The Best Kids Balance Board
Balance boards are popular because they straddle the line between toy and fitness training. With the right balance board, you can give your kid a fun diversion while at the same time improving his or her coordination, focus, and awareness. They’re also popular with older kids who are into snowboarding, skateboarding, or skiing. But if you’re stuck finding the best balance board for you, here are some suggestions to help out.
How to Pick the Best Balance Board
1. Recommended Age
You can get balance boards for almost any age range. For toddlers, the simple ones can be a fun alternative to balance bikes while other boards can be of a challenge even to a teen skateboarder. So make sure the board you choose is appropriate for the kid who will be using it.
Balance boards can get scraped and beat up pretty easily, especially if used on a sidewalk or other rough surface. And they’re constantly under stress while being played with. A balance board that isn’t solidly constructed is a waste of money.
3. Games and Music
Because this is the 21st century, you can get balance boards that can play music or offer challenging game modes instead of just plain old balancing. But some kids won’t want, or need, the extra stimulation.
Balance boards are usually made of plastic or wood. In general, the wooden boards are pricier and heavier, but also last longer. You’ll have to determine how far you want to go in terms of cost versus durability. Wood boards are also more likely to require construction work on your part.
Some boards are designed to tilt in only one direction (usually side to side), while others can, and do, wobble in any direction. The latter boards are usually the more challenging to stay on top of, and are better suited for kids with more developed coordination. How far the board tilts can also be an issue. Boards that are too unstable can be scary for smaller kids.
Most kids’ balance boards are all in one piece. However, some boards are designed in two pieces: a board and a cylindrical roller. Two-piece boards are a lot more challenging to stay balanced on, and are only suitable for tweens and teens. Two pieces also means one more thing to lose, of course….
Carrom Balance Board Blue
Another adult-style, teens-and-up balance board, the Carrom Balance Board Blue is not quite as high-tech as the Revolution 101. But it is half the price for a strong wooden board that will give your teen, and even you, a great workout. The board is made out of hardwood plywood decorated with colorful graphics to please the kid, and anti-skid strips to help keep feet firmly planted. The large diameter roller will provide maximum challenge, but the grooved design and the roller stops will keep it from ever getting too out of control. We think this board strikes an excellent balance (see what we did there?) between price, durability, and challenge, so we’re calling it our Editor’s Choice.
Revolution Balance Board Trainer
This is the first two-piece balance board on our list, and as such is suitable mainly for older kids and teens — and, for that matter, adults. As the name suggests, the Revolution Balance Board Trainer is designed with fitness and athletic training in mind, rather than play. Which isn’t to imply that using it can’t be fun! The design incorporates roller stops that keep it from rolling too far, although these can be removed for extra challenge and if you don’t mind having to sometimes chase down a stray roller. The solid construction and grip-covered top surface make it easy to use this board confidently, even if your balance isn’t the best. If you’re already a balance board veteran looking to up your game, we recommend this as our Upgrade Choice.
ALEX Active Monkey Balance Board
Best Budget Buy
While this board is a bit too small and basic for kids over the 5-7 range, younger kids (3 and up) will love its colorful top snd simple, sturdy construction. The ALEX Active Monkey Balance Board board tilts gently from one side to the other and isn’t particularly hard to stay on top of, so it’s a good starter for kids to begin developing their balance skills. It’s also quite cheap for a solidly made wooden board, which makes it our Best Budget Buy.
Diggin Active Wobble Deck
The Diggin Active Wobble Deck combines balance board fun with Simon/DDR-type pattern matching games. It comes with three built-in games with multiple difficulty levels. To play, you listen for the board’s commands and then lean and tap the appropriate corner of the board on the ground. It has a relatively small range of movement and isn’t too hard to balance on, but the game aspect helps keep it engaging and tests your kid’s reflexes and memory in a way other balance boards don’t. For that, we call this our Best Wobble Board.
Carrom Natural Balance Board
The Carrom Natural Balance Board is very similar in design to the Carrom’s other board, but with plain wood instead of skateboard-style graphics. If your teen isn’t a skateboarder, or doesn’t care about looks, you can save a few dollars on this stripped-down version. But the simplified appearance doesn’t mean this board is any less of a challenge to master. The attractive simplicity combined with workout quality mean this is our Best Wooden Balance Board.
Spooner Boards Freestyle
They don’t come much simpler than this little scoop of plastic decorated with four strips of grip tape. But the simplicity is deceptive — a kid who’s mastered this board can pull off Youtube-worthy spins and flips. That said, it does require some work to get the most out of this board. If your kid isn’t motivated, this one is probably going to end up on the Pile of Toys That Were Cool For Two Days. But older kids who like skateboarding may enjoy having this around for rainy days. The Spooner Boards Freestyle also makes a pretty decent sled in winter, but you didn’t hear that from me.
TOMY Superstellar Blastboard
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Unlike the board on the popular Disney Junior show, the Tomy Superstellar Blastboard doesn’t fly through space. While it’s not particularly difficult to balance on, the sleek design and built-in music and sound effects make it a great toy to pretend on, especially for kids who are already fans of Miles. It also includes a couple of pattern-matching games: one where the kid has to respond to verbal directions, and one where the kid follows patterns of lights on the board. The lack of balancing challenge means kids older than 5 or 6 will probably lose interest quickly, but it’s a fun starter board for the younger set.
FAQs: All you need to know
Q What are the benefits of a balance board for kids?
A Balance boards help develop a kid’s proprioception (awareness of his or her body). This can lead to benefits such as greater coordination and better posture. They can help kids with sensory issues learn to manage their sensory input. And they’re great exercise, especially for the core and shoulders.
Q Do balance boards require adult supervision?
A For younger kids, adult supervision can be necessary. While age-appropriate balance boards don’t have far to fall, it can still be scary at first. And some younger kids instinctively try to grab the edges of the board, which can lead to pinched fingers. Make sure kids only use the board in a clear area, and that they have a proper idea of how to use the boards.
Q How do I help a kid get better at balancing?
A At first, it can be a matter of building confidence. Having a chair or wall to hold on to can help a kid become more confident in using the board. If standing is too hard, try kneeling or even sitting at first. There is also a natural temptation to look down at the board while using it, but keeping your eyes up and focused on a fixed point actually makes balance easier. And of course, bending your knees always helps!
Q How do I determine if a balance board is age-appropriate?
A Besides the age guidelines, the important things are to look at how far the board can tilt (i.e. the size of the roller/pivot), and what directions the board can tilt in — does it move only in one direction, or is it an omnidirectional wobble board? The bigger the tilt and the more ways it can move, the more challenging the board will be for smaller kids.
Carrom Balance Board Blue – Best Overall
An all-around winner for older kids.
ALEX Active Monkey Balance Board – Best Budget Buy
A high-end board for the serious user.