Balance is an important skill for little ones to master as both static and dynamic balance help them to feel comfortable in their own space. Balance gives them the confidence to try new things, including things they haven’t considered- like using the toilet or putting on pants. These all require practice. Necessary developmental steps such as gross motor skills, sensory processing, spatial awareness, and overall body control also include balance. Let’s check out 20 fun balance activities for kids!
1. Ladder Bridge Tightrope Walk
Prop up a sturdy ladder with thick pillows or couch cushions on either end. The ladder should be horizontal and just a few inches from the ground. See if your kiddo can walk from one end to the other using their balance. Encourage them to stick their hands out to the sides for help!
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2. Step Stool Coloring
Creating fun balance activities doesn’t have to be a circus-type feat. Tape an activity sheet or coloring paper on the wall. Then, use a simple stepstool and have your kiddo prop up one foot while they complete the activity. Challenge them not to use their other arm for balance.
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3. Ride a Scooter
Riding a scooter is a precursor to bike riding. It helps kids gain balance skills while getting exercise and having fun at the same time. You can find 3-wheeled scooters for little ones that help them find that one-legged technique and then upgrade to a two-wheeled version when they’re comfortable.
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4. Animal Walking
Animal walks are a fun way to get kids moving and utilize all sorts of balance skills. Kids can be silly crabs by bending backward and walking or they could be a monkey and walk on their hands and feet. Get them to try and imitate a snake by slithering across the ground. There are so many to try!
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Hopscotch is an old-fashioned game with many benefits for modern life. Draw the squares with sidewalk chalk and add numbers. Kids then throw a rock to indicate the space to skip. Alternating feet, kids hop from one square to the next. Advanced players can bend over, balance on one foot, and pick up their rock!
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6. Jumping Down
It may seem basic, but learning to jump down on two feet is a balanced skill. Start by jumping down from lower objects, like the bottom stair. Then, upgrade to a chair or go to the playground and try jumping from varying heights. They may need a hand at first!
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7. Frog Jumps
Lots of coordination and strength are required to jump from a squat position. Practice squats first to strengthen their legs; rising up as quickly as they can. Next, practice popping up fast to their tiptoes. Finally, let them pretend to be frogs; hopping from one lily pad to the next.
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8. Balance Beam
Balance beams or adjacent plank walks are great for testing balance skills. Use two cinder blocks and a wider board to create your own balance beams of varying sizes. Have kids attempt to walk toe-to-toe across the beam- arms wide and then arms close to their bodies.
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9. Line Walks & Hops
Using painter’s tape, create shapes like straight lines, curves, and zigzags on your floor or carpet. Encourage kids to walk toe-to-toe across the line; first slowly and then gaining speed. Next, try hopping from foot to foot. Upgrade with a single-leg hop from one end to the other for fun.
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10. Lumberjack Balance
Not for the faint of heart, this activity is a favorite among kiddos. Get a rounded, debarked log and place a sanded piece of the board on top. Encourage kids to try to balance first. Then, challenge them to move their hips to roll back and forth. Can they move across the room?
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11. Paper Towel Transit
Simple, but fun; littles love to try to balance things while working with a friend. Take a sheet of paper or a paper towel and put a lightweight ball on it. Encourage the kids to move it across the room and deposit it in a bin. Wet the towel for fun!
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12. Spoon Balance
Grab some spoons and plastic eggs or balls. Have the kids try to balance the eggs on the rounded part of the spoon in a standing position. Next, try to walk across the room in a straight line. Then, try a curvier path, running, or even jumping up and down.
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Swinging requires lots of balance and coordinating movement so practice the movements on a bench first. Have your kids start by balancing and moving their upper bodies forward when they swing back; bending their legs under them and then forward when they swing back, extending their legs. It can help to say it aloud.
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14. Balance Bingo
Get your kids moving with this fun game that provides them with a game card to win. Take turns holding each balance move for a set number of seconds to earn an X on that square. The object is to get four squares in a row, but your kiddos could try for the full board!
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15. Tissue Dance
Turn up the tunes and put a tissue on each kiddo’s head. Challenge them to dance around the room to the music, keeping the tissue on their head. Try different tempos and styles of music and see which is more likely to dislodge that tissue- it might be different for each of your kids!
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16. Pillow Path
Great for rainy days, this pillow path requires more balance than you think. Have kids help you make a path of pillows throughout the house and then get into socks or go bare feet. Then, simply have them move from one pillow to the next; stepping or jumping. Add obstacles or get them to carry objects for a challenge.
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17. Rabbit Hole
Prop a hula hoop on cones and gather kiddos together. Have kids stand outside the hoop as rabbits and then announce that a fox is on the loose! They must each enter the rabbit hole one at a time without knocking the hoop off of its pedestals. Then, have them try to exit the same way.
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18. Gum Tree
Have kids pretend to be massive gum trees with strong roots, tall trunks, and high branches. Uh oh, it’s getting windy! As the wind blows, they must react as a tree does; with branches moving wildly. Then, get them to close their eyes to pretend it’s a windy night and see how they balance without sight.
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Adults often forget about skipping, but it’s a great bilateral coordination activity that kids love. The base movement is a step-hop-switch movement alternating legs. They practice this faster and faster until they’re able to skip across the yard in a running style. It’s also a precursor to jumping rope.
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20. Superhero Pose
Kids will lay on their bellies, with their arms stretched out and their toes pointed as if they were flying. Then, ask them to lift their feet, legs, chests, and arms off of the ground, balancing on their bellies to take flight! Hold as long as possible, and then rest.
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