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By Kelsie McGladrey, PT, DPT

The cold weather is here, and with it comes rain and even snow. Being inside for the majority of the day makes it difficult to keep your child active. Here are some fun ideas to try when you’re stuck indoors!

  • Tape Shapes
    • Painters tape can be used to make many shapes or designs on your floor with easy removal and no damage.
    • You can design different shapes throughout an area for many different games.
    • Play hopscotch jumping from each shape
    • Practice bean bag (or newspaper ball) toss
    • Tightrope walk the shapes for good practice balancing
  • Laser Spy Challenge
    • Use party streamers or yarn to create a laser room!
    • Tie or tape the streamers in all directions across a play area or hallway.
    • Encourage your “spys” to navigate through without touching the lasers!
    • For added challenge you can use different colors and cues such as:
      • Crawl under all blue string
      • Crawl over all orange string
  • Ice skating
    • Use paper plates or a magazine cover under each foot to “skate around the room”.
    • Start on carpet for a more resistant surface which will help with control. As your child gains control you can increase the challenge by moving to tiles that slide easier.
  • Stuffed Animal Run
    • Fill a room or hallway with stuffed animals or pillows scattered around the floor.
    • Practice racing around the animals and using “high knees” to step over the animals.
    • Remember to clear all sharp objects like table corners from running areas!
  • Balloon Tennis
    • Use a plate and popsicle stick to make a racket.
    • String, jump rope, or streamers can serve as the perfect “net” for you to play balloon tennis!
  • Snowball fight!
    • Balled up paper can serve as a great “snowball” that is safe to throw inside without risking injury to the child or your house décor!
    • You can use the balls as “snowballs” and even add a garbage can/empty tub for some basketball fun!
  • Crab kicks
    • Crab walks are a great core exercise- if you have multiple children acting like crabs you can add a fun challenge by encouraging them to kick a balloon while in the crab position.
    • Count how many kicks they can get in a row!
  • Hula hoop fun
    • Hula hoops are a great toy that can be adapted to many games. You can often find them in multiple sizes at the dollar store!
      1. Create an obstacle course! Climbing through the hula hoop serves as a great core exercise. You can even add orange streamers to the hula hoop so your child can pretend they are a circus lion climbing through a flaming hoop!
      2. Have your child practice jumping in and out of a hula hoop obstacle course on the floor. You can practice color identification by having them jump into the hoop color that you call out!
  • Don’t forget to make cleaning up fun too!
    • Use your feet to pick up toys
      • While standing have your child balance on one foot while they pick up small toys and lift them to their hands.
      • Have your child lay on their back, grab the toys between their feet, and lift them up to complete a crunch.
    • Challenge your kids to a clean-up race for good running practice.