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Balloon Sports for Balance

February 1, 2017

Photo Credit myeongbeomkim.com

 

Here at MYpHEP, we love that you’re looking for ways to make your kids therapy more fun and effective. This week we used Balloon Sports from the Fun Zone to power-up time in the standing frame, improve standing balance, sitting balance and pretty much all round balance. Scroll through the exercise below to see how.

 

Want to save time? Join our Time Saver Program. We’ll send you printable activity sheets with the right exercises for your child’s abilities. We’ll also help you stay super organized with a personalized pre-filled calendar. No need to spend ages searching and planning. Just have fun for a change.

Click Here To Free Up Time

 

 Want to super charge your child’s therapy even more? Apply to join our Goal Getter Program and use the Fun Zone activities for your child’s specific goals.

 

Click Here To Accelerate Your Goals

Let’s go!

Target Smashing

Use some tape to hang balloons off the ceiling for a bit of target smashing. This is a super easy activity to incorporate into standing activities.

 

For extra auditory input, pop a teaspoon of rice into the balloon before blowing it up.

 

Add in some literacy and numeracy just for fun (what do you mean that’s not fun?)

 

Don’t just put balloons straight in front of your child. Hang them in a semi-circle so they have to turn to see or hit them for extra awesome balance practice.

 

  • It will make time in the Standing Frame a little more active and keep things interesting.

    • Yes - spending time in the standing frame will improve balance. Even though you’re not practicing balance, it’s getting your body ready to line up straight so balancing is easier.

  • Standing with both hands free

    • Lean up against the wall or couch for balance

    • Have someone hold your child around their hips if necessary

  • Standing with 1 hand free

    • Stand in the walker

    • Stand and hold onto a table or someone’s hand

  • Stretch out calf muscles on a Standing Wedge whilst you play

  • Step standing

    • This is the best balance activity out there.

    • Stand with one foot up on a step and smash some targets.

    • Start with a low solid step and progress to a high wobbly one.

  • Standing in a shoe box

    • Not being able to move your feet really challenges your balance.

Hang the balloons at different heights for different positions by using longer strings

  • Practice One Leg Standing by kicking the low hanging balloons

    • with 1 hand support

    • with no hand support

  • Practice some Sitting Balance whilst smashing your targets

    • Cross leg

    • Long leg

    • kneel sitting

    • side sitting

    • chair sitting

  • Balancing in straddle sitting

    • Sitting astride a small bench seat

    • Sitting straddle over a small chair facing backwards

  • Smash some balloons in High-Kneeling or Half-Kneeling

     

    • with 1 hand support

    • with no hand support

       

  • Balancing in the crawling position for core, shoulder and pelvic girdle control

    • Hang the balloons low and hit them with a racquet or kick them with either foot

Balloon Tennis

Choose your “tennis racquet” from what ever’s convenient. If you don’t have a light weight racquet already, try a fly-swatter, a plate with ice-cream sticks, some plastic spoons or paint mixer sticks. Because balloons are so light, you can just stick them to the back of the paper plate with masking tape and it will work - easy!

 

This is a great light activity for boys with DMD to play whilst stretching muscles on a standing wedge or in a standing frame.

 

Any kids who have difficulties with shoulder strength or eye-hand coordination will also love this activity.

 

  • Use it to improve balance in all the positions mentioned above.

  • Drop the racquet and turn the tennis into soccer to practice one-leg standing

  • Use it to improve strength in the hip and leg muscles that you use for balancing by practicing squats or half- kneeling to standing activities.

    • Squat or go down into half-kneeling to pick up a balloon, then stand to serve and play.

Dart-Less Balloon Pop

This clever idea lets you pop balloons without throwing sharp objects. Just stick drawing  pins through a cardboard sheet and tape the balloons on top. When your child throws a beanbag at the balloon it should press into the drawing pin and pop. There’s nothing to stop you using actual darts if you wanted to … you know your kids best.

 

  • Use it to improve balance in all the positions mentioned above, including squatting or half-kneeling to pick up the beanbags or darts to throw.

  • For 1-leg standing balance, challenge your child to stand on 1 leg to throw – how many can they throw before loosing their balance? Need a bigger challenge? Squat down on 1 leg to pick up darts or shooters. Start with shooters on a box to make it a little easier and then progress to reaching all the way down to the floor and standing up again on 1 foot.

  •  For kids with weak shoulders or a weak throw, keep the “dartboard” close or use indoor foam shooters to “shoot” at the balloon – actually – shooters would be super fun for everyone really!

     

 

Catch-It

 

 

Sometimes the simple things are still the most fun. Let your child try throw and catch balloons using a shallow bowl.

Good for use in the standing frame, on standing wedges or for any balance activity where you want to encourage your child to stand hands-free.

 

 

Balloon Hockey

 

Here’s a cool idea with a box and a cardboard tube. Of course you could also use a broom and a washing basket for super simple hockey action.

  • This one might be a bit tricky in a standing frame without a super long stick, but will be awesome for a standing wedge or standing in a shoe-box for balance.

  • Squatting or kneeling to place the balloon on a “starter” marker and then standing to shoot will be great for strengthening those lower limb muscles.

  • If you wanted to use this activity in the sitting and crawling positions, just use a smaller (very short) stick for your hockey-stick.

If you find a long list like this over whelming, I don't blame you!

OurTime Saver or Goal Getter Programs can help

Come join our supportive community.

You don't have to do this all by yourself!

 

Click Here To Free Up Time

 

Click Here To Accelerate Your Goals

 

 Thanks to the following sites for their great activity ideas and photos:

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com (balloon maths)

https://throughmyfrontwindow.blogspot.co.nz/2016/01/dartless-balloon-game.html

www.sheknows.com (balloon darts)

http://classroomcompulsion.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/making-end-of-year-pop.html

http://www.toddlerapproved.com/2012/01/active-indoors-balloon-tennis.html

http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/balloon-tennis-gross-motor-play-activity/

https://brightside.me/article/25-inexpensive-ways-to-keep-your-kids-busy-when-theyre-bored-86805 (balloon tennis)

http://creativeconnectionsforkids.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Balloon-Hockey-Lets-Play.jpg

http://123kindergarten.com (balloon catch-em)