If you’re looking for ways to improve balance for your toddler, you’re in the right place. Balance is something we take for granted as adults – but it’s an essential skill for your toddler to learn! Toddlers need balance in order to walk, run and jump – they need balance to fully explore the exciting world around them.
9 Easy Games to Help Improve Balance for Toddlers
These simple games will help your toddler practice balance and gross motor skills while having a lot of fun. Kids naturally enjoy challenging themselves physically, so you can expect a lot of enthusiasm from your little one!
Even very young kids can be found trying to climb onto tables, manage the stairs, and run as fast as their wobbly legs will allow.
By leading them in games that harness these natural instincts, you’ll be giving them valuable practice and the chance to enjoy their newfound capabilities. Of course they’ll also probably give you a panic attack when they try to scale your countertops, but that’s the price of having an athletic toddler.
Now, onto the games.
1. Floor is Lava
The “floor is lava” game is a favorite for kids of all ages, and is especially good for helping young kids work on balance. The premise is simple: the floor is hot lava, and the kids needs to avoid touching it at all costs.
You can make “safe spots” out of anything – pillows, blankets, etc. We love the National Geographic Stepping Stones – they have a nice grip to them and can be used on lots of surfaces (we play this game both inside the house and in the yard).
These stepping stones are excellent quality and work really well on both the grass and on the carpet! (The "morphing matter" sensory material is a fun bonus).
As your child’s balance improves, you can space the stones (or whatever you’re using as a “base”) further apart, making it more challenging for your child to jump from spot to spot.
2. Stay on the Line!
This is a basic game that requires nothing but tape on the floor. You simply make a path for your child and have them follow it! It’s not quite as easy as it looks for a young kid, and if you want to get creative you can set up small obstacles along the path.
Regular painters tape works really well, and you can double your “path” as a temporary play space for your kids.
If you want to get a little fancier, you can try a something like the wavy balance circle, which will work like an at-home balance beam for some added fun.
Hopscotch is a beloved playground game that also happens to be excellent to improve balance for toddlers. The game is simple: players toss a small object into a pattern of numbered rectangles outlined on the ground (the game can be played using chalk on the pavement, or just as easily indoors using painter’s tape on the floor). The player then jumps through the numbered spaces to retrieve the object.
There are different ways you can design your hopscotch court, but the straightforward design you remember from your own childhood should do the trick.
4. Cosmic Kids Yoga
I can’t say enough about the Cosmic Kids Yoga channel on YouTube. I suppose this isn’t technically a game, but I wanted to mention it because the yoga videos are so much fun for kids and are really excellent in terms of integrating balance and movement into their play.
These videos are great on a rainy day, or even as a way for your toddler (or preschooler or older child!) to unwind after a hectic afternoon. And in terms of improving balance, yoga is a great choice for kids.
5. Simon Says
This is a classic, and kids today love it as much as kids from years ago. Simon Says isn’t exclusively a balance game – it’s just a game that lends itself really well to having kids practice their balance!
Simon Says jump on one foot! Balance for 10 seconds! Simon Says raise your arms over your head and stand on one leg!
You get the idea.
6. Homemade Obstacle Course
With a few simple objects you can set up an obstacle course for your kids. Use whatever you have lying around – step stools, paper bags, string, chairs – whatever!
Older kids can easily set up a course for younger kids, and it’s easy for you as the parent to tailor the challenge of the course to your child’s ability. You can also rearrange the objects in a few minutes to create an entirely new experience for your kid.
7. Freeze Dance
The freeze dance game takes zero prep and is a lot of fun. Play your favorite music, get the kids dancing around, and then yell FREEZE! and pause the music every minute or two.
The challenge for your child is to stay still like a statue in whatever pose they were in – staying still is hard work, and a great way to improve balance for toddlers who don’t yet have great control over their bodies.
8. Colored Sock Challenge
Put a red sock on one of your toddler’s feet, and a green sock on the other foot (really any two colors will do). Have your child follow your directions to jump on one foot and then the other, using the colors as commands.
“Red foot jump twice!”
“Green foot spin in a circle!”
Young kids will get a kick out of having two different colored socks on, and will like to practice both following your commands as well as balancing.
9. Stump Walk
If you’re able to find some old tree stumps (I was able to get my hands on some from Facebook Marketplace, but you can also find them when a neighbor cuts down a tree!) then you can make a really cool “Stump Walk” path in your backyard.
We set ours up between the sandbox and the swing-set.
Having stumps at a variety of heights is a great addition to a natural child’s place space for lots of reasons – not just balance practice. Kids can use the stumps creatively in their pretend play, they can work on their strength by getting on and off the longs and stumps – and yes, they can also work on their balance.
Why is balance important for toddlers?
Balance is one of the key components in overall fitness (along with strength, flexibility and endurance). We all want our kids to be active and healthy – and that starts with them having strong and physically fit bodies!
Toddlers are physically developing at a startling rate. Improving their balance will set a foundation of overall fitness that will allow them to take on all sorts of challenges and adventures as they grow up.
Having good balance is also important in order to reduce injuries. Young kids need to learn to handle different types of terrain without falling down. These fun balance games are easy ways to practice this essential skill.
Best Toys to Help Develop Balance
These toys are not only fun for your child, but all encourage physical control and help improve balance for toddlers. While it’s by no means necessary to buy anything specific to work on balance, you might find that these items will encourage physical play and work well for your child.
This soft play structure will allow your toddler to safely practice climbing and balancing skills at home. Recommended Age: 6 months - 2 years.
I hope you found some simple and fun game ideas to try at home with your toddler. Happy balancing!
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