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Warming Up & Stretching for Kids

Neck Stretch

While sitting or standing with your head in its normal upright position, slowly tilt it to the right until tension is felt on the left side of your neck. Hold that tension for 10 to 30 seconds and then return your head to the upright position. Repeat to the left side, and then toward the front. Always return to the upright position before moving on.

Reach to the Sky

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise both arms overhead so that your hands are intertwined with palms together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and relax.

Reach Back

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold your arms out to the sides with thumbs pointing down. Slowly move both arms back until you feel tension. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and relax.

Arm Circles

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold arms straight out to the side with your palms facing up. Start moving your arms slowly in small circles and gradually make larger and larger circles. Come back to the starting position and reverse the direction of your arm swing.

Toe Touch

While seated, extend both legs in front of you. Keep your back straight and reach for your toes with both hands without bouncing. Do not bend your knees. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat.

Twister

Sit on a mat with your right leg straight in front of you. Bend your left leg and cross it over your right leg so that your left foot is alongside your right knee. Bring your right elbow across your body and place it on the outside of your left thigh near the knee. Slowly twist your body as you look over your left shoulder. Your right elbow should be exerting pressure against your left thigh. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, relax, and repeat for the other side.

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back on a mat with your legs straight. Bend your left knee and bring it up toward your chest. Grasp the underside of your thigh and slowly pull your thigh to your chest. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Release, and repeat with the right leg.

Butterfly

Sit on a mat with your knees bent. Put the soles of your feet (or shoes) together and hold onto your ankles. Place your elbows on the inner sides of your knees and slowly apply downward pressure until you feel tension. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat.

Hurdler’s Stretch

While seated, place one foot on the inside of the other leg just above your knee. Keep the other leg extended and straight. With your back straight, press forward toward the thigh of your extended leg. Use your hands for support. When you feel some tension in the back of your leg hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Do not bounce while holding this stretch. Repeat twice with legs in each position.

Thigh Stretch

Keep your body upright and place the ankle of one of your legs in the hand on the same side of your body. Be sure to keep the leg you are stretching underneath your body and close to the other leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds once you feel some tension in the front of your leg. Repeat twice with each leg.

Calf Stretch

Place your hands against a wall while standing upright. Bend one knee slightly in front of your body while you extend the opposite leg backward until the foot is placed flat on the floor. With your back straight, you should feel some tension in the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat twice with each leg.

Child’s Pose

Kneel down and sit back on your feet with your heels pointing outward. Rest your forehead on the floor, relaxing your face, neck, and shoulders. Bring your arms alongside your body with palms turned toward the ceiling. Take 10 to 15 deep, slow breaths. Roll body back up and back down to repeat.

Cat and Camel

On your hands and knees with your head parallel to the floor, arch your back and then let it slowly sag toward the floor. Try to keep your arms straight.


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