Are you looking for developmental toys appropriate for your toddler? You may have run across toys like the Pikler Triangle or arch but need something a bit smaller for your space. Never fear! We have the answer to this predicament. That is, balance boards! A balance board is a perfect option for any toddler looking to get moving and helps them develop motor skills all while having fun!
What is a Balance Board?
Balance boards are one of the many toys used in Montessori-based education and play. Though, it can be used for every toddler regardless of educational philosophy. The benefits balance boards bring are numerous and they can be used for years!
The balance board can come by many names. You may see them as balance boards, wobble boards, Waldorf boards, or Montessori boards. They are all quite similar and most of the time made of wood as plastic is often avoided in toys related to Montessori education. Though, there are a few out there!
How do Balance Boards Work?
Balance boards work in a number of ways. These boards challenge our toddlers developmentally by increasing their sense of balance, body awareness, and overall motor skills. Wobble boards are ultimately used by either standing, kneeling, or sitting on them and shifting weight. Since your child must shift their weight to keep their balance, it teaches them to be responsive to a changing environment.
What are the Benefits of Balance and Wobble Boards?
As we explored briefly above, wobble boards help develop a child’s balance, core stability, strength, and body awareness. These are all aspects crucial to your child’s motor development.
However, balance boards can be used for more than just motor activities! These boards can be used for endless open-ended play. Whether that be an arch to race cars down or a shelter for stuffed animals.
A balance board is a good idea for nearly any age group. While it may seem most beneficial for an older toddler, even an older infant can reap the benefits from this fun toy! They can crawl over or under the balance board exploring motor skills developmentally appropriate for them.
Related Post: 8 Best Pikler Triangles for your Toddler
Do Wobble Boards Really Help with Balance?
Nearly everything your little one is doing is helping to develop their sense of balance. However, incorporating the use of a balance board will only aid in this development. Wobble boards specifically work on reaction. That is, when your child balances and moves on the board, they must learn to react when the board move in unpredictable motions. This doesn’t happen when they simply walk, stand, crawl, or jump!
The Best Balance Boards for Kids
The Diversity Wobble Board from Bunny Hopkins with spark your child’s imagination and creativity. This balance board is handcrafted in the USA from USA grown birch wood. The wood stains are also non-toxic, water-based and heavy metal-free.
Bunny Hopkins is a family-owned and operated business that is 100% handmade in the USA.
This balance board is made of natural wood and made for even the roughest and rowdy child. In fact, it is the perfect fit for everyone in the family as it can easily hold weight ranging from your littlest one to each adult in the household!
Aside from this board being made of natural wood, it is also environmentally friendly as it uses stains that meet ecological standards in several countries including Europe, Australia, and the United States!
The Little Dove Wooden Balance Board is a smaller board that can be used by your toddler. It is one of the simpler boards on the market still providing an opportunity for your toddler to explore their motor skills.
If you aren’t partial to wooden toys, the Fat Brain Toys Balance Board is a great option! This board is made from heavy-duty plastic and sports strong silicone suction cups on the bottom to adhere to any smooth surface ensuring your little one’s safety.
Another option for plastic balance boards, the Spooner board may be a great fit for an older child looking for more than the simple rocking motion. This board allows your child to practice twisting, spinning, and sliding as well.
Looking for a wobble board better suited for an older child? This is the one! Shaped like a skateboard, this balance board has three half-sphere balance points better suited to the older child looking for fun. Not only can this balance board be used in the traditional way by rocking back and forth, it can also be rotated 360 degrees when balancing on one of the three half-spheres.
How to use Balance Boards
As with many toys similar to balance boards, there is a safety factor that needs to be accounted for. When your child is using a wobble board, it is often a smart idea to have them under observation. Since balance boards work on balance, there is a good chance you will find your toddler falling again and again and again! This becomes a safety risk that needs to be watched. There are a few things you can do though to help prevent any injuries when using this amazing developmental toy!
When your toddler is first using this toy, until they get used to it, there are some things you can do to help them adapt. Here are just a few!
- Holding your child’s hand providing more stability in their play
- Clearing the area from any toys they could fall into
- Using the balance board next to a wall so your child can support themselves on the wall
- Using the balance board on a carpet or mat
Are Wobble Boards Worth it?
The answer to this question depends on several factors related to your child’s development. However, for the most part, a balance board is worth it at almost any age. Think about it, there are even balance boards out there for adults! A good sense of balance is important and it is always a good idea to provide the opportunity to improve this for your little one.
Other than balance, the boards are simply a great idea to have in helping develop your little one’s core strength. Obviously, we aren’t talking about working out here but more of the everyday core muscles used for walking, bending, and lifting. These are everyday activities we participate in and helping our children develop muscles to do these activities properly and without getting hurt is important!
Make Development Fun!
As parents, we only want to see our little one developing and growing the best they can. Providing your little one with all opportunities to do so is crucial! One of the many ways you can do this is by investing in a balance board and not only seeing your toddler learn and develop daily but having fun in the process!