Toddler Time: Arm and Core Strengthening Using the Stairs

Click here to check out a video of how to strengthen your toddler using the stairs in your own home!

As a pediatric physical therapist, I often work with many of my clients in their home. There is no better piece of exercise equipment in the home than the stairs!

One of my favorite exercises to do on the stairs is to have children walk on their hands up the stairs. Now, don’t get me wrong, if someone asked me to do this 5 times in a row I might be mad, however let me assure you most kids love it! They love the challenge, the fact that they can use their hands on the stairs and love the fun and excitement in whatever game you are playing.

This activity strengthens the arms and trunk. It also strengthens the hips and legs if you are holding a bit lower. Here are the steps:

– Grab a motivator, sometimes I use a stuffed animal and throw it up the stairs, other times I specifically place puzzle pieces in the stairs so we go up a few stairs at a time
– Place child’s hands on the stair
– Hold child by the pelvis
– Encourage child to go up the stairs to a puzzle piece or stuffed animal 5-12 steps away depending on your child’s strength.
– To make it easier for the child, hold child at the pelvis.
– To make it harder for the child, hold child below the pelvis

Your child can be ready for this activity anywhere between 18-24 months old and up. A good rule of thumb is if your child can walk in his or her hands on the floor while you hold their pelvis for 10 steps this is something you can start. Just be aware of your child collapsing their arms, we would not want him to hurt his face!

Enjoy this activity to wear your little ones out during crazy cooped up days! For more information on how to exercise your little one, like this page and check babies first fitness on Facebook.


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