Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Easy HomeMade Balance Beam

2x4s + sandpaper + screws = balance beam

Simple, Simple! Well, except for the sanding part. My mom is sending me a power sander, but it won't be here until next week, so in the meantime I sanded the whole thing by hand. If you go this route, expect sore arms. It's still not completely smooth, but smooth enough to not splinter our feet. Rubbing the surface with a beeswax polish allows the beam to be soft and slick enough to pivot on your feet without hurting them.

I can already see the benefits of this balance beam for myself. My physical well-being has been on the decline since the winter--the warming weather helps tremendously in getting me active, but the beam makes excercise even more accessible. It's something I can do while Dudo plays happily alongside me, and it's something I can do in the quiet stillness of the night when he is asleep. I was a gymnast for several years when I was young and always enjoyed balance beam and tubling. Unfortunately, my invovlement with the sport has no doubt contributed to the muscular/skeletal upper body issues that I have been dealing with for the past 6 years. But now, I can do it on MY terms. I can make up my own little balance beam routines without a coach pushing me further. Without someone sitting on my back while I do the splits to make me split further (overstretching as a child, I believe, is one of the main causes of my physical issues). After only two days of using our balance beam, I already feel an increased sense of balance, poise, and strength. It's like dancing (which I also love to do in the privacy of my own home), only you have to do it in a straight line which makes you keenly aware of space and bodily alignment.
And here's Little Dudo the "Pixie" hanging out on the balance beam. The pink clothing rack in the background is something I just finished. It was an old quilt rack that I got at the thrift store. I got it in bad shape, and then left it outside all winter. By the time I actually did something with it, it was in complete shambles. I wish I had taken a "before" picture. First I removed all the rusty nail and screws, reassembled it with fresh hardware, added a dowel at the top instead of the wooden slat, and gave it all a couple coats of fresh rosy paint. It now serves as a rack for our Springtime dress ups.

Wishing You Small Steps in Taking Care of Your Body,
mama randa the once-upon-a-time gymnast


denise said...

What a great idea. We have seen some balance beams at local fairs - but very expensive. I bet the beeswax polish smells wonderful too!

Mama Randa Morning Glory said...

The materials for this cost less than $3!

Poppy & Mei said...

The beam is BRILLIANT!
Balance...balance...balance & when you are done, shove it under the bed! Xxx

RunninL8 said...

This is a great idea! I thought of making one for our play garden outside. If I can find a relatively straight log off of a fallen tree. But I didn't think to make one for inside! Where could I find a beeswax polish?
Also, my husband and I wanted to make my daughter a castle "frame" like from one of your House puzzles as well as some trees to go with it-we saw one like it at a Waldorf school-but he says we don't have the proper equiptment. So what kind of saw/machinery(?) do you use to make something like that?
We'll keep checking out your cool stuff! LO'd b-day is comin up!

maymomvt (or Sarah) said...

Thanks for your comment--I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I'll check out the books you suggested. I was at a Waldorf talk last night about the 12 senses--one of which is balance. Steiner talks about how kids and adults need to have the "lower" senses (touch, life, balance) well developed in order to have well-developed "higher" senses of the ego, thoughts, and hearing.

I've been wanting to put together a balance beam out in our woods for a long time. Your post and the talk confirmed my desire!

Saskia said...

I do balancing with my t-tapp workouts and it really strengthens your core- that would be fun for kids though!

Tara said...

I'm still shaking my head over the bit about a coach actually having someone sit on your back to improve your splits. Youch!
Beautiful balance beam.

kristin said...

what a great idea!! i have just learned that my Peanut has problems with his gross motor skills...this is a perfect exercise for him!

(from one one-upon-a-time gymnast to another)