Child sliding down a Wooden Balance Board by Young & Learning at Nurture CollectiveWhat are wooden balance boards, how can we use them, and how do they create an invitation to play?  We chatted with Maria Bataller one-half of the founders of Capikooa, who explains more.

Children Playing with a Wooden Balance Board by Young & Learning at Nurture CollectiveWhat is the story behind Capikooa how did it all start?

After having her first child and being a new mum Maria was curious and began researching child development and child behaviour. She discovered that children learn first with movement and these movements build connections and learning to sit still is all part of learning to balance.

Shortly after the birth of their second child, Maria found their children were growing out of their toys really quickly so she began looking for toys that would grow and develop with her children and discovered balance boards. These boards immediately encapsulated everything that was important to them, child development, gross motor skills along with stimulating creativity, and imagination and also its minimal impact on the environment.

The name Capikooa has Spanish roots as Maria originally from Spain, where Cap means head and kooa means tail (spelt “Cua” in Spanish) and put together perfectly fits with the curvy balance boards.

Cury Wooden Balance Board by Young & Learning at Nurture CollectiveCreating Invitation to play

These wooden balance boards come in three different sizes and are simple curved board but how do they work in stimulating children’s imagination?

Many users use the board along with loose parts which can be anything from bricks, cushions, pine cones, toy cars etc.. It can be helpful to use a theme to structure the setup and an invitation to play.  For example, you can use cars as a theme to create a car track or perhaps use elements of nature, another way is using it to create a den or a table. This style can also be referred to as open-ended play which means there are no limitations in your child’s play and it allows them to explore their imagination.

https://www.nurturecollective.co.uk/maker/capikooa/
Loose parts an invitation to play with wooden toys at Nurture Collective

Gross Motor Skills

These wooden balance boards can be really helpful in children’s development and in the Piaget Stages of Development which is a theory that is named after the stages are named after psychologist and developmental biologist Jean Piaget, who recorded the intellectual development and abilities of infants through to teens. So encouraging movement through open-ended play is crucial to this early development.

 Some Examples of Materials used Open Ended Play:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Arts and craft materials
  • Bricks
  • Pinecones
  • Sand

Which size?

Our boards come in three different sizes with an age-appropriate guideline:

A Rainbow of Curvy Wooden Balance Board by Young & Learning at Nurture CollectiveExplorer – 0-4yrs The smallest and lightest balance board is perfect for the beginnings of movement and developing gross motor skills

Adventurer- 4-8yrs Its the next size up and is bigger and thicker than the explorer which means it is more suited to all-day use

Pioneer 8 plus It is longer and more curved which means it more challenging for bigger children and the board rocks more

Packaging

The Capikooa boards come in earth-friendly packing made from FCS approved cardboard packaging which means its fully recyclable, but even better they can be used as “box play” either with the board as part of the play or even on their own and you can create things such as letterboxes, dens ect..

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you would like to read further information about these boards please click here.

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