Good balance reactions allow a child to move confidently, explore playground equipment, climb, develop ball skills and ride a bike. Here are some activities to help your child improve their balance.
1. Ask your child to sit cross-legged on a trampoline with their hands on their knees. Gently bounce the trampoline so that your child needs to react to maintain their position. This could also be done when kneeling with hands and feet on the trampoline or upright.
2. Ask your child to sit on a big beach ball, holding their hands. Gently tug your child’s arms from side to side so that they have to react to stay sitting on the ball.
3. Ask your child to lie on their back on the floor. Ask them to keep a balloon up in the air using their hands, feet, elbows, knees, etc.
4. Ask your child to crawl with their stomach on the floor (commando crawling). You could make an obstacle course to crawl around; for example, under a chair, through a box and over a stack of cushions.
5. This exercise is like a clapping seal. Ask your child to lie on their stomach and pull their lower body along the floor with their upper body in a ‘push up’ position. Occasionally stop to rock and clap ‘fins’ and make a seal ‘honk’ sound.
6. Play a game of Tug of War with your child sitting cross-legged on cushions.
7. Ask your child to sit in a box that is pulled around the floor. Change directions quickly enough to allow your child to react and maintain their balance.
8. Ask your child to copy an angry cat. Ask them to kneel on all fours, pushing their back upwards to form an arch, tucking their chin to their chest. Next, ask your child to pretend to be a dog and wag their tail, moving their hips from side to side.
9. While your child is on all fours, ask them to try moving forward using their right hand and left knee together, then left hand and right knee together. Then ask them to try moving forward using their right hand and right knee together then left hand and left knee together.
10. Ask your child to pretend to be a rock while kneeling on their hands and knees. You pretend to be a bulldozer that wants to move the rock and your child tries to stay firm and not move. Apply just enough pressure for your child’s muscles to hold the position.
11. Have a pillow fight with your child while you are both kneeling and try to push each other off balance using the pillows.
The information in Learning Links’ Tip Sheets is prepared by experienced early childhood professionals. Each child is unique and this material is not necessarily suitable for every child, parent or carer. We recommend you discuss this information with your child’s therapist or education professional prior to using these tips.