Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Active When They’re Stuck Inside

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Don’t let cold or rainy weather give your kids the indoor boredom blues. Here are 10 ways to help them burn off some energy when stuck inside.
Want to come in?There are many things I love about wintertime, but what I don’t relish are the seemingly endless hours of being stuck inside due to bad weather. As much as we champion a good arts-and-crafts project around here, my kids can only sit still gluing and glittering for so long before they just have to move!

That’s when I break out my tried-and-true tricks for keeping my kids active indoors. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after six winters in the Northwest with kids, it’s that it pays to have a plan. I’ve also learned that “being active” doesn’t have to mean running and jumping. Just getting kids up and moving goes a long way towards improving their dispositions.

Here are my top 10 ways for getting the kids’ energy out when they’re stuck inside.

  1. Yoga. There are so many great ways to get kids involved in yoga these days. From apps on your smartphone to kid-friendly cards demonstrating basic poses, there are tons of great products to help your children get their Zen on. There are some great free options, too. One of our favorites is a YouTube show called Cosmic Yoga.
  2. Twister. This is an oldie but definitely a goodie in that it’s good, cheap fun and it doesn’t take up too much room. This classic game is perfect for keeping several kids active in a small space.
  3. Simon Says. Kids always have a good time playing this silly game — and you can use it to burn off energy by incorporating lots of big movements including jumping, spinning, crawling, balancing and more.
  4. Indoor Scavenger Hunt. Who says scavenger hunts are just for the outdoors? Check out these 5 different ways to set up a scavenger hunt — and then go crazy customizing it to your children’s interests or what they’re currently working on in school. (Sight word and math scavenger hunts are a big hit around our house lately.)
  5. Pandora Freeze Frame. This is a very straight forward game I made up one rainy afternoon. Simply turn on your favorite Pandora station and have your kids dance up a storm. Pause the station every once in a while and have them freeze whenever the music stops. Once the novelty of this wears off, you can give them a phone and let them take pictures of each other when frozen, or even morph the activity into an old-fashioned game of musical chairs.
  6. Toys Made to Get the Wiggles Out. Every year on my own blog, I put together a series of holiday toy gift guides. While researching them a few years ago, I stumbled onto a whole category of indoor toys made to help kids work off their energy. Our favorites in this category include indoor trampolines, balance boards and air hop balls.
  7. Gymnastics. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of co-hosting a Facebook chat with Olympic Skier Jonny Moseley. When someone asked him how he kept his kids active, he said he had a gymnastics mat that he brought out for his kids to tumble and wrestle on whenever they were stuck inside. I thought the idea was so ingenious that I ordered a mat for my kids that night. It’s one of the best purchases I ever made!
  8. Fort Building. There really is nothing more fun than ripping off the bed sheets and couch cushions and working all afternoon with your siblings to create the most epic fort ever.
  9. Balloon Play.  Have you ever noticed how incredibly long your kids can occupy themselves simply by batting around a balloon they got at a restaurant or doctor’s office? I keep a stash of dollar-aisle balloons in a drawer for when restlessness strikes. Extend the fun by playing “balloon badminton” with a couple of paper plates taped to wooden spoons as rackets. Or how about a friendly competition of balloon races?
  10. Hide and Seek. If all else fails, a good game of hide and seek will often get you through. You can make it extra fun for bigger kids by giving them flashlights and making it as dark as possible inside.

For other ideas on indoor fun, try out one (or more!) of these projects:

DIY Rain Clouds

Math + Art = String Art

Fun with Silly Straws

Top 10 Sensory Activities for Kids

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