To Wobbel or Kinderboard that is the question...?
The balance board started life as a Waldorf design and as such can be used in so many creative and versatile ways, really only limited by your child's imagination.
It can be used as a seat, bridge, to practice yoga on, as a cubby, shop, bed, race track, or to balance on!
With the help of Dutch companies, Wobbel and Kinderfeet, balance boards are now no longer just found in Waldorf or Steiner kindergartens or schools, they have become more readily available across the globe.
Balance boards are certainly not a cheap toy. However, they are excellent for stimulating a child's development, especially helping their gross motor skills as they develop their balance as well as muscle strength. They also hone their creative and critical thinking skills due to their open-ended play opportunities.
We stock both the Wobbel and Kinderboards at BabyDonkie and we wanted to give a little comparison of these two brands to help you decide which one to choose or decide is the right one for your family.
Both the Kinderboard and the Wobbel do the same thing, they both allow you to balance and play creatively and at the same time develop gross motor skills. There are however, some key differences.
The Kinderboard does not have the option of a felt layer, this means it can only be used on carpet indoors as it is smooth on both sides.
The reason, that they don't have the felt layer is that this is going against the Waldorf (Steiner) principles the board is inspired by, as it would mean the child couldn't use it as a slide, ramp or for outdoor exploratory play. Depending on how your child will use a balance board then, is whether you would choose one with the felt or without.
The Kinderboard is smaller in length which means it is great for kids but adults might find it too small to try out. However, a Kinderboard has been tested to withstand weight of 220kg, so adults can certainly have a go!
The Kinderboard is suitable for 18 months, yet they can be used from birth. However, Kinderboard doesn't believe that babies from 0-18 months will benefit from the features of the Kinderboard as they are designed as a creative, open-ended toy as well as encouraging the development of gross motor skills.
As outlined by Kinderboard:
'As a result, children under the age of 18 months are unlikely to gain the full benefit of this product. However, a Kinderboard is perfectly safe to use from birth under adult supervision.'
The Kinderboards are a cheaper price point at RRP $175.00, which makes them much more affordable than the Wobbel.
They are made in China from FSC- certified beech wood sourced from Germany. Beech wood is a durable, hardwood that safely supports plenty of energetic play.
The wood grain on a Kinderboard is visible and the finish on the wood isn't as smooth as the Wobbel. They have designed this on purpose for a few reasons. One is as an added safety feature, as the tactile, slightly rough surface gives the child more grip. The other reason again lends itself to Waldorf (Steiner) principles, allowing the natural markings of the wood to shine through for sensory exploration by the child.
The Kinderboard at BabyDonkie are available in Natural or Whitewash, so you have a choice of colours.
The Wobbel, in comparison, comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and felt colour options:
In terms of size, the Wobbel is slightly longer in length making it easier for adults to fit. The Kinderboard and Wobbel are both the same width.
The Wobbel Board is suitable from birth up to adult. I have tested out the Wobbel and it is a lot of fun, even for adults!
The starting price for a Wobbel is RRP $250 for a felt version or RRP $295 for a natural one with no felt. They also come in cork and wool versions.
As you can see there is a large difference in price between the Kinderboard and the Wobbel.
The Wobbel is made in Belgium from layers of sustainable European beechwood stacked and pressed under pressure to create the curve. They are then finished with water-based lacquers and stains. They can also take up to 200kg in weight!
The texture of a Wobbel is much smoother than the Kinderboard and the grain of the wood is finer. The edges are more rounded than a Kinderboard. It is ethically produced.
So what to choose? The Kinderboard or Wobbel?
The main factor really is how much you want to spend on a balance board, what you will be using it for and the type of surface you have?
We hope you enjoyed our little guide to balance boards and we would love to know what brand you prefer?
Kinderboard images via The Bush Collective
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