If you are immersed in the Montessori lifestyle, you know we always follow the child. If you’re looking for awesome ways to improve balance and coordination, the Montessori balance board is a must-have! These balance toys for kids improve gross motor skills while your child plays. We love them in our home and have noticed a huge difference in our kids’ balance (and obstacle course skills!)
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Before we dive into this, let me reassure you that while balance boards are an amazing addition to any Montessori home, they can get expensive.
We’re all about being frugal and creative in our house, so I feel that I need to address this before I start talking about expensive balance boards.
If you’re currently living on a budget, you absolutely CAN work on balance and gross motor skills FOR FREE.
In fact, I’d bet it would be impossible not to.
Our kids are experts at their own development.
They naturally take the path of most resistance just to see if they can do it.
They’re little scientists, developing a hypothesis and trying it over and over again until they get it right.
While it’s an awesome idea to add a balance board to your home, let me encourage you.
Just try it out for yourself in front of your kids one time, then walk away.
Don’t worry if they’re “using it right” and don’t fret if it becomes a stepping stone in their DIY obstacle course.
Just get out of their way and let them develop the skills they need for life.
I promise that whether it’s a balance board or a log on a trail, they’re going to find ways to challenge themselves if you just let them.
Now let’s talk about balance boards and other toys that ARE options as we journey this Montessori lifestyle together!
Balance Board Age
This one kind of depends.
Each board is rated differently, but most recommend ages 3 and up.
If you pick a board with a gentler curve, the age recommendation can be as low as 12 months.
Honestly, this is one of those times where we “follow the child.”
Is your child working on their balance naturally?
Do they try to balance on logs on nature walks or just follow the grout line in your tile?
If so, they’re almost definitely ready for a balance board.
That said, balance boards are incredibly versatile.
If you are able to find a good deal on one or even locate a used one, this isn’t the type of Montessori object I would put away until they’re older.
Leave it out and let them use their imagination with it until it can be used for it’s intended purpose.
Montessori Balance Board Benefits
The balance board obviously helps kids to improve their balance, but the benefits really just begin there.
In Montessori homes, we are child-led and teach them to do things for themselves.
A balance board helps with all sorts of development including “
proprioception” which is the body’s ability to identify its location and movements.
You can read an in depth article about all of the
benefits of a balance board here.
From a mom’s perspective, I’ve noticed a drastic difference in my son’s balance since buying one.
He’s just like me – accident prone and has zero balance.
I trip over my own feet, seriously.
He’s become much more coordinated since we started incorporating a balance board and yoga into our routine.
The non-physical benefits of our balance board that helped me justify the expense was that they’re pretty versatile.
At least in a Montessori home.
Ours has been used as a bridge, a babydoll bed, a boat for our animals and Little People, something to scoot on and drag each other around on…
It gets a ton of (mis)use but is a beautiful and well-loved item in our home.
While one of the most expensive on our list, the Wobbel is easily one of the highest quality, durable, and long lasting as well.
The recommended age on the Wobbel is 3+ and can hold a whopping 440 pounds - meaning I never have to worry if all four of my kids end up on it at once.
This Waldorf wooden balance board is a beautiful choice that won’t break the bank. What I love about it is that it comes in three sizes.
Handmade of birchwood, you can select a gentle curve, the original curve, or a large curve to fit your needs.
Reviewers mentioned stealing their kids’ balance board to use in their yoga practice which I never considered (til now) but think is genius!
The cheapest option on the list is also the cutest!
If you’re on a budget or the natural wood look isn’t important to you, this board is a great option.
It’s not the typical curved board like the rest, but still serves the purpose of helping your child learn balance.
While it’s much cheaper and adorable, it isn’t nearly as versatile as the rest.
If this isn’t important to you and your focus is mostly on the physical benefits, I think this one is a fine option!
With 5 stars on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with the Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Board.
What I love about it:
It supports up to 485 pounds, one of the highest on our list
It’s handcrafted, important to me at this price point
It’s crafted from German beechwood and is environmentally-friendly
Coated in a water-based lacquer making it safe for outdoor use
If we were to buy another one, this is absolutely the one I would choose.
If floor scratches are a concern in your home, this felt-bottomed balance board may be the best option for you.
This wasn’t available when we were searching for ours, but would probably save me tons of stress.
Our kids use their balance board for all kinds of things, and pulling each other around like they’re on a train is an almost daily occurrence.
Worried your kid will get bored with a balance board?
Check out this Teeter Popper by Fat Brain Toys.
It has little suction cups on the bottom that “pop” when kids shift their weight back and forth.
This little noise isn’t too obnoxious, but encourages movement.
Kind of like that satisfaction you get from popping bubble wrap, this one can keep your little ones exercising without even realizing it.
This Natural Kinderboard offered by Alison’s Montessori is an authentic balance board made of German beechwood.
This one also has a weight rating of 485 pounds!
Made for kids ages 18 months and up, this board is perfect to grow with your child. Plus, it’s sturdy enough to last through all of your children and become a sort of heirloom.
If you’re willing to invest in a good quality balance board, this is a great option.
Best Balance Toys for Kids
Maybe you’ve done your research and decided a balance board just isn’t a good fit for your family.
Luckily, there are lots of “toys” created just for gross motor development and balance enhancement.
One of our favorites is these stepping stones.
These are great especially if you have several young children in your home or are shopping for a preschool or daycare.
What I love about these:
11 pieces so you can create multiple configurations to keep things exciting
They nest together for easy storage when not in use
Come with rubber footings to prevent slippage
Can be used indoors and out
Oh my gosh how I love these balance logs!
Now that we have a slightly larger home and some space to store things, these are a must-have on our Christmas list.
With almost 2000 5 star reviews on Amazon, it’s easy to see why everyone loves these.
These come with 5 pieces and can be used inside or outside.
They also have sturdy grips on the bottom to keep them in place when in use.
Plus, each piece has been tested to withstand over 792 POUNDS!
While our family hasn’t personally tested these yet, I can’t wait to get them this holiday season and come back with a full review.
Our daughters are just getting into gymnastics and our sons are doing ninja classes.
We went to an open gym night at our new gymnasium and all four of our kids absolutely loved (and struggled on) the balance beam.
I thought they were going to be ridiculously expensive and almost didn’t bother looking for one for our own home.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this ridiculously cheap one with an average 5 star review.
Since we only go to gymnastics classes once a week, I figured it would be a fun thing to add to our gross motor room.
I was right! Weighted to withstand 150 pounds, this one works perfectly for our family.
If you’re trying to get your kids to work on balance but can’t seem to keep them interested in a balance board, this folding balance beam might be a great option.
What are some favorite balance toys in your home? Let me know in the comments!