Balance is the pillar between every skill we have. From throwing and catching to jumping and running. We use balance throughout our daily lives and it is an essential skill needed to carry out some of the simplest tasks such as sitting, standing and walking.
There are two types of balance:
Static balance: The ability to maintain control of a position whilst remaining stationary – for example, balancing on one leg or holding a headstand.
Below are some great activities to improve both static and dynamic balance:
Playing catch whilst balancing on one leg. This activity gives a mix of both static and dynamic balance.
-Make it hard: balancing on one leg whilst playing catch and balancing a beanbag on head.
-Make it harder: do the above whilst catching with only one hand.
-Make it easier: Use a larger ball to catch with.
-Games; using a stopwatch, time to see who can balance the longest or play in groups and measure the most catches before losing balance.
What will you need? Spots, beanbags, playground balls, stopwatch, white board.
Play in groups of two children or progress into group games to engage the whole class.
Using agility tables, children must climb up the tables to different heights and perform a balance act on each. This activity gives a mix of both static and dynamic balance at different heights.
-Make it hard: set the agility tables at larger heights to increase the difficulty.
-Make it harder: do the above whilst balancing beanbag or rubber quoits on head.
-Make it easier: use just one agility table at a low height which children have to step on a perform a different balance act each time.
-Games; Score children on their balancing ability and balance poses. Use a stopwatch and white boards to plot scores and times.
What will you need? Agility tables, beanbag, rubber quoits, stopwatch, white board.
Play games or engage group games to engage the whole class.
Using throw down spots laid out in a line, hop on one leg from one spot to the next without falling off the spots. This will develop balance and coordination.
-Make it hard: place the spots further apart.
-Make it harder: hop on the weaker leg.
-Make it easier: Allow the children to alternate legs.
-Games; Set a course of throw down spots and measure to see who can get the furthest. Races can be created to see who can complete the course first.
What will you need? Throw down spots, stopwatch, white boards.
Play games individually or incorporate pairs or group games to engage the whole class.
The possibilities are endless! Get creative and make these activities easier or harder depending on progression – and if you have an idea about any great games, please let us know. Measure and encourage development through the use of team games, personal bests and races, measuring times and distances with a stopwatch and whiteboard.
By working on balance, children will have the foundations to move onto further challenges and compete in team games and competitive sports.
As always, ensuring children are safe during these activities is very important. It is important to use the appropriate matting and safety procedures when carrying out the above activities.