Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position during task performance, whether it is sitting at a table, walking the balance beam or stepping up onto a bench.
Why are balance and coordination important?
1. Allows the child to be involved in the sports
2. Helps fluid body movement for physical skill performance
3. It is helpful in maintaining self-regulation for daily tasks
4. Better balance and eye-hand / eye - leg co-ordination minimizes the chance of an injury
What activities can help improve balance and coordination?
1. Walking on Uneven and Unstable surfaces: Walking over unstable surfaces (e.g. pillows, bean bags or blankets on the floor)
2. Unstable swings and moving games including suspended Climbing ladders, Ropes and jungle gyms. When swings move in unexpected ways it forces the trunk muscles to work harder.
3. Wheelbarrow walking (Child ‘walking’ on their hands while an adult holds their legs off the floor).
4. Swimming: Involves the body having to work against the resistance of the water, thus providing better awareness of where the body is in space.
5. Kneeling (with no hands touching the floor) to tap a balloon back to another person.
6. Hopscotch: Requires the child to switch movement patterns frequently and rapidly.
7. Stepping stone games with big jumps (i.e. no steps between the ‘stones’) challenge a child’s balance.
8. Bike and scooter: Both activities require the child to continually make postural adjustments to maintain balance.
We @ Discovery Playhouse practice balance though following PE activities for toddlers -
1. Balance beams
2. Balancing a bowl on head and walking
6. Standing on one leg
7. Wheelbarrow walking (Child ‘walking’ on their hands while an adult holds their legs off the floor).
8. Long jumps
9. High jumps
10. Stepping up on a chair and jumping down