Chase away snowy and rainy days with these boredom-busting active indoor games.
Winter can be a great time to try outdoor activities, but no matter where you live, some days it just isn’t possible to get that active time outside. But that doesn’t mean kids should just plop down on the couch to play video games or sit at the computer. Children may gain weight if they are inactive often – and that could lead to heart problems down the road.
It’s very important that kids between the ages of six and 12 are physically active. Make sure your child is getting an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Playing active games at recess, walking to and from school (safely, with chaperones) or playing sports or quick pick-up games after school can easily add up to 60 minutes a day.
If unpleasant weather is keeping your kids inside and away from active play opportunities, here are some ideas to get your kids up and at it on those otherwise dreary days.
In the basement
If you have a sparsely decorated basement, this can be a great place for kids to run around, jump and act silly.
- Set up for indoor mini-putt. Your kids can have fun both setting up and playing this game using leftover gift-wrapping tubes as putters, any kind of small ball and some paper cups laying on their sides to act as the holes.
- Play a game of hide and seek. If you have a home free area, make sure kids can run to it safely.
- Go parachuting. Take a blanket and throw it up in the air, trying to run underneath before the blanket collapses.
- Create an obstacle course or play classic outdoor relay games, such as trying to hop across a finish line with legs wrapped up in a pillow case or racing another player to pop a balloon by sitting on it. Keep track of everyone’s time and try to beat it next round!
- Play indoor ski-ball. You’ll need a tennis ball or bean bag and two or three boxes for this. Tape or glue a small box inside the larger box and put that one into a larger box, if possible. Assign points to the different boxes. Set it up on an angle and then aim to get the bean bag or tennis ball into the smallest box for the most points.
In the kid’s bedroom or an apartment building
When creaky floors and limited space make running around and jumping too noisy or unsafe, there are still things your kids can do to get some activity.
- Start hula-hooping. This is a great indoor exercise to get your kids’ heart rate up. Just make sure there’s enough space so the hoop doesn’t knock anything fragile off tables.
- Play some charades – nothing gets arms and legs moving like trying to imitate a monkey or a skydiver. One person whispers an animal, activity or theme to the actor and the others try to guess what it is.
- Learn how to juggle or use a yo-yo.
- Take a trip to Mt. Everest. Play a pretend mountain-climbing relay game by making a baton from a decorated cardboard tube and passing it back and forth at each flight as you go up, then down your building’s stairwells. Make sure there is parent supervision and that the stairs are safe for use.
- Play Simon Says with an active twist. For example, “Simon says: run on the spot. Simon says: do jumping jacks.”
On a family trip
When cabin fever has the kids going crazy to get outside, but the weather is not cooperating, try these fun family day trips that will keep you out of the cold.
- Go to a local bowling alley. The bowling and the victory dances are great for burning calories.
- Go swimming. Forget the frosty weather for an afternoon by heading to an indoor swimming pool at a community centre or indoor water park.
- Go ice skating indoors. You don’t need to worry about wind chill or rain ruining a fun day of ice skating at indoor arenas.
- Play at a science centre or museum for the day. It’s a great way to spend the day walking while helping educate your kids.
- Take a trip to your local community centre. Depending on what your area offers, you could find opportunities to play badminton, ping-pong, basketball or other games with the family for free or a very low price. Call ahead to find out what your centre offers.