Wondering what to do if you’re stuck inside with your kids all day? Our huge list of active indoor activities will keep your kids — from toddlers to teens — busy and burning energy!
It doesn’t matter where you’re located, or what the weather is like outside your window, there are always times when you have to be inside. And as Moms, I think we all understand that Kids + Energy + Inside is an equation that can equal chaos and inevitable disaster.
That’s why we teamed up with one of our favorite brands of all time, Tea Collection, to test out their all-new active wear line, and bring you an epic list of active indoor games and activities that will get your kids up and moving, even on the gloomiest of days.
These activities will not only fight boredom (which equals less whining, woohoo!) but will also challenge their minds and muscles – strengthening their bodies and releasing all that pent-up energy – ultimately leaving you with stronger kids (albeit a little sweaty), that won’t fight you when it comes to hitting the hay. A worthy outcome indeed.
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Pin so you have this life-saving list at hand when snow or rain strikes:
A simple roll of low-tack Painter’s tape (like this one for delicate surfaces) will be your new best friend once you try these genius ideas that get kids exerting their energy in all sorts of creative ways.
(editor’s note: just bringing out the roll of tape got Ooos and Ahhs from my kids – these activities were extremely well received and have now been added to my Boredom Buster bag of tricks!)
Tape Shape Game: Use this tape to put a variety of shapes, letters and/or numbers on your floor. Have your child stand on their favorite one then give them instructions to follow that will lead them to their next destination (for example: “bear crawl to the square”, “hop like a Frog to the T”, “Run to the rectangle”). We love that this game from Toddler Approved keeps your child moving, but also helps them learn their shapes, letters and numbers!
Tape Lines: Make 5–10 separate lines of tape, each about a foot apart, on your floor or carpet. Label the first one the “start” line and then give your kids simple instructions:
- Long Jump: See how many lines they can jump over. Have them try and beat their best score each time. Experiment with arm swinging vs. arms behind their backs.
- Run ‘n’ Jump: Now let them take a running start and see if they can jump even further!
- Long Jump Backwards: Increase the difficulty by performing the tasks jumping backwards.
- Hop: How far can they jump on one leg?
- Reach ‘n’ Stretch: How far can their leg reach with one foot on the “start” line?
Create a Race-Car Track: Use your painter’s tape (or opt for this super cool race-track tape) to make a huge road system for your kids’ matchbox cars. Think outside the box and have the track scale furniture and other obstacles (just make sure it’s something you don’t mind toy vehicles being “driven” over). The key to making it active is to make it large-scale, so they are engaging their core muscles while crawling all over. (Pic via PopSugar and Pinterest — source unknown)
You can even make it super-sized for ride-on vehicles like the pics here from Hands On As We Grow.
Hopscotch: Make a simple hopscotch “board” and your kids will think it’s just the coolest thing that it’s inside! (pic via Brit+co)
Number Squares: Make a large square with your tape and then divide it into 9 or more small squares, marking random numbers in each one. Now ask your child to perform a specific movement to get to the next number like “jump to 10”, “zoom to 3”, “slither to 67”. (via DreamGYM)
Has your child ever received a balloon at a birthday party and been totally enamored by it? Take that fascination to the next level by adding in a few “rules” and they’ll be happily moving around developing their gross motor skills while burning off some of that rambunctious energy.
Try some of our favorite balloon games and always keep a few handy to pull out when the going gets tough.
**Just a reminder that pieces of burst balloons can be a serious choking hazard, so if you have younger kids, make sure they are supervised during these activities at all times**
Don’t Let The Balloon Touch The Ground: This is the classic game that kids fall for every time. The rules are simple – hit the balloon up in the air but don’t let it touch the ground. To make it more challenging for older kids, have them juggle more than 1 balloon, or tie one hand behind their back. Time them to see how long they can do it for, or if you have multiple kids, have them count how many times they can hit it back and forth…then see if they can beat their time or score! This game is great for improving arm strength and hand-eye coordination.
Penguin Waddle: Place a balloon between your child’s knees and have them waddle across the room without dropping it. Make it more challenging for older kids by having them go around a few obstacles. If they drop it, they have to go back to the start.
For multiple kids, have them play as a team with the balloon placed between their hips. Once they get the hang of it, get out your timer to see how fast they can do it.
Balloon Taps: Hang a balloon by a string from your doorway so it is a few inches higher than your child’s arm reach. Then challenge them to try and tap it with their hand. Count how many they can do in a row without missing (this gets tiring very quickly!). Up the ante by seeing if they can jump and touch the balloon with the top of their head!
Balloon Blow: Set up a “course” and see if your child can blow a balloon all the way to the finish line. They’ll have to do lots of army crawls working their upper body and core strength along the way.
Backhand Balloon Balance: Challenge your kids to balance a balloon on the back of their hand, and see how long they can do it before it falls to the ground. You’d be surprised how much they will move around with this one!
Balloon Paddle Ball: Use a fly swatter, tennis/badminton racket or make your own paddle using a paper plate and over-sized popsicle stick (or use a paint stir stick or plastic spoon), then use it to play the games above.
These paddles are also fun for balancing your balloon. Have your kids try to keep their balloon on the paddle as they navigate through obstacles or run around the house. Not as easy as it sounds!
Balloon Foot Balance: For a real challenge, have your kids lie on the ground with their legs up in the air and try and balance the balloon on their feet. It’s not an easy task and requires a lot of concentration. It’s also a great core workout!
Balloon Volleyball: Make a “net” by tying a piece of string between 2 chairs and then have your child hit the balloon back and forth by running from one side to the other, trying to keep it off the floor. If you have 2 or more kids, have them hit it over the net as many times as they can without it falling.
Balloon Hockey: Use a small kiddy hockey stick or make your own out of cardboard (see full tutorial on Creative Connections For Kids) to navigate a balloon into a net (use a laundry basket or box on its side if you don’t have any smaller ones to bring indoors).
FUN/SILLY MOVING GAMES
Just a warning – you’re going to have a hard time deciding which of these fun (and often giggle-fit-inducing) games to play first. They’re so entertaining that you’ll be wanting to join in too!
Sticky Spider Web: Use painter’s tape to make a web-like design on a doorway opening (idea via Hands On As We Grow). Give your kids some newspaper to scrunch up and throw up at the web. Or get creative and use other light-weight objects like balloons. Have them count how many objects stick versus how many don’t for extra learning points.
Sticky Note Wall Bop: Attach 26 sticky notes to the back of a door and write a different letter on each one (in random order). Make a “start” line a few feet away from the door (more if you have older kids), and have your child stand behind it with a soft ball, bean bag, stuffed animal or pair of rolled up socks. Now instruct them to throw their object to try and hit the “A” or the “T”. Players with more advanced aim and spelling skills can try and hit all the letters in specific words (to make it even tougher, if they miss one of the letters, have them start all over again!).
Alternatively, write different point values on each sticky and give your child 10 throws. For each target they hit, mark down the number of points. At the end of the round, tally up to crown a winner (or if playing solo, have them try and beat their previous score). (editor’s note: make sure your kids are retrieving their throwing object themselves…running and bending down to pick it up over and over again is all part of the exercise!)
Floor Bop: Take Wall Bop to the floor. Instead of aiming up high, your kids will now have to toss an object to land on pieces of paper on the floor. The same rules as above can apply.
Color Toss: Similar to Floor Bop, but with this game you’ll tape colored pieces of construction paper to the floor. Create your own point system where you get 1 point if you land a bean bag on any paper, but 5 points if you land on a paper that matches the bean bag color.
You can also use these colored “mats” to instruct your child to do fun tasks such as “bounce like a bunny to green”, “tiptoe to yellow” and “high knees to red”.
Read all the 87 activities here: https://whatmomslove.com/kids/active-indoor-games-activities-for-kids-to-burn-energy/