Balance boards come in many shapes and sizes and are used by everyone from professional athletes and circus performers to physiotherapists and personal trainers. A balance board can be used for workout rehabilitation, to reduce the risk of injury, and just for fun. Plus they make excellent toys for children. Some have a roller, some are round with a ball in the middle and some are simply a curved piece of wood.
They are essentially a balance trainer. The premise is that when you are standing on an unstable surface your core muscles naturally contract to keep you stable. Improving strength and stability and promoting proper spine position. Using a balance board is also great for building lower body strength unless of course, you are using it for handstands. They will help kids when they come to learn to ride a scooter, bike, electric swegway or skateboard.
The Wobbel Board, Wobbel 360 and Plan Toys wooden rocker boards have all been designed to be easy for children to use. Yet a balance board isn't a toy that children will grow out of. It might stop being a pirate ship but you can use it for stretches, squats, tummy crunches, a seat, a step or a rocker.
What can you do with a rocker or balance boards?
Only grown-ups ever ask that question. But as you are the ones making the purchase here a few ways you (or your kids) might use a balance board.
It's a stage, a bridge, a tunnel, a slide,
a cage, a boat, a house, a ride.
It's a step up when you need to reach something that's high.
Add a cushion and it's a comfy place to just lie.
It's a mountain to climb or a ramp for your cars.
A place to hold hands and rock together for hours.
It's perfect for Yoga and performing circus tricks.
It's an excellent starting point for building with bricks.
You can use it for rocking from side to side,
to practise your handstands or a safe place to hide.
What might seem like just a curved bit of wood has been expertly crafted to develop balance, improve core strength and foster creativity and imagination.
Obviously, it's a great toy for developing gross motor skills and encouraging kids to be active. This can be invaluable when they need to burn off a bit of energy and you aren't able to let them run about outside. Put some music on and have a wobbel boogie, or you could set them challenges to see how fast they can rock or how long they can balance on one leg.
A balance board is great for physical therapy and can be used in lots of different training exercises. If your child sees a physical therapist then let them know you have a balance board and they should be able to come up with some great exercises for you to try,
The wobbel boards are great for lots of practical uses too. Upturned they make the perfect step to help little ones reach the sink for hand washing or the kitchen surface when helping with the cooking. And if you happen to work from home why not try setting yourself up a standing desk and see how much fun it can be to wobbel while you work.
Exercise, core stability, balance, cognitive development, imaginative play, relaxation
Standing on a wobbel climbing over it and sliding down it are all great ways for kids to play and keep active indoors. Plus using a balance board in this way is brilliant for development. Being in unnatural positions, balancing or wobbling requires the brain and the body to make constant tiny adjustments and build up those all-important neural pathways. Physically balanced training will improve core stability, and good balance helps prevent injury.
Rocking on a balance board is great for improving mental focus as improving balance and body awareness help the brain to coordinate it's two hemispheres. This can, in turn, improve fine motor skills and can be really useful for preventing injuries in both children and adults as your body/brain is better practised at instantly making those little adjustments. The active movement of your legs and ankles also improves circulation.
Thanks to its simplicity and multi-functionality a balance board like the wobbel or wobbel 360 is also perfect for quieter play. They make great bridges or mountains in small world play and a child might spend hours setting up a play scene or using their board as a ramp for cars.
This type of imaginative play is great for improving fine motor skills, vocabulary, social skills and problem-solving ability. Children learn so much through play and playing with toys that have no set function, as opposed to books, puzzles and shape sorters etc that have a specific function and are designed to help children build concentration and work towards completion. Open-ended toys like a balance board require children to think things up on their own, developing their own games, which encourages independence, critical thinking and problem-solving.
Equally a balance board can be the perfect place to lie and read a book. With babies, it gives you a supportive place to sit and rock them, much like a rocking chair. And for toddlers and older children, it's a lovely place for them to curl up and read.
Types of balance boards - Our Range
Plan Toys Rocker Board
The plan toys balance board is the smallest and least expensive balance board we stock but it's by no means the least in terms of play potential.
Unlike the wobbel boards, the Plan Toys balance board comes with a detachable rope which you can use to help you wobbel, to pull the board like a sleigh, or on its own as a skipping rope.
The curved ends also mean that children can use this as a balance board when it's upturned as well rocking backwards and forwards instead of side to side which uses different muscles. And of course, it can still be used as a bridge or a slide.
Wobbel Starter Boards
Newly introduced the wobbel starter board is a smaller version of the original that's perfect for younger children. Being smaller makes it lighter so it's easier for little ones to carry about. Plus, its a great price and it still holds 100kg so there's no reason grownups can't have a go to.
The felt is made from recycled bottles. It's easy to clean and pretty much indestructible. And even though it's smaller it doesn't mean it's going to be outgrown as this balance board is still great for practising skateboard tricks when you can't get to the skate park.
The Standard Wobbel
The standard wobbel is by far our most popular balance board. It's beautifully crafted, sturdy, loads of fun and tested up to 200kg. It measures 90 x 30cm and is safety tested from 0m so this is a toy that will last a lifetime.
The Wobbel XL
The Wobbel XL is the perfect balance board if you have older/taller children. Or if you are secretly buying it for yourself. The bigger board measures 115 x 40cm so its plenty big enough for adult yoga and makes a very comfy rocking chair.
If you have older children or mixed ages then this might be the balance board to go for as there's certainly no danger of them growing out of it. Well until they decide they want a hoverboard deck instead that is.
The Wobbel 360
The Wobbel 360 is a circular balance board that allows for 360 degrees of motion. You can rock backwards and forwards or side to side. And of course, you can use it to spin!!
This balance board has a softer curve than the original making it easier for little ones to balance. It's great for playing games with cars or balls. And it makes a fabulous hill or mountain when incorporated into small world play.
The recycled PET felt is incredibly hard wearing. Although you'll need hard floors to get the spin.
All our balance boards should be used with adult supervision and children should be taught from first use not to grip the edges of the board as they risk getting their fingers trapped.