Building lower body strength in kids doesn’t have to be boring! Even traditional lower body exercises for kids can be made fun by adding a little twist. Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite lower body strengthening exercises for kids.
When working on lower body exercises with kids it is important to consider the child/children you are working with. What are their ages? What is their ability levels? Does it need to be all play based or can you incorporate more of a traditional strength building program. As a former school based physical therapist, how I worked on strengthening depended on the child I was working with. Some of my kids did great with traditional exercises while others needed a bit of a spin on it!
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Lower Body Strengthening Exercises For Kids
If you were to do a Google search of lower extremity exercises you would likely find several traditional exercises such as leg lifts, knee extensions, squats, and more. For some kids these are perfect! For other kids you may need to get a little more creative with your approach to the traditional exercises.
The traditional version of these leg raises would be to have the child laying flat and working on lifting their leg in all 4 directions. For some kids this is great. If you are working with kids that need a little extra motivation or excitement to do their leg raises you can try a few tricks. Have the kids give a favorite animal “a ride” while they are lifting their legs. Another option would be to use a target. For example, hold a ball and have the child lift their leg so that their toe touches the ball.
Strengthening the calf muscles is another fantastic lower body exercise. To do this you much go up and down on the toes lifting the heels off the ground. To add a little spin to this exercise use stickers!
This exercise is great for the hip and leg strengthening. Adding a little spin to it by adding stickers to this activity too can add a fun spin to a great strengthening activity!
Standing Leg Raises
Much like the leg raises on the floor traditional standing leg exercises can be done by aiming for a target or attaching an animal to the leg and giving the animal a ride. Use a friend to hold a target such as a ball or attach the animal to the leg with an exercise band. In the video below cardboard blocks (affiliate link) were used as a target. The goal was to tap the target, but not knock it over.
Clam Exercises “AKA” Alligator Mouth
The clam exercise is a traditional exercise to work on hip muscles. When working with kids I will sometimes call it a crocodile or alligator exercise where the kids work on opening the alligators mouth. Using a band above the knees provides feedback and increases the challenge!
Digital Lower Extremity Games
Try playing this fun Robot Themed Digital Game. Pick a Robot, meet the robot and get to know their name, and try the lower extremity exercise they ask of you! It’s a fun and engaging game for BOTH in person use or distance learning/teletherapy. Your kids will LOVE this game and so will you. Play this on your computer, tablet or interactive whiteboard!
Stickers to the rescue again for step ups. Use stickers to work on forward or lateral step ups. Place a piece of paper on the wall and work on stepping up and placing the stickers.
This is done in the seated position and extending the knee straight. You can add a little twist to this exercise by working on kicking over or tapping blocks (affiliate link) or balls placed on top of a cone. In the video below, the goal was to tap the blocks, but not kick them over.
Traditional squats are a great way to strengthen the lower extremity. Traditional squats can be used in several different activities as well to work on strengthening!
Single Leg Exercises
Another great option for working on lower extremity strengthening is through single leg exercises. This works on balance, hip and core strength!
Get Your Own Lower Extremity Strengthening Cards
Pink Oatmeal has you covered when it comes to lower body strengthening for kids! In the shop you can find custom designed lower extremity strengthening cards and printables that you can use today! These exercises were custom made as it is hard to find lower extremity printable exercises for kids almost anywhere! Get these cards and printables today and start using them immediately!