Today I am excited to announce a partnership with Radio Flyer. There are so many reasons why as an occupational therapist, I love the use of a balance bicycle to help children learn to ride a bike. I would love to share those reasons for using a bike without pedals in teaching bike riding. Here, you’ll also find bike riding tips and reasons that a balance bicycle helps children with balance and bike riding skills.
Today is our first giveaway item in our annual Therapy Toys and Tools Giveaway series. (Giveaway now closed.)
Balance Bike for teaching bike riding skills
Pediatric occupational therapists work with children to help them accomplish functional tasks, from play, to self-care, to learning, to day-to-day activities. Riding a bike is just one of those areas that an occupational therapist can work with children and families to facilitate function and ability.
When children struggle with riding a bike, there may be underlying issues happening that impact the successful transition to independent bike riding. Those areas might be as a result of an injury or diagnosis, or it might be a weakness in a specific area like strength, coordination, or balance.
Skills needed for bike riding
When occupational therapists work with children to achieve the functional task of riding a bicycle, they can help kids achieve independence with areas that are needed for bike riding:
- Core strength
- Motor planning
- Postural praxis
- Upper body/lower body disassociation
- Body awareness
- Visual convergence
- Visual scanning
All of these areas can be achievable by working on underlying areas through therapy.
How to Teach a Child to Ride a Bike
Use a bike without pedals!
For kids that are working on bike riding, try some of these tips:
Use a bike without pedals to work on balance.
Address pre-bike riding skills by breaking down the skills that kids need for bike riding, including coordination of both legs, core strength, etc.
Work on core strength with activities like animal walks, donkey kicks, bicycle leg pumps, standing on one foot to build balance.
Use a balance bicycle to work on fears related to balance by allowing kids to glide feet along the sides of the bike.
Work on motor planning by stopping and starting the pedal-less bike and picking feet up/running feet along the bike, and stopping the balance bicycle.
Address core strength and endurance with yoga.
Address balance and upper body/lower body disassociation by pushing feet down and lifting feet up to practice gliding and balance.
Address vestibular issues by practice getting on and off the balance bicycle with both feet down on the floor and then just one foot down on the floor.
Work on vestibular input and balance, coordination by working on lean with a balance bicycle.
Build confidence in young bicycle users by instilling confidence in riding a bike without pedals.
Using a bike without pedals offers so many opportunities to work on all of the areas needed for bike riding, and core strengthening, motor planning, balance, and sequencing can help children become successful in helping them reach this goal.
balance Bike for Kids
At this stage, teaching kids to use a balance kid for 2 year old children can involve pre-bike riding skills. These can involve things like breaking down the skills kids need and working on the areas listed above.
In all of these ways, bikes without pedals are so helpful for teaching bike riding, from 2 years old and older!
Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike
Want to add a bike without pedals to your toolbox? Let’s get kids moving and building skills!
The Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike is a great tool to add to your therapy toolbox or to use in your home to teach young kids to ride a bike! The Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bicycle is a pedal-less bike that allows kids to build balance and other bike riding skills.
Check out the comments below, for ideas on how readers would use the balance bicycle to teach a child to ride a bike!
Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.