We all know ANYTHING to get kids up, moving, and working on their gross motor development (that also leads to a good night of sleep) is a total win. That's where balance boards come in. They promote balance, coordination, enhance motor skills and self esteem. Plus they are relatively affordable considering HOW LONG they ultimately get used across a wide array of age groups. Discover the best balance boards for toddlers and kids that even adults can use below! Plus tips on how to choose the right wobble board for your family and ways to use it in open-ended play.
*The balance boards below are divided into two sections: classic Montessori wooden balance boards and then more versatile wobble boards that are better suited for adults, kids with ADD or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and more.
- best balance boards
- Best Wooden Balance Boards:
- Best Wobble Boards:
- How To Choose The Best Balance Board
- FAQs About Balance Boards
- What are the benefits of balance boards?
- How do you use a balance board?
- Are balance boards good for children with autism, attention deficit disorders, or sensory processing disorders?
- What age should you introduce a balance board?
- What is the difference between a balance board and a wobble board?
- Which balance boards do you NOT recommend for toddlers and preschool kids?
- Are balance boards montessori?
- Are balance boards safe?
- How do I protect my floors from balance boards?
- How can I DIY a balance board?
- Final thoughts on balance board for toddlers and kids
- Quick shop best balance boards
Best Overall: Little Partners
The Wobble Board by Little Partners® is GREENGUARD GOLD CERTIFIED and made from the highest quality layered Birch and poplar board with a non-toxic finish. Quality aside, it comes with a lifetime warranty too!
It's quickly become one of our favorite wooden balance boards thanks to the built-in handle which makes moving it around a breeze. I also like that their semi-spherical design is a bit deeper and a greater bend compared to others for more core stability.
Additionally, this board comes with two sets of feet shaped anti-slip stickers. You can place them on the base to prevent the board from sliding on the floor, or on the inside, for your little one to stand on so they don't slide around as much. Personally, we haven't used these, but think they could be helpful with some babies or those with an ADHD, ADD, or ASD diagnosis.
Lastly, it comes in three colors: natural, soft white and slate gray and measures in at 32.6″L x 11.7″W x 7.5″H. For the moderate price point, non-toxic finishes, and bonus features, we think this is the best buy for a wooden balance board.
- Comes with a handle for easy moving
- Two anti-slip resistant grips included
- Lifetime warranty
- Greenguard Gold Certified
- Rated safe for up to 250 lbs
- Moderately priced
- Colored options make get scuffed up on floor
Best Large Wooden Balance Board: KinderFeets
Kinderfeets Kinderboard is considered the Waldorf original wooden balance board for toddlers, kids, teens, and adults!
That's right, if you're looking for one of the biggest wooden balance boards on the market, their large Kinderboard is a great pick measuring in at 36.6″ L x 13.8″ w and 8.7″ H; while still providing the same durable experience. It can support up to 485 lbs too and is specifically designed for children 7 years old and up (including adults).
The standard size board measures in at 32” L x 12” W x 7” H. Their boards are crafted from European Beech plywood and sealed in a water-based lacquer making it weather resistant for indoor or outdoor use.
Aside from the two sizes, it also comes in several finishes from bamboo, gray wash, chalkboard gray (fun to decorate!), natural, white, and even a fun rainbow:
- Comes in standard sizing and large sizing
- Most varied color selection
- The original Waldorf wobble board
- Rated safe for up to 485 lbs
- Colors can get scratched up on floor
- Brand had some quality issues around 2020 with splintering/chips in the boards
Best For Protecting Your Floors: Tree Sounds
While most wooden balance boards are perfectly safe to use on your floors at home – sans some scratches to the actual board – if you have hardwood floors you may need something a bit more gentle and that's where TreeSounds' felted wooden balance board comes in.
Made from a sustainably sourced Finnish birch plywood in the EU, the base is finished in merino wool to protect the board and your floors and exterior of the wood is coated in a nontoxic water based finish.
It also comes in 3 sizes (small, medium, and large) rated safe for up to 440 lbs. The large is best suited for kids and adults 7 years old and beyond with a whopping height over 8.66″ tall! The medium is the board we'd suggest for toddlers though – it's the most “standard” sizing at ~35″ L x 11″ W x 6.75″ T.
- Comes in 3 sizes
- Merino wool felted bottom to protect floors
- Weight limits of 440 lbs across the boards
- Made in Europe with Finnish plywood and nontoxic water base finish
- Shipping may be pricey
- No returns; but good customer service if there is an issue
Best Budget Wooden Balance Board: Gentle Monster
We had the toddler balance board from Gentle Monster for years. It typically is on sale for around $50, making it one of the more affordable wooden balance boards on the market.
Generally speaking, wooden boards are all the same shape and color, so there's nothing wrong with choosing a wallet friendly option here. We got nearly daily use for years with minimal chips on the edges.
It comes in the natural wood color, with a maximum weight limit of 480 lbs. The board is about one inch thick and measures in at 35″ L x 12″ W x 6″ H. It's on the smaller end in terms of “curve” – which is why we ultimately preferred the Little Partners one as an adult/growing child as the rocking and challenge of this one is better suited for littles; not adult or bigger kids.
- Affordable price
- Lower height makes it nice for littles
- Rated safe for up to 480 lbs
- Lower height makes it a little boring for big kids/adults
- No details on how the wood is sourced or treated
- Most likely to chip/splinter of all the picks on this list
Highest quality wooden balance board: Lily & River or Piccalio
The big difference is that Lily and River comes in at about one inch smaller all around (31″ W x 11″ D x 7″ H) while Piccalio measures in at 32″ W x 12″ D x 7.5″ H.
check Lily + River pricing:
Piccalio's “Surfer” balance board also uses a mix of New Zealand pine wood, making it the most durable on the list.
While it's not Greenguard Gold Certified like Little Partners, it does meet ASTM F963, CPSIA safety standards, and California Prop 65 certifications.
Its natural materials and finish are free from harmful substances like lead and phthalate. They use a zero VOC water-based finish that is formaldehyde and lead free that's better suited for indoor use.
- Highest quality woods on the list (least likely to chip or splinter)
- Piccalio has ASTM, CPSIA, and California Prop 65 certifications
- Water based finish free from formaldehyde and lead
- Most expensive picks on the list
Best Wooden Balance Board For Big Kids + Adults: Yes4All
While all of the wobble board picks mentioned thus far on the list work for older children and adults, if you want one that offers more challenge, the Yes4All wooden wobble board is a great pick.
It comes in much cheaper than the other wooden balance boards because it's a more basic design. The top is a flat circular piece of wood with grip tape, and the base is a plastic half sphere you balance on.
It measures in at 15.75″ in diameter and 3″ high while supporting up to 300 lbs. You'll be able to do a 360 degree rotation at a up to a 15 degree tilt on this board, making it great for push ups, planks, burpees, squats, or even to work on posture at a standing desk. It also comes in several colors and even with resistance bands included in some packs:
- Usable for full body workouts and at a standing desk
- Affordable price
- Wide age range
- Not suitable for babies or young toddlers
- Plastic base can get dented over time and make it less of a challenge
Best For Transferrable Motor Skills: Spooner Boards
We are OBSESSED with our Spooner Board. After having a Montessori wooden balance board for years, I can honestly say that this is so much better at working transferrable motor skills if your kids are interested in skateboarding, surfing, or snowboarding.
While our wooden balance board certainly helped with balance and pretend play, the Spooner Board actually has my kids working on shifting their weight and doing tricks. My daughter was really struggling with shifting her weight while learning to skateboard, and this just changed the game for her in mastering those important skills.
It's more of a “spoon” like shape than most wooden balance boards, thus you can really get into carving and learn some neat tricks on it that you can use in the water or on the streets (or snow). I've even seen some skaters add wheels to it.
It comes in a “Freestyle” size and “Pro” size. The difference is about 4 inches in length. Littles under six are recommended to use the freestyle and then everyone else (yes even adults) are recommended to use the pro. With that said, I have a blast on the “freestyle.”
It comes in bright colors with some fun nature themed prints too:
- Sizing through adulthood
- Due to full board being curved like a spoon, works more transferable skills for surfing, skateboarding, or snowboarding than most other boards
- Works on all terrains
- Kinda pricey for a piece of plastic
- Quite slippery/wobbly – better suited for 4 year olds and up or kids who have used a wooden balance board for a while
Best for ADD or ASD: Teeter Popper Board
The Teeter Popper is fantastic for kids who need extra sensory input.
The plastic board comes with rubber grips on the bottom, so when you wobble around you hear the “pop” from the suction cups on the floor pulling up and down.
Kids can use it while sitting or standing. There are handle grips for kids sitting to hold onto for extra stability too, which we love!
The biggest downside to this board – is also what makes it great: the popping. As a mom purchasing one for our home, I opted for the Spooner board instead because the incessant popping was not something I could handle.
It measures in at 28″ L x 11.5″ W x 7.5″ D, with a weight limit of 110 lbs and comes in three colors.
- Added sensory input for kids with sensory processing disorders (SPD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), or attention deficit disorders (ADD, ADHD).
- Affordable option
- Has handles for added stability while sitting and easy handling while moving
- Works on solid floors only
- Sound can get annoying
- Limited age range (rated for 3 years old to about 7 years old)
Best For Babies: Strider Rocker
You've probably heard about balance bikes being a great way to help toddlers skip training wheels and jump straight to a pedal bike, but did you know that you can get a super fun wobble board for your Strider balance bike?! Yep!
This wobble board allows you to attach the smaller Strider bike onto it, and use it like a rocking horse.
NOTE: You MUST use the Strider 12″ Sport balance bike with the wobble board – you can purchase them together in a 2-in-1 set up here; or separately if you already have the bike. With that said, even without the bike attached, both of my kids love wobbling on it.
And despite balance bikes being so good for littles, sometimes they *want* to ride them, but can't quite figure it out – as is the case with my 2 year old. He really wants to ride his bike, but for some reason can't quite grasp the way his body needs to sit on the seat, hold the handles, and pedal with his feet. Enter the strider rocker board! Which has significantly helped him learn how to position his body, while also providing some of the vestibular benefits of a wobble board.
And while all balance boards have benefits for kids with autism or attention deficit disorders, the Strider rocking base is particularly helpful for improving balance, dexterity, cognitive abilities, and spatial awareness.
- Toy doubles as a “rocking horse” or balance bike
- Great way to get kids ready for bike riding
- Provides positive nervous system vestibular input
- Great for kids with autism or attention deficit disorders
- MUST USE with the small Strider balance bike; otherwise it's pointless
- Rocking base is technically only for 6 to 18 months; but my 2 and 4 year old enjoy it
Best Seated Wobble Board: Wiggle Car
The Wiggle Car is a ride-on toy that works similar core muscles to balance boards, but you're seated and provides a different gross motor experience as kids need to wobble back and forth in order to get the car to “drive.”
It's a really fun option for kids 3 years old and up. We chose this one because it's the most affordable, but you can also splurge for the higher end version here. Generally speaking, the reviews for both are pretty mixed; with many people loving them, while others find they break easily. Thus we chose the budget pick since there wasn't a clear winner between the two.
And for bigger kids we suggest this one which is a wobble kneeboard for kids 6 years old and up. It works some different muscles than traditional wobble boards, while providing a really fun new challenge.
How To Choose The Best Balance Board
Intention Of Use:
What age do you want to introduce the board? How long are you hoping to use it? And what are you hoping to gain from using it?
These are all essential questions to keep at the forefront of your mind when selecting a balance board.
- A traditional wooden balance board if you're starting with a young toddler, hoping to work some gross motor, balance, and pretend play. You can use these as slides off a couch, as a “baby's” cradle/rocker, for actual wobbling or running up and down, or as a “store front”
- A spooner board if you're looking to step up the “wobble” and balance challenge while learning more transferable skills as your child master's the previous pick or nears the preschool years and beyond.
- The Strider balance bike is great for kids 6 months and beyond, and takes them from wobbling on the rocker to balancing on the bike and is a system that allows you to skip the training wheels when learning to ride a bike
Color + Material
Balance boards are generally made of wood or plastic.
While some woods are more durable than plastic, that isn't a guarantee.
Cheap plywood boards can splinter and chip or split. With that said, if you plan to use your balance board outside, plastic can heat up a lot making it unenjoyable.
Lastly, some balance boards come in fun colors – even the wooden one's! You can opt for pretty much any color or choose a “raw wood” one that you paint and seal yourself if you desire.
Felt or no felt
Depending on where you plan to use the balance board, you may want to opt for a felted bottom to ensure it doesn't scratch your floors. With that said, you can purchase felt stickers and cut it to your balance board of choice as well.
FAQs About Balance Boards
What are the benefits of balance boards?
Balance boards provide ample opportunity for physical activity and gross motor development in toddlers and young kids, while also calming the nervous system and learning new skills.
They help with body awareness, balance, posture, and core strength. The wooden toys double as an open-ended toy for toddler play too! where kids can use it as a car track or in pretend play where the child rocks their “baby” to sleep on it like a cradle.
Balance boards are really a brilliant toy that can be used for a variety of Waldorf style imaginative play scenarios. Additionally, they teach cause and effect.
Plus, they often are made from natural materials and do not use batteries or screens.
How do you use a balance board?
Generally, you simply step on the balance board, with feet at opposite ends, and try to balance between the two sides.
However balance boards can also be used in a ton of different ways and play scenarios like:
- Road for cars or race track
- Toy/rocket “launcher”
- A slide
- Step stool
- Baby cradle/crib
- A bridge
- On its side as a pretend shop, cafe, ice cream counter, etc.
- Stepping stone in “the floor is lava”
- Child rocks themselves on it
Are balance boards good for children with autism, attention deficit disorders, or sensory processing disorders?
Yes! Balance boards are great for kids with ASD, ADD, ADHD, and SPD! They provide additional sensory input which can be very calming, while also working on their vestibular system to enhance cognitive development and regulate their nervous system.
The Teeter Popper Board is probably the best for this, as it has handles while sitting in it, is a bit more stable with the popper suction cups on the base, and provides the additional sensory input of the popping sound.
What age should you introduce a balance board?
Most wooden balance boards are safe to introduce around 18 to 24 months old.
Ultimately always check the manufacturer's recommendation of the balance board you're interested in though. We introduced one into our montessori playroom around 14 months for creative play with adult supervision. Some on this list can be introduced as early as 6 months old, while others are better suited for 6 years old and beyond.
As always, monitor your child on the new toy to get an idea whether or not they are actually ready for it.
What is the difference between a balance board and a wobble board?
All wobble boards are balance boards; but not all balance boards are wobble boards.
Wobbling has to do with moving unsteadily from side to side (think rocking and swaying); while balancing is about keeping something upright by even distribution.
So while the wooden balance boards at the beginning of this post, like this, certainly fit the definition of wobbling here, the ultimate goal is about balance. This is quite different from the Strider wobble board or Spooner board where the goal is rocking and swaying.
In my opinion, wobble boards encompass a wider array of balancing toys that focus on vestibular and proprioceptive inputs, and allow the child to move in more directions than a traditional wooden balance board.
With all of that said, trying to define the two as different is kind of getting “into the weeds” on labeling toys and not something I'd stress about using the “right” or “wrong” word for.
Which balance boards do you NOT recommend for toddlers and preschool kids?
Both of which are way too advanced for little kids.
The Whirly Board Spinning Balance Board is a great option for adults. It's basically a skateboard with a half ball underneath. However the height from the ball mixed with the flat board makes it too big of a challenge for little kids. Instead you're better off opting for the Spooner board which is lower to the ground (immediately safer) and offers more of a curved “spoon” shape that's a little easier for kids to grip into.
Yes4All Versatile Wooden Wobble Balance is another great board for adults, but isn't suitable for little kids. We had one (that was secured to the ground) in our old neighborhood at a workout station. My kids really struggled on it; even while holding my hands.
Similar to the Whirly, the height and flat board requires significantly more strength and balance while providing more of a fall and injury risk compared to other picks on this list.
Are balance boards montessori?
No, while many call them montessori balance boards and you can often find wooden balance boards in a montessori home, this toy is actually a Waldorf toy!
Steiner schools avoided things with right angles in the classroom, and opted for wood/natural materials and shapes. Thus Waldorf Wooden Rocker Boards were originally used by teachers in Waldorf early childhood classrooms to teach balance, coordination, and encourage the children's imagination.
With that said, wooden wobble boards do align with Montessori's principles about building independence and confidence in young children. But you won't see a Montessori teacher using a balance board as a “bridge” during story time like you'd see in a Waldorf class.
Are balance boards safe?
Generally speaking balance boards are considered safe when used appropriately; but as with everything there are risks.
The safest style balance board is this style, which tends to be rated for 18 months old and up. The biggest risk with these (typically) are little kids accidentally pinching their fingers underneath the edges of a wooden balance board.
The other safety concern with a wooden balance board is they may chip or splinter.
Other balance boards like this one, pose greater risks in terms of falling.
How do I protect my floors from balance boards?
To prevent balance boards from scratching up your floors you can either purchase a one with a felted bottom, use it on the carpet, or opt for mat underneath.
We personally have this mat – which doubles a play mat; but you can also get these which add another layer of fun! When the balance board moves around, the liquid floor tiles shift underneath, creating an added sensory input which is great for autistic children, and also a ton of fun for everyone!
How can I DIY a balance board?
DIYing a wooden balance board for kids like the ones shown at the beginning of this post requires a good amount of skill. Creating the curved piece of wood is often best left to the professionals. However if you are handy, this is a great simple tutorial for making a curvy balance board:
The more common DIY balance board is better suited for teens and adults, which is an Indo board style:
Final thoughts on balance board for toddlers and kids
Balance boards are a versatile toy that support functional play while providing years of fun! They are fantastic for building up children's gross motor skills, regulating their nervous systems, and supporting their confidence.
When just starting out, we suggest a simple wooden balance board; this one is our favorite thanks to the moderate price point, clean materials, and handle.
Once your child (or you!) is ready for a bigger challenge, we love this board – it's a bigger challenge than the traditional curvy wooden wobble boards, and gives your child the chance to start practicing tricks for surfing, skateboarding, or snowboarding.
We use our balance boards almost daily for years now! Whether they act as a slide, baby cradle, bridge, or simply to wobble the wiggles out before bed! I even use one at my standing desk daily! They are a great addition for the whole family!
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