As I was searching for one or two web sites that have some “balancing” games for young children, my searches kept leading me to gross motor activities.

Duh!  Of course they did. It makes perfect sense that “balance” and “young children” and “games” leads to “balance beams,” “running games,” and “big, outdoor play.”  It got me thinking about how lucky we are that the concepts we are meant to cover in the early childhood curriculum can be infused in broad and  meaningful ways.

If “balance” is this month’s theme, then it stands to reason that children should explore balance in a variety of ways.  As they develop physically, they are continually exploring their own personal sense of balance, first while crawling, later by toddling, eventually by walking, and finally by running, skipping, and hopping.

These games provide another avenue for children to explore balance.  Remember to reinforce the mathematical concepts and encourage children to distribute the weight so it is the “same on both sides”.

 Here are a few examples of fun home-made relays you can do with your children to stimulate their balance. They will enjoy doing them and have lots of fun.

### PENGUIN WALK

All you need is a couple of bean bags, or you can make little bags filled with uncooked rice. All the children line up at the start line and they put their “egg” (the beanbag) on top of their feet and then they try to walk like a penguin, without dropping the egg. The first child who can make it to the finish line is the winner. It’s a very easy game, but it is hilarious to see the children “wobble” like a penguin and they will have good laughs too!

### POTATO AN D SPOON RACE

A hilarious and famous party game! In this relay game all the players divide into teams and every team gets a spoon with a potato on it. Now the children need to complete the distance till turning point and back without dropping the potato and then give the spoon to the next player in the team. If the potato drops, that player of the team has to start again at the starting line. The first team to have all its players complete the course is the winner. A balance relay game for 4 years and up.

### HOLD THE ORANGE

This relay game is played in pairs. Every pair stands face to face with each other and try to pinch an orange between their foreheads without using their hands. Now every pair has to complete a distance without dropping the orange and it’s not allowed to use hands to hold it in place. A fun balancing race game.

### BALANCE CHALLENGE

For this balance challenge you need a piece of wide adhesive tape, like duct tape or other white or grey tape. Make a straight line on the floor with the tape about 10 feet long and 3 inches wide. This is the balancing “beam”. Have the children walk over it and like in Simon Says invent more and more challenging tasks for the children. Watch their feet to check if they stay on the beam. Useful tasks for their balance: have them walk the line with a book on their head, backwards, hopping on one foot, or with a book on their head and something in their hands and so on. Use your imagination and have fun!