Tightrope Toddlers

This article was written by Active for Life. Active for Life is a proud member of the Live Right Now Advisory Board.

Bad weather days are a challenge for getting small kids active. If there's a blizzard outside, or it's raining sideways, we usually want to keep our toddlers inside where it's safe and warm. 

There's nothing wrong with that, but you can have fun being active indoors with your toddler while helping them develop important movement skills.  

Here is a fun activity for basic balance and coordination: walking a tightrope. 

1. Find a thin piece of rope or a long piece of ribbon.  
2. Stretch the rope or ribbon out on the floor of your living room. (If you don't have carpeting, you can secure the rope or ribbon with some tape so it doesn't move too much.)  
3. Imagine that you and your child are acrobats walking the tightrope at the circus.
4. Show your child how to walk heel-to-toe along the tightrope. Raise your arms straight out to the sides for balance. 
5. If you step both feet side by side, you've fallen off the tightrope.
6. Try these variations: walking sideways, walking backwards, crawling with hands and knees aligned on the tightrope.

This activity is especially good for developing balance, one of the most important skills for the healthy development of toddlers and preschoolers. (Experts say the ABCs of movement include agility, balance, coordination and speed.)

Tightrope Competition
Create a tightrope obstacle course. Find four or five lengths of rope or ribbon and create a series of tightropes between safe "islands" made with blankets or towels. For each length of tightrope, you have to use a different technique (walking forwards, walking sideways, walking backwards, crawling). Challenge your child to see if they can complete the entire course without falling off. 

Wearing clown costumes is, of course, optional.

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