18 Fantastic Stretches For Toddlers

My daughter is two, and loves to play on the floor with me.  She will copy what I do, and make up her own stretches along the way.

I've put together 18 stretches that most two year-olds can do, not that they will, but they can!

1. Breathing in and out
This is nothing special, just get them to sit and breath with you.  My daughter will smell and then blow really hard.  So relaxing, and we talk about breathing to calm ourselves when we get upset.

2. Shoulder shrugs
Raise shoulders to your ears and then drop.  It's an usually movement, but really fun to do.  Can do this seated or standing.

3. Light Seated twists
 I will not usually have my daughter twist while standing.  We sit cross-legged on the floor and rotate slightly, never over twist and show them not to twist too far.

4. Butterfly

While seated place feet together.  Raising your knees up and down makes it look like a butterfly flapping its wings.  Great inner thigh stretch.

5. Stand up (really straight)
Place your feet on the ground, lift your head up, push your shoulders down, and stand as tall and straight as you can.

6. Giraffe

When standing reach your arms up over your head and stretch up high!

7. Monkey
From standing bend at the waist and place hands on the floor in front of your feet, then try to look up.  Your back will be flat.

8. Lion
Sitting on your heals place hands by your knees and roar!  Open your mouth really wide and pretend to be a lion.

9. Cat and Cow
Get on your hands and knees.  Arch your back like and angry cat and then drop your belly to look like a cow.  This is good for warming up your spine and staying loose.

10. Happy Baby

This one is fun and always gets some giggles.  Lay on your back and grab your feet, super easy for kids to do and not so easy for most adults!

11. Dog
On hands and knees, straighten knees and lift your butt in the air.  (Inverted V)  This is a great stretch for your legs while building strength in your arms.

12. Plank
From Dog stretch, move your shoulders to over your hands and hold.  This will really increase arm and core strength.

13. Cobra

From plank slowly lower your body to the floor and then raise your head or torso up.  The stretches the front of your chest and spine.

14. Archer
Stand up and place your legs apart, and then pretend to hold a bow and shoot an arrow.  This can open up your hips and build strength.

15. Table

This is tricky for little ones, but you sit with your legs in front of you, place your hands behind you, and lift your tummy, creating a 'table-top' on your tummy.  This is the reverse of cat and cow.

16. Leg Lifts

Lay on the floor and get your little ones to lift their legs.  The are so good at this, we can learn from them!

17. Rock and Roll
Lay on your back and hold your knees to your chest.  Roll around on your back.  

18. Relax

Lay on the floor and try to be really still.  This is hard for my kid, so we pretend to be asleep for about 2 seconds.  

This is a good order to practice the stretches, and it is so much fun.  Be sure to spend less than a minute on each move, there attention spans are getting longer, but this is a lot to get through.  This is a great way to introduce 'formal' exercise in a fun and animal way.