Balancing

Balance is a stability skill and 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 is an essential part of everything we do and affects the development of other locomotor and object control skills. At the ages of 3 and 4 years old the skill of balance should be a focus in any physical literacy program.

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

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Assessing the Fundamental Movement of Balancing
Assessing the Fundamental Movement of Balancing
Learn How to Balance
Learn How to Balance

Checklist of skill criteria for balancing on one leg (static balance):

  1. Support leg still, foot flat on ground
  2. Non-support leg bent, not touching support leg
  3. Can balance on either leg
  4. Eyes focused forward
  5. Head and trunk stable and upright
  6. Arms still, may be extended for extra balance

Teaching Strategies

For beginners (at the emergent level of balance skill development):
  • Focus on skill criteria number 4 & 5
  • Encourage children to keep their head and eyes up while performing balances
  • Set-up Obstacle Courses that incorporate different balance challenges – balance along a line, stand on one leg, balance a bean bag on your head
  • Play fun balancing games such as Musical Balances that challenge children to make different animal balances e.g. flamingo – stand on one leg
  • Try some of our fun games that involve balancing: Beans, Turtles, Snakes and Islands
For children at the developing level of balance skill development:
  • Introduce more difficult balance obstacles into your obstacle courses – balance beams, over and under hurdles, jump from hoop to hoop
  • Try balancing on one leg on preferred and non-preferred leg
  • Practice balance on the move by performing different movements:
    • Running on tip toes
    • Giant steps
    • Hopping
    • Running backwards
    • Changing directions
    • Starting and Stopping
  • Play balance challenges and have fun trying Balance TwisterRock, Bridge, Tree Tag and Octopus Tag
For children at the acquired or accomplished level of balance skill development:
  • Make harder obstacles in obstacle course – pick up bean bags or kick cones over while walking across balance beam, balance bean bag on head while standing on one leg, balance on one leg with your eyes closed
  • Try out different equipment – bear feet rope walkers, jumping balls that you sit on, stilts
  • Play games that involve dynamic balance such as Netflix and static balance such as Balance Twister

 

Teaching Cues

  1. Head up
  2. Aeroplane arms
  3. Eyes forward looking at something ahead of them e.g. tree

Common Errors

  • Arms waving erratically
  • Looking at ground
  • When balancing on one leg: tucking non-support foot onto or behind support leg