The blurry picture above shows how wiggly this kiddo was when trying our next motor skill idea: Flamingo Stand! Flamingos are the absolute best at standing on one leg, and what better animal to try to be when working on those balance skills? Practicing standing on one leg like a flamingo works on a lot of skills:

Leg strength
Core strength
Balance reactions
Imitation (especially if you have the kiddo try to match your body position)
Body awareness
Coordination of the Left and Right sides of the body
Motor planning

Getting a kiddo to try standing on one leg, especially when it is very challenging for them, can be tricky! Some ideas to try to sneak in this practice is trying to stand like a flamingo in line at the grocery store, while brushing teeth, or having contests with siblings or peers while playing games at home. You can challenge a kiddo to increase their balance time by giving them a time based-goal, such as 5 seconds or 7 seconds. If a child needs support, you can start by having them hold onto a counter or the wallt, then gradually move away from that support as they are able. If a kiddo bends at the hips to try to keep balance or is unable to stand on one leg for more than 1-2 seconds without support, it may still be beneficial for them to still try this skill while holding on (just slightly!) to a counter or wall so they can build their skills. Once they’ve (or you’ve!) mastered balancing on one leg without holding on to support, add the next step: hopping! Remember to try both legs…no lopsided flamingos!
Posted by: Carrie, Physical Therapist