Tips and Tricks Tuesdays!- improving balance/safety awareness with walking

After a few weeks of no posts and 2 months of no Tips and Tricks, just wanted to add a quick tips and tricks I use in some of my patients’ homes to work on increasing my patients’ awareness of where their feet are when they are walking.  Creating obstacles and various scenarios helps children pay more attention to where their feet are in space when they walk in order to help improve safety.

1 way is to create a narrow pathway to help encourage walking with feet closer together, and to also pay attention to where their feet are when they’re walking so they don’t trip!  This activity is for children who are already walking fairly well for >6-10 feet without assistance.

  • you can do this using various household items like:
  • couch cushions
  • pillows
  • broom sticks
  • rolled up blankets or towels
  • lined up toys

I also tend to call this a reverse beam, since it is like walking on a balance beam with decrease risk of falling off.  I alter it by making it narrower as my patients’ balance improve.  I also make it very narrow to work on teaching sidestepping.

here’s an example of a course I made in a patient’s home:


Another way to work on increasing awareness of foot placement and work on standing balance is to walk across various steps/objects.  This works on balance standing on 1 leg and works on improving depth perception, safety awareness, and proper foot placement when walking.  This is a slightly more advanced activity that I use with children who are walking well in open spaces and walking greater than 20 feet.

You can use:

  • step stools
  • pillows
  • folded blankets
  • hula hoops

Here’s an example from one I did at a patient’s home:


Categories: Child Development, Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 replies


  1. Tips and Tricks Tuesdays!- Improving balance standing on 1 leg «
  2. The In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapist’s Toolbox « Beyond Basic Play

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