When it comes to kids and physical activity, few skills are more important than balance control. Whether learning to crawl, walk, ride a bike, or play sports, kids can't get very far until they can keep those little bodies properly balanced.
While a lucky few are born with an intuitive sense of balance, most children need time and practice, practice, practice. The more often they're required to stabilize their bodies, the quicker they will develop good balance control.
Only with repetition does the neuromuscular system learn to recover its equilibrium when in motion. Over time, those little corrective movements will become embedded in muscle memory, and stabilizing becomes an automatic process. But for many kids, getting there can be a long, frustrating process.
Parents can make the process easier by introducing a range of balance-building activities. All kinds of movement—jumping, sliding, dancing, and pedaling—will challenge your child's balance, along with other physical skills. And with so many choices available, there are bound to be activities your child will love, including these:
Swings, slides, seesaws, climbers are all wonderful for building balance, muscle strength, and cardio fitness.
When kids are steering and pedaling on wheels, they're doing plenty of stabilizing. (Biking? Roller blading? Don't forget the safety helmets!)
Kids' balance beams, balance boards, and balance bikes are specifically designed to help children with this skill. The good news is, kids also love 'em.
What goes up must come down! Trampolines, hopscotch, bounce balls, and even jump rope help kids learn to "think on their feet."
During the winter, staying atop a moving sled is a fun way to build stability. In the summer, trade in that sled for a pool float, rocking up and down on the water!
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