|Babies||Walkers 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Being able to balance is of fundamental importance in young children. Balance begins to develop before birth and continues to develop until adulthood. Without balance, children can’t sit, crawl or stand,, and develop eye movement and vision. Also children with poor balance (or poorly developed vestibular systems) are more likely to have poor attention spans and be easily distracted. Good balance depends on strong back and tummy muscles, so activities to strengthen them are also crucial. The more movement that a child does the more opportunity there is to build muscle tone, stimulate balance and build the neural connections required for development.
Children love to walk on balance beams, and they are going to try it with or without adult help. The world is a balance beam for young children. Parents know that a simple walk down the street with their child may turn into an Olympic challenge as the child balances on street curbs and brick walls. Anywhere they go children are always looking for something to walk across.Initially this can be done using the adult’s hands to support them. Show them how to use their hands to balance
- Rope or tape, or if you have small low balance beams available that is great.
- One to two weeks
How it works
Being on balance means having an even distribution of weight on each side of a vertical axis. The centre of gravity is over the base of support. For young children, being on balance simply means not falling over. Walking on a beam is considered dynamic balance—being on balance while moving.
What to do in the class
Walking along a line encourages children to learn to balance their body as they move. Lay down a chalk line, piece of rope, or stepping stones along the middles of the hall and get the children to try and walk along it. Include some changes of directions to make it harder.
The cue for development of skill in walking on a beam:
- Extend arms to the side
- Look straight ahead, not down
Adaptation for older/younger children
What to do in a nursery setting