Foot Prop: With feet shoulder-width apart, have your child place one foot flat on the ground and the other in the center of a pillow. Choose a pillow with enough fluff so as to not go flat when stepped on. You can also use a rolled-up towel. See which foot is easier than the other and try to beat your time with each attempt! Make sure you are switching feet.
Step Overs: Put objects 1-6″ high around the floor/room, consider different sized toys or books. You can also put masking tape across a hallway at varied heights so it’s easy to adjust based on how well it is going. Have them step over the obstacles, exaggerating lifting the leg high into the air to clear the object. Make sure they take turns leading with each leg.
Drawbridge: Instruct your child to start with their foot on the floor. Use a car or stuffed animal and ask them to lift the drawbridge (one of their feet) a few inches off the ground. There should be enough room for a toy or stuffed animal to pass under their foot. Have them make a “bridge” for the toy, avoiding squishing it, as you pass it under their foot. You can slow down the movement so that they are encouraged to keep their foot off the ground longer if they are successful with this task. Then have them slowly lower the drawbridge! Perform on both sides.
Clean-up: Place socks, small stuffed animals, hand towels, etc. around a laundry basket or small box. You can either put them on top of your child’s foot or they can try to pick up the items with their feet. Have them lift their foot up and over to drop the item in. For kids who are older you can try to use marbles (make sure they aren’t going to put them in their mouth. You can also try pencils/crayons/markers. Make sure you are doing this with both feet.
Ball Balance: Similar to “Foot Prop” except now we use a soccer ball, or any other similar-sized, firm ball to elevate one foot. Make sure your child does not stand on the ball! A deflated ball will be easier than a fully inflated ball. Switch feet and try to stand like this for longer and longer time periods.
Advanced Foot Prop: With one foot on top of the pillow or towel roll/fold, lift the opposite foot into the air. The pillow or towel will create an unstable surface which makes it a little harder to balance. See how long you can balance for and make sure you are trying it on both sides!
Ball Trap: Roll a ball to your child, with the cue to stop the ball with their foot. Avoid reaching the leg out for the ball. Have them keep their foot in the air while the ball is rolling, lowering their leg when the ball nearby to trap it. Slower rolling will be easier and faster rolling will be harder. Smaller balls may also be easier because they don’t have to lift their foot as high. Stomp Rocket is another similar idea! Make sure you are doing both sides!
Extreme Foot Prop: Similar to “Advanced Foot Prop,” but now have your child perform the motion with their eyes closed! The visual system is an important part of balance so this may be extra difficult. Ensure the area is clear of potential hazards and hand support is nearby. And, make sure they are trying with both legs. It also may be easier to get into position and then close their eyes rather than closing their eyes first.
Which one was your favorite? What are some other ones you do?”
Check out our Balance Round-Up for some other ideas we have!