Thursday, June 14, 2012

Creating Family Fun: Balance Boards

Summer is off to a bang here.  Even with an unscheduled summer, the kids and I are keeping busy.  I won't even start with how busy we were cleaning up some super messy rooms the other day. (Ahem....cough, cough.....Kids!) 

Even before summer, we marked out some "wish list" items we would like to do during the summer.  Most of them are things we can do at home.  We're home bodies.  You can create a lot of fun just at home.

Not too long ago I got a good deal on Family Fun Magazine and the kids have had a blast looking through them with me.  In the March 2012 issue we saw homemade bongo boards and the kids jumped at the idea of making those this summer.  We call them balance boards.  But that's just us.

While Biker Boy was out on an epic training ride with his 24 hour mountain bike team, the kids and I made these at home.  We had gone to town a few days before for something else and made a stop at Lowes to pick up the items to make the balance boards.  The kids loved riding on the flat cart while we picked up all the items.

Here's what we used:
  • 1 - 12 inch wide board that was 6 feet long. The kind worker at Lowes cut it in half for me.
  • 1 - 2 inch PVC pipe that was 2 feet long.  (More expensive to buy cut ones than to cut your own, but we wanted 2 different sizes and I didn't want to cut PVC on my own.)
  • 1 - 3 inch PVC pipe that was 2 feet long.
  • Covers for PVC pipe.  I bought the cheapo test covers instead of the way more expensive end caps.  No complaints yet about that decision. Look at the photo above to see what I mean.
  • Foam for ends of board.  The directions call for a pool noodles, but alas...they didn't have any at Lowes.  So I bought foam insulation for pipes with self sealing ends.  Next time we'll probably wrap old bicycle tires around the ends (Biker Boy's idea), they'll probably last longer than foam and we have plenty of old tires.
  • Decorations -  we used spray paint we had at home and cut out vinyl decals with the Cricut.
Here's what we did:

I spray painted the boards without the kids help.  I let the boards dry for a couple of days.  The kids and I cut out vinyl decals that they chose and we got ready to decorate and make the balance boards. (Oh, in the magazine they decorated the boards with colored duct tape...I didn't have that much duct tape.)

Once the boards were dry, the kids decorated them. 

Then they put on the foam.  I cut the foam with scissors.  I started with a utility knife, but figured scissors were easier.  They were.

Then the kids put the boards on top of the PVC pipes.  We stood them next to couches first so that they could get the feel of rocking and balancing on the boards and have something to grab if they needed to.  And yes, I make my kids wear helmets on the boards.  We're a helmet wearing family. 

We even took the boards outside to try.  (See a glimpse of another project in the photo below).  But the kids prefer to use them indoors.  I've taken to storing them under the couches, which is brilliant in my opinion.  (Can you read sarcasm?)  The kids use the balance boards on the tile floor, but have discovered that using them on the throw carpet is even easier. 

I was worried the kids would get bored of these balance boards pretty quickly, but they haven't.  Yippee!!  Although Biker Boy has already tripped on a board that wasn't put away. (And he's pretty good at balancing on them!)  Chewy would say the 2 inch PVC is the easiest and Scooter would say the 3 inch PVC is the easiest.  It's a toss up.  That's why we got one of each.
Any projects that you are making at home this summer?  Has anyone else made these balance boards?

*The usual disclaimer stuff: The link to the magazine is an affiliate link.  But I would encourage you to shop around and thank you if you do click on my link.  Big smiles to you just for stopping by!*


  1. Thanks so much for posting your instructions! I am in need of something along these lines for my active peeps and your instructions give just enough to go on!

  2. As a recent convert to Balance Boards, I think all kids should have them, they are wonderful little widgets! They have done my back and core muscles a World of good in weeks, and I have had some abs pop up as well! I wish I had had one of these when I was a kid.

  3. Awesome article!


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