Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Balance Beam!

Today I made Q a balance beam. She has been very interested in walking on parking blocks and other raised surfaces, so I knew it was time to make her one at home! I found two logs about the same size and put an old fence pole across them (after we took the rusty nails out of it). First I walked across to show her how to do it. Then she walked across with my hand for support. The the cat and the dog wanted to check it out. Getting the dog to jump over again and again was a lot of fun, and the cat wanted to scratch on it. She also loved to jump off at the end when she finished!

Balance beams are great, of course, for teaching balance, body awareness and control, patience, and gross motor development. They also support positional words--over, above, under, etc.

The grass is a great place to do balance work--if she falls she has a nice cushy nature-made mat to land on!

Other extensions--use the balance beam as a road for matchbox cars. Line up little army men or other figures on it. Draw on it with chalk, paint it with paint or water. Put the sprinkler at one end and walk across into the sprinkler. Put a blanket or rug across it for a "saddle" to ride your horse.

There are also a lot of different gymnastic movements with your feet and hands that I am sure you could find online.

And of course I would totally raid a construction site if I hadn't already had these materials in the backyard! So this is a free project!
(phone books, bricks, cinderblocks, overturned trashcans, etc. would all work for holding the beam up!)

For older kids, let them build their own beams!
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