A scooter board is a small sheet of wood or plastic with four caster wheels attached to the bottom. The child sits or lies on the board and uses his feet or hands to push himself around. Scooter boards are excellent for helping children of all ages develop strength and coordination. Children can use scooter boards alone or in groups. Whether they are racing competitively or working together, scooter boards are fun for preschoolers of all ability levels.
If children are initially reluctant to race around on their scooter boards, have them start by lying on their tummies on the board. This is a stable position that allows children to lie on the board while working on a puzzle or a sorting task set up on the floor. Once the child is comfortable lying on the floor, move the blocks or puzzle pieces across the room and have her scoot over to retrieve the pieces and then return to put them in their places.
The most basic competitive activity is racing. Children can race to see who covers a distance first. Vary the activity by having children race sitting up, lying on their tummies, or using only their hands or feet to move forward. Set up an obstacle course of traffic cones or other objects for children to race around. Place objects around the room and have children compete to see who can collect all of the objects first.
Team activities enable children to use their scooter boards together. They are useful if abilities in your group vary widely or if you do not have a board for each child. Set up bowling pins and have one child roll his partner into the pins to see how many they can knock over together. One child can pull another around with a rope or hula hoop, or push another child around on the board. Have relay races in which teams of children share a board and trade whether they are pushing or riding after each lap.
Use scooter boards in large open spaces, especially when multiple children are playing. Clear any obstacles and pad any potentially hazardous corners or edges. Provide helmets or other protective equipment for children who might be more likely to fall off of their boards. Do not let children use the boards to play bumper cars or run into each other. Help children learn how to propel themselves forward without running over their own fingers.
- smiley girl on playground image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com