As I was getting out of the car in a crowded parking lot the other day, I watched a little girl, oblivious to her mother’s calls to get into the car, balance precariously as she traversed the parking curb, just like an elite gymnast on a balance beam. I nodded in her direction and told my daughter, “Life is a balance beam.”
Kids will accept any challenge to walk across something narrow – it’s almost like they know this is a skill they need to master – so providing the little guys with a practice balance beam at home is not just a way to introduce gymnastics into their lives, it’s a way to encourage natural growth and body mastery. The thing about practice balance beams is that they sit flat on the floor with only a couple of inches between the beam’s surface and the ground. It’s still a challenge, but it doesn’t come with the risk a log across a stream has, or a parking curb in a busy parking lot might present. It’s a safe, in-home apparatus that still piques their interest and allows them to explore the limits their bodies currently have while pushing them to exceed those limits and look for new ones.
You don’t need to be afraid of the kids’ desire to try all kinds of new things, especially when you provide them with safe places and apparatus to do their adventuring. A practice balance beam will become part of imaginative play the second it hits the ground, so go ahead and take the leap – get a practice balance beam for your kids and let them start exploring their environment and the control they have over it with a safe, supportive practice balance beam.