Vestibular systems play a key role in all of this. Never heard of it? The Vestibular System relates to the inner ear, and how the body analyses balance and movement. Some kids are extremely sensitive to Vestibular input (like my son) and are fearful of certain movement. Other kids crave it and do all sorts of acrobatics to get the input they desire. Balance Boards help kids to get positive Vestibular input while feeling secure in their immediate environment.
A balance board is a relatively safe way to help a child get used to Vestibular input. All that your child really needs to do is to stand on it. Then, they will shift their body weight and respond appropriately to the changing stimuli. As the benefits of using these balance boards became more widely known we have seen them grow in popularity and use. Here are just some of the benefits of using a wooden balance board:
As your child climbs, rocks and balances on the board, they are an effective form of exercise. Their benefits include improving strength and core stability, improving balance and reflexes, fostering gross motor coordination and weight distribution, and improving spatial awareness and proprioception. There are even entire kid’s exercise and yoga programs designed around the balance board! Balance boards are also perfect when the weather means you can’t get outdoors but the kiddies still need to expend some energy.
Whether it is sitting at a table, walking the balance beam or climbing a kerb, balance means the ability to keep a controlled body position. As they explain, mastering this fundamental skill is necessary for the child to perform such tasks as participating in sports, moving their bodies fluidly, riding a bike, and performing basic daily tasks. It makes sense that standing on a moving curved surface would be a great way to help develop balance.
A wooden balance board is a fantastic, open-ended resource that can really inspire all types of imaginative and constructive play. While adults sometimes only see a curved piece of wood, a child will see a lot of fun, such as slide, bridge, boat, seesaw, rocker, bed, a tunnel to crawl under, etc.
Helps Children to Wind Down
After countless hours of rocking your little one to sleep, I’m sure we can all attest to the soothing power of gentle movement. The rocking motion of a wooden balance board has a beautiful calming effect, and it can be used to relax and wind down children. Also, you can put a few cushions and a blanket on the board to create a cozy little nest that your child will enjoy snuggling into with an interesting book or some soothing music to listen to. Parents, therapists and teachers are even using balance boards in helping to reduce symptoms and improve concentration in children with ADHD.
As you can see, wooden balance boards truly are a wonderful investment for your child. They provide opportunities for both active and quiet play, as well as fostering numerous developmental milestones and skills.