Left Column Content

Challenge Task: Balance Shuffle

Task Description:

This is for two children. One child stands on one end of the board and the other on the opposite end end of an eight foot long 2" x 4" board placed on the ground (the 4" side goes on the ground or floor). The board is marked with lines twelve inches from each end. Children start and finish behind the lines at opposite ends. When they switch they travel to the mark on the opposite end of the board before starting back to their original positions. Each child travels to the opposite end of the board and then back without falling off or touching any body part to the ground.

Pictures/Videos of this Challenge

Printable Description of the Balance Shuffle (PDF)

Administering this Challenge:


  • A straight (non-warped) 8 ft. length 2" x 4".
  • A line (tape/paint) on each end of the board twelve inches from each end.


  • There is no limit to the number of attempts or time allowed to complete this challenge.
  • Children start at separate ends of a 2" x 4", behind lines.
  • Children travel on the 4" side of the board.
  • The two youngsters use each other for balance to switch places or travel to the opposite end of the board without falling off the board or without touching the ground with any body part.
  • Once youngsters have switched sides and traveled to the opposite end of the board (to the twelve-inch zone) they must repeat the task to get back to their original side or position.
  • Children start the entire task over if any body part touches the ground.

Starting and Stopping:

  • There is no time limit. Children can take as long as they need to complete the task.
  • The challenge starts over once a body part touches the ground.

Challenge Diagram:

1 and 2 represent the youngsters and their positions on the 2" x 4" board.

(Diagram 1)

(Diagram 2)

(Diagram 3)

(Diagram 4)






Travel to middle

Switch positions

Travel to end

Challenge Comments:

  • This task requires critical thinking and problem solving by the two children and therefore takes some time as they work out the various ways to travel from one end of the board to the other.
  • Youngsters are encouraged to work cooperatively to find various ways to solve this challenge.

Performance Cues:

  • Walk slowly and keep eyes on partner.
  • Keep arms extended to your side for balance.
  • Talk and work together to solve the problem.

Practice Tasks:

  • Practice on a wider surface (i.e., 2" x 6", a low balance beam, a line on the floor, a bench or a bleacher).
  • Balance activities and cooperative games or initiatives.

Ideas for Adapting Challenge for Students with Disabilities:

  • Use bubble wrap for visually impaired students
  • Have students in wheelchair keep both wheels one two lines on the gym floor
  • Use lines on the gym floor
  • Place two ropes on the floor, vary width of the ropes
  • Use a Balance bench - individual walks and steps over pylon (bench is 12" wide)
  • Use a balance bench - individual walks and steps over bean bag
  • Propel wheelchair over floor beam
  • Have students commando crawl down bench

Helpful References for this Challenge:

Gabbard, C., LeBlanc, B., & Lowy, S. (1994). Physical education for children: Building the foundation (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. (Chapter 13: Movement Awareness, pp. 233-258; Balance Enhancement Chart p. 239).

Gallahue, D. (1996). Developmental physical education for today's children (3rd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Brown & Benchmark. (Chapter 16: Fundamental Stability Skill Themes, 258-278).

Graham, G., Holt/Hale, S. & Parker, M. (1998). Children Moving: A reflective approach to teaching physical education (4th Edition). Mayfield: Mountain View, California.(Chapter 23: Balancing, pp. 367-394 and Chapter 25: Skill Themes in Gymnastics, pp. 437-450).

Holt/Hale, S. (1993). On the move: Lesson plans to accompany children moving. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. (Balance, pp. 34-47).

Hopple, C. (1995). Teaching for outcomes in elementary physical education. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. (Chapter 6: Non-Locomotor Skills, pp. 108-113).

Pangrazi, R., & Dauer, V. (1992). Dynamic physical education for elementary school children (10th ed.). New York, NY: MacMillian. (Chapter 19, pp. 422-427).

Werner, P. (1994). Teaching children gymnastics: Becoming a master teacher. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. (Chapter 7: Learning Experiences for Statics, pp. 75-100).

Information about constructing your own balance equipment can be found in:

Gallahue, D. (1975). Developmental play equipment: For home and school. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. (Chapter 2, pp. 7-25).

Information on other team building/cooperating activities can be found in:

Ronke, C. (1989). Cowstails and Cobras II. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt. (See page 112 for specific balance activities like the T.P. Shuffle).

[Back to PE Central Challenge Task Menu]

Right Column Content