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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?