Let's get one thing straight. As delicious as they sound, this isn’t a fun twist on edible peanut balls for kids with smarties or cookie dough in the middle. You may or may not have heard of them, but either way, we’re here to tell you just why a peanut ball is worth your while.
- The Peanut Ball; your new favourite superhero!
- What's in it for me?
- Age is just a number
- Sizing tips!
- Ok, but how do I use it?
- Tummy Time
- Sitting isn't always a good thing
- Let's get those creative juices flowing
The Peanut Ball; your new favourite superhero!
After having cupboards and drawers full of brand-new shiny toys, it’s almost painful to see your child find heaps of entertainment in the most mundane of objects. The TV remote, a cardboard box, or even the door of the cupboard the toys are in! So, as you can imagine a giant bouncy blue peanut is sure to grab their attention.
We name it, you’ve tried it. Lego, Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Playmobil they’re all the same. Don’t get me wrong they are entertaining (trust me I used to play Barbie for about 8 hours straight), but is entertainment enough?
What about your child’s strength, coordination, balance, and things they can use to help their development? Let me introduce you to your child’s new best friend…
What’s in it for me?
- Calms and regulates your child’s feelings/emotions
- Improves balance
- Increase core strength
- Encourages all muscles to be used during play
- Improves mental focus
- Introduces weight bearing
- Encourages independent play
- Perfect for children with sensory disorders or autism
Age is just a number
The great news is, the peanut ball is suitable for all ages! Ok, we aren’t saying to put your 4 week old baby on one and leave them to it, but they can be used at a young age with adult supervision. Particularly for tummy time in babies and toddlers (but we’ll get to that later).
Children will develop at their own pace at a variety of ages. There can be many reasons for a delay in their development, but no matter what stage they are, the peanut ball can be so helpful as they progress through their early years.
We know, children grow rapidly, so you may wonder if there is an appropriate size to use. The most common sizes vary from 40cm – 50cm so you guessed it, we recommend a 45cm ball to be an ideal size to use for your growing child.
Ok, but how do I use it?
So the real question is, ‘what on earth do I do with it?’, well, let’s break it down. We have found the perfect exercises with a peanut ball to keep those explorers entertained.
A Bundle of Energy
It’s no mystery that kids are full of energy, so giving them a giant peanut to bounce on might be just what you need. Releasing their burst of life first thing in the morning may just give you the 5 minutes you need to make your morning brew.
Get your child to sit in the middle of the ball with the round sections on either side. Allow them to gently bounce on the ball up and down, putting their hands on either side of them for extra balance.
Get your child to sit in the middle of the ball with their legs on either side. Like bouncing, allow them to gently bounce up and down while moving their feet forward on each jump.
Introducing your child to physical fitness and exercise is important regarding their development. However, the word exercise may not spring out as their first choice of activity. Using the ball within this can make it so much more enjoyable for them, whilst encouraging them to try something new and gain strength.
Lay your child flat on the floor facing upwards. Put their feet on top of the ball in the middle where the ball dips. Get them to bring their knees up to their chest (or as far as they can go) and back out again. Repeat 10 times.
Lay the ball on the ground, and carefully get your child to place their back over the ball with the round parts on either side. The bottom of their back should be in the middle of the ball so they look a little like a seesaw with their feet on the floor. Get them to use their core muscles to bring their chest towards their knees. They may need a little assistance to help balance and stabilise them.
The Next Albert Einstein
A child’s cognitive development is so important when it comes to their learning. Encouraging them to try new things will not only allow them to learn new skills, but also get them to use their brains in ways they won’t have before.
Forward Roll Out
Place the ball horizontally in front of your child and get them to lay on it placing their hands on the ground in front of them. They should then walk their hands out until the ball gets to their knees, allowing the ball to roll underneath them. Encourage them to then walk their hands back to resume the first position.
If ‘forward roll out’ doesn’t sound appealing, maybe call this one ‘The Superman’!
Single Leg Steps
Placing the ball down horizontally, get your child to sit in the middle with the round sections on either side. Putting their hands down to help, they will then bare their weight on one leg and stand up, before lowering back down into a seated position. Then swap legs.
Again, you may want to call this one 'The flamingo' to make it sound more exciting!
Touch, taste, smell, sight & sound
Ok, so we aren’t suggesting you get your child to taste the ball, but it can be so beneficial when it comes to their sensory skills, focusing mainly on their sight and touch.
When children get stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, they can find it difficult to process their emotions. Using a peanut ball for sensory exercises can release built up tension as well and use up some of their endless amounts of energy.
Placing the ball on the floor, get your child to lean their weight onto it vertically or horizontally. Encourage them to squeeze the ball, rock gently side to side, and get a good feel for the ball. This can be done however they prefer.
Lay the ball on the floor and allow your child to sit in front of it ensuring your surroundings are clear. Plant their feet into the ground and encourage them to push their back over the ball keeping their arms straight. Remember slow and steady wins the race!
Like the birth ball, peanut balls are great for tummy time! Making tummy time a regular thing during the day can be so beneficial for your baby. This is because they begin to develop their motor and sensory skills. Start with a few minutes several times a day, and gradually encourage them to participate longer. By approximately 3 months old you’re looking to aim for 1 hour a day.
Sitting isn't always a good thing
As adults, it can be difficult to sit still for a lengthy amount of time (try sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day without spinning on your chair) so you can imagine what it's like for children.
We know how easy it is for children to get bored, but forget fidget spinners, this is the perfect way to distract and entertain your child when they are feeling a little restless. Whether it’s doing homework or watching TV, it allows them to move around a little whilst releasing some energy.
Moving around more allows children with sensory processing disorder or ADHD to engage their brains easier. Big or small, constant movement is required when using the ball and that movement, however impactful it is, will help them focus.
Let’s get those creative juices flowing
Some children are better than others at using their imagination, but this is the perfect way to get them to use their brains in creative ways. Whether they’re ready to take part in The Grand National, on a rollercoaster, or flying back to their witch’s coven, the possibilities are endless! Try giving the ball to them with no instruction and see what happens!
We'd love to hear what creative ideas they come up with on their peanut ball!