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10 Great Ways to Keep Kids Active Indoors

When cold weather and limited daylight are the norm, having some active options to keep kids busy indoors can be sanity saving.

By Lani Aquino

Helping kids stay active while indoors can be a key component for keeping all members of a household happy. When all that youthful energy doesn’t have an outdoor outlet, the walls can start to feel pretty tight. This go-to list of 10 indoor activities that encourage movement could be a lifesaver this winter or at any time when outdoor options aren’t feasible.

  1. Charades- A great family game to get everyone animated and moving. Depending on ages, clues can be the traditional movies, books, television shows, and songs, or the clues could be animals, sporting activities, common objects, etc.
  2. Fitness Gaming- Gaming can be seen as counterintuitive to avoiding screens, but the right screen time can be quite beneficial. Power up the WiiFit for some bowling, skiing, baseball, etc. A fun bit of competition and a definite fitness opportunity that gets kids moving.
  3. Chores- This will easily become the kids’ go-to favorite- ha! Vacuuming, mopping, dusting, etc. are all great ways to get kids moving though. By turning on some music and/or adding a time challenge, this can become a mildly enjoyable fitness task.
  4. Family Fitness Challenge- Make it a priority to get the whole family in shape. Find fitness sources anywhere and everywhere. Part of the challenge can be finding the family favorite. Check the On Demand options from a cable provider, Netflix, YouTube, apps like 7 Minute Workout- Free Daily Fitness Routines, etc.
  5. Scavenger Hunt- While these may take a little planning, the fun and ability to have kids traipsing up and down the stairs multiple times will definitely be worth it. Create clue notecards and order them to get the most movement out of the kids (i.e., head to the spot where the dirty clothes get bathed, look under the youngest member of the family’s sleeping spot, go to the Mom’s favorite place to relax). They can head from the basement to an upstairs bedroom, then back down, back up, and so on. Each stop could have them completing a task in front of you (i.e., jumping jacks, push-ups, planks). A small prize or reward at the final clue could make this a favorite!
  6. Balloon-apalooza- Getting outside and tossing around a ball isn’t an option when the daylight wanes and the temperatures drop. A safe indoor alternative is balloons. Put a net across the table and start up a game of pingpong/volleyball. Challenge kids to see who can keep one or more balloons in the air the longest.
  7. Karaoke- It’s hard to really get into karaoke without getting the whole body moving! If there’s no karaoke machine in the house, downloading a free app like Free Karaoke! Sing on YouTube with Yokee will offer hours of musical fun.
  8. Obstacle Course- Create an in-home obstacle course. Kids can crawl under tables, leap over pillow piles, stop at checkpoints to do jumping jacks, hula hoop spins, squats, etc. Checkpoints could also be academically related and have kids hopping on one foot while they count by 5s to 50, spelling words while balancing on one foot, calling out synonyms/antonyms, etc.
  9. GoNoodle- Parents and teachers are loving the activity ideas found at GoNoodle. Lots of fitness variety within a single website. Kids and/or families can get boost their activity levels by selecting from a wide range of options for different ages and spaces.
  10. Dance!- So many ways to incorporate rounds of fun dancing time. Some kids just need the volume dial turned up to get moving. Others may get motivated by a game of Freeze Dancing where players must freeze when the music stops and the last one frozen gets eliminated until a single player remains. Popping in a game like Just Dance can also be a great movement igniter!

Having a go-to list to get kids going can be a game-changer for times when the family is stuck indoors. While screen time may be the simple solution, adding some movement will do wonders for improving fitness and attitudes. With these 10 active options, boredom and winter blahs won’t be an option!

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.


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