Activities and Strategies
These activities have been put together to practice and improve balance skills. They can be carried out in any order and should ideally be practised about three times a week for 15 minutes and could be incorporated into PE lessons.
> Encouraging opportunities for your child to experience a wide variety of frequent movement based activities will help to improve their balance and build up confidence e.g. walking, running, climbing, and swimming.
> Take your child to a local playground regularly and encourage them to use all of the outdoor play equipment e.g. swings, slides, balance beams, climbing frames and ladders.
> Walking games – create different styles of walking e.g. fairy steps, giant steps, rabbit jumps, crab walks, and slow moon walks.
> Tug of war – try these in sitting, high kneeling position, as well as standing.
> Balance in crawl position – let your child practise keeping their balance by lifting up one leg or one arm when in a crawling position. Make it more difficult by getting them to lift up a leg and arm at the same time.
> Aeroplanes – Have your child lie on the floor on their tummy. They then need to lift their head, shoulders, arms and legs off the floor, trying to hold this position for 10 seconds.
> Walking along a line – child to walk along different lines e.g. straight, zig zag, circle, etc. Encourage your child to walk forwards and backwards, heel/toe, pretending to be a type-rope walker. Take turns with your child and keep a score on how many times the line was stepped off.
> Stepping stones – place cardboard cut-outs of circles, squares or triangles on the floor. See if your child can follow the course by placing one foot on each “stone”. Vary the distance between them.
> Standing on one leg – when standing on one leg, initially hold their hands. Then encourage letting go of your hand support. Get your child to try to maintain balance on one leg with hands on their hips. When learning to stand on one leg, get your child to look straight ahead, focus on an object and slowly lift their leg and hold it raised as long as possible.
> Feet pick up – Ask the child to pick up marbles or objects with their feet and place them in a container.
> Hopping and skipping games – Child to learn to play hop scotch, skipping with a rope/ hoop or on the spot.
> Obstacle courses.