Best balance and coordination toys for 2024

balance toys for kids

by Adejumoke Ilori |
Updated on

The children’s toy market is seeing a growing array of clever balance-focussed toys designed for young children – many of these help foster gross motor skills, muscle development, core body strength and coordination too. There’s also a growing body of evidence-based technologies and ideas going into the development of toys that particularly benefit children with sensory needs or ADHD.

So whether your little one is at a key physical developmental age or just has energy to burn, they’ll relish the challenge of toys that get them moving!

We were impressed that these manufacturers have given thought to safety, space and storage, recognising that toys that allow parents to replicate the benefits of equipment found in playgrounds and childcare settings need to be able to fit in the home and be used safely. Imagination, longevity and fun also featured highly on the priority list in our round-up of the best balance and coordination toys for young children.

Balance bikes and trikes are another great way to keep your child active and help develop early coordination and balance. Check out our separate guide on what to look for when getting your child their first wheels.

Best balance and coordination toys 2024

Editor’s choice:

Best for limited storage space: National Geographic stepping stones, £39.99

Best for creative development: SmartToys4U Rainbow balance board, £59.97

Best for toddlers/smaller children: Fat Brain Teeter Popper board, £29.99

Best all-round balance set: Homcent wooden balance beam set, £67.99

Best for slightly older children: Mookie Lo-Lo ball, £15.99

Best balance toy for sensory/ADHD: Gaiam Kids Stay-N-Play balance ball, £29.15

Best for burning excess energy: Planet Hopper, £15.99

Best for versatility: ZONEKIZ Kids Balance Beam Obstacle Course, £54.99

Best for concentration: Ark miido rocking seesaw balance board, £29.99

Best for limited storage space

stepping stones toy
Price: $39.99

Hardwearing and colourful with rubber bottoms to prevent skidding and sliding, these funky stone-shaped stepping stones are a simple yet brilliant way to help your young one develop balance and coordination. Shallow enough to suit toddlers and smaller children, these will help your child progress from little steps to big jumps as well as aiding in a multitude of pre-school games. They even come with a fun colour spinner ... jump to the colour the arrow points to!

There are ten stepping stones in the set and we found it’s best to have two sets for game play and great balancing courses, especially if there are multiple children playing at once. The great news is that they stack neatly so require minimal storage space.

Pros

  • They stack for space-saving and easy portability
  • Shallow enough for smaller children
  • Rubber underside prevents skidding
  • For indoor and outdoor use
  • Comes with a spinner for colour games

Cons

  • The stepping stones don't vary in height for an additional challenge

Best for creative development

balance board

Simple to look at, the many uses of this wooden balance board - endorsed by childhood play and development experts Montessori - may surprise you. This is a great product for toddlers to sit, slide and rock on, but will also suit older children and budding gymnasts who will find numerous interesting ways to play with it. Check out this video of a young gymnast!

The board can be used either way up ... and we found children will use it for a multitude of creative ideas beyond balancing, such as a tunnel for trains and a ramp for cars! A great all-round toy that really promotes imaginative play.

Pros

  • Strong enough for adult use
  • Children will find new and creative uses as they grow
  • Use it both ways up for different activities
  • Fun rainbow design in several colour options

Cons

  • Not a compact design for smaller homes

Best for toddlers/smaller children

teeter popper
Price: $49.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$28.99View offer
JCPenney$38.99View offer

Stand, tilt, wobble, rock, lay, sit… how will your little one play with this durable and brightly coloured wobble board? With a modern aesthetic and silicone suction cups on the underside, it makes a satisfying popping sound as it moves to encourage movement. Great for developing balance, other gross motor skills and core strength, this is a great toy to keep curious and active little ones entertained while you make dinner or hang the washing.

Pros

  • Made from strong, hard-wearing plastic
  • Versatile, children will find new ways to use it as they grow
  • Comes in three vivid colours
  • Stimulates senses with suction grip and popping sounds

Cons

  • Not a compact design for smaller homes

Best all-round balance set

balance beams toy

With six balance beams of varying designs and eight connectors, this toy has a multitude of options for play. Make zig-zag, square or hexagonal courses, or even build it around your furniture! Have the smooth side of each beam facing upwards for a simple course, or for added obstacles and stepping stones place the beams colourful side up.
Having a balancing set like this in the home means children can benefit regularly from balance and coordination play rather than having to wait for excursions to play gyms or the park. Set the course up indoors or outdoors and once play time is over, simply pack away and store!

Pros

  • For inside or outside use
  • A variety of courses are possible
  • Wood is polished and smooth for safe play

Cons

  • Designed for young children, it may not hold the attention of older children. However, the beams are strong and can take the weight of older children.
  • Requires space for storage as each beam is 60cm long

Best for slightly older children

The original ball hopper, this is a great all-rounder for balance, coordination and expending energy. Very young children won’t have the strength and coordination to squeeze the ball between their feet and jump at the same time, but they can use it to practise balancing and then progress to jumping. The manufacturer recommends 6 years+ but many reviewers report five year olds enjoying it.

Pros

  • Longevity – larger kids and teens will enjoy it as well as smaller children
  • The plastic disk features grips for sturdiness

Cons

  • Reviewers found the ball pops outs of the loop sometimes and needs to be squeezed back in

Best for sensory/ADHD

balance stool ADHD
Price: $18.41

As anyone with a young child knows, they need to move often. Research shows children with ADHD in particular tend to learn less when sitting still compared to when they're active.

Essentially a small, bouncy stool, the Stay-N-Play balance ball helps children learn whilst promoting balance, muscle movement and core strength. In essence, it gets rid of the fidgets! Useful for around the home for tv time and seated activities, teachers are also reportedly using them with success in preschools and Key Stage One.

Pros

  • Reduces fidgeting and improves concentration
  • Short, flexible stool legs keep the ball still when not in use
  • Available in four colour choices
  • Two options for size, depending on the child’s age

Cons

  • Only designed for pre-school aged children and older
  • Not a compact product for smaller homes.

Best for burning excess energy

hopper inflatable

The hopper, the must-have toy of the 1970s and 1980s, has never lost popularity. Although they come in various sizes, this particular hopper is designed for the smaller user both in size and design. Great for promoting core strength and balance in a fun way, your child will soon be bouncing all over the house. As one reviewer said, “turn your children into bunnies!”

Feel you’re missing out and want to relive your childhood? Get one yourself to show the kids how it’s done! This adult-sized one holds up to 100kg.

Pros

  • Durable rubber
  • Non-slip textured underside
  • Various fun and colourful designs to choose from
  • Comes with a hand pump

Cons

  • Needs to be deflated and re-inflated if space is at a premium
  • It can take a while for smaller children to master

Best for versatility

The curved pieces of this colourful crocodile can be connected in various ways to make a balancing course, or used independently as stepping stones, making it a versatile option. With a non-slip underside and boasting a weight capacity of 80kg, this is a sturdy and durable set made to stand the test of time.

Pros

  • Pieces are stackable for storage and easy portability
  • Make different pathways
  • Fun, colourful crocodile design
  • Non-slip grippers underneath
  • For outdoor or indoor use

Cons

  • There are only six in the set and we found it’s best to have two sets for creating longer balancing courses.

Best for concentration

balance board toy

Concentration as well as balance and coordination are required for this board, making it great for those who like a challenge. By standing on the board, children learn to control the angle of it to direct the flow of the balls. The board can also be flipped for toddlers to sit on, aiding in the development of balance and posture from a young age and making this a toy that will grow with your child. With a weight capacity of 100kg, older children and even parents can have a go!

Pros

  • Use upside down or right way up for different play options
  • It grows with your child
  • 100kg weight capacity means it's strong and sturdy enough for family use
  • grippy footprint design increases safety

Cons

  • make sure to keep the balls separate from the board until the child is old enough to play safely

FAQs ...

Why invest in balance toys for toddlers and children?

Balance toys keep your child active but also help them to develop their core strength, coordination and gross motor skills – all of these things essential for sports and general fitness throughout life. The importance of these skills is often under-emphasised in the modern world where screen time is taking increasing precedence over active play. Balance toys are a fun way to encourage kids to challenge themselves physically.

What should I consider when deciding which balance toys to buy?

Use: Who is the toy for and what do you want to achieve? If you are wanting a slightly older child to expend some energy, perhaps a hopper is a great option. If you'd like to increase your toddler's confidence with balancing, a balance beam course is the way to go. Or if you'd like to incorporate game play, stepping stones may be best. All the toys in our round-up will help with balance, coordination and muscle development, but think about how you and your family would use them to decide which is best.

Size: Where will your child use the toy? If it's large equipment or requires space to play, such as hopper, is there sufficient room indoors or outdoors to enjoy it properly? Can it be easily transported for use at the houses of friends and family, or to holiday destinations?

Storage space: Space is also necessary to consider when it comes to storage. Some balance toys can be dismantled for storage and others simply need room. If it's a large toy that you think will get a lot of use, it's probably worth dedicating the space to.

Cost versus longevity: Some balance toys will suit toddlers and then, as children grow, they will discover new and more skilful uses. Others will suit children for a set period of time and physical development. Think about whether the investment in more expensive toys and equipment is worth it for your family. Perhaps you have a child with ADHD or there are siblings who will enjoy certain toys too, making the investment even more worthwhile.

What are the benefits of balance toys for ADHD children?

Children with ADHD often have an impulsive need to move and fidget, and sometimes lack spatial awareness and coordination. Balance and coordination toys can help with both these things. By having toys that promote movement in the home you’re accepting that your ADHD child needs to be active and encouraging them in ways that will help strengthen muscles and improve coordination and focus. These toys will likely be helpful to parents too, by providing a healthy outlet for kids who seemingly have energy to burn. Movement and physical play can actually help calm children with ADHD.

Mother to three lively young boys, Robyn Cann){href='https://www.motherandbaby.com/author/robyn-cann/(opens in a new tab)' } is Features and Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby. She has written for various lifestyle and special interest titles catering predominantly to women.

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