Winter is long. At long last, spring is upon us and we are all aching for summer sunshine. But as we all await the arrival of warm sunny days, we first need to weather through the remaining winter snowstorms and spring showers. Are you finding yourself gazing out the rain-covered window while the children at home or in your classroom are bouncing off the walls? Looking for indoor games and activities to keep high-energy children entertained and engaged while stuck inside?
Try one of these indoor games and activities!
Have A Dance Party
Everybody loves an occasion for a dance party. Open your Spotify or iTunes playlists and turn up the volume! Thanks to sources like YouTube, your children can make any song requests and you’ll be able to find it. This is also a great way to combine pure fun with an opportunity to encourage learning through the arts.
YouTube also has great how-to videos you can pull up to try to learn some new moves. You can also pull up oldie (but goodie) line dances and have the children follow along as you do all those dances you’ve done at every wedding you’ve attended over the years.
Or play Freeze Dance, one of the most popular indoor games and activities used in UGOT Active Kids classes. When the music plays, everyone dances. When the music stops, each dancer must freeze immediately and hold that position until the music begins. To keep the children moving, avoid having players get “out”. If a player does not freeze immediately, have them do 10 jumping jacks at the start of the next round before dancing again.
Stuffed Animal Toss
Kids love going to the carnival and playing games and you can create a similar fun challenge with minimal setup. Simply take the stuffed toys from around the classroom or their bedroom at home and grab a laundry basket or empty box and let the fun begin. Keep them challenged by having them back farther away from the target. You can also have multiple containers to aim for, or create a low-stakes competition.
Remember how fun this was at your childhood birthday parties? Blow up a coloured balloon and let the fun begin! Use just a single balloon and have everyone involved need to work together to not let it touch the ground. Or if you have multiple balloons, blow them all up and keeping them all off the ground is even more challenging.
Play in small teams and bat one balloon back and forth across the room. Designate specific colours to different teams and make contests out of it. There are many versions of this you can try (or create together!). It will keep the children laughing and moving while minimizing the potential damage that ball play indoors can cause.
Play Grocery Store
Your house or classroom will have lots of items that can be used to create your store. Try empty cereal boxes, empty egg cartons, jars of loose change, reusable shopping bags. Just a quick look around and you’ll have plenty of options!
Set up the “store” and have the children “shop”. Or you can switch roles and have them ring up your purchases. With a group of children, they can take turns playing different parts and really let their imaginations loose!
Storytime doesn’t have to be sit-still time! Choose a word that will be repeated in the story. Example: “Ham” if you’re reading “Green Eggs and Ham”, and assign a physical activity to it (such as a jumping jack). Then every time that word is said, your child has to do a jumping jack!
Indoor games and activities are all about using your imagination. Have the children be creative and active by pretending to be different animals. Do animal walks around the classroom or home (think bunny hops, crab walks or slithering like a snake). With a group of children, they can even race each other! You can easily incorporate some simple animal-inspired yoga poses into this game.
Get even more creative by having the children make a zoo or farm of different animals that they can take turns visiting and playing with. They can even take turns being the farmer/zoo keeper and make wheelbarrows together to clean up after the animals. The creative options are endless but will keep the energy burning!
Yes, we are eager for summer, but a snowball fight is fun all year long and it can be done indoors too! Simply grab a stack of white paper, that pile of scrap paper that’s accumulating behind your desk, or even newspapers from the recycling bin.
Crumple the paper into balls – the more you have, the more epic the battle will be. Put the paper snowballs in the middle of an open room and let the snowball fight begin. To up the ante, create some obstacles for children to hide behind. You’ll have them giggling and burning that energy in no time.
We hope that this article will give you some ideas and inspiration on how to use indoor games and activities to entertain children during cold months or rainy days and incorporate physical activity into their day. If you are interested to learn more about the benefits of physical activity for young children, please check out this excellent free resource from participACTION, 24-hour movement guidelines for the early year.