Check out our favorite fun and creative ways to practice single leg stance with kids!
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One of my favorite developmental skills to work on with kids is balance. I love to watch their little faces as they discover that they can make it across my “bridge” without falling in the lake (a balance beam with imaginary water underneath), or when they are finally able to count all the way to 5 while standing on one foot like a tree.
Single leg stance is one specific activity that many standardized tests in pediatric physical therapy use to measure the developmental age at which a child is performing balance skills. It is also used frequently in goal setting because this skill is easy to assess and measure progression.
More importantly, being able to stand on one foot without swaying like a skinny tree in a windstorm takes a ton of core strength! The more a child practices this skill, the more balanced and the stronger they will become.
How to Practice Single Leg Stance
Here are 20 super creative (and fun!) ways to practice standing on one leg —
1 || Practice putting pants on – YEP! Sounds simple right? But, independent dressing takes balance and the only way to put those pants on while standing up is lifting a leg up off of the floor! Dress ups and costumes are great for this!
2 || Stomp Rocket – The Stomp Rocket is FUN and there is instant gratification for balancing on one foot long enough to lift the other foot up and stomp it down!
3 || Razor Scooter – Razor Scooters are great for the older crew of kids – only with helmets of course! These scooters require one foot to be on the platform as the standing, supporting leg and one foot to push behind and make the scooter go.
This results in some serious core strengthening, pelvic strengthening and leg strengthening as the body stabilizes to maintain balance on that tiny moving piece of metal. Strengthening throughout the pelvis improves a child’s ability to pick up one foot and balance using the appropriate muscles instead of compensating through the upper trunk or shoulders to help lift.
4 || Pop bubbles with your toes! Some serious concentration is needed to target those tiny floating bubbles. Give it a try and see if your kiddo can balance long enough to pop one – or more!
5 || Walking on stilts – We like EZ Steppers for their lightweight and colorful design.
6 || Balancing small stuffed animals on the top of the foot and lifting them up into a laundry basket to “clean up”.
7 || Using a foot to close the lid of a pop up toy like the Busy Poppin Pals.
8 || Try catching tossed Twister Hopscotch Rings on one foot.
9 || Play a good old fashioned game of hopscotch!
10 || Gator Goal – It was definitely not the intention of this game to be used as a tool for promoting single leg stance but the minute the jaws of the Gator Goal snap down, your child will think all that balance work was more than worth it!
11 || Play Underwater Pearls – standing up!
12 || Place Floor Spots around a standing child and have her tap her toe on each color as it is called out. This can be done faster or slower depending on the child’s ability to balance with so much movement.
13 || Stand with one foot up on a playground ball and slowly roll it clockwise, counterclockwise, left and right, forward and backward.
14 || Place stickers on a child’s shoe and have him lift his foot up to get the sticker off and place it on a vertical surface. I like to use stickers that combine to make an object like a robot or a monster so that the child can do multiple reps to finish the image.
15 || Play balloon volleyball using only your feet!
16 || Kicking works on single leg stance too! Stack empty cardboard boxes or put small objects on cones and knock them off with a big giant kick! Or, try setting up a bolster and karate kicking it to the ground!
17 || Everyone loves a Whoopie Cushion! Can you place one foot on top without blasting out a big one? :)
18 || Knock cones over and set them upright again all without putting your foot down.
19 || Monkey elevator – Use the game Barrel of Monkeys. Place a monkey on your child’s foot and have them bring it up to meet their hand. They can then grab the monkey and put it in the barrel. If they grab with the opposite hand, it is also a great way to encourage midline crossing!
20 || Bubble wrap! I haven’t met a child yet who won’t do just about anything to stomp all over those little air filled pockets — even if it means having to stand on one foot and count to 5 before they can!
Learn more about balance and get some great ideas for balance practice for kids here!