Although we might take balance for granted, it is nevertheless a skill that needs some time to develop. It took us all a lot of falls and bruised knees before we mastered walking upright on both feet. If you want to give your toddler a little helping hand with his/her coordination and balance skills, there’s no better way to do so than with the help of a balance board.
Balance boards are children’s toys that are designed to encourage the proper development of rhythm, coordination, reflexes, and spatial awareness skills. They resemble a curved surfboard that wobbles and simulates wave-like movements, making it incredibly fun and engaging for children.
Just like any item meant for children, it’s best to invest a couple dollars more and get what’s best for your little one. What this means is opting for natural and safe materials, such as wood, opposed to plastics. Plastic boards are more prone to breaking from the weight of your child, not to mention how they can contain a number of harmful chemicals. A wooden rocker balance board on the other hand, can be more resistant to kids jumping on it and tossing it around, making it a more durable investment. But most importantly, wooden balance boards, and wooden toys in general, are 100% free of toxic chemicals.
A wooden rocker balance board is very simple and safe for toddlers and young children to use. They can perform easy exercises by wobbling from side to side with their feet on the board, or they can sit on it and gently rock back and forth. All these movements are providing great input for their vestibular system and the inner ear which is important for developing balance and gross motor skills.
Once your child becomes confident enough in using the board and is successfully keeping balance, you can try increasing the challenge by having them stand on the board with one leg. You can also introduce some additional activities, like for instance tossing a ball back and forth. By doing this while standing on the board, besides reflexes, your child is also exercising the hand-eye coordination. But most importantly, while he/she is consciously focused on the ball, he/she practices how to maintain stability subconsciously. This is perhaps the best exercise for learning balance and motor skills.
As a result of our computer-obsessed society, children do not get the needed amount of physical activity for their proper development. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to motivate them to be physically active, and toys such as the balance board can certainly help a lot.