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Getting Little Bodies Moving When It’s Too Cold (or Hot) Outdoors

indoor games for kids

It’s cooling down rapidly on this side of the world (which is what tends to happen when Winter hits, I know!) and warming up for my friends overseas, so today here is a list of ideas for keeping little people physically active when it is just too cold (or hot) to spend a lot of time outdoors.

Hopping
Tape a hopscotch grid with low tack masking tape onto the floor. Use a rolled up sock as your marker and have fun hopping some energy out. Or try taking SHAPEscotch indoors as found here on Playopedia.

Jumping
Spread your lounge cushions around on the floor and have fun jumping from island to island. Add a listening element to the game by calling an instructions such as,

“On the island” – Jump onto a cushion
“In the sea” – Jump onto the floor, between the cushions
“Lying on the sand” – Lay down on the cushion
“Fish in the sea” – Lay down on the floor
“Palm tree” – Stand on one leg, on the island, with arms spread wide

Throwing
Small bean bags are fabulous for all sorts of indoor active play and much safer for throwing indoors than balls. Pop a target down on the floor (basket, shoe box, hoop) and have a competition to see who can throw the most bean bags into the target. You can find a tutorial for making bean bags here.

Batting
Give each player a cardboard food wrap roll and see how long you can keep a balloon up in the air, without it touching the ground.

Balancing
How many body parts can you balance a small beanbag (or hardcover book) on? What about your head, elbow, knee, hip, shoulder, hip, back and foot?

Stacking
Grab a packet or two of plastic drinking cups and have a competition to see who can stack the tallest tower. Set a challenge, can you make a tower as tall as you are?

Riding
Bring the outdoors in – if you have the space for a bike track through your home, bring your child’s scooter, trike, or space hopper indoors. This is especially good for young children learning to ride, scoot or bounce.

Hiding
Make a cubby house with your dining chairs and a bed sheet or play hide and seek.

Mix it all up
Create an indoor obstacle course. Try;

Using chairs for tunnels to crawl under,
Couch cushions to climb over,
A masking tape line to tiptoe along,
A hula hoop to jump into or through, and
Plastic cups as cones to run around.

Or make an animal dice, like this one at House of Baby Piranha, to encourage moving like animals in all sorts of ways – flapping, sliding, jumping, running, waddling, to name just a few!

How do you keep your children physically active when the weather means less time outdoors?

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Comments

  1. Thank you Christie!!!

  2. I wish I had clicked on this earlier today. We had an indoor disco but with everyone sick, not a skerrick (sp?) of outdoor time. These ideas would have added a nice balance to our craft overdose!

  3. We like dancing to music, which is what the three girls are doing as I type ;-)

  4. Hi Christie!

    This post is filled with wonderful ideas! I truly know that they will be used and enjoyed in our home.

    We were one of your winners from the Alphabet Soup magazine giveaway. We arrived home from vacation about a week ago to find our first copy waiting for us. It is always exciting to receive international mail. I eagerly opened it up and checked the magazine out. I am going to admit that my first impression was “Oh no! This magazine is going to be way too advanced for my 2.5 year old”. Then guilt set in that I even signed up for the giveaway and possibly took the opportunity away from an older child.

    I did get the magazine out that evening for our regular storytime. I was amazed and delighted that she was captivated by the magazine and the stories. In a week, I have read The Six Swans, The One That Got Away and Bee Hives every day with a minimum of two to three times a day for each article. Winning this magazine has really opened our little family up to different avenues of what we are reading. Thanks to the adaptation of The Six Swans, we are now reading more Fairy Tales ( I was shying away from them do to the length and subject matter). My Elle also enjoys talking about the articles and you can see she is very curious about expanding on the topics. I am hoping to tie the articles into some activities. I also hope to blog about our win soon too!

    Thanks so much for hosting this giveaway and introducing us to Alphabet Soup. We are truly grateful!

    Warmly,
    Kerri and Elle

  5. Fabulous ideas! My girls would love pretty much all of them. It can be hard to get them moving in the colder months. Loving the tips.

  6. All great ideas. I can sometimes be a naughty mum and spend too much time indoors where I feel warm and cosy, but we do love moving. We dance every day (Bollywood is our favourite) and also love setting up obstacle courses around the house.
    We’re just learning to jump in our house so your hopscotch and jumping games sound wonderful. Thanks.

  7. I’m taking notes… I hate the cold but have one very active boy to attempt to entertain!

  8. I love that so many other kids are dancing! My husband has been having a dance party in our bedroom with our three-year-old every night before his bedtime so he isn’t too cold after bathtime. For some reason it involves a lot of screaming so I hope the neighbours aren’t alarmed. Sounds like great exercise considering the noise and the mess our sheets are in afterwards.

  9. Great ideas!!!

  10. This is the most creative list I’ve found so far. Thanks!!!

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