Gross Motor Skills: 13 Core Strengthening Balance Activities for Kids

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13 Balance Activities for Kids | If you’re looking for ways to develop your child’s gross motor skills at home, in the classroom, in occupational therapy, and beyond, this collection of fun games and activities are just what you need. Perfect for parents, teachers, and therapists, these core strengthening ideas will help build your child’s static and dynamic balance, while also helping with bilateral coordination. #balanceactivities #coordinationactivities #grossmotoractivities

If you’re looking for balance activities for kids that help develop fine and gross motor skills while also improving a child’s bilateral and hand-eye coordination, this post has 13 ideas that will inspire you. Whether you’re simply looking for motor-based activities to keep your little one entertained when you’re cooped up at home, or need ideas to develop specific developmental skills, these balance activities for kids are both fun and effective!

What Are Balance and Coordination?

Balance refers to our ability to remain in control of the position of our body and our posture while performing certain tasks. There are actually 2 different types of balance – dynamic balance and static balance. Our dynamic balance allows us to remain in position during activities that require movement, like walking and running, whereas our static balance allows us to remain in position during stationary tasks like sitting and standing.

Our coordination allows us to remain stable while performing everyday tasks. Bilateral coordination refers to our ability to use both sides of our body together at the same time, and is required to do things like walk, climb stairs, and crawl through a tunnel. Hand-eye coordination is the process by which our visual system coordinates the information received through our eyes and sends messages to our hands to fulfill tasks like reading, writing, typing, grasping objects, and playing sports.

While both of these skills are obviously important in enabling us to carry out both basic and more complex tasks and activities, they aren’t a given. What I mean by that is, they are skills that need to be learned, and some children (and adults) struggle with one or many of their motor skills, which negatively impacts their day-to-day functioning.

13 Balance Activities for Kids

If you suspect your child is struggling with his or her balance and coordination – or you just need some fun activities to do at home to help your little one blow off steam – there are HEAPS of fun exercises and activities you can engage your little one in. These ideas feel more like play than practice, providing the perfect opportunity for your child to develop important life skills without even knowing it. You’ll notice that each of these activities is focused on developing a child’s gross motor skills, but if you’re specifically looking for hand-eye coordination activities, THIS POST will be an excellent resource for you!

Balance board. You can easily make a balance board on your own with a plank of wood and a piece of pipe, but if you’re like me and prefer to steer clear of DIY projects, this Alex Toys Balance Board is a great option. It’s one of my favorite balance activities for kids, and has the added benefit of helping kids shed excess energy and return to a place of calm. It’s also compact and portable, and once your child masters how to balance on the board, you can find other ways to incorporate this into his or her play to help further improve his or her skills. For example, you may have your child balance on the board while playing a game of catch.

Spin disk. Does your child like to spin? If so, this spin disc is sure to be a hit! I get dizzy just looking at it, but I’ve heard many parents recommend spin discs as a form of vestibular input for little ones. It’s also a fun tool to use with kids who tend to avoid sensory input as it helps them become more comfortable with the feeling of movement beyond their own control.

Egg races. Whether you use a wooden spoon on a small ball you have lying around the house, or purchase a fancier egg race set for kids on Amazon, you can make this as simple or hard as you want to, making this another one of my favorite balance activities for kids. Start with a basic race across the room, and then make the game more difficult by putting objects on the floor (pillows, blankets, etc.) so your child has to navigate across uneven terrain. You can also have your child switch between her right and left hands to add an even bigger twist!

Fun with masking tape. If you’re looking for super portable balance activities for kids to provide your little one with vestibular input while on the go, you will be amazed at what you can do with a little masking tape and imagination. From tightrope walking to creating complex obstacle courses, the possibilities are endless!

Hopscotch. There are so many ways you can switch up a good old game of hopscotch and turn it into a super fun balance activity. Have your child only jump on odd or even numbers, ask him or her to switch from jumping with 2 legs to one leg, instruct him or her to jump backwards and then forwards at different intervals, and yell out random numbers to keep your little one guessing and engaged.

Stair scavenger hunt. Using 2 puzzle sets (for example, you can use this wooden number set by Hape as well as this wooden number puzzle by Lanka Kade), create a scavenger hunt on your staircase (in this example, your child would be matching numbers). Have your child choose 1 puzzle piece from a bucket and then walk up the stairs to find the matching piece. Ensure your little one doesn’t use the hand rails while walking up and down the stairs, and that he or she crouches down into a squat position when picking up each puzzle piece. As an added twist, have him or her assemble both puzzles on the floor while standing on a stepping stool to create a challenging but fun balance activity for kids!

Leg lifts. Leg lifts are a great balance activity for restless kids! Have your child stand sideways behind a chair and, using the chair for support, have him/her lift his/her leg up with their knee at a 90-degree angle. Try varying the length of time it takes your child to raise and lower his/her legs (5 counts up, 5 counts down), and then see if he/she can balance for a count of 10 without holding onto the chair. As your child gets the hang of this, you can continue to make it more challenging.

Sitting on an exercise ball. There are tons of fun exercise ball activities you can do with your child, but if you’re specifically looking for balance activities for kids, consider having your little one sit on an exercise ball while doing everyday activities like eating dinner, watching TV, and doing homework. It’s a great core-strengthening activity and will definitely help develop his or her balance and coordination!

Stepping stones. I recently found this 11-piece stepping stone set for kids on Amazon, and it’s one of my new favorite balance activities for kids. Set them up in a row, or mix them up, and allow your child to jump, stretch, climb, and balance on them to help improve their coordination!

Walking over pillows. If you like the idea behind the stepping stone activity above, but don’t want to invest the money in an actual set, you can do something similar with pillows. Scatter them on the floor with some stacked one on top of the other to vary the height of each pile, and have your child stretch and climb from one to the other. I just wouldn’t suggest having your little one jump from pillow to pillow as they won’t be quite as sturdy!

Standing on a buso ball. You’ve probably seen bosu balls at your gym and know they offer a great way to build your strength and balance, but I bet you’ve never thought of using one at home with your child to help develop his or her balance and coordination! You can simply have your child practice sitting or standing on the bosu ball when it’s either dome face up or dome face down, or you can give some of these bosu ball activities for kids a try!

Balance bike. If your little one hasn’t learned how to ride a bike yet, a balance bike is another one of my favorite balance activities for kids. Since these bikes don’t have pedals, a child must use his or her feet to stop, steer, and turn, allowing them greater control. Balance bikes are designed to improve a child’s balance and coordination, allowing them to skip the training wheels, and are a great option for kids who are struggling to learn how to ride a bike.

Obstacle courses. My last suggestion for those who are looking for balance activities for kids is to combine several different ideas into an obstacle course. This will help keep things fun and engaging for your child while also allowing him or her to work on many different skills as the same time. Obstacle courses are so easy to setup, and even if you don’t have a large basement or backyard to work with, you can always split activities between different rooms and/or levels of your house. The more movement, the better, right?!

I hope this collection of balance activities for kids inspires you to find ways to engage with your child and help develop his or her skills. Remember to keep things fresh and interesting so your little one doesn’t lose interest, and to always keep things FUN!

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13 Balance Activities for Kids | If you’re looking for ways to develop your child’s gross motor skills at home, in the classroom, in occupational therapy, and beyond, this collection of fun games and activities are just what you need. Perfect for parents, teachers, and therapists, these core strengthening ideas will help build your child’s static and dynamic balance, while also helping with bilateral coordination. #balanceactivities #coordinationactivities #grossmotoractivities

And if you’re looking for more ways to have fun with your child at home while simultaneously working on certain skills, please follow our Kids board where we share all kinds of great ideas we find each day!



Gwen
Gwen
Gwen is a 40-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 8-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.