Are you looking to integrate more gross motor activities throughout the day? If you haven’t seen or used a balance board, you need to check it out!
Balance boards are made of wood with strips on the top that provide friction. The bottoms are curved to create a rocking motion.
There are many benefits to integrating a balance board into your classroom and a variety of activities to do with them. A balance board can also help with children who have sensory processing disorders. Children with sensory processing disorders share the difficulty of not having good balancing skills. Balance board activities could be done in a corner of a classroom, in a gym, or in a hallway and with a parent volunteer!
Here are just a few activities you can do with the balance board:
(Source: Motor Skills for Academic Success)
Balance board bean bag toss
- Place a basket of bean bags next to a balance board and a “target” crate across from it. A child stands on the balance board and uses one hand to reach into the basket, get a beanbag and throw it into a “target” crate. Try not to have the child lean on the crate for support while reaching into the basket. Have the child throw five or ten bean bags, one at a time, with one hand and move the basket of bean bags to the other side of the balance board and repeat on this side. The “target” crate can be moved farther away for more of a challenge.
- Have a child stand on the balance board and use beanbags to hit “targets” placed around them, on the wall or floor. Good “targets” could be colors, shapes, animals, letters, etc.
In this picture, two children are engaging in an activity in the hallway from the Motor Moms and Dads Program. They are trying to toss bean bags into the crate while balancing on the board and practicing math skills at the same time! What fun!
Balance board throw and catch:
- Have a child stand on the balance board. Use a big bright ball for beginners. Throw the ball to him so he can catch it easily. Have the child throw the ball back to you. When the child can catch well, try to throw the ball slightly above his head. As skills improve, try switching to a smaller ball or add a bounce to your throw.