A gymnastic beam routine is a timed event, performed on a 4-inch wide, 5-inch thick, 16 1/2-foot long padded wood base. Little girls all over the world practice at the gym for hours on end, trying to perfect their balance beam routines. Practicing a balance beam routine can be done at home with the proper equipment. Synthetic suede is the covering of choice for beginner through advanced gymnasts, while carpet-covered beams are great for gym classes and recreational play.
Buy the length of hard wood in one piece; it should be 4 inches wide and 5 inches thick. If you cannot find a length of wood 5 inches thick then a 4x4 will suffice. Have the hardware store cut the wood to the length you want, it does not need to be regulation length.
Cover the beam with synthetic suede, which can be bought online or at some fabric stores. Staple the fabric underneath the beam so that no staples are able to hurt the gymnast. If your gymnast is not practicing for an official routine, then you can cover with carpet.
Attach the beam to the cross beams, using edge brackets. The cross beams need to form a cross 10 inches from each end of the balance beam. Screw the edge brackets to the cross beam then to the balance beam, screw to both sides of the beam, securing the balance beam in between the brackets.
Cover the cross beams and brackets with more synthetic suede or yoga mats to prevent scraping or cutting the gymnast. Staple the mats or suede under the cross beams.
Raise the height of the balance beam by adding thicker cross beams as needed. As a gymnast's skills develop, she will need more challenge from the beam.
Place padded mats around the practice area.
Place balance beam away from any objects or walls. Always supervise the child when he uses the balance beam.