Improving balance can be fun and challenging, and it’s easy to make a balance beam out of found objects (a spare piece of wood, a line of tape, a few blocks).
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The Best Balance Beams for Kids
I use a beam for so many activities in my therapy practice! Here are some of my favorite balance beams:
As part of our series called Brain Boosters: Active Learning Games for Kids, we wanted to share one of our own activities for promoting academic objectives through play.
Our preschool team focuses on teaching number recognition and sequencing as well as directional terms like forward and backward. As a physical therapist, I write a lot of goals and objectives that focus on improving balance and I also believe in including learning concepts in my treatment sessions whenever possible.
Improving Balance and Learning
Here’s how I help kids with improving balance while practicing academic skills using a balance beam!
1 || Write the numbers 1-5 on separate pieces of paper — I like to use sticky notes. Place the numbers randomly on the floor beside the balance beam, spanning the entire length of the beam.
2 || Explain to the child that you want him to walk across the beam and stop when he comes to a number. Then, ask him to retrieve the number without allowing his feet to step off of the balance beam.
3 || Have him tell you what number he found and then ask him to move forward on the beam that many steps.
4 || When he reaches the next number, tell him to step backward that number of times.
The goal is to eventually reach the end of the balance beam! He will be having so much fun just trying to get to the end of that beam that he won’t realize how much he is learning and how much balance and body awareness practice he is getting!
How to change it up:
-If you are working with a younger child who isn’t quite as steady on the balance beam, put the numbers somewhere higher (along a wall or even on the beam itself).
-This activity would work great with sight words, too! Place words along the beam, have your child read them to you and make a sentence at the end!