Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day Balance Beam for Vestibular Sensory Input

This article on shamrock balance beam ideas was originally written in March 2016. We updated it in March 2024 and included new information on how to grade up or down a balance beam, and balance beam ideas for preschoolers and toddlers.

This shamrock balance beam uses foam shamrocks we found at the dollar store. It’s a fun indoor balance beam to use with a St. Patrick’s Day theme or a Spring theme in occupational therapy. In fact, you could use this gross motor activity along with our Spring sensory walk and you’ve got a great obstacle course for therapy sessions.

This shamrock activity is a great balance beam for preschoolers because when the child steps along the shamrocks, their movements are very precise. One way that I actually like to use it as a path to follow a few leprechaun activities in OT sessions, too!

Shamrock Path Balance Beam Activity

There is just something about easy sensory play that makes mom and kids happy.  Balance beams are a way to incorporate vestibular sensory input into a child’s day, allowing them to refocus, improve behavior and impulsivity, regulate arousal levels, improve attention, Improve balance, and help with posture

One thing we see a lot in schools or in therapy clinics is the need for vestibular input. There are sensory red flags that come up a lot. And while not every child has every red flag show up…and red flags might not mean there is for sure an issue that needs addressed. (This is where the OT eval comes into play!)

Some things to consider about vestibular challenges…

Children with vestibular problems might seem inattentive. These are the kiddos that appear lazy, showing excessive movements, anxious, or attention seeking. They might have trouble walking on uneven surfaces, changing positions, or resist certain positions.  

One way to address these needs is with a balance beam, like this Shamrock St. Patrick’s Day balance beam.

A while back we shared a snowflake balance beam for indoor vestibular sensory input…And we’ve been on a balance beam kick ever since! 

 Add these resources to the ones you can find here under sensory diet vestibular activities to meet the sensory needs of all kids. 

Try this Shamrock St. Patricks Day balance beam for vestibular sensory input.

St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Activity

children tiptoeing along a balance beam on the floor



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For our balance beam, we used foam shamrocks along the floor. Position them as close to each other as your child needs.  To extend the activity a bit, move them further apart or add curved and turns to your balance beam.

For our balance beam, we used foam shapes. You can adapt this to any theme by cutting foam shapes or using any type of foam piece in place of the shamrock. Then, you can help preschoolers and toddlers develop skills all year round, with the same activity.

It’s very possible to create a beginner balance beam using shapes or tape along the floor.

You can modify a balance beam to make the balance activity easier, or harder, depending on the needs of the child.

Check out the strategies below each section below. While we have them listed as toddler balance beam and preschool balance beam, this is just a way to classify the modification and activity tips to support developmental progression. Don’t worry about the names “toddler” and “preschooler”. This is just a developmental age range and you can definitely challenge balance and coordination skills at any age! Remember that the development of balance occurs through play.

Toddler Balance Beam

Walking along a balance beam can be a challenge for some kids with vestibular sensory needs.  This is a great balance beam for toddlers and preschoolers because it’s flat on the ground and not raised up at all like a foam balance beam or a gymnastics balance beam. 

You can really add some modifications to this activity to help a toddler gain skill sin balance and coordination. During toddlerhood that young children develop so many gross motor skills through play. My own kids loved this type of activity as 2 and 3 year olds!

Try these activity ideas to help motor skills development with a toddler:

  • Ask the toddler to tip toe along the shapes
  • Use different color shapes and ask them to name the color or the shape. You can use any foam or paper piece, as long as they are stuck to the floor with a bit of tape.
  • Ask the toddler to hold their arms out at their shoulder height. 
  • Ask the toddler to walk sideways or backwards

To modify, or make the balance activity easier or harder:

  • Change the thickness of the balance line
  • Make the balance beam or balance line closer to the floor (flat on the floor) or raise it up with a board and blocks
  • Use bigger stepping stones or stepping images.
  • Encourage other movements or easier movements (hopping, tip toe, stepping, etc.)

Preschool Balance Beam

We love using this easy balance beam with preschoolers because you can really challenge preschool skills, too.

To further challenge your child, try some of these ideas:

  • Add arm motions.
  • Ask your child to look up at a fixed point instead of down at their feet.
  • Add curves and turns to the balance beam.
  • Position the shamrocks on pillows for an unsteady surface.
  • Raise the surface with a long board.
  • Try walking on tip toes, balls of the feet, or heels.
  • Walk the balance beam backwards or sideways.
  • Hop along the balance beam.  (Be sure to tape the shamrocks to the floor.
  • Use crab walking or other animal walks along the balance line
  • Include upper body movements along with walking

To modify, or make the balance activity easier or harder:

  • Encourage different walking movements
  • Make the shapes or the walking line thicker
  • Make the steps closer together
  • Use the suggestions above from the toddler section.
Try this Shamrock St. Patricks Day balance beam for vestibular sensory input.

More Vestibular Sensory activities you will love:

 

 
 
 

Vestibular Frisbee

Attention Exercises

Sensory Processing and Handwriting

Snowflake Balance Beam

Our favorite ways to work on gross motor skills:

Dinosaur Gross Motor Game

Brain Gym Bilateral Coordination

Gross Motor Apple Tree Balance Beam

How Balance Beams Help Kids

Core Strength and Attention

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Make a balance beam easier or harder

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