Prev NEXT  


How to Exercise With a Newborn

Lower Body Exercises for a Child, the Third Year

Tap into your toddler's seemlingly endless energy reserve by increasing the variety of skills in his workout. These two year old exercises have been designed to strengthen and stretch your toddler's muscles. Learn five additional exercises for the third year below.

Suggested Exercises: 23 to 36 Months
  • Squat Bend
This exercise is similar to "Let's Squat," but you should keep your hands on your hips.
    • Benefit: Strengthens entire leg, especially quadriceps muscles (fronts of thighs) and knees

      Exercises for your toddler's third year include Squat Bend.
      ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

  1. Stand next to or facing each other. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes pointing forward. Place your hands on your hips.

  2. Bend your knees, pushing your buttocks out and back. Lean your upper body slightly forward so your abdomen is over the tops of your thighs. At all times, keep your heels flat on the floor, with your weight distributed evenly on your soles. Do not try to squat straight down, turn toes out, or drop buttocks lower than the backs of your knees.

  3. Concentrating on your leg muscles, push up to the starting position. Keep your knees loose as you reach the starting position. Do not snap them into a locked position by pushing your kneecaps backward.

Repeat 4 to 8 times.

  • Jack-in-the-Box
    • Benefit: Strengthens quadriceps muscles (fronts of thighs)
Caution: Do this exercise on a hardwood floor, a carpet, an exercise mat or grass. Do not perform on a linoleum or concrete floor with no give.

Exercises for your toddler's third year include Jack-in-the-Box.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

  1. Stand next to each other and squat (as in the "Squat Bend" exercise), placing your hands on the floor in front of you.

  2. Push up quickly (using the legs), popping up as high as you can. Straighten your body as much as you can. Bend your knees as you land, returning to the squatting position.

Repeat 4 to 8 times.
  • Toe Touch
    • Benefits:
      • Strengthens abdominal muscles

      • Increases leg and lower back flexibility
        exercise with newborn
        ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
        Lower body exercises for the third year include physical challenges both on and off exercise equipment.
  1. Sit close to each other, with your legs in front of you. Hold one foot with both hands.

  2. Bring your toe to your nose (not vice versa). Lower your leg to the starting position. Repeat 5 to10 times.

  3. Change feet and repeat sequence.
  • Rowing
    • Benefits
      • Strengthens arms, back, chest, and abdominal muscles

      • Increases flexibility of the hamstring (back of the thigh)
As you do this exercise, try singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" -- it's great fun!

Exercises for your toddler's third year include Rowing.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

  1. Sit facing your child, as shown, with your child's feet touching the insides of your knees. Hold a dowel or stick between the two of you, with your hands snugly but gently over hers (or next to hers if she can hang on to the dowel firmly enough).

  2. Slowly lean slightly backward, pulling your toddler toward you.
  3. Reverse the action as your toddler leans backward. Keep your legs straight but loose. (Do not lock your knees.) If your hamstrings are tight, making it uncomfortable for you to sit with straight legs, bend your knees as needed.

Repeat sequence 10 to 16 times.

  • The Hill Walk
    • Benefits:
      • Offers a safe challenge
      • Improves balance and coordination
      • Increases body/spatial awareness

Use a homemade ramp, one purchased at a teacher's supply store, or a 4- to 5-foot-long, 1-foot-wide platform (or board). Prop one end securely 1 foot off the floor.

Exercises for your toddler's third year include Hill Walk.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

  1. Holding your child's hand, have her walk from the low to the high end. (Tell her which foot she is on as she walks to help her learn right and left.)

  2. At the high end, while you are still holding her hands, have her jump off -- she'll need no encouragement! Tell her to land on both feet and keep her knees bent. (If your child is very small and a distance of 1 foot is too high to jump, or if she seems reluctant, you can either lower the board or have your child sit down at the upper end, then jump off.) Repeat 4 to 6 times.

  3. Reverse the walk, going from the high end to the low end.

As your child feels more comfortable with these moves, have her walk forward up the ramp and backward down the ramp. Then let her walk down and then up the ramp backwards.

Three year olds. The three year old is a true delight. He has developed some patience, his vocabulary has grown, and he cooperates more and more each day.

Use these exercises and make up stories to go with the moves. The same can be done with any equipment or combination of pieces of equipment. Now is the time to be creative and imaginative. Equipment might include Frisbees, hoops, ladders, a slant board, one or more 2 x 4s with supports, balls, balloons, and wooden dowels or sticks. Use your imagination!

As your child gets older, your workouts together will evolve to include more difficult skills and allow him to move independently more and more. Every new year will bring new opportunities to explore your own physicality with your child. And don't forget that by exercising with your toddler, you're helping him establish a lifelong habit that will greatly benefit his health and well-being!

©Publications International, Ltd.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Related Articles