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Balancing

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Moving through space

Duration/age

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Most children love to challenge themselves physically and explore the different ways they can move around, through and over different objects. You might find your child likes to try and balance on or along lines or other surfaces.

Next time you are outside with your child or walking somewhere, encourage them to try a bit of balancing. Can they balance along a line on the footpath, on a low brick wall or on one leg?

Talk with your child about the different ways you can balance. It could be on one leg like a star or walking along a seat raised off the ground. They could try to go heel-toe, heel-toe along a wobbly line drawn on the ground.

Materials you will need

  • Your feet

Alternative tools

  • Rope
  • A line on the ground
  • A low solid wall
  • A long bench

Why does this matter?

Regular physical activity when your child is very young can have a positive impact on their immediate and long term health.

Physical activity helps children to develop their senses, posture, strength and balance. As they move about they are using all of their body. Whole body movement will include their upper body, lower body and will help with trunk stability.

As they move around in the natural environment or use the playground equipment they are developing language to communicate what they are doing. They are exploring how their bodies move in and through space.

What does this lead to?

Encouraging your child to move in different ways helps them to understand that they can use and move their bodies in many ways. As they explore the different ways their bodies move they are learning about measurement, space and size and how to move within and around objects.

As your child moves they’re using all of their body and senses. They are developing strength, control and coordination in all of their body parts including the large muscles in their trunk. Having a strong core, or trunk, is important as it helps children with good sitting posture.

Language to use

  • Arms, legs, feet, heels, toes
  • On top, along, above, on the ground
  • Forwards, backwards, side, front

Questions to use

  • Is it harder to balance on one leg than the other?
  • Can you balance on one leg and move your arms out to the side?
  • Can you still balance on one leg if you wave your arms in the air above your head?
  • Do you need to look at your feet when you balance along a line?

Useful tips

  1. See 49 things to do before you’re 5 for more ideas about being active and physical outside.
  2. For more information on your child’s physical development see the Child Health Record - the Blue Book.
  3. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

Try yoga with your child.

Variation by age

Birth to two year olds

  • Draw a line along the ground to balance on.
  • Make a wobbly line with masking tape to balance on.
  • Use stepping stones to create a balancing course.
  • Tie two thick ropes between some trees for balancing on.

Three to five year olds

  • Draw a line along the ground to balance on.
  • Make a wobbly line with masking tape to balance on.
  • Use stepping stones to make a balancing course.
  • Tie two thick ropes between some trees for balancing on.
  • Go on an excursion to the park or playground. How many different things are there to balance on?

Questions to ask

  • Where will you start?
  • Which foot will you use first?
  • Where do you need to put your feet?

Questions to ask

  • Do you step with both feet?
  • Does your body face the same way when you balance on the rope compared to a line the ground?