Your sweet, curious, and playful 6 year old has moved from a preschooler to a school-aged child. While they might be older, they’re still your little ones needing guidance, lots of love, and lots of patience! They also need lots of time to move.
They’re running and skipping more quickly, their balance and jumping skills are generally more advanced, they can catch a ball more easily, and you might just find them cartwheeling more than walking some days!
And when the occasion arises that you need to spend the day indoors, it’s always handy to have ideas to keep your kid moving.
1. Can you catch it in a… ?
This sounds a little like a Fox in Socks adventure but rest assured, there are no green eggs nor ham involved. Provide your child with several sizes of balls and several items to catch them in, such as an empty margarine tub, a pail, a butterfly or fishing net, a small garbage can, a towel, or a box.
Can your child catch the ball in each item when thrown to them? If the game gets easy, vary the throw to their left and their right. Your child can then practice throwing a ball up themselves and catching it in their (not-a-box-with-a-fox) container. Still too easy? Show your child how to throw the ball high into the air, do a full turn, and then catch the ball.
2. The sock ball roll
Roll two or three clean pairs of socks inside each other to make a sock ball. Your child should then lie down and place the sock ball at their feet.
Have your child grip the sock ball between their feet then do a roll back, bringing their feet behind their head (have them keep their hands on the ground beside them). They can then drop the sock ball behind their head and return to the flat lying position. Have your child then roll back, pick up the ball between their feet, and bring it back to the starting position. For more fun ideas, check out these 6 active games kids can play with a pair of socks.
3. Balloon keep up with a twist
By the age of six, there’s a good chance your child will have played their share of balloon keep-up games. But now that they’re probably keep-up champions, can they keep the balloon afloat while doing other activities between balloon taps?
Have your child throw up the balloon and before it hits the ground, have them do another activity before they hit the balloon. Can they do two jumping jacks before the balloon floats back? Can they touch their toes? Run and tag an item somewhere in the room? Jump up and do a full turn? See if your child can come up with more ideas.
4. Jump the river
6 year olds are able to jump approximately 24 inches forward. Have them use their hopping skills to avoid the crocodiles and get across the river safely!
Lay out two skipping ropes on the floor. The space between the ropes is the river. Have your child run and jump across the river. If they make it across successfully, move the ropes further apart to make the river wider. How far can they jump without getting wet?
5. Crab walk
Sure, walking like a human is cool. But why walk the plain old way when you can walk like a crab? Have your child sit, place their arms behind them with their palms on the ground, then push their backs off the floor.
When your little crab has mastered walking, see if they can walk like a crab with a beanbag on their stomach. Can they balance it all the way across a room? Can your crab balance on one leg? Or kick a ball?
6. Hula hoops
6 year olds can be super-talented hoopers when they learn the basic waist spin. Once they get that down pat, they can try spinning it on their chest, spinning it while balancing on one foot, or while balancing something on their head.
Check out 6 year old Minka from Latvia who teaches kids to hula hoop like a pro.
7. Indoor hockey
Turn your indoor space into a championship arena without worrying about your windows and furniture! Using sock balls as pucks and laundry baskets as nets. Your kids can practice their shot or play games with others.
At the age of six, most kids can balance on one foot for at least 10 seconds. See if they can balance and take a couple of shots.
8. Traffic lights!
Get your kids revving their engines (and slowing and stopping them) with a good old game of Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light. Choose a hallway or room and have your child start at one end. When you call out “Green light!” your child can walk. “Red light!” means they have to stop. If they move while they’re supposed to be still, they have to go back to the beginning. And, probably the most fun light of all, when you call “Yellow light!” your child must move in slo-mo.
9. Name that bean!
If you’re thinking of acting like a vegetable, what’s better than beans? There are so many varieties.
Call out the different types and have your child act them out. Bean sprouts grow really high! How tall can your kid reach up? Jumping beans need to bounce! Broad beans? Stretch yourself out as wide as you can be! Chili beans are c-c-c-cold. Have your child shiver. Jelly beans? Shake like a wibbly, wobbly jelly.
10. Balance walk
Now that your 6 year old has developed much more balance, switching objects to balance on is both fun and challenging. Lay out pillows and couch cushions in a line (or in a more haphazard way) and see if your child can move from one end of the line to the other keeping their balance the whole time.
11. Gymnastics routine
Most 6 year olds are able to do front and back rolls, star jumps, and needle jumps. They might have mastered, or are working on completing, a cartwheel.
On a mat, a carpet, or an uncovered floor, your child can put together a gymnastics routine using any of the above moves and adding their own creative jumps or dance moves. Provide them with ribbons or silk scarves to add more flair to their routine.
Want to work on completing a cartwheel with your child? Here’s a great way to have your child master the move.
12. Call out the search party!
Your child can be the ultimate explorer (and finder) when you send them out on an indoor scavenger hunt. Hunts can be themed (ie. have them find 20 red items, 10 things that have the letter “t” in their spelling, or 15 round things). Or you can provide them with a list of items that they can cross off as they are found.
Items could include: a spoon, a book, a ball, a flashlight, keys, a scarf, a pen, an umbrella, or an envelope).
Also called bean bag toss, cornhole is a game of throwing, aiming, and scoring. The goal is to land a beanbag bag on the angled corn hole board or to sink a beanbag through the hole on it.
You can buy a collapsible board or build your own with cardboard boxes or wood.
Gather scarves, coats, hats, shirts, sunglasses, ties, purses, boas, jackets, and any other items you might want for a dress-up box. Have your child put together the most excellent outfit, pick out some catwalk-worthy music, and have them show off their ensembles in a fashion show for the family or friends.
15. Snowball fight
Bring the outside in—at least in spirit. Make your own “snowballs” with crumpled paper or use short lengths of white nylons filled with cotton wool and tied at each end. No mitts required. No wet coats. But hot chocolate after the game? Why not?
At the age of six, most kids can step forward with their leg on the opposite side as their throwing arm when throwing a ball. Or snowball. (Dodgeball rules apply—all snowballs must be thrown below the chin.)
16. Mirror, Mirror
Do you see what I see? Or better yet, can you do what I do? Have your child stand facing you and make movements that your child must mirror back.
If you wave your hand in the air, your child must do the same. Try some jumping jacks, march in place, or wiggle your eyebrows. Jump a few times and stop suddenly to see if your child does the same. Giggles might ensue as they try to stop at the same time.
17. Beach party
Bring the beach indoors without the sandy toes! Play a game of beach ball hot potato. Throw the ball from one person to another in no particular order while playing some fun beach music. When the person playing the music turns it off, the person holding the beach ball is eliminated from the game. If you’re playing with only two people, keep score instead.
Or have a limbo party! Put on some more beachy music and have two people hold a pool noodle or broomstick as the limbo stick. Each player must try to go under the bar with their backs facing toward the floor, feet forward. Only feet can touch the ground and no part of your kid’s body can touch the bar. Each time your child manages to get under the bar successfully, the holders lower the bar and the limbo dance begins again. How low can you go?
18. Flashlight hide-and-seek
At the end of the day, when the sun goes down but your kids haven’t, play a fun game of indoor flashlight hide-and-seek.
With the lights on, have one child close their eyes and count to 10 while another hides (or have the child hide while a parent counts). Turn off the lights and have the seeker use their flashlight to find the hider.
19. Hurdle hop
By the age of six, a child can usually jump over an object approximately 12 inches tall and can land with both feet together.
Find and line up a number of objects at least a foot apart from each other. Each object should be 12 inches or shorter. You can purchase training hurdles or use items from around your house, such as an overturned beach pail, a hurdle made out of Lego, a stack of 10 pucks (pucks are 1” in height), or an empty tall yogurt tub.
Can your child jump over the line of objects more quickly each time they tackle the course?
At the age of six, many kids can master jumping rope. If they haven’t learned how to skip rope yet, help them with the basics. There are so many songs and rhymes your child can sing while jumping. Have your child make one slo-mo rotation of the rope to ensure they have plenty of room to jump without breaking any valuables!