Standing on one foot is a common skill that kids should develop. it starts to generally emerge during the second year. Standing on one foot involves a child’s strength, balance and overall body awareness. It helps with skills like skipping, hopscotch, hopping on one foot, getting dressed while standing up, going up and down stairs, and any other skill that involves a child having to lift one of their feet off the ground while the other one stays on the ground. As kids are able to stand for longer periods of time on one foot you will see their walking become more ‘mature’ because they can take a longer step as well as narrow their base of support. They will also begin to run more efficiently. Here are some ways that we have found to encourage standing on one foot:
- Tree Pose – I found I was having a hard time getting kids to understand the idea of holding their foot up in the air and not putting it back down immediately so one of my kids parents had made a comment that it looked like ‘tree pose’ so I started incorporating that in. I would show them the pose and they would try to imitate me (now, I am not a yoga person so my tree pose basically looks like my putting my foot up so it is resting on my other leg). The kids would actually try to hold it a little longer because they were trying to imitate. We started adding counting in to work on progressing the time out. Also, because they had their foot resting against their other leg, they were giving themselves some extra stabilization. I would help at the hands if needed but I tried to see what they could do on their own. Once the kids understood the concept of tree pose I carried it over for other activities. When I was trying to work on hopping on one foot it became ‘tree pose-hop’, or when I was working on hopscotch we said ‘two feet, jump to tree pose, jump to two feet’. You can also change out the visual you give them. You can try flamingo if you want for one foot standing as well.
- Stomp Rocket – The stomp rocket is one of our favorite toys and it works great with standing on one foot. We will often let the kids get the hang of the stomp rocket first and then have them try to hold their foot up for longer periods of time before they are allowed to stomp down on the toy. They may need a hand hold to try to get the hang of it but eventually and will slowly increase the amount of time that they can stand on one foot.
- Toe Taps – If you put a step (or elevated surface) in front of a kiddo and have them tap their foot on the surface and bring it back down, they will work on their single leg stability. The higher the surface the harder it is for them. You can play around with moving it to the side or behind as well and see what the results are. I would start lower and keep increasing the height as they get better at it. You can put targets on the step and have them try to squish bugs or pictures or have a bowling pin they have to topple over with a light touch.
- Kicking a Ball – Kicking a ball is a good way to start getting a kiddo to purposefully stand on one foot. In the beginning they will try to walk into the ball but if you only let them move the kicking foot they have to actually pick the one foot up and leave the other foot on the ground.
What are some ways you have found to work on standing on one foot?