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Balance: Is the Floor Moving?

This can be done in a group or with a single child.

  • Spread out a sheet on the floor. If the floor is carpeted, that’s softer. But where children are concerned, sometimes softness is underrated. So it is not essential to have a carpeted room.
  • Have everyone kneel on the floor beside the sheet.
  • Encourage one or two toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children at a time to walk on the sheet while others make waves, by shaking the sheet up and down. (If you are alone with just one child, anchor two edges of the sheet under chairs and you hold the other two edges and make waves.)
  • It looks like the floor is moving, even though the floor under the fabric is flat. The eyes tell the brain that the floor is wavy, but the nerves in the feet say it is stable. It’s a wild experience. You can try it, too.
  • This helps balance. Their bodies learn to listen to all of the internal and external cues and to walk carefully to avoid falls.
  • Variation: Have the children crawl, roll (tucked like balls, hugging their knees), or log-roll (stretched out straight) on top of the waves.

Let them use their imaginations to pretend they are at the beach jumping waves, or in the desert in waves of blowing sand.