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Thursday, November 11, 2021

19 Fun Ways to Use a Wobbel Board

You may be wondering how a curved piece of wood you rock back and forth on can actually be a really useful open ended resource? It's ok you're not alone, lots of people don't understand why the Wobbel board is so great, but don't worry, I'm going to show you exactly why they're awesome, including all the fun and creative ways to use the Wobbel board for exercise and play.

child playing on wobbel board


WHAT IS A WOBBEL BOARD?


Firstly if you're wondering what exactly a Wobbel board is, I can tell you it's more than an Instagram and toy group fad, they've actually been around for years and originated as part of Waldorf education. The Wobbel board is a modern and minimalistic design of classic Waldorf balance boards.

The Wobbel board's unique curved shape is made using many layers of European beech wood {FSC} which are stacked and pressed together under high pressure in the Netherlands. The result is a super strong board that can hold up to 200kg and can be used by anyone older than 6 months.
wobbel board original

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A WOBBEL BOARD?


Wobble boards provide both children and adults many ways to achieve sensory input {particularly vestibular stimulation}, improve gross motor skills, core strength, balance, spatial awareness and cognitive abilities. They're perfect for active children who seek out movement and sensory experiences and are also a great way for children to achieve emotional regulation. Plus they're also a great way to keep children active inside and engaged away from screens.

Wobbel boards and other balance boards are also regularly utilised by therapists to treat children and adults with motor skill development delays or injuries.


19 WAYS TO USE AND PLAY WITH A WOBBEL BOARD


Before using the Wobbel board please note that it is designed for indoor use and should always be used with caution and under the supervision of an adult. If you or your child have a medical condition or restriction please consult your physician or therapist before using the Wobbel board. Follow the user directions here. Finding Myself Young is not liable for any damages or injury caused by the use of the Wobbel balance board.

  • Ensure the Wobbel board is on a stable non slip surface
  • Climb onto the board in the middle then adjust feet to desired position
  • Use without shoes for easier grip and balance

19 ways to play with and use a wobbel board

Balancing activities {aka wobbling}


The most obvious way to play with the Wobbel board is to wobble on it. There are a few different ways you can do this including side to side, front to back and rotating around. Balancing activities utilise different muscles and stimulate different parts of the brain to help improve memory and cognitive skills, which is beneficial to both children and adults.

To wobble sideways start with the Wobbel board in front of you horizontally. Place your feet on either end of the board and rock from left to right by alternating pressure between each foot.

child using wobbel board to rock sideways

To wobble front to back start by standing behind one end of the Wobbel board so it's sitting in a straight line in front of you. Place your dominant foot at the front end of the board and the other foot towards the back. Rock forward and backwards by alternating pressure between each foot.

child using wobbel board to rock front to back

To rotate around on the Wobbel board start with the Wobbel board horizontally in front of you. Place your feet at either end of the board as if you were going to wobble sideways, however this time engage your core and twist your hips left to right so the board makes a swivel motion.

Younger children can also use their whole body to wobble the board by placing two hands at one end of the board and their feet at the other end so their body is upside down in a convex position. Then they can wobble back and forth by alternating pressure between their hands and feet. Please note this position may cause children to become dizzy if done for long periods of time.

child rocking on wobbel board using hands and feet

How to exercise with a Wobbel board


In addition to the balancing activities mentioned above, the Wobbel board can also be used to extend traditional strength training and cardio exercises. Use the Wobbel to do squats while balancing to engage even more muscles. It can also be flipped over and used for step exercises. You can also jump back and forth over it, or jump off of it.

For more experienced adults, it can also be used for yoga moves instead of doing them on a mat and more intense cardio workouts like Rock Fit. Please consult with your doctor or exercise professional before using the Wobbel board as part of a workout.


Therapy with a Wobbel board


Many therapists such as paediatric occupational therapists and physiotherapists utilise Wobbel boards and balance boards to help treat adults and children with low muscle tone and movement delays such as hypotonia, dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder. Therapists use the boards with different exercises to help improve core strength, balance, posture, co-ordination, spatial awareness and muscle strength. 

Some balance board activities used by the Dyspraxia Foundation include getting children to catch small beanbags or balls while balancing on the board. Passing beanbags or other objects between hands while balancing. Doing clapping games or popping bubbles while balancing. Please consult your therapist for their advice on the best way to utilise a Wobbel board for your child.

Wobbel seesaw


There are many different ways the Wobbel can be transformed into a seesaw. Sit in the middle with legs crossed and hands on either ends to seesaw side to side. Alternatively, sit facing one end with knees bent and shift body weight to seesaw back and forth. You can also kneel down facing one end and place your arms on the end in front of you to seesaw forward and back.

child using wobbel board as a seesaw

If you have two children who will fit and still be within the weight limit they can also use the Wobbel board together as a seesaw. Both children sit back to back in the middle of the Wobbel board with each having their knees bent and feet resting at opposite ends of the board. Use body weight to rock the board in a seesaw motion. This can also be done facing inwards with bums sitting at either end of the board like my girls are doing below.

kids using wobbel board as a seesaw

Obstacle course


Another way to use the Wobbel for some gross motor fun is with other items like stepping stones, masking tape or cushions to create an indoor obstacle course. Use the Wobbel board throughout the course as a balance beam, hurdle or tunnel. Obstacle courses are also a great base for a game of the floor is lava.


Wobbel slide


Probably the most loved way my 4yr old uses the Wobbel board is as a slide to slide off our play couch. Ever since we got our play couch she's been using the cushions to try and make a slide so she can climb then slide off, so she's beyond excited that she now has a proper way to slide. You can also use the Wobbel to slide off the side of a bed, low windowsills, and steps. They also make a great slide for dolls and plush toys too. 

Wobbel balance beam


One of the first ways my youngest played with the Wobbel board when we got it was to turn it upside down and use it as a balance beam. It's a great length and height for children who are just learning to balance walking across raised surfaces, as it provides a challenge being curved, but it's not too long or too high to be scary.

child using wobbel board as a balance beam

Wobbel tunnel


For younger babies and infants who are crawling, but not yet walking, the Wobbel can be used as a tunnel to crawl under. Place favourite toys or items on the other side to encourage kids to crawl through. Always ensure they're supervised so they don't bump their heads.

Wobbel seat


The Wobbel is the perfect height to be used as a seat for children when flipped upside down. It's a great place to sit for reading and can be used as an alternative to low chairs at kids tables for play time or even meal time.

child reading a book while sitting on a wobbel board

Wobbel table


The Wobbel is also a great height to be used as a lap table for younger children. They can use it to balance books or tablets on while reading, or use it as a surface to play with toys.

Balancing balls on the Wobbel board


Another fun activity to help improve hand/eye coordination and spatial awareness it to try sliding balls back and forth on the Wobbel while it rocks, without them falling off the edge. Start with a larger ball and once you master that move onto smaller balls which will be harder to control. You can also try different textured balls to see how it alters the way they move across the board.


Building on the Wobbel board


Because of it's concave shape the Wobbel board doesn't seem like a stable base for building, however it's actually a really fun and challenging way for children to build and stack other toys onto. Any toys that can naturally be stacked like animal figurines and blocks can be stacked on top of the Wobbel, including stacking the Grimms rainbow pieces.

Stacking on a curved surface is obviously more challenging than stacking on a flat surface and is a great way for kids to work on hand/eye co-ordination, problem solving, spatial awareness and concentration. It's also a great way to learn about balancing and counter balancing objects of different sizes and weights. And a great lesson in patience and perseverance.

grimms rainbow and other toys stacked on top of a wobbel board
Image: Immy Plays and Learns

Stacking and building on the Wobbel isn't just for kids, it's also a great mental challenge for adults too. You can see in the photo above that Rachel from Immy Plays and Learns has managed to stack the Grimms rainbow, houses, weather set, hearts and some dolls. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to stack this many items, however I'm inspired to see what I can stack on ours.

Wobbel board magnetic tile play


If you have a set of magnetic tiles you can turn the Wobbel board into a rainbow bridge, magnetic ball run or use it as a base to build a curvy city that defies logic. The combination of colourful, sleek tiles and warm, smooth wood provides visual and tactile sensory input as children play.

To make a rainbow magnetic bridge, simply flip the Wobbel board over so it's upside down then use small square tiles to cover the back of the board.

wobbel board with magnetic tiles on top

You can also use the Wobbel board to make a magnetic tile ball run. Flip the board upside down and line the outside edges with square tiles and then put triangles down the centre, alternating each side to make a zig zag pattern. Use marbles, pom poms or wooden balls and roll them down either side from the top. Ensure young children are always supervised as the balls may pose a choking risk.

wobbel board magnetic tile ball run

The Wobbel board can also be used as a building base for magnetic tiles. Line the inside of the board with small squares to provide a base to build upright. You can then build towers and the concave shape of the board will create a wonky looking town like something you'd find in a cartoon. I love Rachel's rainbow wonky town below. Find even more magnetic tile play ideas here.


wobbel board with magnetic tile town built on top
Image: Immy Plays and Learns

Wobbel racetrack


If you flip the Wobbel board over into a convex position, it becomes the perfect shape for a bridge. This can be used as is with cars or trains, or it pairs perfectly with Way to Play flexible rubber roads to create racetracks or town roads.

wobbel board used with way to play roads to make a racetrack
Image: gemma.leigh.r via The Creative Toy Shop

Wobbel car ramp


If you elevate one end of the Wobbel board on a chair, couch, play couch, bed, stairs or shelves, it will create the perfect angle to use as a car ramp. Use it with magnetic cars, wooden cars or matchbox cars {anything with wheels really}. 

wobbel board being used as a car ramp with a magnetic tile car

If your cars are small enough you can line two up side by side and race to the bottom. Just a note if you're using magnetic cars like we did, depending on the incline they may fall apart once they hit the bottom {but we had lots of fun putting it back together each time}.

Small world play


Just like the Grimms rainbow, the Wobbel board can be used as a backdrop for small world play. Simply use some play silks or coloured fabric pieces to easily transform it into something else. For example use a green silk to turn it into a hill or a brown silk to turn it into a cave or Uluru.

wobbel board with silk to be uluru

Imaginary play with a Wobbel board


Probably the most popular way for kids to play with the Wobbel board is during imaginary play. While we as adults see a curved piece of wood, children innately see a world of possibilities. With a little imagination children can turn the Wobbel board into a shop, desk, wall, mountain, pirate ship, surfboard, doll bed, hammock, rollercoaster and more. The possibilities are endless and will change each time children play with it, which is the beauty of open ended toys - they never get boring.

wobbel board used as a dolls bed

Vertical play


The Wobbel is perfect to use as a base to stand or balance on when doing vertical play activities. Vertical play such as drawing on a chalkboard, sticking magnets to the fridge or sticking items onto a sticky wall  helps children to improve dexterity and control, bilateral co-ordination, hand/eye co-ordination and core strength. Adding the Wobbel board will also help improve balance and concentration.


Relaxation and emotional regulation


Even though the Wobbel can be used for big movements and exercise, it can also be used as a place for relaxation and a way for children to calm down and regulate their emotions. The Wobbel has a perfect curved hammock style shape and is a great place for younger children to lay down or curl up on while reading a book, watching tv or resting.

child sleeping on a wobbel board

To make it even more cosy add a pillow or a blanket to snuggle up with. You can also get Wobbel decks, which are custom made padded foam covers that perfectly fit the Wobbel board to make it soft and comfortable to relax on. Wobbel have also created special pillows which attach to the board for ultimate relaxation. They both have elasticised bands to attach to the back of the Wobbel board so they stay in place. I wish I was small enough to lay on it with these because it looks soooo comfy {I totally got on there and tried to fit laying down - it wasn't pretty}.

How many other ways do you wobbel?


Disclosure - We were kindly gifted a Wobbel board, deck and pillow from The Creative Toy Shop in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are our own based on our experience using the Wobbel board. I did not receive monetary compensation for this post, however there are some affiliate links included for your convenience, which means I may earn a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase. All photos that are not my own have been used with express permission.

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