Balance Board: A balance board can be used for a multitude of purposes. One is to promote balance just like the name suggests. However I have also had one girl who stated that working on the balance board helped her to ride her bike without training wheels. Now there are a lot of other factors that go into riding a bike but what this most likely helped with was how to orient her body so that she could stay upright and in the middle. She learned how to react when she started to lean one way. There are multiple sizes and shapes that may be appropriate for your child. One fun one for littler kids is the monkey balance board by Alex Toys. I’ve had kids pretend they were surfing on it and they get a kick out of it. It not only helps them with their balancing but also with weight shifting which is key for activities like cruising and walking. A bigger one that offers more challenge for the slightly older kids and is the one that the girl used before mastering her bike riding is the Cosom Balance Master. Regardless of why they are using the balance board it is a great way for kids to learn where there body is in space and to help with balance reactions. It can be used for games such as see who can balance the longest. It also can be used for a child who is using one leg more than the other to learn how to use both legs more equally.
Shopping Carts: A toy shopping cart such as the one by Little Tikes or Fischer Price are great for several reasons. They can be used to help your kids when they are first beginning to walk by giving them some needed extra support. If they are too light for them to get the stability they need you can always weight it down with some real food cans or weighted balls. In addition for kids who are already walking but maybe need to build up some strength in their arms and gluts you can use the weighted down shopping cart. As they push with their arms they will have to use their back muscles as well as their gluteal muscles. For an extra challenge, going up a slight incline makes those muscles work even more than on flat ground! Around the house you can put all sorts of toys in a path along the ground so that they have to squat down and pick the toys up to put in the cart. This will help with activities such as lowering down to the floor from standing and learning how to squat and play. It also works on their leg muscles! For an extra challenge use real food cans to give them some weight for their squats!
Monster/Animal Feet: Monster or animal feet are a fun way for your child to play pretend as well as work on motor planning, balance and coordination. The ones from Alex Toys’ Monster Clompers are a great example. You can make monster noises while moving throughout the house, have monster races, or do monster stomping (which also works on standing on one leg).
Look for future Motor Smart Toys and Tips to find out other fun ideas!