Balancing acts

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By Jean EvansEarly Years consultant and author

Motivate children to develop balancing skills in new and interesting ways using a range of wheeled toys and equipment

Balancing cat and dog


Activities in this article:

  1. Round in circles
  2. Standing tall
  3. Cross-curricular links

1. Round in circles

Negotiate a lap of honour around the big top ring

Knowledge and Understanding of the World – Exploration and Investigation

Development matters: Show understanding of cause/effect relations (30–50 months); Explain own knowledge and understanding, and ask appropriate questions of others (40–60+ months).

Early learning goal: Ask questions about why things happen and how things work.

What you need

Chalk; images of unicycles and clown vehicles painted with wacky designs; selection of bicycles, tricycles, scooters, ride-on and pedal cars; bicycle bells and horns; ribbons and streamers; artificial flowers; blown-up balloons; string; clown hats, bow ties and other accessories; two containers.

What to do

  • In your outdoor area draw a big top ring with parallel lines of chalk and invite a small group of children to sit around it.
  • Look at the images of the clown vehicles and talk about how we can tell that they are clown cars, for example, by the addition of balloons, flowers and painted designs.
  • Show the children the selection of vehicles and ask them to find ways of sorting them into different categories, for example, the number of wheels; whether they are propelled by pedals or feet; whether they have a steering wheel or handles.
  • Ask children to pretend to be clowns in a circus, completing a lap of honour around the big top in their vehicles at the end of a performance. Invite them to choose a vehicle and decorate it. Provide blown-up balloons, ribbons and artificial flowers in a large container, along with string and tape to secure them. Supply hats and other clown accessories in another container.
  • Extend this activity with our ‘Crazy clown car’ activity sheet. Invite children to cut out and decorate the pieces to create a unique vehicle for a clown or circus performer.
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