Movement and activity are essential to improving the quality of life both for adults, as well as children from a very early age. In adulthood, we tend to focus on things like maintaining form, building muscle, and feeling good in our bodies. However, when it comes to our children, it is important to make sure they're developing their balance and coordination skills.
Balance is the ability to maintain control of a particular body position while performing other tasks with minimal postural sway. Once we learn how to master balance, it occurs naturally allowing us to move our attention and focus on other things.
As parents, we already know all too well how important the first years of our children's lives are and how their first experiences will play a tremendous role later on (no pressure). But why exactly should we focus on developing balance – and is there anything we as parents can do to help our kids improve these skills?
Hint: Yes, there is, and it has to do with the TipiToo balance beam – but more on that later.
Why are balance skills important?
Balance is one of the most important body functions, ensuring the vertical position of your body and the ability to orientate yourself and have a better sense of direction. Having good balance is important for many activities we do every day. This can include the basics like walking or going up and down the stairs or more challenging activities like riding the bike or gymnastics.
In children, balance allows them to control and manage their bodies. Kids who struggle with balance can have difficulty with motor skills that other children don't have a problem with, like hopping, skipping, catching, swimming, and tying their shoes.
But here's the thing – balance affects much more than just physical performance. The balance system in your child’s brain (also called the cerebellum) is a fundamental piece for higher learning and problem solving. Both balance and coordination may support your child’s vision system when reading, posture for taking notes in the classroom, and attention to listening and retaining information from the teacher. So this is why learning balance skills is so important – if the child has balance issues, this can cause a number of learning challenges in the classroom.
This is why activities that stimulate balance, movement, and core strength in your child’s body are especially important. They will not only help your child control body movement but also activate the brain for higher learning concepts.
We wanted to find out more and spoke to a certified physiotherapist about this. “Encouraging activity and movement that develops the musculoskeletal system is super important from a very young age,” emphasizes Agnese Osīte, physiotherapist at MT Fizioterapija. “Children start to develop their balance and sensory system already during infancy. They gradually learn larger motor movements – starting with lying on their backs, then learning how to be on all fours, learning how to sit, then managing to hold their body upright in a vertical position, and finally learning how to move independently,” she explains.
According to research, the age of 4–5 years is when children rapidly develop their balance. “This is where parents can do a lot of work to help. It's the best age to encourage your child to learn activities that require more complex movements, like skating, skiing, or cycling,” recommends Agnese. “Preschool age is the most important period for developing balance, so parents should not restrict the child's natural desire to train this part of their body. On the contrary – you should encourage going outdoors and to the playground where your child can climb, jump, swing, run, and learn how to overcome obstacles.”
This age is also a great time for introducing kids to balance-challenging play equipment, like the TipiToo balance beam we designed.
What is TipiToo – and how does it help improve balance?
We know how important it is to encourage children to get active from an early age. What is learned early on stays with us for a longer time, so to say. So we wanted to create an activity toy that encourages children's love for moving through every step.
TipiToo is our new balance beam for children, an activity toy that promotes physical activity and movement, improves muscle strength, and encourages balance and body awareness in a natural way. Most balance beams come only with a flat surface, while the TipiToo provides much more versatility. While one side of the balance beam is smooth, the other side comes in a variety of surfaces, including:
- Horizontal lines
- Raised dots
TipiToo's different surfaces provide more challenge, as well as massage important pressure points on the child's feet which helps promote blood circulation and relaxation after a day of playing or school. TipiToo is also entirely adjustable – you can combine longer sections with shorter ones and create balance beams in different shapes, from triangles to your child's unique design for a more adventurous path.
“The TipiToo balance beam is a great contemporary solution for improving balance, coordination, and introducing new sensory and movement experiences into your child's life,” says physiotherapist Agnese Osīte. “Each section in the balance beam is like a new task your child can solve by tuning into their senses. Definitely a great toy for boosting skills like climbing, holding balance, and even building confidence every time the child walks the whole balance beam. Not to mention it looks like great fun and can bring lots of joy and laughter. I can see it both as a great addition at home or on a playground and even in the physiotherapist's office.”
Balance and coordination are two of the most important gross motor skills in a child's physical development. The TipiToo provides a natural and fun solution that not only improves these essential traits but also encourages freedom of movement in children making them feel more confident in the world that surrounds them.
Learn more about the TipiToo balance beam and get ready to hear lots of laughs in your home. See how your child reacts to the different surfaces of the balance beam and beware – the joy can be infectious. We are pretty sure you will want to try the balance beam yourself!