10 Fun Upper Body Exercises for Kids
Stability at the shoulder muscles is an essential component for coordination, postural control and fine motor skill development. Basically anytime you move your hand and fingers you need your upper body and shoulders to either stabilize or actively contract. Upper body exercises for kids and shoulder strengthening activities can help children develop the muscles necessary for so many skills such as handwriting, playing catch, reaching, picking up small objects and more.
Upper Body Exercises for Kids
Here are 10 playful, fun upper body exercises to work on shoulder strengthening for kids:
- Monkey Bars – this activity requires not only upper body strength but coordination and visual spatial skills! Children have such a sense of self satisfaction when they can conquor the monkey bars.
- Climbing trees or playground equipment ie ladders, ropes and rock walls
- Wheelbarrow walking with a friend or over an exercise ball
- Animals walks where the child has to weight bear through the arms and hands such as bear walk, seal walk or donkey kicks
- Balloon volley keeping the balloon overhead
- Yoga poses
- Jumping rope – holding the shoulders steady while you move the rope provides excellent isometric contraction (stability) of the shoulder muscles
- Washing windows, table tops and desks – kids really do love to help wash down (adults not so much haha!)
- Playing catch with a large exercise ball or a weighted ball
- Drawing, writing or coloring on a vertical surface
What is your favorite, playful shoulder strengthening activity for kids?
Resources for Muscle Strengthening for Children
Do you need more upper body exercises for kids? Check out these resources!
Play Strong: Activities to Promote Muscle Strengthening in Children Through Play – This is a collection of 40+ activities that promote muscle strengthening in children. The activities are great for children with varying abilities. This is an excellent resource for pediatric therapists. This book is divided into three sections: Activities to Increase Upper Extremity Muscle Strength, Activities to Increase Lower Extremity Muscle Strength and Activities to Increase Muscle Strength in the Trunk. Modifications are listed for many activities to increase/ decrease difficulty or to adapt activities for more involved children. FIND OUT MORE.
The Hand Strengthening Exercises PDF Bundle for Children includes 7 digital resources (plus BONUS mini packets) to help children strengthen their hands and fingers with super fun activities! FIND OUT MORE.