Introduction: Balance Board

A  balance/wobble board is a good way to improve balance, as well as stretch and strengthen ankles. It's also a great and fun way for small kids to develop their motor skills.

Here are some ideas:
Wobble forward and backward or side to side.
Try with your eyes closed.
Stand on one leg. (carefully!)
Balance a book on your head while wobbling.
Try all of the above (very carefully!)
Play catch with someone while standing on the wobble board.
Time yourself to see how long you can keep your balance without an edge touching the floor.


Common sense woodworking rules apply. Be safe, read and follow the safety guidlines in your power tool manuals, measure twice, cut once, etc…
Materials and tools:
3 feet of 2”x4”
18”x18” piece of 1/2 inch good quality plywood
2 ½” inch wood screws
Circular or table saw
Jigsaw or bandsaw
Sandpaper or beltsander
Screwdriver
Drill
Tape measure
Pencil
Grip tape (optional)

Step 1: Support and Wobble Pieces

Cut three 12 inch long pieces of  2"x4".

Step 2: Mark Curved Pieces

Using a 5 gallon bucket, mark a curve on two of the 2"x4" pieces all the way up to the edge.

Step 3: Cut Curved Pieces

Cut the two curved pieces with a jigsaw or bandsaw.

Step 4: Cut Center Support and Deck

1. Rip a quarter inch off the remaining 2"x4" piece. The larger piece will be the center support and needs to fit enough under the curved pieces to not interfere with the wobble.

2. Cut an 18"x18" inch piece of 1/2 inch plywood. I'm using Birch plywood, but any nice smooth and strong piece will do. Your local hardware/home/lumber store often carries them in 2'x2' foot sections.

Note: For both of the above steps, use a table saw (preferably) or a circular saw.

Step 5: Sand Curved Pieces Smooth

Clamp together the curved pieces evenly and sand them until they are equally smooth.  A belt sander with a medium or rough grit works well. There's no need to spend a whole lot of time and go to a very fine. As long as it's even and smooth, it's good enough.

Step 6: Center and Screw in the Support Piece Under the Deck

The middle of the support piece will be at exactly 9 inches in the center and 3 inches from each side of the deck.

Mark a dot and drill a 1/8 th inch pilot hole 9 inches from one edge and 5 inches from the other edge. Do the same on the other side.

Carefully align the support piece to the center and screw it in tight against the deck thru the pilot holes from the top of the deck.

Step 7: Align and Screw in Curved Pieces

Align the curved pieces evenly to the edges of the deck and screw to the middle of the center support piece.

Step 8: Screw in Curved Pieces From the Top

Mark 2 dots and drill pilot holes at 2 1/4 inches from the edge. Go 1 1/2 inches to either side of the 9 inch center. (7 1/2 inches from either opposite side). Do the same for the curved piece on the other side.

This distance will put the screw in the middle of the curved piece underneath and not make the 2 1/2 inch screw protrude thru the curve.

 

Step 9: Done!

Add grip tape if you want (the kind used for the tops of skateboards).
Happy and safe wobbling!

Comments

author
madeinthegarage made it! (author)2015-02-06

I always loved these as a kid. I'm so glad I came across your instructable!

2015-02-06 11.22.22.jpg
author
Avasar10000 (author)2013-09-14

I have seen this type of exercise equipment with a hemisphere on the bottom. I was wondering, would it make sense to notch the semicircular pieces in their middles and place them in a crossed formation beneath the wobble board? It would allow for front to back and side to side action, but still not as multidirectional as the full hemisphere. I had read somewhere (probably in a manufacturer's ad) that the materials must be of the highest grade and that for safety reasons one should not attempt to make this type of apparatus. Ha...you showed them!!! Cool Project!!!

author
bridge47 (author)2011-07-08

These sell for >$75 in medical supply catalogs. Good idea!

author
supersoftdrink (author)2011-06-27

Wow, thanks for making this! I think I'll make one for my kids (oldest isn't 4 yet) on the autism spectrum; balance exercises are great for increasing proprioception, and I suspect they'll have fun with it. Wonderful instructable!

author
stevepuk (author)2011-06-27

For a slightly different feel, you can use a bit of strong board (I used plywood) and put it on top of a 2 litre drinks bottle filled with water.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji3BDAfON_k

If you stuck some bits on the underside to stop the bottle rolling off the end it'd probably be a bit safer. To make it easier use a smaller bottle or do it on thicker carpet.

author
fretshr3dder (author)2011-06-26

oh man, im definetly working on this in woodshop when the school year starts up again!

author
zorzal (author)2011-06-26

Another great benefit of these boards: great training for Stand Up Paddling (SUP) surfing. After a while with the board, rent a board, find somebody to give you a few hints and you'll discover a fantastic new activity; you will know 95% of what you need to ride SUP's. :)

author
CreatedWithFire (author)2011-06-26

Wonderful, I was trying to tell hubby about this, they have me using it for PT, he is going to make me one next weekend ! Thanks for sharing !

author
Jayefuu (author)2011-06-26

I made one of these for my friend a while back. Fun and easy little project!

author
rimar2000 (author)2011-06-23

Interesting.

A question: for very beginners, is it better a larger radius?

author
RcubedplusA (author)rimar20002011-06-23

A larger radius would make for a smaller angle of wobble. I found the dimensions above to be a good compromise. Not too wobbly and not too easy.

But you're right on. For very beginners make the top deck larger than 18"x18" for a smaller, easier wobble.

author
rimar2000 (author)RcubedplusA2011-06-24

One of my granddaughters is only 2 years old, that is the reason for my need.

author
RcubedplusA (author)RcubedplusA2011-06-23

Another option to make it easier and less wobbly is to put the balance board on a thick piece of carpet.

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