It’s a table or a toy? And anyway — what are those rubber things at the bottom?
The Little Balance Box is a Montessori-ish early childhood play equipment specially designed for the transition from crawling baby to walking toddler.
We’ll get you up to speed — plus 5 wooden balance box alternatives to know before you buy.
Little Balance Box Review (9-18 Months)
What is the Little Balance Box?
A wooden balance box is a special type of small table designed for babies and toddlers to learn how to move around. Babies 9 to 18 months use a balance box to transition from crawling and sitting to scooting and kneeling to walking and standing.
The “Little Balance Box” is the original balance box invented by InspiraSpark brand — it’s actually made of bamboo.
When to start
What’s the right age to start? The original “Little Balance Box” by InspiraSpark brand is designed for babies as early as 6 months old (with a parent present). Most babies make the transition from floor to feet between 9 and 18 months — that’s prime time for using a baby balance box.
When you decide the time is right, InspiraSpark offers 3 different sizes to choose from — at table heights of 12″, 14″, or 16″ inches.
Babies under 30″ inches from head to toe (≈12 months old) are a perfect fit for the smaller 12″ inch balance box. Babies above 32″ inches (≈18 months old) are a better fit for the larger 14″ or 16″ inch size.
Your growing toddler will be able to sit at their balance box like a regular toddler table until 3 years old — but will probably outgrow it by 4 years old.
(The 12″ and 14″ inch models are available in great-looking natural bamboo, but the 16″ inch is made of aluminum — pretty unsightly by comparison.)
How to use
The ways your child interacts with their Little Balance Box changes in parallel with your baby’s journey into toddlerhood.
The InspiraSpark brand breaks it down into four stages: learning with assistance, practicing independently, graduating to bonafide first steps, then finally full-on footloose toddler stage.
Before your baby can stand up, encourage your baby to try it out. Introduce it into their playroom and show them how you lift yourself up and slide it across the floor (yes you, the parent).
Before your baby can stay standing up, have your baby practice pulling themselves up and resting themselves back down onto the floor.
Before your baby can walk freely, watch your baby hoist themselves into a standing position and get footloose in this house! Welcome to the marvelous chaos of parenting a toddler.
Reasons to love
Choices, choices — what makes the “Little Balance Box” so special? It looks like a regular toddler table with strange rubber nubs at the base of each leg…
- Booties. Those colorful table feet are called “booties”. They’re made of child-safe food-grade silicone, with nylon bottoms that make it easy for babies to slide without damaging the floor surface (hard floor or low pile carpet work best). An internal spring acts like bike shocks to soften the impact. No stubbed toes for baby, either!
- Frame. What’s not like a regular table? The perimeter of the tabletop is raised, giving your baby something to hold onto. The fact that it’s a perfect square means babies can push it in any direction they please — there is no “front and back”. Right angles on the square fit in tight corners of the room nicely for storage or tabletop activities.
- Tabletop. The tabletop surface is scratch-proof clear polycarbonate — transparent so you can see right through it. While baby’s learning to work different parts of their body, being able to see how your legs are moving boosts “eye-foot coordination”. Not to mention, baby can pound it to make a drum sound — boom, boom, chick!
Best Wooden Balance Box (Baby & Toddler)
(01) Cassaro Wooden Climbing Cube
A toddler balance cube toddler-sized at 23” inches each side — designed with two ladder sides for climbing, a solid-wood side for standing on, an open side for the floor, and a tunnel to crawl through the center.
Age-appropriate for babies 6+ months old. The standard package includes just the cube, but Cassaro brand offers several wooden cube play sets — including a Pikler triangle, climbing ladder, or a cross-bridge for exponentially more gross motor beneficial playtime.
Expanding your indoor climbing collections like that will keep the good times rolling through to the first day of Kindergarten (4-5 years old).
(Cassaro is the most popular wooden climbing cube on the market today, but there’s a new kid on the block — Joey Co. on Etsy — with a Montessori climbing cube 100% made in the USA.)
(02) Brio “Toddler Wobbler” Wooden Push Walker
First impression — it looks like a regular wooden baby push walker.
But look closer — you’ll find it’s designed specifically for babies during the transition from rugrat on the rug to athlete on their feet (9+ months).
Square and boxy like a classic red wagon, with modern ergonomic rounded corners. Trip-ups and fall-downs while learning to walk are inevitable — and these safety features add significant peace of mind for protective parents.
I’ve never seen a push walker with a handle that doubles as a break, but Brio — they’ve done it! When your baby’s putting their body weight onto the bar (trying to stay on two feet), the breaking mechanism applies friction to the wheels so that the walker won’t spin out of control.
It limits the speed. For early walking babies, that’s top-notch toy design. Bravo, Brio.
(03) Woodpower Indoor Exercise Blocks & Handles
Balance, strength, and fitness — Woodpower brand specializes in wooden bodyweight training equipment for an in-home floor gym.
For parents with an eye for Montessori, you see a complete line of wooden balance blocks, yoga blocks, and push-up handles with toddler-friendly contoured edges plus durable and lightweight design.
With clear non-slip grippers for use on hard floors too.
To promote healthy exercise habits during your kiddo’s early years — is a way for Mom and Dad to lead by example. A one and two, and three, and four — feel the burn, you can do it!
(04) Yes4All Wooden Balance Board
Yes4All is another exercise equipment company designed for adults, but just as fun for kids. Crawling babies can rock and balance on all fours. Walking toddlers can step up on two feet like mom and dad.
Something unique? This large balance board 18” by 14” inch rectangular non-slip standing platform in over 8 different classic colors and modern patterns. (One of the colors likely matches your home decor quite nicely.)
(05) Joey Co. Wooden Balance Beam
For balance, stability, body awareness, and active play — a modular toddler balance beam does more than a regular balance beam.
Made for toddlers with five 24” inches segments that can be arranged into a straight line 10’ feet long, or made into a square, a zig-zag — or any kind of obstacle course you think up. (Also easy to bundle up for storage.)
Eco-friendly and toddler-safe, it’s made from pine wood with edges sanded smooth and stands low to the ground to make recovering from a misstep that much easier.