core strength, so activities to strengthen your baby's core are important.

  • Movements such as gently swinging, spinning and rocking a baby helps to develop their vestibular system which is important for balance.

Allowing babies to explore their bodies through unrestrained movement, for example by discovering their hands, feet and the space around them, gives them sensory feedback and through this movement is how they first learn about the world around them.

As children begin to become exposed to other Fundamental Movement Skills, such as object control skills like kicking, it is important younger children are provided with opportunities to further develop their balance skills. Beanbag Balances, and Turtles, Snakes and Islands are great KIDDO games to extend your child's confidence with balance, and can easily be played with items around your home. 

Providing children with choice is particularly important in this time to help build their motivation in exploring new ways to balance. Use chalk to draw your own Obstacle Course, or their favourite songs to try out an Active Movement Song. Encourage children to balance on the move by performing different movements:

  • Running on tip toes
  • Hopping
  • Running backwards
  • Starting and Stopping

Provide plenty of opportunities in your environment to balance. Try asking questions such as:

  • What can we balance along?
  • What do you do with your arms when you balance?
  • How does a flamingo like to stand?
  • Can you try balancing along that log and looking at me?
  • Let see how many different things we can balance on

Ensure you continue to provide challenging opportunities for your child as they develop;

  • Expose them to new playgrounds with different equipment, and allow them to explore. Scooters, bicycles and skateboards are all great ways to further your child's balance.
  • To challenge static balance, ask them to try with their eyes closed, or with a beanbag or soft toy on their head.
  • Couple balance with their existing Fundamental Movement Skills - for example encourage a run-up before kicking a ball, or throwing and catching a beanbag while walking along a small wall.
Common errors

When first starting to balance on one leg or along balance beams, children may;

  • Wave their arms around erratically while trying to balance
  • Look at the ground. 
  • When balancing on one leg, children may often tuck their non-support foot onto or behind their support leg. 

More balancing activities

imaginative game
Free
Balancing, Jumping, Galloping, Hopping, Skipping
Free
Balancing, Jumping, Tummy time, grasping and rolling
Free
Balancing, Jumping, Hopping, Running, Skipping