Are your little ones feeling cooped up this winter? Are you at a loss on what to do to keep your sanity without breaking the pocketbook? Keep them on the move with these active indoor games.  Kids have a lot of energy and in the winter months with everyone cooped up inside it can make it drag on forever.  There are still a lot of fun activities one can do to burn off that extra energy and keep their bodies healthy and moving!

  1. Make an obstacle course. Give the kids a room to “take over” and let them build their own obstacle course. Here are some ideas:

    • Place pillows on the floor a foot or so apart and jump over them without touching the pillow.
    • Attach a string from one end of the room to another (try using furniture to attach it to) and limbo or crawl under it without touching the string.
    • Make a tunnel or cave to crawl through by lining up some chairs and throwing a sheet across them.
    • Have them walk like a crab or hop like a bunny.
    • Wear a big silly hat throughout the course—if it falls off, you must start over!
    • Lay a hula hoop on the ground and jump in and out of the hoop five times.
    • Walk 10 feet with a beanbag on your head.
    • Fill a bucket with rice or pasta and bury an object inside—search through the bucket as quickly as possible to find it!
    • End the course with a ball toss into a basket (use an empty waste basket or laundry basket).
  1. Have a Dance Party. Put on some tunes (Pandora has some great kid-friendly stations; search for “Radio for Kids”) and let the kids boogie. You can even turn their dancing into a game.  When you stop the music, they have to stop and hold their position.
  2. Play some classics. Think: Duck, Duck, Goose, Simon Says, Hide n Seek, or Musical Chairs. You could also create an indoor hopscotch using painter’s tape to create the squares.
  3. Host a fitness competition. You could set out a jump rope and a hula hoop, and then make a few other stations with activities like push-ups, jumping jacks or somersaults. Set goals for each station and have the kids go through the stations one-by-one.
  4. Go hallway bowling. This is a perfect game for a hallway. Use plastic cups or empty water bottles and set them up in a triangular formation. Use a medium-sized rubber ball as the bowling ball.
  5. Build a fort. Let them be creative on how to build the fort and then give them a flashlight to read a book or provide coloring books for them to decorate.

And when you catch a warmer day, bundle up and head outside, but until then try some of the above indoor activities.  You will find that they’re less temper tantrums and fights, and it will give you some “valuable” time to get a few things accomplished in the house also.

by Melanie Dockter, DC, CACCP