Indoor Activities for Little Ones
Hi, Moms! It’s inevitable that your active preschooler will be “stuck“ inside every now and then. Maybe it’s a rainy day, icy and cold, someone is sick, or you have a brand-new baby. Preschoolers love to stay active and a day in the house without going outside to play can make for “stir-crazy” little ones!
I got “creative” last year when we had a newborn in the home during peak cold and flu season, as well as a 3-year-old who liked to be on-the-go. Many days we really had no choice but to stay at home, but my older child really needed to get some energy out.
If we weren’t able to go outside and play, we came up with several indoor activities to get moving! Some ideas are from my classroom days and other ideas came from Pinterest (be sure to follow NuAngel, Inc!). You can adjust these ideas down for toddlers, and up for elementary age kids.
Here are a few activities that we enjoy:
1) Obstacle Course
My daughter’s favorite! I start by clearing our living room of toys and push any coffee or end tables out of the way. Using what we had in the room, I’d create an obstacle course for her to complete again and again. It’s so easy and you simply use whatever is in your house!
For example, I’d use: couch cushions and pillows, a ball, a pop-up tunnel, and paper plates. I’d show her how to complete it: crawl over the couch cushion, then jump over the pillow, crawl through the tunnel, run down the hallway and back, pick up the ball, toss and catch the ball, then ring the bell.
I’d play music and then see how fast she could complete it. Then, we’d change it up!
2) Simon Says
My daughter was introduced to Simon Says at school and she loves it. I change it up to add in some physical activity: “Simon says hop like a bunny down the hallway and come back.”
3) Balloon Activities
If your child is old enough to handle a balloon (and other smaller ones aren’t around to try to put it in their mouths), there are many activities you can try. For example, they can play balloon volleyball, kick the balloon up in the air, or simply try to keep it in the air and not touch the ground.
4) 4 Corners
This is one where you can weave in other academic skills as well! Label 4 corners of the room with a piece of paper containing a color, number, letter, shape, animal, etc. Give instructions like: “Jump on one foot to the green corner. Hop to the red corner. Crawl to the blue corner, now walk backwards to the yellow corner.” With this, kids are staying active while identifying colors, shapes, letters, numbers, etc. .
5) Standing Activities
Use the back of wrapping paper to make a large space for art and tape to the wall using painter’s tape (that won’t damage your wall). Layer to make a large surface area. Your child can stand, bend, and stretch to make a large wall-art mural using crayons and stickers! You can also write large letters or numbers and they can trace or use dot markers.
6) Find the ____.
Send your explorer on a hunt to find objects you’ve hidden in the house. You can hide anything from Easter eggs, to blocks, to stuffed animals.
7) Animal Play
Does your child like animals? My daughter got out some energy by pretending to be different animals with movement and/or sound. For example, I’d say “hop like a kangaroo” or “run like a cheetah”. She’d make a “lap” around the house pretending to be that animal, then when she made it back to me, I’d give her a new one to try.
8) Exercise Videos
I found out that my daughter would respond to this when she was so fascinated to watch me do my own exercise video! So, when I play a video for myself, she likes to workout alongside me.
*YouTube has many exercise videos for kids that we have done together. It’s given me an opportunity to show her things like “jumping jacks”, “push-ups”, etc. I've been surprised at how much she enjoys these activities!
9) Take a Class
Is your child interested in a certain activity such as ballet or karate? *YouTube has many options that children can watch and participate in online. I will sometimes clear out a space and turn on preschool ballet lessons. It’s a fun way to get moving and be exposed to new skills at home.
10) Dance Party
Introduce your child to some new and engaging songs that he or she may be interested in, and dance along until the song is over. “Just Dance Kids” is a popular video on *YouTube where children can dance along with other kids and an instructor.
These are just a few activities that we have done to keep my preschooler moving when we’re “stuck” in the house. What are some ideas you have used in the past? Feel free to share them below!
*YouTube: Whenever we use this resource, I closely monitor the ads and stay in the room. There are many online dangers associated with YouTube and potentially inappropriate content, especially recently. I do not recommend using YouTube unsupervised, or just “letting it run.”