The Differences Between Balance Boards, Kinderboard and Wobbel Boards?
What is a Wobbel, Kinderboard or Balance Board?
At first glance you can easily be forgiven for wondering what on earth the balance board actually is. For an adult, it can often be seen as a beautifully crafted, yet very expensive chunk of timber, however we challenge you to consider this unique open ended play toy from your child’s perspective.
Children of all ages find these multi use toys absolutely fascinating. The board is designed around classic Waldorf principles and is ideal to help your little – and big ones - to develop their balance and flexibility, to grasp how their body really works and to fuel and drive their individual creativity.
Balance Boards offer unlimited opportunity for functional play that can help to develop muscle tone, strengthen muscles and fine tune your child's vestibular system. Organs in the vestibular system are innately responsible for a body's equilibrium and a little boost with a balance board can go a very long way! The simple act of balancing itself, compels both the left and the right side of your child’s brain to communicate more effectively, improving sensory integration, cooperation, and neuromuscular communication for an increase in overall mental focus.
What else can I do?
Despite its name the Balance Board isn’t just about balancing, it’s an open ended play tool that enhances creativity and exploration within your little ones. It’s a tool that will challenge your little one to think creatively, which in turn nurtures and develops their critical thinking skills.
However, if you’re an adult looking for an instruction manual for any of these boards, you are going to be quite disappointed. The beauty of these (as with most Waldorf inspired toys) is that there is no right or wrong way to use them. The simplicity of the design is enough to keep your children, toddlers (parents and partners) engaged for hours. Rock it, Spin it, slide it. Build with it, Build on it or build around it. Balance on it, Sit on it, Sleep on it, the opportunity for play is limited only by imagination.
The Wobbel Board
The Wobbel is a beautiful, yet classic balance board that has been redesigned and crafted in the Netherlands from sustainably harvested European beech wood. The Wobbel at 89cm, is distinctively longer than its counterparts and the board is also 0.5cm thicker than both the Equilibrio Board and the Kinderboard. These differences in length and thickness are really only relevant if the Wobbel is being purchased for adult use, as a child will barely notice the difference. Width wise, all three boards are about the same. The Wobbel Board is suitable from birth and comes with a water based translucent lacquer and also offers the option of Eco Wool Felt on one side to protect both your Wobbel and your floors from any potential damage.
The average price for a lacquered Wobbel is approximately $249, with Eco Wool Felt Backed options starting at around $299. The Wobbel Board is manufactured in Europe, whilst the Kinderboard and the Equilibrio are both manufactured in Asia. It is important to note however, that all three boards are manufactured using FSC Certified European Beechwood. If you’re looking for a larger, top of the range board and have the money to spend, then the Wobbel Board is your answer.
First to hit the Australian market was the Kinderfeets’ Kinderboard, arriving in late June 2017. The Kinderboard while being based on a traditional Dutch design was re-designed by Kinderfeets in the USA and is made in China. The Kinderboard, like it’s counterparts is made from FSC certified and sustainably sourced Beech wood. The Kinderboard is also finished with translucent water-based lacquer and comes in some very cool alternate finishes. The Kinderboard is available in Bamboo, a chalkboard finish and some beautiful colours such as whitewash and teal. Like the Wobbel, Kinderboards are certified as safe for children from birth. However, Kinderfeets believes that children under the age of 18 months are unlikely to gain the full benefit of this product and so they recommend the Kinderboard for ages 18 months and up.
The Kinderboards retail at around $149-$159. This is ideal if your heart is set on a branded, varnished balance board with a proven track record.
My Happy Helpers Balance Board
The latest addition to the Balance Board Market, and currently the most affordable is the My Happy Helpers equilibrio Board. The Equilibrio takes inspiration from both the Wobbel and the Kinderboard. Measuring the same width, depth and thickness as the Kinderboard, the Equilibrio is also engineered using FSC Certified European beechwood in a natural wood finish, but also offers the luxury and protection of a felt backed Board if that’s your preference.
The smooth natural beech wood used in the Equilibrio means your board isn’t slippery and it affords you the option to stain, varnish or paint in anyway you choose. You can cover it in chalkboard paint, or you can cover it with your child’s favourite decals and not have to worry about them quickly peeling off, or you can do what most parents do, and simply leave it as is.
If you’re looking for one of the best open ended play toys at a super affordable price (retailing at $119 for the standard version or $159 for the Felt Backed Version), you can’t go past our My Happy Helpers Equilibrio Balance Board. You can even see our independent reviews from previous customers on our product pages.