9 Fun Balance Activities for Kids

Build motor skills with activities that challenge your child's balance.

Kids need to learn all kinds of gross motor skills in order to achieve physical literacy. Balance doesn't always spring to mind right away as an important motor skill, but it is one! Children need balance activities in order to develop the stability skills they need to run, jump, throw, and participate in many kinds of physical play and sports.

These games and activities are fun, but also help kids practice and improve their balance. If they need an extra challenge, they can try doing them with eyes closed!

Tightrope or Slackline

balance activity: slackline
robbreece / RooM / Getty Images

No circus tent required: You can make your own tightrope for young acrobats at home. You need a couple of sturdy trees (fence posts will also work) and some strong rope. The key is to make two rope lines: one low to the ground, for kids to stand and walk on, and one a few feet higher so kids can hold onto it. Or, especially for older kids, consider investing in a slackline kit.

Walk the Line

Walking on a balance beam is, of course, a great balance activity (more on that below). But if you don't have access to one, or your child is not yet ready for it, it's easy to start out with a line made out of tape or sidewalk chalk. You can make your lines straight, curvy, jagged, wavy, spiral ... anything goes, and anything helps kids build balance skills.

Balance Beam

Kids can try walking on a low balance beam at the playground or a gymnastics gym. But you can also make your own with a few scraps of wood, or look for beams "in the wild": logs, low stone walls, railroad ties edging a playground, and so on. Other natural features, like stumps and boulders, can challenge balance too. In addition to standing and walking on these structures, kids can try to balance while bouncing a ball on the ground, against a wall, or back and forth to a friend.

Playground Challenges

Lots of playground equipment can inspire balance activities: swings, slides, ladders, and all kinds of climbers. Whether kids are playing a game like grounders, challenging each other to an obstacle course, or using the playground as a setting for dramatic play, they are likely to be working those balance skills as they do.

Balance and Wobble Boards

Diggin Active Wobble Deck
Diggin Active, Inc.

A balance board, sometimes called a wobble board, is a balance trainer and toy. Kids stand on a flat platform with an uneven base, attempting to stay upright or maneuver the board from side to side. To make your own, use a skateboard deck, boogie board, or flat piece of wood as the platform. Place half a pool noodle underneath to make your board wobble. Or purchase a made-for-kids balance board. Many incorporate games, sounds, and lights for more appeal.

Couch Cushions

From "hot lava" to "jailbreak," the clever occupational therapist and physical therapist team at The Inspired Treehouse has 10 ways to use couch cushions for balance activities. Kids will think they are a blast!

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So many yoga poses help improve balance (while also building strength, especially in the core muscles which are instrumental for balancing too). This set of poses is a great place to start. Kids also tend to love poses such as tree and dancer, where they get to stand on one leg, or postures with animal names.

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Pile It On

Play a who-can-do-this? game by seeing if your child can stand up straight while balancing something on his head: a paper plate, a tissue, a beanbag. Then up the ante by adding more objects, or adding movement, such as walking or even dancing. You can also try balancing items on other parts of the body: a shoulder, an outstretched arm, hand, or foot; a bent knee).

Big Bouncy Ball

Play a balance game with a large exercise ball, if you have one handy. Have your child sit on the ball with both feet on the floor. Then he can try lifting first one foot, then the other, and finally both—without falling off the ball!

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