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River Stones and stability training - catalogue product focus

River Stones and stability training - catalogue product focus

By Physiotherapist Hannah Harboe

This article discusses static balance, and how balance products can be used in training children who have difficulties with stability. There are three types of balance: dynamic balance, proactive balance and static balance.

Dynamic balance

Dynamic balance is when we move and keep our balance at the same time. We balance on a supporting surface. The larger the supporting surface, the easier it is to keep our balance. Acceleration and speed of movement also help us to maintain our balance. We all recognise the situation in which, by accelerating just as we are about to fall, we avoid falling altogether. When we accelerate, our entire vestibular system helps us to maintain our balance. 

Just as we are about to lose our balance, we often react in order to avert a fall, for example, flailing our arms in a reflexive attempt to regain equilibrium. Cycling requires good dynamic balance. If you watch a child who is learning to ride a bicycle, you will note that the child’s balance is better when the bicycle is travelling at speed, whereas the whole process is more difficult and requires better balance when the child is cycling slowly.


Proactive balance

Proactive balance is the ability to predict what you need to do to maintain your balance a split second, before you do it, e.g. we know precisely how much tension and elasticity to apply in our legs, when we jump up from the floor and we know how much is required to gain equilibrium, if we land on a cushion or another wobbly and uneven surface. If we misjudge the movement, we land heavily or clumsily or lose our balance and slide off the cushion.

Static balance

Static balance is the ability to hold a position, i.e. when we stand on one leg while putting a sock on the other foot or when we hold our body in a certain position for a longer period of time, e.g. while working at a desk.

Working together

When all three systems are coordinated, we move elegantly and smoothly and our bodies work optimally and efficiently with no unnecessary tension. When playing and moving, all three types of balance are coordinated. In effect, each type of balance exerts strong influence on the other two.

Children may sometimes have problems with one or more types of balance. For training to be effective, it is important that the therapist analyses the weakness and exercises the type of balance the child finds difficult and, at the same time, exploits the child’s own resources.


Products such as River Stones (item code 141372) can be used in stability training.

A wide range of early years coordination products can also be found in our catalogue.

This article has been provided courtesy of Gonge. © Gonge Creative Learning ApS 2015.

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