Walking the Line: This Fun Balance Game Makes All the Difference
By Rachel Ward
Turning cartwheels, rolling somersaults, and of course, jumping, hopping, and leaping are just a few of the joys of childhood. Exploring new ways their bodies can move is exhilarating for young minds!
But reaching those physical milestones takes a lot of time and practice—and before they can be reached, kids need to have a basic foundation to accomplish those amazingly fun movements. A big fitness component? Balance and coordination.
“By age four or five, most children will have gained large-muscle control, meaning they can perform movements that involve the whole body, such as running, jumping, and throwing,” explains Linda Nelson of KinderCare’s Education team. “At the same time, children are building their balance and coordination, and so we include activities in our preschool and Pre-K curriculum that build these skills.”
One of our favorites is pretty simple, but filled with adventure: Walking on lines—straight, zig-zag, and squiggly, too. (We know you remember how fun that was when you were a kid!)
Motor Coordination Activities Build Kids’ Balance Skills and More
We start out with an easy walk along a line. Once kids get the hang of it, we start adding in a bit of a challenge (and upping the fun) by, say, hopping along a zig-zag line.
But we don’t stop there. Kids are encouraged to come up with their own ideas for ways to move along the lines. Why?
“A lot of skills can be built with just one activity—so in addition to building balance and coordination, we have children think and explore new ideas, which grows a spirit of innovation and gives them control over their own learning experiences,” says Nelson.
There’s so many great ways you can encourage your child to keep building balance and coordination at home—so why leave all the fun to us at KinderCare? Try our tips below!
Time to Get Active! 4 Outdoor Balance Games to Try at Home
1. Get bouncy by jumping rope
Put the iPad and cell phone away and indulge in a timeless childhood game: jump rope. Not only is it a heckuva lotta fun for kids, it’s also an excellent way to build those balance and coordination skills (all while jump-jump-jumping out that energy).
2. Play “Red Light, Green Light”
Not only is this game helping kids build balance and coordination, it’s also giving them a chance to work on impulse control, a valuable executive-function skill that will help them throughout their lives as they, say, avoid the temptation to leave work in a huff when a coworker slights them or down a whole box of cookies in one sitting.
3. Play a game of hopscotch
As kids hop through a hopscotch grid, they’re having to think about where their bodies will land and maintain their balance on one or both feet—a great way to build coordination and muscle control!
4. Ride a bike or a scooter
Bikes and scooters aren’t just enormous fun for youngsters—they also make for excellent balancing practice! You probably already have a kid-size version in your garage, so why not hit the sidewalks one of these crisp fall afternoons? If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide to finding the best option for your four- or five-year-old!