As winter settles around us, it’s important to make a special effort to stay active outdoors, even in chilly weather. At the same time, we know there will be occasions when the weather is simply too extreme to be outside. The indoor winter activities below provide easy solutions for kids to stay active and have fun even on the coldest days.
1. Make an indoor obstacle course
Help your child or children to set up an obstacle course indoors. Arrange your furniture so there are things to crawl under, climb over, walk along, hop along, etc.
Here are some ideas:
- Crawl under the coffee table
- Climb over the sofa
- Hop down the hallway like a kangaroo (with two feet)
- Crawl like a bear or crab walk
- Tightrope-walk along a long rope, string, or piece of tape stretched along the floor.
After a few passes through the course, encourage your children to stretch their imaginations and rearrange the obstacles.
2. Play River Bank
This game is for at least two players, though it’s more fun if you have three to five.
Choose a play space in your home that’s free of breakable objects, or remove the breakable objects before playing. The play space can be a bedroom, living room, or any room where there’s an open space at least 2×3 metres. Carpeted floor is best.
- Lay a length of string, rope, or long piece of tape on the floor to create a straight line 2-3 metres long. Designate one side of the string, rope, or tape to be the bank. The other side is the river.
- One child or parent stands still and calls “river” or “bank.” The other child or children start by standing on the “bank.”
- When the caller says “river,” the child or children must jump with both feet together to the river side. When the caller says “bank,” they must jump to the bank again.
- The caller tries to trick the players by saying “river” when they’re already on the river side, or “bank” when they’re on the bank side. They should not jump.
- Switch between “river” and “bank” faster and faster so that the game becomes more challenging.
If you have more than one child jumping, make it an elimination game. If a player jumps to the wrong side, they must sit down. Continue until there’s only one player left. Remember to take turns being the caller.
If your child enjoys this game, you can also try playing River Leap.
Related read: How to make a DIY indoor active play space on a budget
3. Practice balance poses
Start by showing your child a balance pose, and encourage your child to imitate you as you hold the pose. Then, switch!
- Stand on the tips of your toes, arms stretched straight overhead.
- Stand on one leg, other leg bent at the knee, arms raised straight sideways like wings.
- Stand on one leg, arms raised straight sideways like wings, bend forward at the waist, and lift rear leg (airplane pose).
- Stand on all fours, head down, rear in the air (downward dog pose in yoga).
- From all fours, raise and hold one leg high in the air.
- From all fours, raise and hold one arm high in the air.
Adjust the difficulty of the pose according to the age and ability of your child.
Invent other balance poses together—use your imagination. For more inspiration, you can also print our balance pose dice.
4. Throw a family dance party
Get everyone in the family involved. Use your music source (internet, smartphone, tablet, etc.) and turn up the volume! Challenge your kids to see who can create the best dance moves. Remember: carpeted floor is okay, but wood, tile, and linoleum are best for foot slides and slick dance moves.
Need inspiration for dance music? Try our dance party playlist, or check out these song ideas on YouTube:
Latin salsa: Maraca – Maria Rosa
Soul R&B: Aretha Franklin – Respect
Funk: James Brown – Get Up Offa That Thing
Rock ‘n’ roll: Stray Cats – Let it Rock
Rock ‘n’ roll: Playing for Change – La Bamba
Soul R&B: Cee Lo Green – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)