Sit, Stand, or Hang with These Toys that Improve Balance

Balance may look like a cinch but there’s so much at work behind the scenes. A total body process, balance coordinates information from the brain, the inner ears and the nerves, muscles, and bones throughout your body. It can take a while for children to develop good balance (remember those toddling tykes?) but getting the basics down pat makes for a lifetime of great activities to follow. Plus, understanding those principles of equilibrium will benefit your kiddos not only when it comes to fitness, but they will also translate to mental coordination for better multi-tasking and problem-solving in academic subjects.  Check out these great products (toys to them, tools to you!) that help your kids master balance  . . . well before they have to figure out a checkbook.

L-R: Fun and Function Foam Rocker, Labyrinth Balance Board, Wobble Deck


Make Standing Count

If you’re looking for something that’s super easy to use, portable, and can be played with anywhere, rockers, balance boards, and wobble decks are your best bet.  Kids can jump on and off for a quick balancing act or go in for the long haul with more challenging versions.

If you’re happy with no frills basics that keep the focus on balance pure and simple, Fun and Function’s foam rocker is lightweight and portable so that your kids can improve muscle tone from just about anywhere.  Simply stand, rock, and maybe even dare to lift a leg and the rocker will strengthen core while improving balance.

For kids who need a bit more mental stimulation – and a bit of challenge in the mix – this Labyrinth Balance Board ups the ante.  With a marble maze featured in the center of the board, kids can puzzle over how to get their marbles to their destination while they get some serious balance practice in daily.

Are you worried your kids won’t go for anything that doesn’t beep, flash, or use batteries?  The Wobble Deck will satisfy your children’s electronic bent while working out their muscles and reflexes.  A marriage between the ever popular Simon Says and a traditional balance board, kids will be tipping, balancing, and strengthening sound recognition with three exciting play options and multiple skill levels.

L-R: Yoga ball, Tilt-n-Spin, T-Stool


Sitting As Exercise?

If you don’t already have a yoga ball, you really should invest in one.  Not only do kids somehow manage to find a million things to do with one (from rolling on their stomach to kicking them high in the air while on their backs), they make a great alternative to the slouchy bean bag.  Whereas with the college staple, kids just sink in, on a yoga ball, their core is constantly engaged.  They can actually practice balancing while watching TV.

Looking for a fun way to work out those muscles even when your kids are doing homework?  Imagine a stool made up of a seat – and just one leg.  That’s basically a T-stool, a fun place for kids to sit and still engage their abs. Kids can work on balancing on this precariously positioned leg while doing homework, coloring, or just having a snack.  It’s a great way for them to practice their balance and coordination when they’re being less than active.

Similar to the classic sit and spin but with an added twist, the Tilt-n-Spin not only spins, it also tilts for extra stimulation and balance practice.  Your children can adjust to the speed as desired and take a ride, spinning in place. The Tilt n’ Spin is lightweight, portable, and easy to clean.

L-R: Cocoon Swing, Spinner Swing, WePlay Rocking Bowl


Hanging Out with Balance

Whether your children are looking for a quiet spot to cozy up with a book or want to swing like a wild bunch of monkeys, a Cocoon Swing is a cool hangout that has nothing loungy about it.  Even if your kids are just lazing about in there, they’re actually strengthening their muscles while having a good time.

Much in the same way, Spinner Swings get your kids working on good balance.  You can set them up inside or out and the kids will be using their muscles whether they’re actually swinging or just sitting with a book.

If you can picture your child in a colorful mixing bowl big enough to sit in, you’re pretty much seeing the WePlay Rocking Bowl.  This simple toy is nonetheless incredibly good for your children’s balance as they rock their way across the floor.  Just sitting inside comfortably requires good poise and balance.

Clockwise from top left: Stepping Stones, Jonti-Craft Balance Board Walk, Flybar Maverick Pogo Stick, Moon Shoes


Moving About in Style

Two words: Moon Shoes.  Need we say more?  These shoes are super fun, wobbly thingamajiggers that get your children working out leg muscles, along with their core, each step they take.  Just have your kids strap them on and walk around the house or yard and they’ll be practicing balance and coordination as they try to navigate their way.

Plastic, raised Stepping Stones are great for making an obstacle course right in your own back yard.  While they might look simple, balancing on them can be a challenge and they’re a good way to help kids with their posture and coordination. You’re able to mix up the challenge with each new configuration and keep your kids interested each time.

Balance beams and boards are a no brainer and Jonti-Craft Balance Board Walk provides an easy way to reap their benefits at home.  The kit includes boards and connectors so that you can create different paths for different skill levels.  Kids are only inches off the ground and there’s no risk of injury.  The boards are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use.

If you feel that your kids have graduated beyond the basics, consider a Flybar Maverick Pogo Stick. This version of the classic toy is designed for young beginners and gets kids jumping with purpose – and balance in mind.

Which balance-strengthening toys . . . I mean, tools do you love?

Tags : active play   motor skills   development   exercise   health   

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