An exciting milestone in our little ones lives is learning to climb the stairs. This milestone typically takes place around 21-24 months. At this age, children are still using a step together pattern (one foot on each step) and a railing. By 30-36 months, kids should start to alternate steps using the railing. At approximately 3 years of age, kiddos should be able to alternate the stairs without a railing. Generally speaking, going up the stairs is easier than going down. Going down the steps requires more muscle strength and control. In therapy, we make “working” on stair climbing a game. One of my favorite stair climbing games consists of matching colors.
If you are trying to achieve the goal of stepping up the stairs one at a time, one color should be sufficient. If you are trying to achieve an alternating pattern two colors are needed. I find this game the most effective and the most fun for working on alternating stairs. In school I’ll often times use bean bags (affiliate) or colored spots (affiliate). I place the objects on the steps alternating colors on each step when I’m trying to achieve the goal of alternating stairs.
Now the fun part, adding stickers to the kiddos shoes! The sticker colors must match the color of your objects on the steps. For example, if your bean bags are yellow and red you would place a red sticker on one shoe and a yellow sticker on the other shoe. I have a whole collection of garage sale stickers (affiliate) in a variety of colors. This way I can match my stickers to almost anything.
The goal is to have the kids match the sticker on their foot with the object on the step. This activity is usually a hit with the kids! They may even ask to work on the stairs!
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4 thoughts on “Stair Climbing Made Fun”
We live in an old house and our stairs are very steep – most adults are nervous to walk down them. My son is now 22 months old and needs to learn to walk up and down stairs! When we have tried other sets of stairs, he seems to swing his leg out to the side to step up. Do you have any suggestions for how to work on this skill with him? Thanks!
Hello! We live in a third floor apartment. My almost 3-yr-old and 16 month old love to go up and down the stair by themselves. But recently, my 3-yr-old doesn’t want to walk up the stairs and will fuss and throw a fit. And I almost always have my hands full and I can’t just leave him down there because the outside doors are left open during the day. Any tips or ideas you could give me to help climbing be more fun or something?
Some ways that I work with some of my kids to motivate them on the stairs that have worked in the past include timing them. I always say “let’s see how fast you are.” I also have some of my kids count the steps or I count with them. I’ve also had kids try walk sideways or backwards up the steps (depending on ability level). These seem to be some of the favorites. Hang in there! I understand dealing with the fits having a toddler myself. Hope this helps!
Love this idea! Karen Z, PT