Tips and Tricks- No Stairs, No Problem!


Walking up and down stairs while holding onto someone’s hands usually starts around 15 months.  For my families that don’t have stairs, they usually say they have nothing to practice on.  So just wanted to share what I use in homes without stairs and other ideas:

1- Step stools:20130702_095143

  • You can get varying heights of step stools to practice stepping up and down a step.
  • Stepping up/down from step stools also works on body awareness as kiddos have to pay attention to foot placement when they step on/off.
  • Standing on a step stool also works on balance since they have to stand with their feet closer together and can’t just step in any direction.
  • You can make this easier by putting the step stools against the couch so your kiddo can lean against the couch as they walk up the steps
  • You can make it harder by putting the step stools in the middle of the room and increasing the space between the step stools
  • I also wrap yellow pages in duct tape to have a smaller step to step up/down from.  With all the fun duct tape patterns around now, you can make really fun looking steps like the one below.
  • 320733_257499940952205_189996662_n

2- Couch cushions9249575-large

  • You can use these the same way you use step stools.  
  • These are easier because they are wider than step stools
  • They are a little more difficult because they are cushy and harder to balance on
  • I usually use these one kiddos are better at walking up/down stairs holding onto my hands.

3- Getting outside!

  • I begin to practice going up/down curbs once my patients are better with stairs or step stools.
  • Practicing on curbs also provides a real functional activity that they will encounter in their daily lives
  • You can walk around your neighborhood and search for different height curbs and curbs that are all cement or have grass to make the activity more challenging.


4- Outside on playground equipment

  • Using playground equipment is a great way to practice actual stairs that are a little smaller and just the right size for your kiddos, so make sure to go check out the playgrounds or play places in your area

*** and of course with any new motor activity- make sure you are closely supervising your little one as they do these activities!

Categories: Child Development, Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. HI, I love your posts. They give great ideas for home-based PT. I find the step stool idea very helpful in my practice. I was lucky enough to find a sturdy 2 step stools made of hard plastic at a hardware store. I bought 2 and put them back to back to create a pyramid of up and down stairs for the kids. I’ve been using them for a while now; just yesterday I brought them to a kid’s home for the first time. She was very fearful and it took work and lots of distraction to get her to do the activity. I was thinking in the back of my brain some doubt as to my choice of activities for her. By the end of the session she was more confident and stood on the top of the pyramid popping bubbles and turning the pages of a book. It was gratifiying to also see that you posted the same concept on your blog this week. Home-based therapy doesn’t allow for much interaction with other PTs – so it was great! Happy 4th of July! Rebecca PT


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