It seems like children are always on the move, and just like the energizer bunny , they keep going. But what can you do with your kids to add just a little bit of structure to their movements? The Wavy Tactile Beam is inspired by wavy bumpy country roads and helps provide a way for children to practice their balance while stimulating their sense of touch. The pieces can also be laid in a different pattern every time for a new course and additional play benefits. Below are 4 great activities you can do with the Wavy Tactile Beam. Don’t worry if you do not have the beam at the bottom, we provide some additional items you could use instead that can be found around your house.
1. Straight Walking Path
- This first activity is an easy one. Attach beam pieces in a way that creates almost a straight line and encourage children to walk across it with one foot in front of the other and keep their balance. What do they feel on their feet as they walk across?
- Once children master walking on one path, break the line into two pieces and encourage children to walk with one foot on each beam. Is this harder or easier?
2. S-Shaped Path
- As balancing and walking skills increase and children become more confident, the beam can easily be adjusted for a more difficult path by creating an S-Shape. This will encourage children to keep readjusting their center of gravity as they move along the path.
- Make it even harder by trying to balance something on your head or hold something out in front you or to the side in the palm of your hand. By changing up the difficulty, you increase the child’s engagement with the activity.
3. Fishing around the Pond
- Something unique about the 8 beam pieces is that they can be connected to form a circle. This is another new balancing course that kids will love because it challenges their core and balance even further as it forces them to stand up straight and not lean in as they walk around the circle.
- If someone doesn’t want to balance, you can use the circle as a pond and pretend to fish in it. Children can sit on the beam and fish for things in the middle. This pairs amazingly with the Rock ‘N’ Fish set as well if you are in need of a fishing set.
4. Planning your Step
- It is very easy for children to follow the line or practice balancing on one beam, but what if there are gaps and holes? Separate the beam in sets of 2 and space them out in the room. Ask children to walk one foot in front of the other and then take a larger set to get to the next set of beam pieces. Children will have to work on their balance and sometimes pause for a minute before stepping to the next sections.
- For an added challenge, move the grouping of pieces so they are not in a straight line and children need to change their direction as they move from piece to piece.
I hope these ideas helped your find some new ways to use your beam and work on balance with children to help them control their get up and move attitudes. But what if you don’t have the beam? The easiest way at home to work on these balance skills is to use a variety of pillows. Start with a few pillows off your beds, then mix in a throw pillow from the couch. Using pillows of different densities, thicknesses, or materials helps stimulate your child’s senses as he/she works on balance. For a more advanced DIY beam, you can use 2 x 4s and cut them in various sizes. Then use puffy paints to create different tactile designs on the beams. Now, it’s time to go out an move!