Theme: Healthy Me

Balancing Me


Objective: Children will walk along a floor-level balance beam to explore the science of balance.

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What You Will Need

  • A large, empty activity room such as a gymnasium or cafeteria
  • 3”–4” wide masking tape – 1 roll per 12 children

What To Do

Note: This activity requires advanced preparation. Prior to the lesson, tape one 5’–6’ line on the floor for each child. Lines can be straight, wavy, zigzag, or any combination of the three.

  1. Discuss keeping your balance with the children (see Did You Know?).
  2. Tell the children that they will be exploring balance as they walk across a floor-level “balance beam.”
  3. Have the children choose a line to walk on. Allow them some time to investigate.
  4. Demonstrate walking on the tape with one foot in front of the other. Have the children try it.
  5. Demonstrate walking on the tape with one foot in front of the other, and put down your heel first, then your toe—walk heel, toe, heel, toe, etc. Have the children try it.
  6. Demonstrate, and then have the children try walking on their tiptoes along the tape.
  7. Demonstrate, and then have the children try walking in giant steps along the tape.
  8. Demonstrate, and then have the children try walking backward along the tape.
  9. Have the children move to a different type of line so that they can try walking as you have demonstrated.
  10. Discuss which movement was the easiest/most difficult to perform and which line was the easiest/most difficult to move along.

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Explain what you needed to do to stay on the tape.
  • Describe how you kept your balance.
  • Tell me which line was the easiest/most difficult to move along.
  • Tell me which movement was the easiest/most difficult to perform.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Tape several large shapes on the floor instead of the single lines. Two or three preschoolers can select one shape and walk in the same direction. Another option is to tape one very large shape on the floor all around the room. The entire class can participate in doing the balance activities while moving in the same direction.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could the children explain what they needed to do to stay on the tape?
  • Could the children describe how they kept their balance?

Did You Know?

Movement promotes physical fitness and development of the whole child. Movement contributes to the enhancement of a positive self-image, self-confidence, creativity, and self-expression. Movement activates the neural wiring in the body, making the whole body an instrument of learning.

The first science discovery that children go through is discovering how their own bodies move and work. As they become aware of the world around them, children are anxious to understand how things move and work. Many science concepts, such as balance, can be explored through movement. Both science and movement include learning by doing. 

In this activity, children are challenged to maintain their balance as they move according to the movement cues. If they move too quickly, they may step off the floor-level balance beam. Balance has to do with the distribution of mass. The weight of the object—in this case, the body—needs to be equally placed for the body to remain stable. In our activity, we concentrated on controlling our movements to maintain our balance. The children had to be aware of their body parts and how to move them in order to maintain their balance.

Did You Know?

Movement promotes physical fitness and development of the whole child. Movement contributes to the enhancement of a positive self-image, self-confidence, creativity, and self-expression. Movement activates the neural wiring in the body, making the whole body an instrument of learning.

The first science discovery that children go through is discovering how their own bodies move and work. As they become aware of the world around them, children are anxious to understand how things move and work. Many science concepts, such as balance, can be explored through movement. Both science and movement include learning by doing.

Learn More

Vocabulary

  • movement – a motion or way of moving.
  • balance – the state of being steady in the body.
  • cue – anything done or said that is a signal to say or do something else.
  • mass – a body of matter.
  • balance beam – a long, horizontal beam—usually made of wood and raised above the floor—on which to perform balancing routines.
  • stable – firm or steady; not likely to move.

Vocabulary

  • movement
  • balance
  • cue
  • mass
  • balance beam
  • stable

Child-Friendly Definitions

Lesson Tip

Some children may have difficulty with this activity; if so, use extra tape to make a wider line for them to use.

Books

  • Balance and Motion by Emily Sohn and Joseph Brennan
  • Going From Here to There by Sara E. Hoffmann
  • Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • Mike: The Tike on the Bike: An Adventurous Story of a Boy, His Bike and His Balance!  by Michael Ward

Common Core State
Standards Initiative

These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.[2]

Visit the CCSS website

Important Legal Disclosures & Information

  1. While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed. 

  2. There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.