Creative balances

3-5 years
Child Development
Vocabulary (e.g. sit, squat, cross-legged, balance, juggle); number knowledge; support activity with talk and sign (interpreting instructions)
Physical Activity

Developing movement skills (body awareness and manipulation, balance); creativity

How to Play
  1. Show the children different ways to balance. Invite them to copy your actions (e.g. stand on one leg; on tiptoes; two knees and one hand; bottom and two hands; cross-legged; knees and one elbow, etc.).
  2. Play “Puzzle Balances.” Ask the children to show how they can balance on different combinations of body parts (e.g. “balance on your bottom and two elbows”; “balance on one foot and one hand”; “balance on a part that has no toes”). Call out a number for how many parts can touch the floor.
  3. Read the “Upside Down” poem together and invite the children to suggest tricky balances and challenges to try.
    1. UPSIDE DOWN by Aileen Fisher

      It’s funny how beetles
      and creatures like that
      can walk upside down
      as well as walk flat.

      They crawl on a ceiling
      and climb on a wall
      without any practice
      or trouble at all.

      While I have been trying
      for a year (maybe more)
      and still I can’t stand
      with my head on the floor.
Change it up / Alternatives / Additional Options
  • Invite the children to create new ways of balancing (e.g. “Can you think of another way to balance?”) and describe what they’ve done (e.g. “Look, I’m on one knee and two elbows!”).
  • Read Make it Balance by David Evans and Claudette Williams for more body balance ideas, then try some of the experiments and challenges shown in the photos (e.g. building a tower by balancing books and plastic cups). 
  • Have the children balance by leaning on or away from each other, matching hands, backs, bottoms…
  • Read The Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat by L. R. Hen and Jago with the children and have them identify where balancing is happening in the different illustrations. Help the children distinguish between balancing, swinging, and juggline; and balancing when still and when moving.

Excerpt from the HOP Early Learning Practitioners Resource (Decoda Literacy Solutions)