Parents might look dorky while standing on one leg and trying to mimic a stork, but it's an excellent way to motivate toddlers and preschool children to attempt a static balance activity. This type of activity helps your child develop motor skills and increases her confidence during body movement. Static balance is simply balancing your body in a stationary position. Balancing well takes practice and repetition to train the muscles and master the skill.
Items you will need
- Piece of cardboard
- Colored marker
Draw a single footprint or square on a sidewalk with chalk. Place your foot in the design and lift the other leg with your knee bent out to the side. This is relatively easy if you place the bottom of your foot against the side of the knee on the straight leg. At the same time, extend your arms straight out to the side. Count to five and then ask your child to perform the same balance exercise. Another option is to place a square piece of cardboard on the floor and draw a footprint in it with a colored marker. Work up to a count of 10. Practice doing this activity with the other foot, too.
Move the piece of cardboard to an elevated spot such as a stair step or landing. Another option is to draw another footprint design on a porch step. This makes the static balance activity a bit more challenging after the child masters it on a flat surface.
Instruct the child to stand so her feet are hip-width apart. Ask her to raise her leg slowly to the side so it's a few inches off the ground. Help her count to 10 while not moving the raised leg. Repeat with the leg on the other side.
Play “statue” with a group of children to teach them static balance. Designate someone to be the guard and have the children stand a few feet behind him. Ask the children to form funny statue shapes with their bodies while the guard is looking to the front. Once he turns around, they must hold their position -- no matter how awkward -- for a count of 10. Whoever moves first during the count must be the guard for the next round.
Ask the child to stand heel-to-toe while you sing a children’s song or recite a nursery rhyme. Use an amusing accent or a funny voice to make this activity more interesting. This type of activity trains her muscles and enables her to increase her static balance skills. Once the song or rhyme is over, allow her to sing or recite a poem while you stand heel-to-toe. Children often enjoy friendly competition, especially with adults who are inept at the same skill.
- Sit a small beanbag or other colorful object on your child’s head after he has mastered the basic balance activities. Use a timer to notate how long he can hold the pose without causing the object to fall. Allow him to time you as well.
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