Daily physical activity helps children stay healthy and happy, but outdoor activities for kids may not always be possible during the winter months. We have all heard children who are stuck in the house for the day say, “We’re bored! There is nothing to do.” Instead of turning to TV and online games for kids, encourage your children to get their daily doses of physical activity, skill practice and fun!
Playing indoors should be supervised and is a great opportunity to play and have fun with your children. Before getting started:
- Provide your children with instructions on how to safely take out and put away equipment that they might use (balls, beanbags, etc.).
- Move any furniture with sharp edges out of the activity area.
- Make sure your children realize that movement is limited in a small space.
- Anticipate where additional safety measures are needed and apply them.
- Review any family rules for throwing balls, beanbags, etc. and being active inside the house as you see fit.
Once you and your children are prepared, try these age-appropriate indoor kids’ activities that will keep them entertained and active:
- Make up dances to music. It doesn’t have to be structured; just select a few popular songs and start dancing to the music. Have a freeze dance: when the music stops, freeze in your pose and hold it until the music starts again. Use scarves and move them around to the music.
- Practice rolling skills. Sit together with your legs spread, feet touching and roll a ball back and forth to each other. Extend the activity by trying to roll and catch the ball with just one hand or by catching it with your eyes closed. You can also roll the ball through an obstacle course made with furniture.
- Have a parade! Raise your knees high as you march around the house. Play musical instruments or use pots, pans and wooden spoons as drums.
- Blow bubbles. Let your child try to clap her hands to pop them.
- Set up an obstacle course together. Some ideas include: chairs to crawl around or under, pillows along the course to crawl over, a cardboard box tunnel or a stomach slide through a doorway. Get creative!
- Stomp bubble wrap. Have bubble wrap lying around the house? Have your child pop it under his feet while practicing jumping up and down. You’ll want to get in on the action, too!
- Go bowling in your hallway. Use empty water bottles or partially fill water bottles with colored water (tape the lids so water does not leak). Use a small ball to roll and knock them down.
- Plan a scavenger hunt. Pick several toys or other objects and hide them around your home. Provide clues as to where the objects might be. Create a list with pictures or the names of the objects and have your child cross them off when found.
- Throw “darts.” Make targets by drawing or painting on paper and then taping them to an empty wall. Throw sponges, socks or balls of yarn at the targets.
- Balance as animals. Balance bean bags or similar items on different body parts and move like an animal while balancing them. “Can you move like a tiger while balancing the bean bag on your back?”
Need more ideas? Check out these additional recommendations from counselor and play therapist Lynn Louise Wonders.