Indoor Activities for Kids When the Weather Gets Cold
As a developmental Physical Therapist, one of my jobs is to help kids become and remain active. But as a parent, I know the struggles of keeping kids active, especially during the upcoming cold, wet season. So, when the weather outside is frightful, try these indoor activities to keep you and your little ones delightful:
Obstacle course. Set up cones, stuffed animals, cups, etc. for kids to run around, jump over and climb under.
Circuits. Set up activity stations around the room featuring one activity (jump rope, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, the hula hoop). Have your kids visit each station for 30 to 60 seconds.
Treasure/Scavenger hunt. Hide either one treasure with clues to follow or multiple items around the house. Be sure to make the hunt take the kids to different rooms, and have them searching high and low to get the most movement.
Dance contest. Crank up the tunes and dance your socks off!
Animal race. Have races walking/moving around like different animals: Bear walk (hands and feet), cat/dog walk (hands and knees), crab walk (hands and feet with your belly facing up), rabbit/frog (bouncing with hands and feet on floor), duck/penguin (heels together, toes pointed to the side). Let kids come up with other animal ideas for maximum laughs.
Indoor sports. Basketball, soccer, and volleyball are the easiest to bring indoors. If you don’t have a small hoop or goal, try using a hamper. Use a soft ball and keep kicks light and shots easy. Balloons are a great alternative and reduce the chance of damage or injuries.
Battles. This activity works best if you have enough kids to make 2 teams. Set up two forts across the room from each other. Load each team up with small soft objects (balls, Nerf arrows, stuffed animal, etc.). Have teams toss their “ammo” at each other, aiming for arms, legs and the chest (head shots are forbidden!) The team that has the last member left untouched by a plush projectile wins.
Hide and seek. An oldie, but a goodie. Hide and seek keeps kids moving, but does not require running.
Active games. Look for games that involve standing and moving. Today’s video game systems offer good interactive options, and even a game as timeless as Twister can keep the giggles and energy level going.
Play it safe inside. Before turning your house into an active zone, try to move furniture and fragile items out of the way to avoid any injuries. Take breaks as needed with healthy snacks and water. Brains need a good workout, too. Use down time on puzzles, books, crafts, building with blocks, riddles, and anything else that will keep them using their creativity and challenge their thinking.
About the author: Kelli Dilver is a physical therapist working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital at the Close to Home Outpatient Therapy clinic in Dublin, and is a mother of two.