Why is childhood balance training important?
Everyone benefits from improving their balance. When children learn to improve their balance early on, those skills can stick with them for the rest of their life and help cultivate a deep connection with their body and movement. That’s why so many parents are switching from bikes with training wheels to balance bikes. They’re helping their child build a lasting relationship with their own bodies.
People ask us all the time about the best balance board for kids. While we wish there were a simple answer, several factors go into choosing the Skill Board that’s right for your child.
Why is the Skill Board great for kids?
Kids are initially excited about sports like skiing, snowboarding, surfing, or cycling, but can lose interest when the difficulty ramps up. Often, the child feels like they're in over their head, or that the activity isn't enough fun to warrant the challenge.
Regular use of a Skill Board develops the muscles and reflexes (called proprioception) that help kids succeed and "get it" faster. The biggest benefit of the Skill Board for kids is the ability of our system to adjust to many different skill levels and grow with your child’s progression. You can gradually increase the difficulty by changing the pressure in the ball, so kids won’t get discouraged or feel like the balance board is too hard.
Which size Skill Board should I get for my kid?
In sports like snowboarding and skiing, there's an easy formula people can follow to figure out what size board their child needs. With the Skill Board, finding the right board is more dependent on your child's size, skill level, and age. In most cases, the Skill Board Mini is the customer favorite.
The size of the larger Original board can feel a little cumbersome for some children so smaller children may find the Mini Skill Board a little easier to manipulate. The Mini Skill Board weighs less, so kids are more likely to "figure it out" if they aren’t used to tossing a board around with their feet.
On the other hand, kids are adaptive and learn far more quickly than adults. Kids can usually master their balance equally well on both boards.
Is there an "Easy Mode" for kids to start on?
While some children might be able to jump on the ball right away, we always recommend kids - and most adults - start with the wobble cushion accessory. Just like in sports like skiing, snowboarding, and running, there are "bad habits" on the Skill Board that technically work, but aren't sustainable long-term. Getting started on the wobble cushion gets the body acclimated to the 3D balancing movement and helps ensure that the stabilizing muscles in the feet, ankles, and lower leg are ready for the task of mastering 3D balance. The Original Skill Board comes with our large ball and the Mini Skill Board comes with our medium ball. In these combinations, the ride will offer roughly the same challenge. Because of the different sizes and shapes of the boards, The Mini Skill Board is more difficult on the large ball than the Original would be, while the Original Skill Board is easier on a medium ball than the Mini Board is. And, we have other accessories to help your child, and you, get the most out of your board.
Is the Skill Board Mini just for kids?
Not at all! The Skill Board Mini can actually be more challenging than the Original Skill Board because the shorter lever can make the board feel more playful and reactive. It fits in a carry-on suitcase and can hang out into your backseat without taking up too much space. You'll be ready to burn off some energy anywhere you land!
No matter which Skill Board you pick, expect a fun challenge for both you and your child that will help you both Master your Balance.