Balancing games encourage the development of gross motor skills through practice. Gross motor skills include big movements involving the muscles of the arms, legs, torso and feet, according to the Baby Center website. Gross motor activities include actions such as running, jumping or hopping. You can encourage your child's healthy development by teaching him to play fun and easy balancing games such as Hopscotch.
Balance a Beanbag -- On Your Head!
Children can practice balance using a bean bag in a game called Beanbag Balance, as explained on the Scholastic website. Give your child a beanbag and have her put it on her head and walk around the room, making sure not to let the beanbag fall off her head. Challenge her to keep the beanbag balanced while walking in different styles, such as walking quickly or walking backwards. If you have a group of children, you can make this activity into a cooperative game. Have the children walk around or dance to music with beanbags balanced. If a beanbag falls off a child's head, the child must freeze. To unfreeze, another child must pick up the fallen beanbag and place it back on the frozen child's head. The helper must keep her beanbag balanced while picking up the fallen beanbag. You should allow time for the children to practice balancing the beanbag individually before beginning the group game.
Balance a Hankie While You Hop
A game called Hankie Hop, explained on the PBS Kids website, requires children to balance a hankie while hopping. Form two even teams from a group of children and have each team line up single-file. Give each team a handkerchief or other small and light material. To play, the first player balances the handkerchief on one foot and hops on the opposite foot to a predetermined finish line and back again to his team's line. When he reaches his team's line, the next player takes the handkerchief and repeats the process. If the handkerchief falls from the player's foot, he must return to the start of his team's line and start over. The first team to have all players successfully balance the handkerchief wins.
Get Your Hopscotch On
The Games Kids Play website outlines some simple rules for the classic balancing game hopscotch. First, set up the hopscotch pattern using masking tape or chalk. The pattern consists of eight numbered sections, which are traditionally square, and a starting line. Once the pattern is set up, give each child a small marker such as a stone. Have the first player stand behind the starting line and toss his marker in the first square. The player then hops over the first square to the second square and continues hopping to the final square. Once he reaches the final square, the player turns around and hops back to square two, pauses to pick up the marker in square one, hops in square one and then out of the hopscotch pattern. Once the first player finishes, the next player repeats his actions. When all players have tossed markers into the first square, play continues by repeating the process except with the stone tossed into a progressively higher numbered square. Players must hop on one foot unless the hopscotch pattern contains squares that are side-by-side, in which case the player may place one foot in each square. A player is out if he does not toss the marker into the correct square, if his foot touches a line or if he loses his balance while picking up the marker on his return.