Designed to bolster balance and coordination, the Pedal Walker is a stand-up 4-wheeled elliptical cycle, complete with oversized pedals for feet of all sizes, as well as optional upright handrails. As with a typical bicycle, the Walker “cyclist” depresses each of the pedals in turn to move the Walker forward on its wheels. Foam grips on each of the fixed-height handrails provide the “cyclist” with a comfortable place for resting hands for balance and support as he / she would use bicycle handlebars. As the “cyclist’s” grows more confident in his / her balancing skills, the handrails can be removed for a more challenging, and freewheeling ride.
- The Pedal Walker develops motor skill planning and sequencing as the “cyclist” learns how to pace and anticipate the depression of each pedal as it relates to speed of the Walker.
- The Pedal Walker develops and strengthens the processes underlying eyes and feet coordination as the “cyclist” learns to guide the movement of his / her feet through visual input and the tactile feedback of the feet on the pedals guides the eyes.
- The Pedal Walker develops and strengthens visual-spatial processing skills as the “cyclist” learns how to judge the space around him / herself and the Walker and how to maneuver in and around it.
- To practice emerging math skills, draw one start and multiple finish lines of increasing distances on designated “cycling” surface. Instruct the “cyclist” to count the number of steps he / she takes between the start and finish lines. For an additional challenge, instruct the “cyclist” to calculate the additional number of steps between the different finish lines.
- To practice emerging time telling and comparison skills, facilitator will create a race track and time the “cyclist” to complete a ride on the track. The facilitator will record “cyclist’s” ride times on a chart or notebook over a designated time period to display slower and faster times.
- To reinforce the relationship between the cyclist’s physical exertion and resulting Walker movement, instruct “cyclist” to pedal five times with the final pedal stroke being the most forceful to allow him / her to glide until the Walker comes to a stop. Similar to a long jump, the facilitator will measure the distance between where the “cyclist” last pedaled and where the Walker glided to a stop.
- Facilitator should model the use of the Pedal Walker, have child observe and describe the facilitator's actions and resulting movements of the Walker. Alternatively, the facilitator can ask the child questions about how she / he thinks the facilitator is making the Pedal Walker move.
- Facilitator can pull the Walker by a rope in order to demonstrate the action of the pedals and the wheels working together.
- The Pedal Walker promotes development of coordination by utilizing the feet and legs alternatively to engage the Walker’s wheels and move it forward in space.
- The Pedal Walker develops core strength and torso stability as the “cyclist” learns to stand upright to balance and control the momentum of the Walker.
- The Pedal Walker promotes practice of weight shifting as the “cyclist” alternates weight between the two feet to pedal.
- To strengthen balance during play, instruct the “cyclist” to stand and clap hands the same number of times as the number of steps he / she has just taken on the Walker.
- To engage in a full body activity on different planes, include the Pedal Walker as a component of a “cyclist’s” interval training workout. Facilitator sets up activity stations that the “cyclist” pedals to in order to dismount the Walker engage in the activity (jumping jacks, push-ups, sit ups, dancing, etc.) before remounting and pedaling to the next station.
- To practice weight shifting and balance, instruct the “cyclist” to pedal forward a specified distance, and then pedal backwards to the point at which he / she started. Gradually increase the distance between start and turn-around points.
- Instruct “cyclist” to use hands to ‘walk’ Pedal Walker back and fourth from seated position or crawling on knees. “Cyclist” can place hand on handles if seated in chair or place hands on pedals while in kneeling position.
- To soften the handle grips, wrap them with foam or pillow stuffing and adhere with medical tape
- Over time, as the “cyclist” grows more agile on the Walker, self-confidence can improve.
- Through the high degree of physical engagement and mental concentration required to operate the Walker, “cyclists” can improve emotional well being via the release of activity-triggered endorphin release in the brain.
- The Pedal Walker improves socializing opportunities as the “cyclist” can pedal alongside others riding tricycles, bicycles, skateboards, or walking or running.
- To practice social engagement skills, facilitator will set up Pedal Walker races by drawing a two-lane race track on a play surface. Pedal Walker Racers will take turns racing each other in timed races to qualify for the final challenge race that pits the top two time finishers against one another to crown the grand champion!
- To develop peer camaraderie, facilitator instructs “cyclist” and peers to construct a riding path through their drawings or constructed city through which they then can take turns riding the Pedal Walker.
- To develop a sense of teamwork, facilitator assigns group of peers to two or more teams (to the equivalent number of Pedal Walkers available). The teams race relay-style on the Pedal Walkers around a designated course or track.
- Encourage "cyclist" to practice using the Pedal Walker independently to improve confidence before playing with or in front of peers.