My eldest daughter has become obsessed with balance lately. She often comes home from school telling me that she has a great sense of balance and that she and her friends practice walking on the wall and logs outside the classroom and that she is the best. I know that at this age (4) being able to balance fascinates children and I too remember playing on balance beams and walking on walls when I was younger.
This past weekend somebody left the freezer open and to say it was cold was an understatement of note. Unfortunately both of my girls have been sick and so I was hesitant to let them out to play in the cold and wind however they really wanted to play balance games. After a quick visit to Pinterest to find indoor balance activities I settled on a homemade hanger balance scale.
This activity really appealed to me because it was something that I could make with items around my house and not only did it keep to the balance theme but I could try to use it to work in some early math’s skills for my eldest daughter.
What you need:
• A coat hanger
• Some string to hang it with
• 2 buckets/cups/tubs of equal size and mass (you could even use empty yoghurt tubs)
• A number of objects to balance
Most of the examples that I found online put their hangers on a door knob however I decided to use the string to hang mine from an open cupboard door in the kitchen. I did it like this so that the buckets wouldn’t knock against anything and the balancing hanger would be free to move about, making the balancing effect more obvious to the children.
Next I hung a bucket from either end of the hanger and made sure that the balancing hanger was even.
I got my little ones to place different objects in each bucket and watch how it tipped from side to side. I then asked them to identify which object was heavier. My eldest daughter thought this was genius and was hooked. Unfortunately there was a little bit squabbling as my youngest just wanted to put everything in sight into the buckets however I managed to get them to (mostly) take turns.
The balls were fun to try, which is heavier, the bigger hollow one or the smaller filled one?
I had some board game counters that I used to try and teach some math’s skills. For example if there are 10 counters in one bucket and 5 in the other, which side is heavier? This went down very well and perhaps my daughter will be lucky enough not to inherit her mother’s interest (or lack thereof) maths!
This really was a simple and fun indoor activity for the little ones to do on this very horrible and cold day and I must remember it for future use as it was so easy to set up and clean up.