Balancing activities have amazing benefits for kids of all ages.
They truly can boost the mood big time of both a toddler in a tantrum and an angry and anxious teen.
And there’s science to back this up.
But many kids these days go short on all the balancing activities that were naturally part of every day lives.
So if you’re struggling with bad behaviour or intense emotions in kids of any age try building more balancing time into their day.
I’ve got a big list of easy ideas for doing just that right here PLUS more on the science of their super powers.
To check out the science read on or jump straight to the Balancing Activities For Kids Of All Ages.
Benefits Of Balancing Activities For Kids
Simple balancing activities that co-ordinate the left and right of our bodies and brains can :
- Boost attention, focus & concentration
- Reduce restlessness & fidgeting
- Improve dexterity
- Calm anger & aggression
- And ease obsessive anxiety.
They can ALSO stop kids whining!!!
The left right coordination required to balance our bodies actually releases mood boosting chemicals such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphin.
Or more simply lets us feel the flow.
A good blast of balancing activity acts as an instant remedy when kids are struggling emotionally but also supports longer term stability.
A regular rhythm of balancing activities for all the family from when kids are tiny can also stabilise what are known as vestibular and proprioceptive processing.
Balancing benefits are boosted outside as this promotes circadian wellbeing, which is a fancy name for the unbelievably amazing way our body clock in sync with the sun :
- Helps us sleep deeply
- Eases anxiety
- AND reduces inflammation.
Balancing Activities For Kids Of All Ages
The secret to building balancing activities into the every day lives of kids of all ages is : keep it simple.
Don’t over complicate it with fancy classes, obscure activities needing tons of prep or pricey equipment.
This is easier for toddlers to tweens who can all enjoy variations on all the balancing ideas below.
It is trickier with teenagers but they do need intensive balancing time daily so I have extra balancing ideas for teens at the end of the list.
Tiny toddlers also need some extra activities to build balance skills, which again you’ll find below.
The one piece of equipment all kids need is a decent set of wheels.
This could be a :
- Balance bike
You can buy great quality 2nd-hand. Personally my family loves Frog Bikes which are made in Britain.
You will need to invest 2 weeks using the wheels intensively so kids are confident balancing at speed.
But then they are good to go and it can easily be your family’s default way to get anywhere local fast.
Even a 3 year old can do half a mile or so on a balance bike or scooter.
This will give them big bursts of balancing fun daily and as they grow essential independence.
Balancing Activities When You’re Out & About
Even without wheels there are fun ways to balance out & about :
- Balance on walls
- Balance on curbs
- Balance on pavement cracks
- Play “Bears” avoiding stepping on cracks between side walk slabs
- Hopscotch down the street
- Push shopping trolleys!!
Balancing Activities In Park
A good blast of time in the park – especially during vacations – gives even more simple opportunities to have fun balancing :
- Balance on a log
- Clamber on tree stumps
- Climb trees
- Jump over logs
- Jump over puddles
- Leap over ditches
- Climb ladders
- Climbing frames
- Play tag
- Play football / soccer – more than almost any other sport, it involves balancing on one leg lots!!
- Balancing ropes
- Climbing walls
- Run on rough ground
- Climbing up slides (if no one wants to come down)
- Standing up on swings (safely)
Balancing In The Backyard
Even in the tiniest backyard there’s space for simple balancing fun :
- Chalk balancing lines to walk along – they can be wiggly or zig zag
- Feet painting
- Use garden hose as tightrope
- Skip rope – check out all these different ways to jump rope
- Use skipping rope as tightrope
- Stomp on bubble wrap
- Make stepping stones from old bricks, stones or slabs
- Make an ad hoc balance beam from plank of wood & bricks
- Balance on a garden bench
- French skipping
- DIY limbo with bean poles
- Play hopscotch
- Play leapfrog
- Juggling two balls against the wall – we spent hours doing this as kids!
If you have a bit more space, loads of old fashioned races let kids balance in all sorts of different ways :
- Hopping races
- Wheelbarrow races
- Obstacle course race of e.g. bean poles to swerve through
- Crab races
- Egg & spoon race
- 3 legged races
- Tug of war
We don’t need to fork out on fancy equipment but a few cheap, classic toys are brilliant for balancing :
- Can stilts
- Wooden stilts
- Hoola hoop
- Space hoppers
- Pogo sticks
Even stuck inside on really rain days there’s loads of simple fun balance activities to do that burn off energy :
- Masking tape tight-rope
- Stepping stones on cushions
- Play Simon says – hop on one leg, stand on one leg for 10 seconds etc
- Play Mother May I with lots of hopping commands
- Jump stream without falling – make a stream out of a sheet twisted to a good width
- Musical statues
- Hankie dancing – dance to crazy music without the hankie on your head falling off!!
- Balance bean bags on head
- Balancing teddies on head race
- Balancing books on head race
- Balloon volleyball with feet
- Pretending to be animals that stand on one leg
- Who can stand on one leg for the longest competition
- Play Twister – it’s easy to pick up 2nd hand
- Balance along kitchen bench
- Pool noodle balance beam
- Pick up toys with feet race
- Make DIY balance boards
- Playing catch standing on a balance board
- Climb a step ladder
- Read in a rocking chair
- Play on the stairs!!
Balancing Activities For Teenagers Mental Health
It’s easy to ignore something as simple as balancing for teenagers.
But it is essential as they go through the upheaval of :
- Exploring independence
- Changing hormones
- Processing emotions they no longer want to share.
Encouraging teens to cycle everywhere can be a huge wellbeing boost as they get not only the benefits of balancing but also the independence they critically need.
2 wheel scooters are an alternative if they don’t want to cycle on the road.
Introverted and non-sporty teens are vulnerable to obsessive online use and in big need of balancing boosts.
Surprisingly simple chores involving carrying heavy stuff or going up a ladder can help :
- Water plants with a watering can
- Dig over rough ground
- Carry heavy shopping from store
- Take dog for a walk
- Clean windows
- Rake up leaves
- Clean garage door
- Unblock gutters
- Put up pictures or shelves
- Paint a ceiling
When not in a mental space to want to help at home, teens may be up for helping a grandparent or neighbour.
Longer term, encouraging teens to deep dive into one of these balancing hobbies can help :
- Roller skating
- Ice skating
- 10 pin bowling
- Skate boarding
- Paddle boarding
- Horse riding
- Circus skills
They are obviously not all of them cheap but they can give teens balancing benefits for life!!
Balancing Activities For Toddlers
Toddlers have to learn lots of balance skills before they can totter.
And a heap more once walking.
But that doesn’t mean we all need to panic about missed milestones, sign them up for baby gym or clutter our home with balancing toys.
The secret is to slow down and give them loads of time to do more of these things for themselves :
- Put on clothes
- Put on shoes
- Climb stairs (endlessly)
- Walk on rough ground in park
- Pick up sticks
- Transporting toys between boxes
- Bend down to smell flowers
- Pick up toys to put away
- Carry things to table
- Sitting room stepping stones from cushions, pillows, jumpers, towels, newspaper.
- Stand on a chair
- Throw food to ducks
- Walking in sandpit at park
- Sweep leaves
- Fetching things as a favour
This stuff is not complicated. We just need to be generous with our time.
The other great gift we can give toddlers to help them enjoy balancing is a balance bike.
Scooters are easier at first but the balance bike is an amazing long term investment.
If you have your child balancing away everywhere you go every day at 3 there is a great chance they’ll still be at it at 13 and even 30 when they really need the brilliant boost that balancing activities can bring.
I do hope this post has given you lots of super simple ideas for balancing activities of all sorts.
For more simple parenting tips do follow me on Pinterest and have a read of these posts :
- Slower Happier Parenting
- How To Build Kids Confidence
- Calming Down As A Family
- Self Care For Stressed Mothers
- Helping Kids Who Worry
And if these tips struck a chord do sign up for my occasional newsletter. I won’t be bombarding you with stuff but just sharing the practical tips and thoughts that make my family life more fun …
Original image sources under creative commons : rawpixel.com, Donnie Ray Jones
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