Surf’s Up! A balance and coordination activity.
Marrying into a family of boaters/water skiers/wakeboarders has been awesome – what better way to spend the summer than on the water, right? The down side? Storing the skis, wakeboards, and other equipment all winter (my in-laws bear the brunt of this responsibility, but we have our fair share of equipment lying around too!). Looking for great activities to address balance and coordination with kids? This one goes perfectly with our ocean theme and gave us a chance to put some of our stored stuff to good use! Surf’s up!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Okay, I know not everyone has a random wakeboard lying around. Not to worry! We experimented and tried this same activity with a few other options and it worked just as well! Basically, you’ll need something flat and sturdy to act as your surfboard. Options: a very rigid plastic sled or a wooden board. You’ll also need something to act as the fulcrum under your surfboard (the object propped underneath to make it tip from side to side). The best option we found was a handweight. But we also tried it with a shoe box-sized tupperware container and a small stack of books.
WHAT TO DO: Place your surfboard on top of your fulcrum so that it is in the middle of the board. Let your little one hop (carefully!) up there and ride the waves to his heart’s content! :) He’ll shift his weight onto his front foot to tip the board one way, and then onto his back foot to tip the board the other way.
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-Changing the length and width of your surfboard adds another element of balance into the mix – the narrower or shorter the board, the bigger the challenge!
-If your child struggles with keeping his balance, stand in front of him and hold his hands as he tips back and forth until he gets more comfortable. Or, have him start on his knees first for a lower, more steady center of gravity.
-If your child has an easy time with this, see if she can try putting equal weight on both sides of the board to get it to balance perfectly in the air on both sides!
-Try it with music! The Beach Boys Pandora station should provide the perfect playlist for your little surfer! :) Try having your child surf back and forth and then freeze in the middle when the music stops!
-Here’s a great Rocker Board by Theraband that simulates the same fun surfing experience!
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Balance, coordination, motor control, trunk stability, gross motor skills, posture, strength
Want to take a closer look at the skills kids are using in this activity? Check out our Clinical Closeup page, where we break down the skills listed below in terms everyone can understand.